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To learn the martial arts you need to learn three distinct things. You will find these things in every legitimate martial art. If you don’t, then the fighting discipline you are studying may not be a real art.
The first thing to be learned are the patterns referred to as forms. There are people who look down on forms, think they are only mere dances, and so on. The truth of the matter, however, is that forms contain all the motions necessary to fighting, and they provide a learning platform which not only leads one to learn how to fight, but far beyond.
When practicing a form one has to to have a stable stance, and that is the moving platform necessary to deliver powerful self defense techniques. By doing martial arts forms you will striving to relax, and learning that to relax creates power. Also, every time you practice a form you are making your body more powerful, even as you practice fighting techniques.
The second thing is the self defense techniques themselves. Self defense movements educate one as to how to move the body, how to set up for any situation, how to stay calm in the middle of the action. The thing to remember is that every time you do a self defense technique you are engaged in doing a small kata.
Now, techniques aren’t totally street oriented, and one may have to alter them to use them in a street fight. However, the classical power you have developed will come out in your street defenses. Your punches and kicks will draw on that classical martial arts power that occurs with traditional methods.
The third thing to be learned is freestyle itself, and this is where everything comes into play. This is where you get to try to try out the tricks, and tap into that classical power you have been building. Remember, freestyle training is as close as you can get to the chaos that happens in a fight.
When freestyling you must learn how to control yourself, and not be a danger to your partner, and yet build the ability to inflict great damage should you wish. This is a difficult thing to learn, but it is at the real arts. Anybody can learn how to fight, but only a real artist can learn how to control himself in the middle of a fight.
To summarize, one can learn how to fight easily, but that is not what the arts are all about. What is important is to test yourself, to learn about yourself, and learn how not to be a fighting animal, but a human being with great power. This is what one is doing when they learn Martial Arts.
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