The Prince of Principle

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Andy Murray, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. Andy Murray

    Andy Murray Sadly passed away. Rest In Peace.

    There is an old adage; 'Give a man bread and he can feed his family, teach him to bake it and he can feed them forever.'

    In the Martial Arts there is an awful lot of information to take in. We are constantly on a quest to develop ourselves both physically and mentally. We watch, we listen, we make mistakes and we learn. Different people develop at different speeds. We can be limited by our height, weight, intelligence, sex, strength or any number of factors. We can even be limited by the people we are learning from!

    Call me a mechanic if you will, but I like to find out how things work! Did the Rabbit disappear when the Magician waved his wand, or did something else happen? Did the guy really break all those bricks, or were they doctored in some way?

    I always look for the underlying principle involved!

    Supposing I taught you in a Self Defence class?

    Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, I am going to teach you how to defend yourselves against a maniac with a Baseball bat.
    Next, ladies and gentlemen, I am going to teach you how to defend yourselves against a maniac with a Metal chain.

    Now during the above class, you learned five defences against each weapon from a variety of angles. You go home with a great sense of accomplishment, feeling 'boy can I defend myself'. Unfortunately, you are attacked on your way home by somebody with a sword, who uses a sixth angle of attack, and you are now dead!

    Training in the Martial Arts has many benefits, and training for the above possibility is only part of it!

    OK, by now you are saying 'get to the point'.

    If during the class, you look for the principle that makes the technique work……. you can employ it any old way you want!

    Typically ( though not exclusively ), the weapons I have described, are swung at their target in an arc. If I employ a principle, and step inside that arc, then I am usually safe from harm until I can deal with the aggressor. You can swing that bat at me as hard as you want, and I'll keep applying that same principle. I don't care if you are Babe Ruth, you won't hit me!

    There are two lessons to be learned here!

    Always look for the principle involved in successful technique!

    Make it a principle of your own, to always look for that principle!

    That, ladies and gentlemen, is the Prince of Principle.

    Written by Andy Murray.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2010
  2. RobP

    RobP Valued Member

    I agree and that's why our approach is heavily principle led - in fact we teach very little in the way of technique, and then only either because some things need technical knowledge or as a starting point to work from

    Unfortunately a lot of people crave technique - it seems to give them a sense of certainty and having "learnt something". I guess this is the reason whole syllabuses (syllabi?) have developed around learning forms, kata or movements for gradings. Sometimes even people who teach this way claim they are principle-led which seems a little odd to me.

    Keep it simple. Forget about hours spent polishing "moves" and inticate patterns - focus on breathing, posture, tension and relaxation, good movement - learn to apply all four in different freestyle situations and you pretty much have it



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