Most Common Mistakes - Incorrect Fundamental Technique

I'd like to start a series on this blog for those of you already training or getting ready to start your martial arts journey that addresses some of the most common mistakes with martial arts training. Today, let's discuss a mistake that is very easy to make as a white belt but can sneak up on the black belts too!

Incorrect Fundamental Technique

One of the things I hear all the time is "that seems so logical now that it has been pointed it out to me!" This is the way martial arts should be - logical. For the most part, the fundamental techniques of the martial arts are not composed of highly complicated movements or secrets. Remember that the arts were created out of necessity for application on a battlefield or on the street. It was essential for them to be composed of natural movements and simple techniques. These techniques must be reliable when the martial artist is under extreme duress and experiencing massive amounts of adrenaline.

Understanding these basic concepts is essential to successfully applying techniques. Therefore, one of the most common errors in performing techniques is focusing on the amount of power and speed applied to the technique rather than the fundamental details. My Dad (Bruce Corrigan) always emphasizes that speed should result from constant repetition of an effortlessly and flawlessly performed technique and should not be forced.

Now we understand that practicing incorrectly can be detrimental, but exactly how detrimental can it be? How long will it take to master the ability to execute the desired technique without thought or flaw? Let's imagine it like this:

Let's say it takes 300 steps to reach our goal of mastery. We've found that mastering a new technique is different for every individual, but we know for sure it will take hundreds of repetitions. Every time we practice the movement perfectly we take one step towards that goal. Every time we practice it incorrectly we either move nowhere OR worse, we move backwards. We've found that while a few hundred repetitions may be what it takes to master a technique, it could take thousands of repetitions to break and correct a bad habit. That is a HUGE difference.

So, we need to try our hardest not to create bad habits while training martial arts - or in anything for that matter. This is why when I speak to a new student at my academy (Progressive Martial Arts Academy in Oak Ridge, TN), I ask them whether they have trained martial arts before. The reason being that if they haven't trained previously, my job is usually much easier! If they have trained, it's possible it was with someone that taught them well and corrected their mistakes. However, if someone trained them incorrectly or didn't take the time to correct their mistakes, it will take thousands more repetitions to correctly re-learn even the most basic techniques like a fighting stance.

Long story short, practicing a technique slowly and perfectly will help you reach your goal of mastery much sooner than executing techniques hurriedly.

Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect!

The Art of Fighting without Fighting

This is one of my favorite martial arts movie scenes of all time. If you haven’t seen the movie “Enter the Dragon” starring Bruce Lee, please stop reading this post and come back when you have. In this scene Lee demonstrates the art of fighting without fighting.

This idea of avoiding conflict even when provoked and prepared to defend yourself is demonstrated by Bruce Lee in this scene. If Bruce Lee, the man considered by many to be the greatest martial artist of all time, is avoiding conflict, shouldn’t we also strive to do so?

“To win the fight without fighting, that is the true goal of a martial artist.” – Professor Nick Cerio

This concept seems to be lost in the martial arts world, and the rise in popularity of the UFC and MMA is only spreading the problem. Martial arts should teach real self defense that can be used in real confrontations. Martial arts should also teach a student to avoid conflict whenever possible, and definitely not to encourage it! My father posted a video earlier today, and discussed this exact topic on his Facebook page.

WARNING: the content of this video is mature as it contains strong violence. Click here to watch. Be sure to read his commentary to understand the scenario because the video is not in English.

5 Steps to Handling a Bully

CounterBully by Progressive Martial Arts Academy

School has started back here in Oak Ridge, and, unfortunately, that means many children are waking up each morning fearful of coming face to face with a bully in their school. We hope your child is not one who has to confront this fear each and every day, but the sad reality is that many do!

