do you train your basics.


Purple Belt
Jan 12, 2002
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sacramento, ca
i am on my way to a super bowl party (oakland is going to win), but i want to start a conversation new.

most martial artists i met today do not train the basics that they have in their systems. usually the information he knows is just, there in his head. the practice he gets is when he demonstrate for a class or another martial artist. the ones who practice, only practice his disarmings and locks and takedowns, and drills.

when i say practice your basics, i mean your basics hit 1 through whatever. do you take, like, your number 7 and do this hit 100s of times, and then take your attack combinations (for you guys that have attack combinations) with the number 7 in it, and do that 100s of times.

i am willing to bet my left nut, that the answer is, no.

why? because of how the philippine martial arts gets taught today. they are not training you, they are teaching you how to do some moves, then he does a few demonstration of what else he knows, that you dont, he tells some jokes, and then you go home and try to remember what that neat move you saw.

the emphasis today is to learn how to do the moves, then the teachers trust you to practixe on your own. so what we have is people who know how to do the moves, but they have not done them enough to get really good at it and be an expert in it, but he is still called an expert. this is why there is so many average people in the philippine martial arts as teachers, and not enough people who are really good in the art.

your key to skill and effectiveness is practice of the basics. it doenst matter how many techniques you know, but how well you do them. your punch is not just a punch on the street. on the street it is who has the fastest and strongest punch, because everybody has one. i expect every so called martial arts student to be stronger and more durable then the average guy on the street because you are spending hours every week of your life doing these move. but instead the average student only knows many ways to do a technique, but he is no more powerful than the average guy who works out, if he is even that strong.

if you are an arnis student or especally a teacher, you should do your basic strikes at least 100 times a week, AT LEAST. this is how you improve yourself as you go along. i am stronger now at 33 than i was at 23, and this is because i train while i teach. when i am 53, i should be able to easily crush a guys windpipe because i plan to teach until i die.

you always hear of old manong who can fight like young man, even though he walkd with a cane, and he has gout or some other old man's disease. this is because he keeps himself together with his technique. they didnt have golds gym and tae bo when my grandpa was young. you preserve your skills, and you young people develop your skills by practicing the basics many, many times no matter how boring they are.

think of your basics as the walls of your house, and your drills and neat stuff like that is the nice furniture and decorations inside. when the storm comes (**** hit the fan), you will probably wonder if the walls are strong enough instead of worrying about your mama's picture.
i really enjoyed your post i think that lession can be applied to any martial art
Nice post. Besides our amarra and arangar, we have a long form (our version of the San Miguel Form), that is comprised of over 500 strokes with different footwok patterns. I am fond of telling my students that if they practice the form every day, they will never have to worry again about practicing basics. Two rounds of the form and you've practiced over 1000 cuts in about 15 minutes.

To put this in context, I've read that when William C.C. Chen was preparing for a full contact tournament, he practiced each movement of the Yang Tai Ji form 500 times until he completed all of the form - and then started over again. This continued for several months.

Similarly, I've heard of Filipino martial arts teachers who have made a point of practicing each basic stroke 10,000 times before moving on to the next one. We have 12 basic strokes so that's 120,000 strokes. On one side. It's not so difficult as it seems:
1000 strokes a day (about 15 minutes) X 120 days (four months) = 120,000. Mmmm...maybe this will be my project for February - May (for my left hand).

One caveat: one decent stroke is more valuable than 1000 crappy ones.


Steve Lamade
I'd say the meat of what we train in is basics. On my own I do 20-30 minutes of amarra and combinations each day that I don't work out. Sometimes I'll do bagging instead. In our class though we mostly train basics, that is hitting and hitting patterns. Then we move into hitting drills and such especially when working San Miguel.

I think that 100 times during a training day is too little to even qualify as a workout. Just doing basic amarra (1 and 2 strikes), you'll get twice that in under 3 minutes. 1 minute hitting the tires and you'll have struck near 100 times.

One thing I want to point out though is that stick fighting is very much an intellectual thing as well as a physical thing. Some of those drills and new techniques are important because they make your mind work and train you to be able to handle difficult and unexpected changes in a fight. So you need to train beyond just the basics or the art won't develop within you.

think of your basics as the walls of your house, and your drills and neat stuff like that is the nice furniture and decorations inside. when the storm comes (**** hit the fan), you will probably wonder if the walls are strong enough instead of worrying about your mama's picture.

Keeping with your analogy, some of the neat stuff inside the house might be the "how-to book" that tells you how to rebuild the walls after the storm or the storm blinds that keep your windows solid during the storm or even a strong bookshelf that keeps the walls up.

