Basics, Basics, Basics:
By Sensei Brian Chmay.

How many times have you heard your Sensei mention that?

You've been working on your stances and blocks for forever it seems. You want to get into the more interesting techniques like spinning back kicks or a double mawashi to the head. These are pretty neat techniques and can be quite effective when used at the proper times and after spending much time working them. The only problem is if you try using these techniques on your opponent, your opponent is not going to oblige you.

Take for example two black belts at a tournament. They're standing approximately one metre apart from each other, coiled up like two springs, ready to attack. When one black belt does attack, there is no time to think. The defender must respond. This is where your basics kick inů pardon the pun.

If you haven't practiced your basic blocks, you don't have to worry about countering because your head has probably been taken off. If you did manage to block, what did you hit him with? Also, if you've had to block, that means your opponent has bridged the gap and is about to give you what for, why 'cause, and who from! Now what are you going to do? What are you in position to do?

Before you can counter effectively you must be in a stable position. This comes from being in a stable stance. Without a stable stance there is no solid base to throw any techniques from or to shift into a new position.

Practicing your basic stances teaches you balance and movement. If you can move you can change the location of your opponents focus point. Suddenly, the target he was trying to hit is not there. He must now change his strategy. He's thinking, "do I continue, or get out?"

Meanwhile if you had moved off to the side, the gap is still bridged and if you are balanced you can now fire your own counter techniques.

So how is it that the black belts can make it look so easy to block and counter on their opponents? Well, after spending countless hours perfecting our basics we no longer have to think about doing them. They come automatically. Our stances will be there and our blocks will be there. The only thing we have to concentrate on now is striking our opponent. And what will we strike him with? Probably either a punch or a kicků both which are basic techniques.

Everything comes down to basics. Even the most complicated technique is made up of a series of basic techniques.

That is what your Sensei knows, and this is why we spend so much time working on our basics.

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