Martial Arts Between the Pictures

During my martial arts training, I've heard the phrase, "Martial arts is what happens between the pictures" many, many times. This past weekend was no exception! I can recount three times in a two-day period that Master Robert Frankovich had said it while on the floor to various training partners. If such a phrase is used so many times, what can it mean that is so important to be used that often? Take a moment to think about it and come up with your own answer as what I give below is only my interpretation, and everyone should have their own.

Do you have your answer in your mind? If not, that's alright, but I encourage you to think on it. I've already given you my answer. No, really I did! Go back and read. My answer is that everyone should have their own interpretation.

A room of martial artists can be taught the same technique, in the same manner, with the all the same pieces and explanations; however, they won't look the exact same. Sure, they may start the same, end the same, and have middle parts that are the same, but each is an individual. Some may move smoothly, some may be quicker, some may be very tense, and some still may seem quite relaxed. Each of the students were given the same "pictures" during the teaching - the explained pieces. It's the parts that aren't explained that helps represent individual interpretations. These different interpretations are the things that make true art. A movement that works for a large man may not work for a petite woman which, in turn, may not work for a child.

When you are learning new techniques or patterns, which questions do you ask? Are you asking about the “pictures,” how to get from one to the next, or are you asking the purpose or “why?” When you are teaching others, which type of answers are you providing, and why is that the type you are giving?

Remember, the martial arts we teach are about bettering yourself. If you spent all your time trying to look exactly like your instructor, you aren’t doing your best - you are doing their best. Strive to do your best as a student as well as an instructor. Let your training become art that fits you. Make your instruction style be your style - everyone will be better for it.