Secrets of the 36th chamber

18 Nov


It’s like a bad (good) kung fu movie. They’re coming to steal the secrets of the fabled 36th chamber of Shaolin. There are a few problems with the script though… First, I see these spies from miles away. Second, they never get near the “secrets.” Third and finally, even if they saw the secrets they wouldn’t understand them.


It happens at least once a month. Someone registers for one of my introductory programs or buys a groupon and comes in to take classes, but I know they are a “spy.” Usually, it’s pretty obvious. These cats, they aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed! They wear clothing from the gym they train at. They often list it on their paperwork. And a good percentage flat out say “well, I am training someplace else right now.”


New York San Da (aka NY Best Kickboxing) has been training fighters for twenty years now. The Sanshou / San Da world is not very big, but we’ve produced tons of people who have fought Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts. Love us or hate us (and believe me, tons of people HATE US), it’s hard not to hear about us and know about us if you are in the New York area. And, again, while some gyms produce boxers OR Nak Muay OR MMA fighters, we have produced guys that can fight and win in all these formats.


So, these guys come in to try and figure out what we are doing and maybe steal some secrets. But, like the Shaolin wooden dummy hall or the 108 bronze men, there are obstacles for them to overcome. First, everyone starts off in my basic / fundamentals class. No, you aren’t going to jump in and on day one do all the sparring drills and sparring. And this is why I’ve learned a rather distressing fact; so many of these guys have NO BASICS. Honestly, I am shocked at how few schools really stress and drill the basics; stuff like proper stance, proper movement, hands up, etc,.


The second issue; CONDITIONING. Since we’ve become an school, we’ve grown a huge fitness kickboxing program, but in large part because we were already used to running kick-ass, windows to the walls, crazy workout classes. I’ve always stressed conditioning and my fighters have always been known for it. And, again, I look at these guys who are supposed to be training already, and they totally lack basic conditioning?


I’ll admit, in the old days, no one got near the two man drilling until they put their time in. But these days, sometimes because people have pushed their way in, I’ve let these “spies” drill. Call me an a-hole, but nothing is more amusing than someone who pushes themselves into a contact class and then can’t block basic punches. I really wonder, if you can’t block jab-cross-hook, what were you really looking to steal from here?


I’ve said it before; in essence my program runs exactly like “kung fu.” We have our conditioning, our basics and our fundamental drills. Of course, being in this game twenty years, we have experience. You can’t steal experience. The rest? You’d think anyone teaching “martial arts” and claiming to train people to fight would have it, but sadly…..



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