by Sensei Tim
So, when I see a student sparring standup with their hands below their shoulders I yell “Hands Up”. I then ask “When should your hands be up”? The answer I expect is “Always”. As a beginner I expect your hands to be up and protecting your head at all times. In practice, I realize it’s much more complicated than that. There are times (many) when your hands need to be in alternate positions. So why do I continue to insist on the practice? Simply put, Habit. This should be your normal, without thinking about it, when you’re tired, completely out of energy, so you don’t get knocked out posture.
Habit or Muscle Memory enhances your cognitive thinking. It takes over when executing technique and then returns your body to a normal ready position (Hands Up) or stance. It does the job of moving your body and limbs through a precise sequence with repetitive and accurate results for any given attack or defense. Reaction can become automatic, without thinking so the brain can focus on strategy.
This is why we practice the same thing over and over and over. The trick is getting the student to do it correctly, exactly the same every time. To do this, you move in slow motion breaking down every change in movement step by step. You would be surprised what’s involved in just a simple punch. Once you got it and understand it, you can start speeding it up little by little. And then, it will be there when you need it.
"I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”