Insight on learning how to use TMA Techniques


Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Aug 3, 2015
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How you train will determine how well you can use your TMA skills.

You'll need a few things to maximize your effort.
1. Spar to learn - If you aren't sparring to learn how to use your techniques then when doesn't that happen? If you are always sparring to win, then there's no reason to use techniques that you are just learning and aren't good at using.

2. Find a good coach or instructor - This person will keep you on task and will get you back on track when you make a mistake or fall into bad habits. Anyone who is willing to give you feedback on what you doing, especially when making a mistake will be good to have around. Just make sure they have a good grasp on the system that you train. In other words, your classmate can help keep you on track. You both know what what the techniques is so you both should know you should be doing right? Working that technique.

3. Have someone record your video sparring session. The biggest value of video is that it's always there for you to review. It also helps you to see some things you would have missed because you were sparring.

4. Trust your martial arts techniques. If you are being trained in a good system then you have to be able to trust the techniques even if you are scared to do so. How can you use what you train, when you don't trust what you train?

5. Always spar with someone who is willing to forget about winning and to spar at your level or slightly below your level for learning. It doesn't help you if someone is just always dominating you and moving at speeds that make it difficult for you to get a grasp on what you want to do. Sometimes you just need a little bit of a delay so you can learn how to set things up and figure things out.

6. Embrace your failures as learning experience. Don't blame the system nor the technique as something that doesn't work. If you are learning how to use a technique in sparring then there's a 100% chance that you are the reason why the technique didn't work. Embrace that reality, think about the technique, think about how you are trying to use it, and figure out what you may be doing wrong. If you don't know ask the coach or the instructor if he or she hasn't already given you a lecture the moments after you screwed up.

There are various ways to train and this is just one of many.

  • Student punches like a cannon and is very flinches a lot which makes it very dangerous for me. And it will put him at great risk in a real fight so I slow things down to a level that allows him to learn.
  • I attack him with an exaggerated technique so that he can clearly see what I'm doing as I attack him. This gives him a chance to get a feel for how to attack without the fear of me knocking off his head. You can actually see him testing and trying to figure things out.
  • After he sees me use the techniques in sparring he tries to get a feel for how the technique works.

First Attempt: He throws trash. Worse attack ever lol. But it's cool because he's working it out. The first attempt is probably him trying to test out his idea of how he things the technique can work. This often happens when you don't trust the technique to work as it is taught (provided that you were taught correctly in the first place)

He lands the strike with a lot of tension and I could feel it. It also got me concerned because it had a lot of weight on it, as if he was getting too excited. Last thing I want is for me to face block a overpowered punch while teaching and sparring at the same time.

Second Attempt: After I tell him to relax. I show him the technique again. This is when he starts to grasp it. It's his first glimpse that the technique works. This was his first time trying to use this techniques. A few more sparring classes and he would have learned how to use that punch correctly with no problem. Unfortunately for him and my wife, my wife was diagnosed with cancer so that kept me away from the school for a year so he didn't get the other lesson. But as long as he remembers this much he will be able to train himself how to really use the technique through trail and error. He'll have to be very discipline and really focus on trying to use the technique in sparring.

Here's the Difference in training. Same system Different Training
The guy the Red is a Jow Ga student. The person that he is sparring against is doing everything that makes for a good learning experience. He is giving an invitation for the Jow Ga student to try out his technique. But the student throws away the opportunity to try out his techniques. Instead he abandons the techniques. Now the Jow Ga student has a video of him that won't get him any closer to learning how to use the techniques.

Not one attempt to use a Jow Ga technique.

If you really want to be able to use what you train then you have to start trying to use it in sparring. Once you are able to do the techniques within your school then try it against someone outside of your school so you can start the real learning and real training of how to use your technique.