Here are 5 strategic steps to follow if your child is experiencing bullying:

  1. Stand Up for Themselves - Right away establish that the behavior being demonstrated by the bully is not acceptable. Your child needs to make eye contact with the bully and tell them firmly to stop. Unfortunately, most children will not do this out of fear of injury if things escalate physically. This is where martial arts training comes in!
  2. Tell a Teacher - Make sure your child knows to report any bullying incidents to a teacher. Here, they also must practice making eye contact and speaking like an adult. We need clear, concise statements to bring the problem to the teacher's awareness. Whining will not get the job done - confident and respectful communication is key.
  3. Talk to You - If bullying continues after standing up for themselves and telling a teacher (which it often will), your child needs to know that they can and should have a strong line of communication with their parents. Ask them about their day, what's troubling them, and make sure you listen when they bring you their concerns.
  4. Bring It to the Principal - Depending on the severity, sometimes it will now fall into your hands to bring the issue to the principal's attention. Keep in mind that their plates are full of many issues going on at school, so a calm but concerned approach is necessary here to make sure they are aware of what is going on with your child.
  5. Back to Rule #1 - When all else fails, your child needs to be prepared to stand up for themselves. Unfortunately, even after parents, teachers and principals have been involved, bullies may still continue to harass your child (they'll just wait until they're alone)! Ultimately your child is the only one that will always be present when the bullying occurs. Giving them the physical and mental tools they need to stand up for themselves can do miracles for their confidence, peace, and happiness at school. This will lead to better grades and an overall happier, healthier, and more confident child. 

There is one more HUGE tactic that we can bring into our school systems to combat bullying and that is reaching as many kids as we can with our CounterBully program. This program teaches children the steps outlined above, but most importantly dives deeper into the root cause of bullying, why it exists and what we can do when we see it happening. We offer this seminar as a free service to our community.

Click the link below to sign you and your child up for our upcoming FREE CounterBully seminar or contact us at (865)481-8901 to host a CounterBully seminar at your school.


Upcoming Seminar - https://www.eventbrite.com/e/counterbully-seminar-tickets-27185958935

How to Choose the Martial Art For You

There are hundreds of different types of martial arts in existence. Although most have share a common point of origin, they are unique in terms of philosophy, technique and instruction. So how do you decide what’s the best type of martial art for you? Fortunately, it’s not as tough as you might think. By following some of the suggestions below you’ll be on your way discovering a whole new style of fitness and activity that meets your needs, what we like to call “The Martial Arts Way of Life.”

What’s Most Important to You?

Take the time to consider what you want to accomplish in terms of fitness. There’s a lot to consider so making a list of what you want to accomplish is a good place to start. Do you want to reduce stress? Are you interested in increasing overall strength? Have you seen a movie that inspired you to want to learn more? The more you know about yourself and what your motivations are, the easier it will be to focus your martial arts interests.

What Style is Right For Me?

Here’s the part where the questions that you just answered come into play. Whether you’re seeking self-defense training or looking at enhancing your dexterity and flexibility, there are a number of martial arts to choose from. In fact, too many for a simple blog post to cover. Instead, read up on some of the various methods and styles and then determine whether you’d like training that’s more formal or informal or kicking and punching or weapon-based. Narrowing down the aspects that appeal most to you, coupled with your objectives is a sure fire way to find precisely what you want.

How Do I Find a School?

Hit the web and start looking for studios in your local area. Don’t let yourself feel overwhelmed by the number of choices available. Martial arts are intensely popular, but like all businesses there are both good and bad ones. If you’ve experienced sub-par interactions with one studio, don’t let it influence your opinion of martial arts in general.

Visit the studio in person and speak with an instructor face-to-face. They’re there to answer questions and provide you with solid information to make informed decisions. Make sure that students are practicing in a safe and clean environment and read-up on the credentials and background of your instructors. Inquire about a free trial class to see if the training is a good fit for you. The more you know the easier it will be to choose a martial arts studio that meets your needs.

Now, do you want our opinion on the “best” martial arts? Well, that’s easy - it’s the ones we teach! You can look at our academy’s website to get more information, and even if you don’t live in the Oak Ridge/Knoxville Tennessee area, you can use our academy as an example of what to look for. www.PMAOakRidge.com

But of course, that’s just our opinion!