Lessons From The Master

Lessons From The Master On Learning

One of the challenges that I see in martial arts today, regardless of style or discipline, is that the student does not know or understand all of the different ways to learn and practice properly. Furthermore, they can get very confused on what they should be doing during their classes. This can often give the wrong impression to the teacher or get the student injured all because the student was not training properly. I recently had this discussion with my teacher, Mataas Na Guro and CTS founder Zach Whitson and he explained it in a very logical and thoughtful way that was easy to understand. I would like to share with you.

First, we will need to define a few basic terms so that we are all on the same page and then I will go over a few of the common issues that I have seen and personally experienced throughout my 20+ years of martial arts training.

Mode = a method of operation

Learning Mode:
This is the time that the student (regardless of his or her level) should be LISTENING and NOT TALKING. It is the time for the teacher explain to the student the hows and whys of the particular technique or attribute.

Practice Mode:
This is the time when the student should be trying to work the technique, drill or attribute that his teacher was trying to teach.

Sparring Mode:

This is the time the student should be actively working on his craft against a resisting opponent. This should NOT be done at full speed, fulll power and 100% intensity!!!

Teaching Mode:

This is the time when you are sharing information to help your student learn a particular concept, principle technique or attribute required for your current required material.

Fighting Mode:

The preverbal shit has hit the fan and it is time to kick ass, take names and pile up the body count.

Now the trouble comes in when a student is in one mode when they should be in another mode. Here are a few common examples that happen fairly often.

The student is in teaching mode when they should be in learning mode

The student is in fighting mode when they should be in sparring or practice mode (I see this a lot in BJJ when it come time to roll there is always a few guys that think that every roll is the world championship title fight.).

Student should be in practice mode when they are in teaching mode. This happens to martial artists that spend a great deal of time teaching.

All this being said, the next time you are on the mat be sure to be in the correct mode of training so you can get the most out of your training. I personally make sure that I take a few moments shortly before my training session to be sure that I am mentally prepared.

Brian Brown
Owner/Chief Instructor
Atlanta Martial Arts Club