Dacayana UK

HOW TO BE GOOD AT MARTIAL ARTS.             By David McGoldrick.

When we see somebody who is very good at Eskrima, it is easy to think that it is because they have physical abilities such as strength, speed, coordination and mobility. But the reality is that skill comes from practice and we keep practicing because we have mental skills, rather than physical skills. In Dacayana Eskrima, we use the acronym ACID to remember the attributes we need to train hard and thus achieve success. ACID stands for Ambition, Courage, Interest and Determination.

AMBITION: When we start Martial Arts, some people dream of being a Black belt but for others, that seems too ambitious. Either way, the path towards the long term goal of Black belt is split into more achievable short term goals of the colour belt grades. When you see other students achieving goals in the class, then your ambitions seem more possible. Getting a clear picture from your Coach of exactly what material is expected for your next grade and what standard you should aim for will help you to achieve your ambitions. When you are given a timescale or even an exact date for your belt test, that really brings your training into focus. So, to turn your ambition into a reality, know exactly what you have to do, how you have to do it and when you have to do it. 

COURAGE: A very wise Eskrima Master once asked his students "Who is the most important person in Eskrima?" His loyal disciples replied "You are, Sir." "Wrong", said the Master, "the person who puts his head in the door and says "Excuse me, is this the stick fighting class?" is the most important person." Not only is that person the future of Eskrima, but they are also the most courageous person in the room. Never forget this when a beginner joins your class. The first time you do something is when you feel the most fear. That is why it is called "the fear of the unknown". The more you do it, the less you fear it. The same can be said for the first time you take a belt test, the first time you teach and worst of all, the first time your students go forward for belt tests. So please students, for your teachers sake, at least pretend to be courageous when you are grading ; )

INTEREST: We tend to be good at things we are interested in and interested in things at which we are good. It is very cyclical. In order to be good at things, we have to become interested in them. Not every aspect of the syllabus will instantly appeal to you. After all, somebody else designed it, that's the point. So, ask questions. Find out how it is done, why is it done that way?, what makes it work?, how can you make it work for you? Ask yourself these questions first and get interested. If you're not sure, ask your Coach. If they're not sure, they could ask another Coach. If they're not sure, they could ask Marcie and in the unlikely event that Marcie doesn't know, she could ask GM Jun. If GM Jun doesn't know, it was probably a stupid question.

DETERMINATION: I always ask beginners how many times they should try something before they consider giving up. Their answer is nearly always between 5 and 10. I then adjust their thinking and they agree that a beginner should try something, at very least, 100 times before they consider giving up. Unfortunately, most people are so used to instant success that they have no concept of determination. Many times in my life, I have been accused of stubbornness. I reply that every success in my life has been due to stubbornness, but I prefer to call it determination. The hardest thing about doing Eskrima can often be turning up to class. So, on a cold winters night when there is a great film on the TV and you could stay in with your loved ones, having a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit, just say "No, tonight is Eskrima night. I'm going." And don't forget, your determination isn't measured in a class, it is measured in years (or decades) of classes (especially the ones you miss). So, "Never, ever quit."

   Remember, nobody was born with the ability to do Eskrima. Repetition is the mother of skill. Your physicality does not determine how many times you repeat something, your mentality does. So train with ACID: Ambition, Courage , Interest and Determination.

   As always, these are just my opinions based on my experience. I love to hear the opinions of others, especially if they disagree with me. D