Training Methodology

In additions to an emphasis on Concepts and Systems, it is important to have a well established training methodology.  Most martial arts schools tend to use outdated training methodology and receive the same limited results.  We are attempting to constantly improve our systems of development and coaching to provide the best results. 


Because it has been proven that live training produces the best results, our goal is to spend as much time as possible there.  In the graph below you will see the evolution of technique with the goal to emphasize integration in aliveness.  We specifically avoid drilling for numbers or drilling for the sake of drilling.  

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In this chart, you can see how a technique or concept moves from a development or learning stage to application. 

  • In the introduction phase we practice without resistance or in a static application to learn the initial movement. 

  • In the isolation phase we drill in a focused way to apply a limited movement, including drills like chess and CLA drills. 

  • In Interaction, we add a live resistance but with limitations.  This might include a drill where you can throw any one of three takedowns, but the partner can defend with complete resistance. 

  • In the integration phase there is as little restriction and as much resistance as possible.

Here you will see the way we move through technique from Theoretical to Live Application.  In this I have split between solo drills and partner drills to show how we pass between these phases of development.  As we become more proficient in a particular technique, concept, or system, most of our time should be spent in live training.

Solo Drills

  • Basics / Movement  - Any type of technique walkthrough without a partner.  This usually involves punching or kicking air, doing single legs without a partner, and other basic techniques.  The purpose of this segment is retention and familiarity.

  • Forms - Also called Poomse, Hyung, or Kata, this is a series of preplanned movements whose primary benefit is the secondary effects of conditioning, flexibility, focus, footwork, and application of power.  Forms also carries an indirect benefit that goes beyond actual fighting in the development of discipline and artistic expression and the pleasure of learning to truly master a thing over time.  

  • Physical Trait Development - This involves conditioning, strength training, and flexibility.  We break flexibility into dynamic and static stretching.  Dynamic stretching is movement based and designed to loosen you up for the activity to come.  Static stretching is holding a stretch for a long time to increase overall flexibility.  We emphasize PNF stretching for static stretching, which  is a type of flexibility development by tricking the brain through muscle fatigue.   The best form of conditioning comes as a byproduct of other drilling and sparring, so we don't engage in separate conditioning exercises.

  • Agility Drills - This is forms of drill is generally footwork, head movement, or accuracy drills.  

  • CLA - The Constraints Led Approach is a training methodology that is rapidly growing in popularity and we are engaging in more and more as a training method.  CLA training is a hands off learning through physical adaptation, using the manipulation of constraints to allow for a person to evolve technique rather than the current practice of attempting to duplicate a technique that they are walked through.  The learning is considered faster and more effective using this approach.

  • Heavy Bag - There are a lot of different versions of Heavy bags but in short it is using a static or swinging bag to practice application of movement, power, and concepts with force.

  • Pad or Target Drills - While technically you need a partner for this, it is essentially solo in practice.  The pad drills are used to practice timing, accuracy, and movement.  However, we are cautious to avoid the pitfall of spending too much time here, which is a common practice to avoid too much cooperative training in favor of resistance.

  • Shadow Boxing - This is a free flow movement drill designed to practice application of concepts without a partner. such as entries and exit strategies, angles, combinations, and feinting.  

Partner Drills

  • Static Walkthrough - Static drills, like one steps, are drills practicing the development of a technique or concept on a partner without resistance.  This can also be done for takedown training and grappling walkthroughs.  It is designed for familiarity.

  • Bridge Drills - Bridge drills are a step after static drills designed to start working some movement, resistance, and timing.   

  • Environmental Drills - These can come in a lot of forms.  They can involve a change in the physical environment, such as a limited space or obstacles.  They can also involve multiple partners in a walkthrough like Aikido Randori, or One step circle drills.  They can also involve adding weapons, street clothes, or other factors to alter the experience and teach adaptation around variables.

  • Chess - Chess is a drill where I go you go and can come in the form of three step sparring (our version), I go you go combination training, or even BJJ positional drills.  The benefits of this drill is the ability to think things through and find the correct path.

  • Variable Drills - These can occur in a lot of different forms of limited resistance.  The four most common applications we use are flow drills, a limitation on your partner that gives you a specific trigger to respond to, a limitation on yourself that forces you to develop a skill, or a goal based drill in order to encourage a preferred result.

  • Focus Drills - Focus drills are resisted drills under limited scope.  Some examples of these might include a resisted takedown drill, guard passing, or use of hands only with full resistance, or starting from a specific landmark.  Commonly, these drills are defined by high intensity with lots of resetting.

  • Sparring - Sparring is the most open rule set under resistance that it is safe to train as.  What was considered to be Taekwondo sparring or Boxing or Judo randori is what we consider to be focus drills, with sparring being considered the open application of all techniques.  Our goal is to spend a lot of time here, since this is where the most development occurs.

Mental Development

  • Meditation - The clearing of thoughts is an important way toward harmony and satisfaction.  While sitting meditation is the most commonly thought of practice, we find the walking meditation of forms or even mindfulness a valuable practice

  • Visualization - This is an area with a lot of benefit.  There has been a lot of testing that has shown that visualization can help with skill acquisition.     

  • Study - This is an important part of development over time.  Not only is it encouraged to watch fight footage and study the best athletes, but also to learn training, coaching, and development techniques.

  • Philosophy - The study of philosophy and metaphysics not only helps in better logic, but also helps in one's path toward self betterment

  • Theory - The theory of martial arts is an ever growing and our constant evolution in this area is essential to our own personal development in martial arts.