As most of you will know, I'm very interested in the way in which our mental habits and tendencies effect our ability to both learn and perform martial arts skills. By actively focusing the way in which our brains learn, and put learning into action, we can speed up and improve our development not just as martial artists but as people in general.

If you reflect back on your own development, you'll remember that when you first learnt a technique, you would often have to spend considerable cognitive energy remembering all the details of the technique and getting your body to do them all-together. As you improved, you found that you would be able to let most of the technique take care of itself and just focus on the one or two things that were giving you trouble. Finally, you got to a point where you could consistently perform the technique without having to actively think about it at all and you would just check on it every so often to see if anything needed tuning up.

It is this final stage I am talking about when I say you want to develop certain concepts to an instinctive level. You do, however, need to make your way through the earlier stages to get there. So, with that in mind, here are the top five concepts you want to get to an instinctive level:

Combination Theory – know how to start, link and exit combos safely & effectively.

Stance & Movement – be able to maintain a tight stance & fluid movement.

Range – holding, engaging & disengaging the rimshot range; moving to & from middle range; etc.

Breathing – consistent, efficient use of breath to maximise performance and enliven.

The 4 Driver Process – incorporate the feelings of balance, defense, TES & Active Conditioning to everything you do.