Why Eliminate Your Best – Chi Sao And Maybe Sparring Moves

Sometimes basic truths offer the best advice. If you consider what works best for you, and work at avoiding it while sparring, it could be your key to faster improvement. It’s time to watch the novice martial artists…

Big Martial-Arts Improvement

Have you ever heard or read that beginners of any pursuit, including martial arts, see a lot of improvement, but advanced practitioners have to practice a lot to gain a little. Some call it
the law of diminishing returns.

In the past, I have written snippets trying to help people bust right through any plateaus in improvement. Sometimes I advise eliminating your best during practice against someone else.

That’s very strong advice. Powerful.

Here’s what I mean….

Chi Sao and Sparring Moves

Often, when I watch two people practice in chi sao, I see the same moves repeated over and over. I assume you have the same during informal sparring.

The practitioners rely on what works. They don’t stretch their “repertoire muscles.” If a move scores, then that move gets repeated to the point that it becomes a crutch.

This is unfortunate, considering that chi sao is supposed to be a laboratory for exploration. You can vary timing, angles, techniques, telegraphs, and so on.

These folks have a laboratory in which to experiment, and they keep using the same moves over and over. No experimentation.

Martial Arts Sparring Experiments

Beginners conduct all sorts of experiments in sparring and chi sao. They need to — they are in search of “anything” that works. After all, they are … beginners.

Once they find what works, they are no longer beginners. And unfortunately, the progress slows. Why? Because at that point, many of them rely on the “same ol’ same ol’.”

So, by forbidding the use of your best, you become a bit of a beginner, once again … able to explore and experiment, and tweak moves until they work.

I hope this makes sense.

BOLA TANGKAS