Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Roll for Attributes

It's not uncommon for martial artists online to spot a video of a drill and say, "That's so impractical, nobody fights that way."

The most common response is, "It's a drill to build attributes." or "It's a skill-building drill."  Because most of the time, that's exactly what's going on.  It's not a "this is how we fight" video.

But what do we mean by "attributes"?

I like to think of it as our very own version of the old Dungeons & Dragons attributes.  In case you aren't a raging nerd like me - Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.

Image found here.  And if you haven't seen this episode of "Community"... GET ON IT.

The attributes we want to build may vary from art to art, but generally speaking, some of the attributes we train include:

  • Spatial Awareness
  • Targeting 
  • Speed
  • Pressure Sensitivity
  • Body Structure
  • Balance
  • Strength and/or power generation
Let's consider spatial awareness for a moment.   This can mean range - that is, placing yourself in the appropriate place in relation to your opponent for offense or defense.  It can also mean positioning one's self in an advantageous position (which can vary from art to art, strategy to strategy).  It can also mean training enough to learn what your opponent can and can't reasonably do based on where he or she is positioned.

Lots to learn there, and there are many drills that can train this kind of spatial awareness in my art (and I'm sure you have them in yours, too).

What "proper" range or positioning is one of those strategic choices that makes one art different from another, and that's why someone might not understand what they're seeing if they are in a different art making a different strategic choice.

So before you start criticizing a drill you find online as "unrealistic" or "impractical", consider that it may be an attribute builder, not a fight demonstration.

What are some of the attributes that you build in your art? How do you build them?  Got any nice drills or tips you'd like to share?  Let us know in the comments!