Patterns. Some students like them, some find them a chore. I just wanted to write a quick blog post about why performing patterns, or Katas as they are known in some other martial arts, is an important aspect of your martial art training. For those of you who don’t know anything about martial arts training, patterns are where a student has to perform a memorized sequence of movements as part of their syllabus to advance to the next belt level.
First is the self-defence aspect. In Choi Kwang Do the patterns are all created with self-defence in mind. All Choi Kwang Do patterns apart from one, start with a blocking technique and follow that up instantly with a counter attack. The very first Choi Kwang Do pattern is incredibly simple, you block high to deflect a punch coming to your face, leaning away to create distance, and then switching your body weight forward, punching off of the opposite hand to the one you blocked with. All blocks are generally proceeded with either a punch off the opposite hand, which allows for a quicker counter attack, or its followed by a kick from the front leg. A front leg kicking technique is quicker and harder to block, especially if practiced low. It’s also within range of the attacker. A kick off of the rear isn’t performed as an initial counter attack as it is slower and therefore easier to see. If you are close enough to block it also means that you are too close to counter with a rear leg kick unless the opponent is significantly bigger than you.
Secondly patterns help you further develop your techniques and improve fluidity of movement and combinations. We all get bored with practicing the same technique over and over again, yet the best way to improve is constant practice. The techniques learned earlier in the syllabus are put into the later patterns so that the student gets to practice them over and over in a different way to make it more interesting. Patterns also teach you how to string together varying combinations of techniques. This can help you in a self-defence situation as you are less likely to have to think what punch/kick should I do next if you have practiced various combinations over and over throughout your training. That’s not to say you will use every technique in a certain pattern in the right way if you have to defend yourself, it just gives you a good base to work from.
The third important aspect of performing patterns is that they are a great way to keep your body and mind fit and healthy. The patterns are designed to get progressively more difficult as you progress. There is a good reason for this. The body and mind adapt to the stresses that you put on them. What you initially find difficult after a while becomes easy and you no longer get any gains in fitness. By making it more difficult, changing techniques to more difficult ones, and making the combinations harder, your body is constantly challenged. The patterns also get harder to remember, especially from 2nd degree black belt and above. The old saying is if you don’t use it you lose it and that is just as applicable to your memory. By having to learn harder and more complex patterns, Choi Kwang Do ensures that you keep your mind and memory healthy also. Patterns can also be tailored to improve different aspects of your fitness. If you want to build up leg strength and balance, perform the pattern at a slow speed, especially when kicking. Practicing a pattern over and over at a decent speed is a great aerobic workout. If you push it as fast as you can then the pattern can be an effective an aerobic workout, and if you want to perform it in a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) style then you can alternate the speed by doing one or two patterns full speed then taking the intensity down a notch for a few repetitions and keep alternating.
I hope this article gives you some food for thought. If your interested in Choi Kwang Do classes for your child, family member or yourself and are in the Bristol or Trowbridge area then please go to my web site at http://www.CKDBristol.co.uk for more information on our Choi Kwang Do classes that are great for teaching you self defence, self confidence and also keeping you fit and healthy no matter your age. We offer 2 FREE lessons to all who sign up via the web site.
If you don’t live in my area and are interested in Choi Kwang Do then please visit http://www.ChoiKwangDo.com where you can find the nearest location to you. Most of the classes offer some sort of free lessons so please take a look.
Master Instructor of Choi Kwang Do.