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Now that We have discussed impact training and range familliarity, let's examine another cornerstone of combat-ready martial arts training - contact conditioning. This is phase pf training that most women (including myself) would rather avoid. Contact conditioning is progressive and controlled willingness to absorb impact, and can only be obtained by a willingness to don gloves and headgear and "go for it" Taking a punch is critical, because women have not had exposure to full-contact sports, such as football, in which most men have participated. This is not an endorsement of two partners standing toe-to-toe and "duking it out," but enough conditioning in your martial arts training that will allow you to continue past shock of pain and impact in a real encounter.
While we are on subject of conditioning, you must realize that you are much more likely to be struck by a jab or hook on street than a sidekick or ridge-hand. A familiarity with basic boxing will let you feel confident in effectively dealing with it Rest assured that there is nothing unfeminine about women who can deliver jabs, crosses, hooks and uppercuts with explosive power. Once again, however, it is important that after you master basic mechanics, you attempt to execute these strikes while someone is trying to hit you back. After all, it's very different shooting a handgun at a target range under ideal conditions than it is attempting to shoot with accuracy when someone is firing back at you. Familiarity with boxing will help to "demystify" realms of combat that until recently were reserved for men.
Our checklist would not be complete unless we mention two other items. It would be ludicrous to imagine a running back in football refusing to be tackled by anyone except those of his own height and weight. Yet, when women train exclusively with other women, that is exactly what they are doing. Women must experience aggressive energy and greater strength of men in their martial arts training regimen, or else, like runner, they will not develop evasiveness and resilience necessary to compete. Like professional athlete, female martial artists must take advantage of supplemental training, along with practicing just technique.
What female tennis player could hope to compete even at an amateur level without some sort of weight training program? Supplemental training (weights, conditioning, etc.) will not replace skill of movement, but will surely enhance it. Merely looking smooth, flexible and yelling while delivering a kick or strike is not enough to make it powerful. Once again, female martial artist could do well to observe training programs of professionals athletes, who do not rely on sheer repetition of movement to increase skill, but rather supplemental training regimens to develop "attributes" necessary for their particular sport.
Finally, a martial arts program that does not include weapons training is basically incomplete in preparing female practitioner for street combat. No matter how diligently a woman trains, she is at a disadvantage when facing a much larger, stronger assailant, let alone multiple attackers. The ability and willingness to use a knife, stick, or other weapon will give female martial artist an "equalizer." Just as feudal samurai in Japan would never walk streets without their sword, women in urban areas of U.S. must likewise be armed and ready to protect themselves with their weapons of choice. Like empty-hand training, weapons training should emphasize hitting (cutting, stabbing), rather than blocking or wide, flowery movements that look beautiful in kata or forms, but have little or no application to combat.
Are we going to continue to pretend that traditional methods of martial arts training are sufficient, or will we discover hard way that our training regimens do not work against someone who is not a cooperating partner? Are we going to avail ourselves of a way that allows us to fight back? Modem training methods will eliminate many of unpleasant surprises that female martial artists would encounter in an actual confrontation. Ignorance on our part of modem martial arts training methods will only benefit our aggressors. So let's avail ourselves of innovative training techniques so that we have power (and speed, coordination, conditioning, etc.) to fight back and win.
Fran Joseph's website: http://www.franjoseph.com
This article originally appeared here) http://www.realfighting.com/issue6/josephframe.html
Fran Joseph has been training in martial arts since the age of seven. She holds black belts in hwarang do and taekwondo.She is a Senior Instructor of Jeet Kune Do and Eskrima/Kali & an expert in nunchuku, (which she taught to "DRAGON" star, Jason Scott Lee), Fran has choreographed fight scenes for several major films along with her partner, Jerry poteet. She also works with various law enforcement agencies.