The fundamentals of your style.



Master of Arts
Supporting Member
Sep 29, 2010
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I think some are what I was trying to get to.. not text book basics. But those tips and tricks you can only get on the mat.

When holding a wrist, keep your palm flush and firm as a gap will give your opponent an opportunity.
When grappling, try and keep your chest to your opponents when in mount, or try to always have a knee in between you when put in guard.

I love these fundamental tips, maybe some people call it setups. not sure?


Master of Arts
Supporting Member
Feb 18, 2012
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Knoxville, TN
Ok, I'll try, starting with Aikido. Koichi Tohei posted four principles which you could call fundamentals. Relax completely, maintain centre, keep weight underside and extend Ki. The first two are self explanatory, the last two quite complex, but they really encompass the practice of Aikido.

When we look at karate, and here I am talking of Okinawan karate, all four apply, but realistically only three of them would be mentioned (excluding weight underside). The first two are constantly stressed. If I was to add another it would be that when you make the decision to engage you don't disengage until the danger is over.

Now when I look at other martial arts I can see most of them embracing the same principles, even if they may not be expressed in the same words.
What he said...


Brown Belt
Jun 17, 2014
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Taekwondo (or atleast my own)

these are not the basics you will learn first day, but are the concepts that I find it hard to succeed with Taekwondo without

Controlling distance: using superior footwork and pressure to make the opponent rest in your preferred distance; whether long, midrange, or close, for as much of the time as possible.

1:1 Timing the Counter: Countering as the opponent attacks. Again using footwork to maneuver into the correct position that will allow you to counter while avoiding the blow.

Pressure (Forward Intent): While avoiding your opponents attack(s), it is important to maintain pressure or forward intent. Rather than being overly passive and running from the blows, you must be always ready to spring back and attack. If your opponent does not feel pressured, they will whole heartedly attack and try to overwhelm you.

Invasive Hands: While your feet mainly take care of defense in the form of footwork, the blocking techniques can be applied as a secondary defense; however, these techniques should be applied when you choose to stand your ground and strike the opponent. In this moment you have decided to root and invade your opponents space. The hand techniques should convey this attitude; blocking not only to take care of an attack, but to get your hand(s) into the opponents bubble and further disrupt or attack them.


Master of Arts
Dec 13, 2011
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Again for Taekwondo (at least mine):

Basic inward, outward and linear motions including strikes, blocks and kicks.

Appropriate striking surface for appropriate target.

Aiming for absolute balance control.

Combining weight shifting and waist twisting to balance great power and speed in motions.

Moving one's own centre of gravity to manipulate that of an opponent (along with some fundamental grips)

Above all: forcing the opponent to work against the world while you work with it.

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Orange Belt
Jan 21, 2015
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What are the top most important fundamentals of your style? (Not basics)

I've always been interested in hearing opinions on this, and within the same training systems it can vary somewhat.

My fundamentals is to have the upper body strength of a silverback gorilla and the leg power of a thoroughbred AND THEN worry about technique.

"Almost all fights are won by those who can eat the most."

My philosophy in martial arts is to first acquire the raw materials instead of trying use a plastic sniper rifle when you're trying to kill a polar bear.


Blue Belt
Nov 23, 2014
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I our organization / school (Jun Bee Kwan, WHGF), we have three defined ideal principles of which we try to adhere to when doing most of what we do when it comes to hapki type, or "soft", techniques (Hapkido also incorporates techniques that can be seen as more "hard" and direct).

Ryu, or flow.

Often referred to as "the water principle", ryu is to not meet force straight on, but instead moving ourself in way that blends with the force of our opponent, and lets it flow by without hurting us. This is somewhat analogous to the Japanese principle of tai sabaki.

Won, or circular motion.

Circular motion refers to various types of movements using centrifugal and centripetal force to disperse, add to, and/or redirect the energy of our opponents attack. It allows for simultaneous defense and offense, and for using the force an opponent puts into an attack against him.

Wha, or harmony.

Somewhat simplified, wha can be translated as harmony, and can be described as successfully using won and ryu together in order to blend with the opponents energy, adding ones own energy, and using the combined energy for our own purposes. We can then use the combined energy to turn his attack into various attacks such as a throw, a joint-destruction, redirecting our opponent into a wall or other parts of our surroundings, or something else

A basic and ideal example of how this could be done, is in one of the ways we meet an opponent who is swinging some kind of club at us. Instead of blocking the strike, which is essentially meeting force with force, we move into the attack at an angle (removing ourself from the path of the club), then we redirect the force of our opponent in a way that, combined with our own body placement and the force we add to his trough circular motion, turns his attack into throwing him.