Martial Style

One of the groups I scrolled by this morning was having a lengthy discussion about serious martial business.
Clothing. Training clothing.

The first point actually was about training barefoot. How if one never trained in shoes it could be a liability. This brought a lively discussion.

I was shocked.

Shocked because it showed me a narrow perspective I used to share. That all the trappings of the martial arts like gi, uniforms, belts, etc and the ritual around them. Are essential for proper training.

But change the perspective slightly and you see all our martial ancestors were very practical. They were not wearing things other than their normal clothes most times. In China what we now call a kung fu uniform was just a pants and jacket. It was everyday wear, nothing special. Chinese Martial arts also tend to train in shoes almost all of the time. But in their culture they trained outside on the earth and sometimes its cold! Warm wooden floors in a training space just wasn’t what they had. So shoes.

It’s the practicality of it all.

Train in what you actually wear. Then those clothes would never hinder your martial arts in any way.

Train on even ground. Different lighting. With curbs and parking meters to be aware of.

Train outside in all types of weather. Learn what root means on an icy sidewalk. Stay focused training in the rain.

Train in the most likely way to prepare you for self defence. By just being you. Wearing your normal clothes and seeing if it changes things.

I have trained in winter boots in the snow in Canada. Barefoot on beaches. Streets in Chicago. On top of mountains and in tunnels underground.

Every bit of it makes new challenges! A form or drill you may know in your sleep. Suddenly becomes an exercise in frustration, balance, and awareness of your surroundings.

One of my favorite exercises is to do a form somewhere I have to either go up or down stairs. Someway to limit my movement or change it. Like doing a form standing on a park bench. It’s amazing how quickly it points out my own issues and weaknesses. Just by changing the setting I have found many different aspects of training.

I feel this kind of thinking is not only practical. But also very good at cultivating skill.

My 2 cents

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