6 Step Program:
- Scrap your whole Program: You’ve become another martial arts cliche’. You’re nothing special, every other FMA guy in town does the same crap you do, the same way you do it. So start from scratch, and rebuild a new art! Hell, why not? How long have you been studying this art? Don’t you think you can come up with a complete, practical, original art? Start with only the most practical, most devastating and damaging strikes and kicks. Then select no more than 10 good and reliable grappling attacks. Build your methods of attack and counter attack until you have a small set of 20 – 30 useful techniques. Forget the drills, katas, the disarming, etc. Take your small set of fighting skills and create a style-within-a-style. This is your personal combat system, and will be what you train with 80% of the time you train on your own.
- Testing: Vow to yourself that you will spar 100 opponents using only what is in this system. Notice I did not say, “100 rounds”. It doesn’t matter how many rounds you fight, the idea is to use this art against 100 unique fighting styles and unique opponents. You would be surprised what you’ll discover when you do this
- Develop: One of the most neglected aspects of martial philosophy is the necessity for development and tempering. You should train your skill to a high degree. This, my brothers, is not practice; there is a difference. For the casual martial arts student, unchallenging practice is sufficient. However, the career martial artist needs something far more intense. We must train with extremely high repetitions and develop our speed and power to an almost superhuman degree. Many in the arts believe that this is unnecessary or impossible. Let them feel that way; they are not one of us. We only have a short amount of time in our youth to accomplish this and may not have the rest of our lives to ever achieve this level. As you age, your body will deteriorate and physical training will yield smaller gains. It is far better to take advantage of youth while you have it, and have achieved this level at some point in your life… your martial arts will forever benefit from simply reaching this level in your youth. I know martial arts “Masters” who have never enjoyed the prestige of being one of the best in his local community, and there is a psychological barrier to his art’s development and that of his students. To make it easy, commit to performing everything in your personal fighting system 1,000 times in the first 3 months, and then at least 5,000 repetitions as soon after as you can. Do this and call me in the morning; you will never be the same man again.
- Forging: You must utilize impact training in your system. My best friend is a peach tree growing in my front yard. Besides providing my wife and children healthy snacks a few weeks a year, this tree is used to practice my Iron Arm(blocking practice), punching and striking practice, and pulling and pushing. Stand square in front of a tree or Mook Yan Jong (Wooden Man Post) and execute your blocks or strikes against it a minimum of 50 reps per set. If you have never done this type of training before, I suggest you wrap a towel around the trunk (or low branch if you have one available) and secure it with duct tape. Work only one technique at a time. Sometimes I will spend weeks on just one technique per session. In my youth, I worked on a coconut tree at my home in the Philippines for hours before going to class with Boggs Lao, just for him to put me on a free-standing tree log in his gym. You can wrap a jacket, rope or karate belt around the tree/log/dummy to practice your pushing and pulling, and grabs. This will give you a very hard feeling to your techniques, which also doubles as a fight deterrent on the street. No one wants to fight a guy who feels like he can snap your bones like twigs.
- Learn from the Japanese: Get a Makiwara. Or build one. But you must have something besides a punching bag to hit, preferably one that does not move much. I can always tell when someone has training without one, because his technique has a sort of weakness to it that cannot be compensated through weight-lifting or BJJ certifications (lol). And don’t listen to all the naysayers who tell you Makiwara training is bad for the joints, those are just old wives tales told by people who don’t know better. I have never met a man who couldn’t use his hands as a result of the training. Utilize this thing as much as you can.
- Your Reputation: Either teach some students this system and put them in front of opponents, or train like a madman and get in front of as many opponents as you can. Don’t publicize it; just do it. Word of mouth will spread your reputation for you. Document it if you want, after all this IS America, but focus more on proving your art’s worth, one opponent at a time. Forget the websites, press releases, and articles… this is old school reputation-building. As the old Filipino saying goes, a fighter’s reputation is built from the testimony of his opponents, not his friends.
You are a Filipino Martial Artist, so act like one! Want to do something traditional? This is it. Trust me, this is the only path to mastery and respect in the FMAs. You create your own system, you develop true fighting ability, you get yourself a reputation and then you allow your accomplishments speak for themselves. None of those old Masters had websites, or Seminar tours, or PR people. They stood on their own feet, not the shoulders of others, and possessed the skill to back up their reputations themselves. You gotta respect that.
FMA empty hand is a laughing stock. The only people who really believe that patty-cake stuff you do will kick someone’s ass are 12 year old boys, 45 year old men who know nothing of real fighting, and the women you date. Get out, prove to yourself and the world that your empty hand is worthy. The Filipino Martial Arts need it.
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