Is Athleticism the Alpha Attribute?

img01I’ve written about athleticism before and its place in the martial athletics. In review, athleticism has to do with movement. More specifically, it has to do with a high degree of motor quantities including but not limited to:

-Accuracy
-Strength
-Speed
-Power
-Flexibility
-Endurance
-Mobility

In the previous article, we examined whether athleticism or technical ability wins. In this article I want to further examine when technique can overcome athleticism. And, of course, when athleticism trumps technical ability.

Technical ability has to do with highly developed movement quantities through the martial ranges of motion. But, like all movement disciplines, moving in martial arts, doesn’t move you through all possible ranges of motion. This is where athleticism comes in.

Someone who is considered athletic has more available movement quantities than the average practitioner in that specific sport. It’s likely they are not as technical in that sport. This is likely because practicing a limited set of motions limits other motions.

“Going With” and “Stopping” are our two prime metaphors in Movement Martial Arts. These metaphors are very useful in predicting the outcome between the technician and athlete. And the outcome is easily predicted.

In many cases, a contest is determined either by the “going with” or the “stopping.” In the case of this contest between the technician and athlete, it is a contest of stops. If the technician can stop the athlete’s superior motion, the technician wins. But if the athlete can evade/outmaneuver the
technician’s stops, the athlete will win. I think this should inform martial practice.

As you become more an more technical, your feel, or your ability to feel will naturally improve. But your “stops” must improve commensurately. The accuracy and speed by which you apply your stops must get better and better. Otherwise, athleticism wins. Be athletic, but prioritize technical skills…especially stopping and the athlete will not be the alpha.

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