One of the Haidong Gumdo Masters that I work with posted this thought. It is based on a yoga comment. I think it is very accurate for Haidong Gumdo and all other martial arts as well.
A problem that humans fall into is that they want to “be like” the cool people. Well, in this case, the technically good students. It can lead to an unintentional competitive attitude toward their training.
Working hard to look like another student doesn’t take into consideration the actual capabilities of the student. This can lead to changing a technique to “look like” another student’s technique but ruins the “applicable” technique for that student.
As I’ve been training and teaching Haidong Gumdo for the past decade, I’ve been watching how my students move. This has been an interesting study as my students range from 13 years old to 76 years old. I admit that I have a set of generic physical guidelines for them to follow but that is the point. These are guidelines only! All are subject to the individual student’s physical limitations.
As each student develops their technique, they need to base it upon their physical capabilities. This should happen in their stance. If they change the sword movement, they may cause the sword edge line to change and become ineffective (unable to cut targets).
The difference is stances are key to developing proper technique. As mobility changes, so should technique. One of the guidelines is that in certain big angle cutting, the “set” side shoulder is aimed at the target to start the cut and the “off-side” shoulder should be toward the target at the end of the cut. To create this movement, an older student may need to adapt their stance to become effective.
Another piece that I harp students on is that there is only one movement that permits them to change their hand position on the sword handle. Sometimes in their efforts to look like another student , they change their grip and ruin any chance of cutting correctly.
A curiosity that I have is how deep the competitive streak runs within students. Is it only physical or does ego become a factor. I guess that is determined in how long it takes to change incorrect movements and develop correct technique.
*If you wish to know what technique has the allowed hand change, send me a message. 🙂