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Three principles of good practice

Three principles of good practice

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Published by dude02135
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Published by: dude02135 on May 27, 2008
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06/16/2009

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Three principles of good practice
Rafe, Saturday 01 December 2007 - 09:03:47Playful, Methodical, and Fundamental. I believe these three principles are the basis of an effective long term training practice whetherit is for Methode Naturelle, Parkour, Martial arts, or really most any discipline of human movement. Why these three things? Well firstlet us say that play is the most natural human method of developing the body. Play is a universal among higher animals, it hones thebodies attributes and capacities. Specific animals play in very specific ways because those types of play have proven effective overevolutionary time in developing the abilities that allowed that species to survive. We would be foolish to forget this evolutionary history.On top of that there is the simple matter of happiness. I think one could postulate that the pursuit of happiness is one of the core goalsof a human being, generally if it does not make you happy you will lose motivation to do it. Play is fun by definition, and having funmakes you happy. So for example, lately in training people I have been trying to use games that develop the capacities I am lookingfor, whether it be tag, or sharks and minnows, or capture the flag. There's lots of ways to make space for playfulness in our trainingwhich will not only make it more fun but also more effective.A dedicated training practice needs to be methodical too. Play will get you much farther then you might think, but to progress truly farin any discipline requires developing a taste for working hard with in it, being committed to it both physical and mentally, andapproaching it with a plan. In this sense you're not just doing your practice because of the joy it brings in the moment but because itgives you a long term sense of accomplishment and self, it's worthwhile to you behind being just play, it's something you are willing towork on. Work can be a dirty word in our culture but the distinction between work, play and even art is much less distinct in manytraditional cultures. Play is often seen as the work of children, and adults are expected to get the same joy out of their work. So yes,work on what you love to do, even when it is hard, even when you're sore, and when it's cold and wet. In the long run this brings you adeeper level of joy and happiness than just focusing on the now. In my practice I see the methodical element in things like forcingmyself to keep a high pace while chaining movements, in setting up courses and starting to time myself over them, in going into mymartial arts school and drilling the core movements whenever I can, even if can't get into a class or get any sparring in.Finally it should be fundamental. Which is to say it should have a primary focus and goal and the training should be aimed to achievethat goal and the practitioner should often ask how well they are going about achieving that goal. For instance in parkour I see manypeople who are very proficient at many movements and can do many wonderful and technical things on a single obstacle, but whenasked to run through a course of more then a handful of obstacles, they lose there wind, their co-ordination, and their technique. Tome the core of parkour is the ability to move continuously through your environment, overcoming obstacles in the most effective wayas you approach them. Some traceurs talk about training inefficiently to become efficient. I say sure this can be good part of the playfulside of your training, but if you're not making the practice of efficient movement through your environment a regular part of yourtraining to me you're not really doing parkour. It's sort of like saying you're playing basketball to improve at football. I feel the same wayabout martial arts; the core of martial arts to me is the capacity of defense. If you are not regularly engaging in training that challengesyou to defend yourself in an alive way (see Matt Thornton's blog), then you are not really training martial arts, you are training martialart inspired movement. I am not saying the martial artist should seek out street fights, but if you have never faced an opponent who isactually trying to hit you, ask yourself what chance you will have of applying your skills when the context becomes alive.In MN the goal is to develop the complete original movement capacities of the human being, so both of the above examples areelements you must seek in a real MN practice, and beyond that you must be able to lift carry and throw and do all these things in achain and even mixed together. The way you train these things to should reflect your goals, so your lifting training is not just to be able

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