Take What You Get

By Glenn Catania, shidoshi

When we train, we sometimes forget a very important rule: wait for the attack you know is coming, and only take what you get. It is very easy to get caught up in the form and anticipate what is going to be thrown at you. This happens to all of us, but there are many good reasons to take what you get. One of the most important is that you are cheating yourself in your own training when you react before your partner has committed to the motion. If you always train yourself this way, when the technique really counts your opponent may have a better chance of changing his attack before you have completed your premature reaction.

We have to remember we are training in a living art. I have watched some very good martial artists get so caught up in what they want to do that they miss the most obvious, the most simple. When working on a technique just shown in class, you are supposed to do what the teacher demonstrated, but there are still different ways to get there. I am not talking about freelancing your own style, but if someone throws a right punch at you and the angle changes, it is ok to take the better opening given to you. That is why we train, to avoid becoming stagnant and getting tied down to the printed footsteps on the floor.

For me, training is just like my other favorite thing: driving. It is easy to get lost in the flow of driving and just move in and out of the openings. It becomes a game. Instead of pushing your way through the cars, wait, look ahead and see the weak links in front of you. Then, as they move closer, take advantage of them and slip in, matching their speed and distance. Taijutsu, like driving, can be a game. Don't forget the serious nature of what we do, but relax and take what you get. Remember you can't pull on grass and make it grow faster, it comes out when it is ready, so let your opponent help dictate the best way to defeat him.