Obscure training tips

Brad Johnson

I want to do something that makes seem like I'm working, while I'm not, so I figured I'd make a post of random training/learning tips that may or may not be obvious. In any event, these are little things that have proven useful to me.

First, mirrors. Of course these are useful, but using them in conjunction with references multiplies their power. Do you want to make sure that your thigh and foot and hip are aligned? It's easy, position a mirror so there is a vertical wall or post between you and the mirror. Below I'm doing a BaFa drill (Lv) using a wall to check my alignment (my hands are wrong, b/c taking the picture). There is no fooling yourself that your structure is stacked, when it's not. If you don't have a mirror, you can do this in a window at night using structural members for reference. You can do this in profile, too, to check back straightness too.


Second, videos are obviously key for remote learning, but I find them really useful in another sense. When I make videos, I do so with the intent of posting them for correction, but before I post one, I watch it closely and I imagine the content of Marin's review... If I see things that I know he will call me on - especially if it will induce him to yell :)) I throw out the video and I'll work on fixing what I saw that I know is wrong. Then I'll make another video - rinse and repeat. This can be a frustrating but really effective process, because I will practice a move over and over again trying to get a good take - that is, do it with no mistakes that are apparent to me. Great incentive to fix known issues develops in order to make the pain stop and get something clean enough to send out. Most days end up with videos that are never posted, but this provides a means of actively-directed self learning.

Finally (and this is a pretty goofy one), never overlook the utility of rug and floor patterns in training foot position. This is kind of obvious for straight floor boards, but rugs, tile and tape on the floor can make great angle guides. Floorboard help guide foot direction, but also memorizing the number of boards or tiles between your feet for various stance widths can be helpful. The concept is, the more consistently you hit the correct foot angle and stance width, the faster you can learn to acquire them automatically, without a guide - it helps develop surety. Below is my ultimate training rug. It has straight lines, 45 degree corner lines, and designs that mark shoulder width, 1.5 width and 2x width stances. It also makes a perfect template for diagonal stance (Xie Xing and BaFa).

Anyhow, happy training! Now I have to do some actual work...


Brad Johnson

haha, just the opposite - a strong sense of good.

My writing was aimed at evoking the drama of the situation! Like when you say of a bad practice, "....Banish it!" I love it when I can catch those myself... :LOL:

But I will say in all seriousness, that level of clarity in guidance is cherished, because I have gotten a lot of ambiguous instruction over the years that forces one to attempt a random walk toward gong fu. It's just not all that productive and there's a pretty good chance you end up hurt - so a little yelling is okay, hahaha