Earlier this week, I was taking one of our students through their pretest for black belt, and I was coaching them on how to give me more “face”. The student was powerful with his techniques, but was lacking emotion. When you are doing a kata or form, it should look like a fight, so there should be intensity in your expression, and the person watching should be able to “see” that you are fighting, not just doing moves in the air.
After explaining this, I gave a quick demonstration of what I wanted, and it caused me to ask myself, Where did I learn that? From my instructor, of course. I remember my chief instructor had SO much intensity when doing martial arts, and I always wanted to mimic him. I wanted to do it JUST like him. And it reminded me that that is a lesson for all of our students…Follow the example of your instructor.
When you watch how they strike, mimic it. Copy their facial expressions, copy their intensity. Strive to kick as hard, jump as high, and punch with the same power that they demonstrate.
And not only the physical side of their martial arts, but also watch their level of respect and courtesy, and go beyond. Watch how they bow. Is it deep and respectful? Listen to how they always answer questions with sir and ma’am. Doesn’t it happen all the time? Do they always make eye contact with those who they’re speaking? I bet they do. Copy that.
All of us need a mentor or a coach. We all need someone to look up to, someone to emulate, someone to push us past where we think we can go. Luckily, if you’re training in martial arts, you have someone. You have your martial arts instructor. I know that my instructor, absolutely, without a doubt, turned me into the man I am today. So mimic yours. It will make you better. Stronger. And give you more confidence as a growing martial artist.
Recently we were doing take downs in class, and one of my students was not showing a lot of intensity. I explained to the class the purpose of the throws and self defense. And with each self defense move we practice, we need to perform it as if our lives depended on it. So with that, he took a new mindset on the throws and he started to perform with a lot more intensity! There is a necessity for intensity in every technique we do. How you practice is how you would react in a real self defense situation. Be confident in your training!