Manage the fighting rhythm in relation to that of our opponents is one of the fundamental keys to prevail in any fight. During each type of combat, the body of the contenders continuously passes from positions favorable to the defense / attack to positions "unfavorable" (in relation to the one of the others):
Dislocation of the weight
Location of the limbs
Tension/ bending of the limbs
Speed, acceleration, deceleration
All of these factors as in a skilled warrior, as in an ordinary person are handled instinctively but, as for novices this happens in almost randomly, for a real martial artist everything (90%) is handled according to strict orders dictated by his mental conditioning.
Before we learn to master the rhythm of a fight, however, we must teach our brain to activate the right attitudes in order to "follow" our adversaries and not to be slaves of them.
An exercise (seemingly) simple and very effective is to use music and dance; as it may seem unusual to the novices, it is easy to verify that those who are not able to follow the harmonious development of the music, hardly will ever adapt to the movements of an experienced fighter.
So here's how:
Let's choose some songs that we like, but of different types of music
Let's choose different track from each other, with wide variations in speed and sustained rythm
We must not perform any known dance, we "only" have to follow the beat
Let's start the music and let's move our bodies freely, widely
Let's get in front of a large mirror and let's try to avoid any kind of unbalanced uncouthness
Let's avoid any type of sawkwardness (this is also a good psychological exercise)
The dancing time must be quite long (at least 20 minutes, up to 4 hours)
Let's do not give up until our movements do not describe the music
The goal is to synchronize our body at the current music's pace perfectly
We have to use the whole body, from the abdominal to phalanx, from head to toe (etc.)
Let's move extensively in all directions, let's perform rotations of any kind
We must use symmetry, coordination, simultaneous actions, consecutive and interconnected motions
We must unleash our imagination, draw in the air and dancing intensively
It is not permitted any interruption during the exercise (let's temporary change speed if we are tired)
Let's stop only when the quality drops dramatically
The fact that we are adopting music to train our ability to adapt to the pace, however, should not deceive us, it is only an exercise
The dance has a lot in common with the fight but it has also many differencies (the release of the power, sudden changes in intensity, clumsy changes of direction, deceptive movements, etc.)
We like to dance but we use this method of learning in a measured way, let's turn away from us the idea of replacing the dance with the martial movement
In the next article of this series we will see other ways of relating ourselves to the pace of the bout.