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How Important are the Basics in Martial Arts Training?

When I was just getting started in martial arts at the age of 16 in Tang Soo Do (a Korean style of ‘karate’), I used to hear my instructor talk about the importance of basics in learning the art he taught. Since then I have read and listened to other instructors talk about ‘basics.’ Apparently, I was good enough that I reached First Degree black belt in three years in Tang Soo Do. I never heard my instructor say whether he thought I had trained enough basic techniques.

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LEARNING THE BASIS AND THE BASICS OF A MARTIAL ART

One can enter into martial arts training and learn a series of movements only, or one can enter into training and understand what those movements mean beyond function and structure. If you are lucky enough to be in a martial art that has a traceable lineage and a story behind its creation, even better. The history of a martial art is often the clue as to whether the movements have a practical benefit. All martial arts are not created equal.

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