Yesterday I had a private lesson with one of my regular clients, Terry. During this lesson, I realized the importance of instant video in correcting a hitch in Terry’s “abaniko double action” technique.
NB: Terry gave me permission to discuss this private lesson and to use screenshots from a couple of videos that I shot.
The Late Professor Remy Presas demonstrating abaniko double action. To see the video, click here.
In the above clip of Professor, his shoulders are relaxed while executing the abaniko double action. In particular, please note his right shoulder which is relaxed. Professor’s wrist is doing all the work.
During part of our private lesson, Terry was working on the abaniko double action in conjunction with palis palis. I noticed that his technique had a hitch in that his right shoulder was rolling forward and as his stick rotated back to his shoulder, his head would momentarily pitch forward.
I explained to Terry what I was observing. My instruction proved inadequate. Then I had an “aha!” moment and fished my iPhone 6 out of my jeans pocket.
I told Terry: “I’m going to take some video of you doing abaniko double action.”
I played back the 15-second video clip and pointed out the hitch that I attempted to explain.
Upon seeing the video, he immediately realized what I was trying to convey. I gave him a quick demonstration of the abaniko double action.
BOOM! Immediate correction!
This provided a reminder of the power of video as an adjunct to instruction.
Many folks shudder to see themselves on video, thinking that they are imposters. That feeling is quite understandable and common.
That said, there is tremendous value in video for martial artists. I tell you, I have viewed many videos of myself and shuddered at what I was seeing. It’s one thing for an instructor to point out your flaws and the frustrating attempts to correct the shortcomings. But it’s another thing to see yourself on video and saying to yourself “holy crap, what am I doing? Why am I moving like that?”
I can’t speak for others but it’s much easier for me to correct my flaws after seeing exactly what I’m doing wrong. It’s highly educational to watch myself. 🙂
If you are honest with yourself and can stand the sight of yourself screwing up royally, you can make tremendous strides by evaluating yourself on video.
Maestro Sonny Umpad used to film training sessions with his students and give them the videos afterwards for “homework.” For example, check out Maija Soderholm’s YouTube channel (embedding has been disabled by Ms. Soderholm) to view some videos of her training sessions with Maestro Sonny. I have no doubt that these videos were invaluable to her and Maestro’s other students in diagnosing their shortcomings as well as divining Maestro Sonny’s tactics and strategies.
There are two keys to the successful use of video. First, you must take video of the training sessions, assuming that you have permission of the instructor. Secondly, you need to find the time and willingness to watch yourself. This can be tricky in our busy lives. However, today’s technology makes this task easier. For example, you can upload small sections of video onto your smartphone and watch at your leisure. For example, whenever I commuted from Oshawa to downtown Toronto, I often passed the time watching video of myself. You can learn quite a bit this way.