One of the things that I have observed over the past few years of teaching private lessons and classes at the Legends Centre in Oshawa is the importance of “slow training” particularly where a new technique is being taught or where a pre-existing technique needs to be corrected or tweaked.

Often in a private lesson, I will ask a student to slow their technique down. Many times, they will think that they are moving slowly when, in fact, they are not. They are usually rushing through a technique or drill while structurally compromised. Often, they are not aware that they are not going slow. I once had a lesson where a student was practicing the redonda drill and his form was off. I asked him to execute this drill at a slower speed. I said “Let’s do this slow.”  He started out moving faster than I wanted. I said “Let’s go slower.”  He slowed down just a bit. I said “slower.” Again, he slowed down  but still was not at the slow speed I wanted him at. After awhile, I finally got him to slow down to the point where I could say “Now, that’s slow.” 🙂 While working at this speed, I was able to correct and smooth out his redonda. 

I wish that folks would move as slowly as the Six Million Dollar Man did in this clip. 🙂

In conjunction with moving slowly is the need to move in a relaxed state. Slow and relaxed is where, in my opinion, you really learn correct movement. Not only do you learn the correct technique as far as intent, footwork, positioning, structure, but you also learn the critical component of body awareness. Body awareness is the ability to sense whether your technique, body positioning, or structure is correct.  I believe that slowing things down can increase your body awareness and your ability to correct and teach yourself. Often, if you’re going too fast, you are likely not going to be aware of any deficiencies in your form.

Back to the student who was struggling with the redonda. Once I got him to slow down, we were able to work on different components of this traditional Modern Arnis movement. After smoothing out the stick portion of the drill, we next addressed the footwork portion of the drill, particularly in matching the power hand with the same side leg. The emphasis was on coordinating the upper body with his lower body movement. This could only be done while working the drill at a slow measured pace. The last phase is putting it all together and doing the drill slowly with correct positioning and footwork. I told my student that “you need to go at this slow speed to REALLY learn this.” 

For some, it’s a pain in the butt to do slow training, especially with the today’s emphasis on instant gratification. Sometime these things take time. Slow training is extremely beneficial, especially if paired with relaxation. When the student gets the desired form in the technique or the drill, then we can talk about speed and power.

Over to you, what are your thoughts on this?

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