5 Elements of an Outstanding Performance
As more of you have started registering for skills day, we feel that now is an excellent time to discuss ways to improve your forms. As you might have heard in class, knowing your form and being able to perform it are two different things. Luckily, we have summarized 5 areas of focus to orient your training.
"Fot" - Method
This first element refers to the overall spirit and energy of your performance. Each technique must be performed with high energy and spirit. This includes making loud sounds and applying speed and power appropriately throughout your form. A great place to practice making sounds is in class! For more advanced students, understanding the rhythm of each movement will take your performance to the next level.
"Bow" - Footwork
The next element is arguably the simplest to fix. However, it may be the most physically demanding. Stances and footwork are the foundation for all your movements. Developing solid yet flexible footwork is key to generating good technique. Start by practicing your horse stance every day and pushing yourself to go low and STAY low in class! You'd be surprised at how much you can improve by just doing it for a couple of minutes each day!
"Sou" - Hand
Handwork refers to all arm and hand techniques, including punches, palm and wrist strikes, and grabbing techniques. Every hand movement must be applied with accuracy, clarity, and speed no matter how small or subtle. To practice this, imagine you are actually striking an object with each movement of your form. Keep your fists tight and fingers together! It is also important to strike at the appropriate height. Your instructors will help you with this as it can vary across a wide spectrum of different hand techniques.
"Nan" - Eyes
This element usually comes as a surprise to most but yes, your eyes are important as well. Having a fierce facial expression will add to the overall energy of your performance. your eyes and head position must follow in the direction of your strike or block. This may sound easy, however, most of us are used to practicing in front of a mirror. Most times students will actually be looking in the mirror to check their form rather than looking at their strikes. To fix this, we recommend practicing in a variety of different environments.
"Body" - Body
Our last element sort of ties it all together. Body refers to the coordination of your overall movement. Your body structure must be coordinated: your chest, back, waist, and hips all must all align and function as one unit to transmit a powerful force. To practice this on your own, record yourself doing your form and ask yourself: Are my hands moving faster than my stances? Am I turning my waist enough? If you are unsure of the answer, you can always ask your instructors at the Skills Day practices or come early to class!
The Big Picture
We have covered a lot in just the past couple of paragraphs. To avoid getting overwhelmed, understand that improvement is a process. Try picking one element to work on at a time. Improving just one of these elements will take your training further and help you become a better performer. At the end of the day, regardless of bronze, silver, or gold, we would hope that each student walks away feeling that their Kung Fu has improved since they first started preparing for the competition. Remember that there will always be things to improve upon because Kung Fu is a journey, not a final destination. These 5 elements will improve over time and over many competitions to come! We hope this was helpful! See you in class!