Adult Student’s Corner
by Sifu Mark Jolley
As our third lockdown seems to be winding down, I wanted to visit the martial intent aspect of our Kung Fu style. The term martial art is a form of fighting or defending yourself (Cambridge dictionary). With that definition the question is what is martial intent?
To assist us in understanding what intent is, I wanted to bring up an old saying “flowery fists and embroidery kicks”. Interesting term, but what does it mean? In short, there is no focus on your punches or kicks. They might be at the right height or the correct technique, but in reality, there is no intent (focus) on the technique.
To show the difference between a focused strike vs a halfhearted one, an example is you have 10 minutes to exercise. If you run for that time, or walk, which will burn the most calories? The answer is running since the exercise engages the most muscles at the higher level. Similar, if you are performing a combination of various techniques or forms, if you put half the effort in, you are cheating yourself of obtaining the most benefit possible.
Punch and kick like you mean to break a board! To get the most out of each class, executing martial intent on all your movements (techniques, forms etc) will provide the most benefit. During the lockdown one of the positive side points of modern technology is allowing us to continue training with multiple Zoom classes. On the negative side, we are bombarded with different distractions while training from home. Even with our in-person classes in 2020, most classes were less than an hour. With our tighter training time frames, to get the most out of the class, train as if it were real (if you recall this is a plaque at the front of the kwoon).
With an in-person class, you can get the added incentive to put the most effort in, when there are other students practicing beside you and pushing you. In the Zoom classes, you need the mental discipline to motivate yourself. Use the “gallery view” feature pick another student to train against. Always try to do things better, harder, and faster than your virtual training partner. Training from home brings distractions that we don’t normally have at the kwoon. Applying martial intent to your forms and techniques will help you focus on the class and help tune out those distractions.
So, train hard and train smart, and get the most out of your training! The person benefiting the most from using martial intent is you!