I think that a good measure of an earnest FMA student is callousing on the hands. Earnest training requires them.
BASICS, BASICS, and MORE BASICS. I hear this statement at every class. If you don't have your basics down cold what is the point of any other technique. I'm TKD, but I also believe that the need for basic is common to all arts. After basics a MA should practice basics in combinations, then advanced technique. Climb the stair one step at a time and your skills will be incredible and effective.

Mountain Sage
especially for students, who need to jump start his own skill level, he should have close to 100 strokes for each number strike each workout session. i hope as advanced fighters and teachers, that they should have way more than 100 strikes of each strike. but i guess you will have to decide what kind of workout your going to have, but remember that your basics are at the bottom of everything you do. other things are important, like footwork, sensitivity in the free hand, countering, head and hand movement. but your opponent doesnt get beat, until your strike hits him with enough power to do damage.

FMA students today spend to much time on advance things that they do not have the foundation to make them work. not just the students but the teachers too. there are lots of people who practice advance skills, and they cannot use them in real time, only at demonstration speed against a willing "enemy". if your going to teach these things to your boys, make sure they have enough basic skill to carry out the strategy that you teach them.

another saying, dont right a check that your *** cant cash, what that means here, is: have the basic skills to use those techniques you say you know. advance techniques mean nothing when you dont have the strength and speed to make them work.
Originally posted by thekuntawman
especially for students, who need to jump start his own skill level, he should have close to 100 strokes for each number strike each workout session.

All in the air, or some on a tire or the like?

Also, could someone please define amarra and arangar for me?
Amarra in our system are striking patterns from a stationary position that are also used to develop weight-shifting (from front to back foot and back again, etc.) Amarra are later combined with footwork drills that teach angling and distancing skills.

Normally done in the air, I have also practiced them with a partner. Here the intent is not to overpower the opponent but merely to concentrate on proper form.

Arangar is breakthrough training: the use of fast, continuous strikes to break through the opponent's defense. This is always done with a partner and care should be exercised as no protective equipment is worn.


Steve Lamade
i couldn't agree with you more. the basics are the keys to a strong foundation.
Originally posted by thekuntawman
i am on my way to a super bowl party (oakland is going to win), but i want to start a conversation new.

okay, so i was wrong about oakland. i feel better now.

teachers have a hard time to run clases today. this is because you have to decide when should you teach more advance and new things to your boys. if you teach them to soon, they will not practice basics, but if you wait until you think they are ready, you might wait too long, and the student will quit because he is bored.

i may suggest to teachers, that you make your students begin every class with at least 20 or 30 minutes of basics. then you go to the advance things. for my own training, i still train my basic hits for a long time every time i practice, and i been doing this art for 22 years. you can teach students new things early to keep his attention, but keep him training basics for as much time as you would if you ware not a commercial teacher. yes all those advance methods are nice, but remember what is the most important, the basic skills foundations.
great post thekuntawmn :)
i think it applied to all martial arts...
not from the FMA experience
just couplf of months before i was just practicing the blocks i felt my forms rn't good enuff n i started doing it again n again, i was do damn embarrsed by myself that i did it for the next 1 n half hour continously.
if u don't get ur basics correct u hav no chance of gettin ur advance rite...sometimes i think advancement is just basics...
I train my basic Angles everynight and its the only reason Im even half decent at them! And every beginning of the lesson we do ten minutes non stop of Abinnicho or however you spell it. If one of the students cant do it for ten minutes straight then we start again. Painful but my wrists wouldnt be the way they are today without it. :)
Awesome topic made me join the martialtalk forum. I have some FMA training and I am trying to learn more could someone please tell me what these forms and terms are. What is an Arangar? and What is the San Miguel Form? what system is it from or systems? Please e-mail me at [email protected]. When I train or examine any art I am only concerned with the basics, the rest tends to be what follows naturally or adds to what is already there. Someone once said "the sign of a true Warrior is his willingness to enter". On that For FMA I mostly work strikes, combinations of strikes and more strikes with different footwork patterns. in training strikes if I am not mistaken we are also training to enter, so it seems a decisive entry will often precede going home from the battle. I hope that is not too sophmoric

We never stray too far from the basics. I have trained in systems where as time went on, the "entertaining" stuff started to take precedence over the basics. When this happens you see a decline in skill.
We incorporate the basics on a regular basis: whether its a basic punch, kick, or taking a stick out of the hand.
I think never getting tired of drilling the basics is part of the path to mastery!

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