March 6

How to Adapt, Apply and Create within Martial Arts- Article By Stuart Rider




Adapt – Apply – Create

I’m writing this after getting some encouraging words from Andrew Holland and a number of other folk off different Facebook groups. The encouragement came after Andrew posted an earlier article of mine titled “Trapping – A different perspective! “.I will put a link to the article at the end of this one but it can be found by searching on Andrew’s website.

Right then, let’s get going, you may have guessed from the title of this article that we will be discussing something to do with “Adapt – Apply – Create”.

Adapt – Apply – Create is one of the principles I use when teaching. It was a principle that was drummed into me whilst training with Dave Turton of the Self Defence Federation.

Starting with the first principle of adapt. It is vital that each technique we are taught is adapted to suit us, the individual. This could be something as basic as a stance or posture through to how you “apply” your tools and techniques. This adaptation of technique is vital if you are wanting to apply it and make it work for you in the specific environment you are using it in. Just a quick example, training in boxing will not give you everything you need if your reason for training is to learn self-defence. Now before we go any further, boxing was used as an example, yes I agree there are attributes you will develop from boxing that can help if you ever had to defend yourself, but it is not my go to art for self-defence, fighting it is up there with the best but fighting is not self-defence however this is not the article to get in to the pros and cons of individual arts, we can save that for another time, so before I digress any further back to adapt. As well as adapting the tool to the individual you need to adapt it to suit the environment you are in or want to apply it in. Let’s take boxing as an example again, how does a boxer train their punches, wrapped hands, gloves, guard up etc. good for the ring, for the street take off the gloves and wraps, different hand positions, be it guard, using the fence or from a passive posture.

Moving on to the second phase of the principle, “apply”. With any tool or technique you learn you must be able to apply it against a resisting opponent. This seems like a given to those of that already train, sparring, rolling etc. call it what you like, most of us do it. But as a training principle it is vital that it is done in the right way. That is in my opinion, in a progressive manner with steadily increasing levels of resistance. Going flat out, full on before you understand how the basic fundamental principle behind the technique works will not do you any good in the long run. As an instructor I cannot emphasise how important the basics are, it seems to be part and parcel of today’s society that we want everything now, now, now rather than when the time is right. Learn the basics, learn to apply them until you can apply them under pressure, then move on to the more advanced methods and again, start slow and build up.

The third phase is “Create” this is in line with the phrase, “learn the pattern then dissolve the pattern”. As you becomes more advanced you need to train for as many variables as possible, do not become dogmatic in your training as there are no absolutes. Let me give you an example about what I mean using a standard scenario taught as a self-defence technique. The attacker grabs you in a front strangle, the defender counters with palm heel strike, couple of hammer fists, a couple of knees and finishes with a take down. Now remember this is just an example to set the picture, don’t focus on them. The point being as a beginner your instructor then gets you to practice the same follow ups ad infinitum. Often referred to as learning by numbers or the alphabet approach, this is fine when first starting out but is restrictive once you have a certain level of skill . I feel a more appropriate method is the A, B, whatever approach rather than A, B, C etc. This approach allows you to flow and adapt to the situation. For some guidance and to give you an idea on how to be creative in training your self-defence scenarios, it is important you create the whole scenario, this being the approach, the assault and escape. Introduce verbal attacks, again this can be applied progressively, add pushing and shoving, train the assault and defence part but don’t just do it by numbers, add pressure by restricting the defence to specific tools used. Train for it to go wrong as well as right. Most importantly do not be static in your training, there are no absolutes so train to be creative and include as many variables as possible, get your training partners to move further away than you would have expected, have them fall to the ground as if kicked in the groin, stagger, bend etc. How many times do you see people training front kick to the groin, followed up with jab and cross? Create the proper response to your tools and techniques. By having your training partner react in a natural way allows you to adapt to the scenario and gets you to apply your tools, also by including the escape in to the situation you are creating a more congruent ending to the scenario.

This is just a brief introduction to the adapt – apply – create principle, thanks for taking the time to read this article, if you have questions, feedback or another point of view then I would love to hear from you.

As I said at the start, here is the link to my article on trapping,

And while you’re checking the article out please take the time to visit my website,

Stay safe, train hard and have fun

Stuart Rider



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