The Practice Pyramid

The Method, by design, requires you to evolve your practice.


Ideally, at any given time a single expression of integrated strength should reflect your current level of achievement. In other words, what you practice, how you practice and what you are seeking to achieve changes as you do the work.


In the early days of my training Jam Jong was not a pleasant experience, these days I look forward to it. Over time my range of motion and control over my internal orbit have improved dramatically. Month by month, week by week how every aspect of my practice has changed how it feels. If the good lord is willing and the creeks don't rise tomorrow's Kung Fu will be better than todays.


The Big Picture


Let's take a quick 20,000 foot view of the training evolution we are looking to stoke. Consider the pyramid below, it represents both a goal and a path. From the goal perspective success in using this course will allow you to complete your version of this pyramid with active practice habits on each level and in this general proportion.


Keep in mind I am calling it a pyramid on purpose. A pyramid must be built from the ground up. You can't freestyle what you have not learned and trying something casual without mastering it in freestyle is next to useless. On the other hand we are looking to build habits in each category, not necessarily perfect habits. Being more free inside of a formal practice and even just stating to apply integrated strength principals while walking will build the habit that builds the skill.

pyramid1

A few other things to point out about our pyramid:

  1. Formal is the biggest and the base. Really working through the formal practices and extracting what is needed is key to efficiently developing your skill with integrated strength.

  2. The stronger your Formal the better your Freestyle, etc. Each practice category is built on the other.

  3. It's just a guideline. Perhaps you have relevant experience in other arts or already have a well developed formal training regime? You pyramid may have already evolved and more Freestyle practice may be the call for you.

Let's now look at a mature integrated strength practice regime, as modeled by the slightly modified pyramid below.

pyramid2

As you can see, Casual Practice now sits on the foundation and represents the largest proportion of training time. Why is this?


In a word, internalization. The purpose of the Method is to be able to express integrated strength in any shape or gesture. Using every day activities to make integrated strength the reflexive habit quickens its ability to be useful in actual self-defense situations.


Practically there is another reason. Casual Practice open up so much more potential practice time. If you limit your training to only the times you have on your special jammies you so limit your training.


Additionally, there is more to life than fighting. Why should you hard earned achievements only improve your fighting? Why not use them for whatever it is you do?


By definition, Casual Training occurs when another purpose is being served, it does not really compete with Formal and Freestyle Practices. That means you can increase your overall practice time without shrinking time spent on Formal & Freestyle Practice.

pyramid3

So perhaps the progression looks something like the illustration above. In the resulting pyramid the amount of formal practice remains about the same and the vast majority of additional practice time comes from high-jacking other activities for training.


The Day to Day


Each day presents opportunities to train. Some days we can train formally, with a group, under a teacher's supervision, wearing our special jammies, observing rituals and routines. But its not always like that.


Often training, particularly this kind of training, is done and/or must be done solo. The feeling has to be discovered and developed before partner training is going to any good, as an example and often time there are not many people within driving distance that are going to be useful partners anyway.


Build your formal practice habit so that you end up formally training most days. Wear a special shirt, go to a special place, bow, meditate, pray, whatever serves to help you shift awareness from everything else into how you feel now.


Work the exercise, form or route until you know it inside and out. Work the variations big and small, left and right until you can let go and freely express it at will.


Take the changes in your posture, balance, center and focus into everyday activities like walking, driving and typing on the PC. Make expressing integrated strength mudane, the norm. That way, if you need it, its right there. If you don't its working to keep you healthy & strong.


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