Guidelines for Functional Training

13 Jun


How Do You Train? – Guidelines for Functional Training

             The training program I developed at my school is concerned with only two issues, practicality and functionality. We want to know if the technique, once developed and perfected, will work in a real situation against a moving, resisting, trained person. Perhaps more importantly, we also want to know if the technique can be developed and perfected by a majority of people in a reasonable amount of time.

In the past, it was certainly true that traditional martial arts systems produced an elite few who were the great fighters of their time. However, not only were these individuals a select few, they usually also had to devote their lives to practice. Today, we want a modern martial art that can benefit the majority, not the minority. That is why these guidelines have been established for training.

After an initial period in which the basic techniques are introduced in isolation, they will be drilled using the following live training principles. If training follows these guidelines, you will be able to discover which techniques are both practical and functional, and a majority of the student body will see appreciable benefits in a reasonable amount of time.

Guideline #1: “Structure”

The foundation of the program is learning the proper position and the proper execution of the techniques. Most of the problems students have in applying technique are found in the incorrect execution; the wrong position, the wrong distance, the wrong angle, etc.

Guideline #2: “Movement”

Since an adversary will not stand in one place during a real fight, all the drills must incorporate movement to replicate real conditions. This includes, but is not limited to, footwork, real distance, distance control, level control and head movement.

Guideline #3: “Impact”

While many traditional martial arts place a heavy emphasis on doing techniques without impact, the reality is that hitting an adversary is quite different from hitting the air! Our program includes a significant time devoted to working with various pieces of equipment so the student becomes familiar with the feeling of impact and develops power and focus.

Guideline #4: “Resistance”

Each drill must include or simulate the resistance (or counter attack) of a real opponent.

Guideline #5: “Context”

Each drill must include context; why the technique is being used, when the technique is being used, how the technique is being used, etc. This also includes discussion of our basic theories such as “leaks”, “continuousness”, “gates”, “bridges”, etc.


One Response to “Guidelines for Functional Training”


  1. The importance of the process in martial arts training | Sifu David Ross - November 13, 2017

    […] Finally, I can also tell you, without any doubt, that fighting skill does not come from only doing stationary basics, line basics and forms. Again, it is not so much WHAT you train as HOW you train it. Leading to my frequent re-posting of my now famous blog “Guidelines for Functional Training”. […]

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