Practice training hours for 101 skills: 60-100 training hours.
It is a common misunderstanding about martial arts that one can acquire methods and techniques and approach them without realizing the level of commitment necessary to bring those techniques and methods to the necessary level to bring real success. Elements required are the following;
- Visualize the ideal technique
- High repetition of correct technique
- Keep the mind attentive and focused and avoid mindless repetition
- Practice sufficiently to create instinctive response
The practice of the blocks; up, middle, down, should be done repeatedly until the body, breath, and mind unify to create a fullness in the torso and limbs. The body should be challenged and the practice taken to the point of near exhaustion, especially in the beginning. 100 blocks each side performing the full method precisely will create a profound effect.
Necessary skills for best performance:
- Knowledge of the basic stances cf. article on basic stances.
- Basic breath control. cf. beginner breath control
Breakdown of the Method
- To perform the drill the optimal method for the beginner is to take a horse stance. (see basic stances)
- The blocks will be practiced in a two step process as depicted in the following set of pictures.
Figures 1 and 3 are Chambered guard position figures 2 and 4 are the “up-block” left and right side.
Detail: the chamber position should take the form of a triangle referencing the right and left shoulder and the extended and upturned fist (female fist). The upturned female fist should be orientated just below the nose at the level of the upper lip. The fist located further back should be placed slightly in front of the forward chambered fist. The thumb should be orientated upward and placed with the curvature of the wrist in front of the elbow. the posture should be relaxed but the arms should have a fullness to them.
The side view of the technique illustrates that the “up-block” travels forward and out as well as upward. the “block” should be performed also mindful of the forearm placement. In the forearm are two main bones, the radius and ulna, and these bones are relatively small and can be fractured if the arm is not place in the right position. this is why so many karate, tae kwon do, and kungfu stylists abandon their basic blocks after learning them. Only the outside of the forearm should engage an incoming strike, blow, or kick. The speed and explosiveness of this block should be developed to the highest degree possible. Upon mastering the basic, then by extension the application of the “up-block” should be explored to understand that it is not just and up block. The center and forward chambered positions can be used to block, strike, grapple, and throw an opponent. With proper footwork and stance work an opponent can be thrown, struck, and bumped even to the extent of sending them many feet away and in some instances even to lethal effect. thus is the result of the correct and diligent training of the proper technique over a long period of time.