Over the past few weeks I have had the privilege of having my students participate in rank promotion testing. Many gup (colored belt rank) tests and several Dan (black belt) tests. Seeing my school grow in size, ranks and personal maturity is very much a awesome thing to see.
All of the excitement after months of preparation and extra practice, the test is completed, new belts and uniforms are being worn and we congratulated and celebrated while pictures were taken…And then we go back to working on the basics.
Yes, immediately after being promoted, the students joined those who didn’t test and all of them continued to train on the basics. The core of martial arts training is to focus on continuing the development of kibon (basics). If you don’t keep working to make you techniques better, you are wasting your (and your instructor’s) time. Whether it is Taekwondo working on stances, blocks, strikes and kicks or Haidong Gumdo working on cuts, stances and defenses. The basic techniques make up every pattern (poomse or gumbub) and every personal protection technique. How can there be anything more important in training than this?
All too often in today’s martial arts schools, it has become much like kids at Christmas. The first present that they open is “the greatest toy ever made!” and the thought lasts until they open the next present. Yes, the next shiny new toy and they’re off again.
The worst part is that they are only happy with something new. It was even surprising at the end of a seminar that included testing and discussed this topic, students asked for to start on the next material. The original material needs more work yet, but they want more. One student is athletic, intelligent and creative. He will be very good once he stops having to makeup different combinations to put in the patterns and just do them the way he was taught.
One of the hardest lessons to teach…and to learn…is that you are never done working on the basics. They are a part of everything that you do in every part of your life.
Author: Master Robert Frankovich
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