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  • Writer's pictureJackie Bradbury

The Happy Place

We all have those those things that come easy to us in our martial arts training.

It could be a specific technique, like a combination of strikes, or a kick. It could be a specific form/kata/anyo that just clicks for you. Or it could be a set of drills or skills you work on.

For me, the ONE THING I picked up quickly early in my training, and continue to pick up quickly today, are the drills known as sinawali.

Here, it looks like this:

There's literally hundreds of variations of sinawali patterns, and different folks play it different ways, but it seems to be a relatively common drill in the FMA world.

For me, there is no sinawali pattern I have serious trouble with. I can usually pick up any sinawali pattern within a few minutes.

It's my happy place, the one part of my martial arts training that I don't have to think really, really hard to acquire new skills or understanding.

So yeah, if I don't want to challenge myself much and just have a hell of a lot of fun, I play sinawali. However, in teaching many people over the years, I see that there's lots of people who totally struggle with this drill. Over time, I've learned a variety of different methods to help them along, to at least get them to a point where they don't actively dislike, fear, or are intimidated by the drill.

I want to at least make sinawali a happy... adjacent?... place for them, if I can.

Of course, there's tons of stuff that is very difficult for me to learn, that I had to struggle with, and a few where I'm on the edge of "I don't wanna because that's hard and makes me uncomfortable." That is where I need to spend a lot more time, because of the difficulty it poses for me.

I can do sinawali for dessert, after I've spent valuable training time on the tough stuff.

I bet you have a similar experience in your training. You have the stuff that comes easy, and the stuff that totally confounds you for a long time and takes lot of work to understand and master.

I'd love to hear about them - what do you struggle with, and where's your "happy place" in your martial arts training?

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