As we have been discussing in class, practicing basics and hyung precisely are important and have benefits, but you must also get out of your comfort zone to ensure your techniques are effective in all practical applications. If you can only perform techniques one way and move one way, you will be limited in your ability to defend yourself and could actually mentally get stuck and freeze.
By doing things similar but different it helps create new neuropathways that allows us to move more freely. Some of the exercises and drills that force us to move differently, perform techniques on different sides, and/or makes our brain make different mind-body connections include (many of which we have practiced in class) include:
· Performing hyung mirrored (i.e., start to the left, versus the right)
· Performing hyung with reverse strikes.
· Practicing various basics at different heights (low, medium, high) and in different directions (downward, upward, outward, etc.).
· Practicing combinations using different stance transitions than normally practiced in basics or hyung (e.g., transition from a side horse to a cat stance)
· Practicing techniques and hyung at different speeds and cadences
· Practicing techniques, hyung, combinations imagining different scenarios
· Practicing techniques while imagining targets at different distances (i.e., close in, kicking range, just outside kicking range).
In addition, by continuing to push ourselves outside our comfort zone we are less likely to become complacent. While it is great to feel comfortable in performing techniques and feeling proficient in hyung, if we do not continue to explore ways of doing things differently then that complacency can lead to laziness. One of my favorite quotes is by Norman Augustine (United States Under Secretary of the Army from 1975 to 1977 and chairman and CEO of the Lockheed Martin Corporation), “There are no lazy veteran lion hunters.”
Imagine what it felt like the first time you performed a basic side kick well. If you stopped there and never tried to improve it and perform it differently, how much more competent would you feel performing that technique? When we get lazy, we stop growing and learning. When we practice outside our comfort zone and practice the new ways, we not only improve our competency but also our confidence which will lead us to continuing to be open to trying new ways of practicing.
“Karate is like boiling water: without heat, it returns to its tepid state.“ ~ Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957), founder of Shotokan Karate