Beware! Wild Training Aids




No, no! Not training aids that live in the woods. Neither crazy, fantastic training aids, nor the kind you are going to need if you are headed into the jungle for a few weeks. I’m talking about training aids we have been taught from our instructors and those that we, as instructors, have created for our students. Others are simply bad habits we all pick up as we go through our training. They may be the kind of things we use to check our progress with, but forget to abandon after we no longer need them. Beware because sometimes well intentioned training aids take on a life of their own. I call them “training aids gone wild.”

Take for instance, two-stage kicking, a useful training aid when learning to perform spinning back kicks. It falls into the instructor’s generated category of training aids and it goes like this. Assume a stance in preparation for a spinning back kick, then on the count of one: pivot your feet until they both face to the rear and you are facing the opposite way you started, sink you weight on your supporting leg. On the count of two: shoot the kicking leg straight backwards. Repeat as necessary. Sounds okay doesn’t it?  Remember that the training aid was the two count method that helps us learn the separate parts of the kick while moving slowly from the first part of the kick to the second. If we try to learn it at full speed, we may end up progressing at a slower rate because we are trying to learn the complete kick all at once. The problems arise when we forget that the training aid isn’t the final form, and we continue to kick in a two count manner. This way of performing a spinning back kick will get you punched in the back of the head in short order!

Here are some examples of student generated training aids that can turn into bad habits:

1) Slow motion moves.

2) Kicks that are too low.

3) Kicks that are not fully committed.

4) Pausing during joint locks to “admire your work” or waiting too long for the attacker to tap before continuing your technique.

5) Looking over your shoulder when throwing your attacker to see if your hands are in the right place.

You will, no doubt, discover plenty of others with a little observation.  Instructors need to watch out for these “training aids gone wild” and move the students past them once they have outlived their intended purpose. Since each of us in Lotus is helping each other to learn and advance, point out “wild training aids” to each other when you notice them.

Written by Tim Hollembaek