Sunday, May 04, 2008

What Can Be Gained by "Doing It Wrong"?

A couple of months ago, I was checking out a post on Bruce Lee's 'One Inch Punch' by Dojo Rat, when I came across the following video of a young martial artist training Lee's famous technique.

Watching the clip, I was really impressed by what I thought was a novel way to practice and improve the finer points of the One Inch Punch.

Apparently, many of the YouTube critics weren't as enthusiastic about the training as I was. The video clip had gotten a lot of negative comments.

People left responses saying things like:

"Why are you sitting? You cannot build any power if you don't have stability. You actually bounce back each time you hit. If you met a opposing force, you would just fall on the ground. No offence, but everybody can do what you are doing."

"I've just started training on my one inch punch and my finger tip punch and i could make a much stronger hit than this. you sit, and the energy from the ground and trough your legs disappear"

"You cant train it sitting :\"

What all of these so-called critics are missing is that the point of this exercise is to punch without using the hips or legs. - He even mentions that in the introduction to the clip (although his English seems a bit unclear).

By sitting, he isolates his shoulder, arm, and wrist - making them do all the work without any assistance from his lower body. Later, when he adds lower body movement his punch will become much stronger.

The point here is that all to often, we martial artists are far too quick to judge someone negatively when we see them doing something different from the way we've been taught. We have a tendency to view all other styles only through the spectrum of our own experience.

However, if we can suspend our judgement for just a moment and look at something new with a fresh perspective, we might learn some valuable insights into our own training. Sometimes the best way to improve a technique is by doing it "wrong" for a while.

Check out the one inch punch that was eventually developed by the kid in the video. -Not bad at all.

If you'd like to see some more of my thoughts on Bruce Lee's One Inch Punch, then check out the latest episode of The Technique Critique at TDATraining's sister blog; (WARNING: Shameless plug by the Author!)

Anyway, take care, keep training, and remember... if at first something seems "wrong," be sure to take another look. You just might discover a better way of doing it.



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