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Copy Me

The other day I was teaching a beginner how to punch in a stationary stance (jigotai dachi). It was pretty basic. Left, right, left, right...

When I teach, I generally punch with the student. If he punches ten times, I punch ten times. I try to teach by example. Who is the student going to copy if I just stand there and count?

So as I was squatting there in front of the student punching with him, I said, "copy me!"

When I punched, the student punched. That was good.

But then I explained, "Don't just punch when I punch, try to match my timing. Start your punch when I start my punch. Keep your elbow close to your side as I do. Don't turn your wrist until I turn my wrist. Extend when I extend and recoil when I recoil. Match my timing like a shadow."

I added, "When someone attacks you, you cannot simply move on your own timing. You have to be able to time the attacker's movements. If you can copy me, you will also be learning how to time other people. If you can match someone, you can block and strike him."

I also added, "When someone is leading the class, match his timing. If he is weak and the person next to you is strong, match that person's timing to push yourself. But always work on matching someone else's timing. Then you are not simply punching. Left, right, left, right..."

A simple thing can be done simply, in a limited way. It can also be done -- with just a little extra effort -- in a way that offers much more opportunity for learning and progress.


Charles C. Goodin