What’s the importance of training slowly? Why do you make such a big deal of this with your self-defense system? In MMA, boxing, and wrestling everyone trains and moves very fast when fighting.
Thank you for your question, Daniel. This is a really important self-defense question. I get asked this a lot by the way.
Well, to be quite honest how did you first learn how to either drive a car or a motorcycle? Did you get in the first time and just go peddle to the metal? Did you drive really fast because when racing a high performance car at a race track they go really fast, right?
When learning how to drive a car or a motorcycle you first must learn how each vehicle works. Where to put the key, how to turn on the engine, and how to adjust the seats and mirrors. Before driving away you buckle up and check to see if any other cars are coming your way.
Then you go really slowly at first because you need to get acquainted with steering and breaking. You must first drive slowly to learn how to balance your driving to stay within the lines on the road. You go slowly at first, but once your skills pick up and your coordination improves then you start to speed things up until you can go as fast as need be.
The type of martial art that we teach here is for self-defense. It is a martial art and not a sport. In MMA and other sport type of martial arts their goals are very different than our goals. Their objectives are to win like a game. They win by making their opponent tap out or they knock him out by way of a strike or a choke hold.
When practicing a dangerous bone shatter you cannot practice that really fast or you will cripple your workout partner. For example, some of the jiu-jitsu throws we do here were developed to kill your opponent. These throws are very different than throws in judo or aikido or MMA. In sports martial arts your goal is not to cripple or kill your opponent, but rather to win the match. You really do not want to cripple or injure your opponent in the ring. Some of these guys and girls are best friends outside of the ring when they are not fighting or competing against each other.
At Combat Science we train to survive very dangerous encounters whose outcomes are life or death. By going really slowly at first you can learn how to feel your balance when it is off or on. It is important to emphasize that balance is the most important
aspect of martial development. You can see and perceive more when you go slowly in the beginning. You may have missed a lot of really effective techniques by going too fast early on in your training.
When the Gracie family first came to this country I watched a video of them training and preparing for the first UFC. They went extremely slow during practice. They did not practice fast at all. Training slowly lets you see what is missing in yourself
and in your techniques. Training at a fast speed does not allow you to do that. Fast speed is utilized after you have already developed and perfected all your tools for whatever job is needed.
When I first started boxing for self-defense I learned it very slowly. I first had to learn how to stand. Then I learned how to step and move around through proper footwork. Then I learned the jab, the cross, the uppercut, and the hook punch. But I had to go really slowly to learn the proper form of these punches so I could get maximum power out of every punch.
I followed this same method of training slowly when I first learned Judo. I learned how to properly roll and fall really slowly. Then later they made me go faster. This is really important. If your form is off you could end up crippled. Form is proper body alignment. Without it you are weak.
It is really funny because most experienced people who have been around the block appreciate training slowly. Those who have not been around the fight game for a long time will not understand this at first. That is okay. They will over time.
I hope this has helped you to better understand the importance of training slowly. This is how the Samurai and other warrior cultures trained for actual life and death combat. This is how they achieved such high levels of sensitivity so they could counter their opponents’ every move. This is how they attained such high levels of creativity and how they were able to invent new techniques in the midst of battle. This was critical for their survival. It would have been near impossible to develop such high levels of skill without utilizing slow training as their foundation for perfection. This was their “secret” for bio-hacking their self-defense skills.
Thank you once again for your question.
Grandmaster Peter Freedman