What If You Just Don’t Get It

I’m Paul Willson I am a brown belt in Ju Jutsu, a centuries old Japanese martial art.

Photo by Anton Belitskiy on Pexels.com

We have all been in a situation where no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get a technique right. Even if your instructor or training partner is being very compliant and helpful.

So what do you when you are struggling to get a technique. Firstly slow down. As my instructor likes to say speed comes from fluidity not doing it quickly. Next, break the technique into steps and try to get each step right before moving on to the next. Pay a lot of attention to your footwork. Success and failure of a technique quite often is down to footwork.

Good footwork allows your body to be in the right position. Take kicks and throws for example. Poor footwork can mean a kick not having a lot of power. Poor footwork can mean not being able to throw an opponent and/or giving yourself an injury. There has been many a time where I have fallen over or hurt my back or side because my body wasn’t in the correct position due to poor footwork.

The importance of good footwork can not be overstated. On each step of the technique look at your feet. Are they in the correct position. Look at the entrance to the technique. Have you moved into the technique correctly? Annoyingly your feet can be out my just an inch and the technique won’t work.

Listen to your body. Once your in position to complete the technique ask yourself does it feel right? If you complete the technique now will it work? If not go back a step or two to find out what you did wrong. There is no shame in taking your time. Your training partner will be happier if you did because there will be less chance for them to get injured.

Lastly listening to your training instructor and training partner. The best thing about martial arts is the positivity. People want you to get techniques right. There is a reason why your instructor has a black belt round their waist. They know what they are doing. Your training partner will be able to tell you if a technique is going to work or not by how their body feels when you do the technique, whether they feel power from your strike or if you are going to throw them from your position.

So to put what I have said in short form:

  1. Slow down
  2. Break the technique into steps
  3. Pay attention to your footwork
  4. Listen to your body, training partner and instructor

Do these four points and it will help you get that technique right.


Published by Paul Willson

I am Paul Willson. I have reached the rank of brown belt in Ju Jutsu. Thanks to Coronavirus I not been able to take my black belt grading stopping my martial art's journey in its tracks which the only polite word I can think of as frustrating. I have created this blog to try and help anyone who is thinking of starting a martial art or has just started a martial art.

2 thoughts on “What If You Just Don’t Get It

  1. Great post. 🙂 I will add though that sometimes the Miyagi-ism of No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher is actually correct. When studying Shou Shu Chi (similar to Kenpo), I never could get a wheel kick down. If you’ve never heard of it or perhaps know a different kick by the same name, it’s… weird. You start out like you’re throwing a standard front kick, but then roll your hip over and strike horizontally as if it was a roundhouse. It came naturally for my instructor apparently and he never could explain how to generate torque for power by rolling the hip over, at least not enough to make it a full spinning kick (hence the wheel name).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha Ha Ha it is funny all techniques come naturally to instructors. I have always had a problem with relaxing when being thrown where I unconsciously resisted the throw. It is a psychological thing. All my instructor could come up with to solve it was to hit me in the stomach. What has helped is having a 6ft 5″ training partner who is strong enough to pick me up and not give me the option of resisting. In the end what has worked was looking at the floor as I was being thrown and realising I wasn’t as high in the air as I thought.

      Liked by 1 person

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