Walk before you can run

It’s the one thing that all Martial Arts instructors will have seen. That student who wants to do a full out sprint before they have learned to walk. The student who already wants to train with the Black belts, despite joining the class 3 months ago. The student who speeds through every technique like The Stig in a Ferrari.

Russell Jarmesty, Founder and Senior Instructor of the Jarmesty Martial Arts Academy, based in Atherton, recently shared his thoughts on this subject.

Martial arts are best approached the same way you learnt to walk. First someone held your hand so you didn’t fall flat on your face. Then you got better, They let you go, and you started to walk, you walked faster until you did that thing we call running. Remember – nobody taught you to run, you just did it.

Russell firmly believes that Martial Arts are best learned in this way. Slowly and surely, almost allowing the student to mimic the instructor a step at a time to start with. He continues:

I teach the same way you’d help any baby to walk. First I hold their hands and pretty much move their feet for them. Then you let go but you shadow them, ready to catch them before they fall. As they get better you step back and hey-ho they’re kinda walking, all you do then is watch closely, point out the dangers and remove big obstacles so they have a clear path (this is about the six month mark). Confident with walking now, they will start to do it faster”

Right about now is the time the Stig needs to be taking his foot of the accelerator slightly. He’s getting a bit too confident on the straight but is approaching a corner. I’ll let Russell continue, he says it better:

This is where they will fall over and run into things, (we can’t remove all obstacles, they will simply learn to go another way round). Their awareness kicks in, naturally kicks in, because running into a table hurts and so does running into a punch. (So does crashing into a corner, are you listening Mr Stig?). Once awareness kicks in all you need to do now is fill up their tool box with techniques.

Blue belt is a big turning point in training with me (about one year). I know you can walk techniques with ease, you’re not falling over your feet anymore, and you can run pretty well without tripping over the kerb anymore. So Blue is where I expect you to start running with your training, and yes you’ll fall over again.

There’s lots of other people in the race with you jostling for position, you’ll get pushed you’ll fall, but you’ll learn to pick yourself up and dust yourself down and carry on with no negative thoughts (Martial Artists should be able to recover quicker when things go wrong outside) and things do go wrong.

Ok Ok I know what you’re thinking. “What colour is The Stig’s Ferrari?” Well just so we can get it out the way and move on, it’s at the top of this page.  Go ahead and click it.  Now can we please let Mr Jarmesty finish…

“My Senior grades – you’re not only holding your own, but you are motoring on (see what he did there), taking ownership of your training and pushing the boundaries, you are giving the Black belts something to think about now, and the low grades seem so far away.

Brown belt – I just love a hungry Brown Belt. Now you should be hunting the front runners and beating anyone who makes a mistake. Black belt – well it’s a stroll in the park this walking lark.

Walk before you run people it’s the natural order of learning”

All jokes aside our sincerest thanks to Russell for allowing us to reproduce this article. Russell Jarmesty is a world class Martial Artist, has won the award ‘DVD of the Year’ for his box set Brutal Bouncer as well as a 5* app on both Android and iOS called Mean Streets.

He has won the Black Belt hall of Fame award, ran security for Frank Bruno, and is a Co-Founder of the hugely successful online magazine Martial Arts Guardian.

We hope to bring you many more articles from him in the future.

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