A really good post today taken from the Chivalric Fighting Arts Association by Maestro Sean Hayes of the Northwest Fencing Academy in Eugene, OR.
Here’s the post. It’s specifically on developing tactical skills with the longsword. The second half is specific to that but the first half applies to any martial art.
There are three kinds of abilities or skills developed in martial arts
- technical skills: learning/understanding and developing the specific actions of the system you are studying
- tactical skills: performing technical skills in combat
- strategic skills: creating plans for the situation that apply tactical skills
They’re ordered particularly in the way that I believe they should be developed. In class we work on technical skills almost exclusively; when we do full-speed drills we are working on tactical skills.
Each skill is dependant upon the one(s) before it and suffers if the primitive skill(s) are not up to snuff. Ever do a girata poorly? That was a technical/tactical error. Ever do one well but in the wrong situation? That was a strategic error.
As an analogy consider the race-car driver (where, I assume, the transmission is manual): the driver has to learn how stick-shifting works and be able do it in a controlled environment. Then they must be able to shift, as optimally as possible, when driving at speed. When they’re able to those things they’ll be able to apply that knowledge to the situation of the other drivers around them (ie. a race).
I find Sean’s article particularly brilliant because of how clearly he identifies the need to develop each skill before putting them into combative context.
I’m going to e-mail Sean to see if he has photographic/video examples of the drills he describes in the second half of the article and will post/link to them on a later date.