We all have our little tricks and tips that help us evolve as martial artists. We all have strengths, and we all have weaknesses. But nothing is more fun than finding a new trick that makes everything just seem to click, even if explaining the new trick makes people look at you like you’re crazy. While slowly backing away. I will explain in a bit. But first, the set up:
Lately, I’ve been practicing a specific form a lot in order to prepare for a regional tournament. I haven’t actually competed in about 15 years. Partly because of hiatus, and partly because I really hate competing. I would much rather organize, chat, keep score, sell things, or walk around looking important. But competing? Nope. I like it just about as much as I like judging (not even a little). I’m just not competitive.
But I feel like I should compete for now. Our region doesn’t have very many adult female black belts (I think there’s maybe 3 total? 4? No clue.) so I have to compete to at least help make a place for future lady black belts. When our ring is full of many awesome competitors, then I can relax and just enjoy hanging out at tournaments.
For now, if I’m going to compete, I want to at least look like a moderately competent martial artist. Gotta make the other ladies work a bit to beat me, right?
So I’ve been practicing.
Mentally, I have a habit of assigning words or sound effects to techniques. This one part of the form I’m working on involves three consecutive moves, all the same technique, with a spin, and then dropping down. In my head it was always spin, spinning, spin, drop. Apparently, however, that thought process was making it so that I was moving into the next technique before fully committing to the one I’m in the middle of. I wasn’t sticking my landings.
I also wasn’t crossing my arms enough. I was doing little baby arm crossings instead of big dramatic crossings. When my instructor demonstrated the differences, my immediate thought was to do the techniques while thinking DRAMA. Because I’m normal like that.
When I thought about how to get my stance to stick and my arms to cross more dramatically, I thought of this awesome gif set of Charlize Theron demonstrating how to walk like a queen:
With that, I had my new martial arts mantra. Throughout the form, I chant DRAMA! MURDER! DRAMA! MURDER! And you know what? I stick my landings. I have better posture, better poise. And I cross my arms with a lot more emphasis. It also helps me separate the techniques more and breathe better throughout the form.
Now I have to work on chanting mentally so I stop creeping people out so much.