The theme for my classes this past week has been “strong foundations”, more so, keeping foundations in good repair. As I always say, there are so many lessons in martial arts that can be applied to everyday life. This is no different.

For the sake of this article, I am going to assume that you are a part of a good martial arts club and not a McDojang/Dojo.

As a new student you walk into a club and you are taken through the absolute basics. The body is prepared and built up to endure the rigors of martial arts training. There is countless repetition of exercises and techniques. The principles of many movements are learnt through these basic exercises and techniques, and the same principles are later applied to all techniques through the ranks. This is the foundation upon which all of your other training will be built. What is later considered as “basic” training is what will bear the load of all that comes afterwards.

Unfortunately with many, once they start to develop, they think that they no longer need to practice the basics. They are too advanced for this. They focus only on what is required for their “higher” rank. They become rusty with fundamental technique and over time the lack of focus on the “baby stuff” takes its toll and infects every aspect of training.

Strong foundations-skyscraperThis is where I use my analogy:

A man decides he wants to build a skyscraper. He decides on 150 storeys. He takes his time and builds a great foundation. Each floor, he builds with care and precision. He eventually reaches his 150th storey. He loves being at this lofty height. He overlooks everything in every direction. His view is unfathomable. He kits this floor out with the best and has only the top amenities. He decides that nothing else on the planet can compare with what he has here and locks himself in, never to leave again.

The years pass and the man love’s his place in the world. Surely, nothing can compare. He keeps it kitted out and does regular maintenance on his top storey abode. He sits and wonders about everyone else looking on and marveling at him.

Meanwhile as the years have passed and the man has sat atop his throne of glory, his buildings foundation and lower floors have begun to crumble. They have weathered badly in time gone by. They have been neglected and have not been maintained. All of the man’s attention has been so focused on his top floor residence that he has forgotten about what it sits upon. The erosion takes its toll and the building comes tumbling down. The man falls all the further and harder because he chose to sit so high among the clouds.

Strong foundations-Front punch BW1

Martial artists, no matter what rank should never sway from doing maintenance on every floor, especially their foundation. In the case of martial arts technique, everything filters up, not down. Neglect of the basics will affect the way more advanced techniques are performed.

The best view in a martial arts building is the basement.