By Jose R. Villanueva

As originally published on the Listen & Be Heard Weekly1, April 6, 2005.

There are myths about training that are in existence today that continue to perpetuate, so it is necessary to disabuse the public of the false information. There are people that are interested in learning some form of self-defense, but they do not want to go through years of training in order to become competent. It is becoming more and more commonplace for people to try to learn a technique here and a technique there, and they expect to be able to defend themselves competently. There are several reasons to train with a professional instructor or school. First, one must learn how to control the body. Furthermore, one must develop the condition of the body. Most importantly, one must have an instructor that will teach the techniques and make the necessary corrections so those fundamentals remain.

A person must be able to control his body. One is training to learn how to coordinate his mind and body, so he can perform certain techniques. At the very formative stages of training a practitioner is learning to communicate with every aspect of his body. If a person were learning how to kick, he would have to be in such thorough communication with his legs and feet in order to gain an ability to kick. A person sends electrical signals to certain portions of the brain, and it is transmitted through one's nerve channels in the body to communicate with limbs.

Conditioning the body in order to have the flexibility, strength, power, and speed is of utmost importance to gain the ability to defend oneself. How can anyone expect to apply a punch, kick or any technique for that matter if their body is not up to handling them? What if your opponent or threat is very strong? A practitioner cannot hit a target with impact if his limb has not been trained to take the shock of impact. A person must condition every aspect of their body if they expect to defend themselves competently.

A professional instructor or school is necessary to the proper application of any technique that is learned. They will teach you the exercises that help increase your body's condition. They will break down the techniques, so you learn each aspect of those techniques. But most importantly, they will hammer away at the fundamentals, so you can competently apply the techniques.

The importance of training cannot be understated here. There conceivably could be more reasons, but the three reasons stated are the most important. These are things that cannot necessarily be gained by watching a video, watching a movie, or learning a technique here and there. Dedicated professional training for a number of years is the recommended route. There is always a price to pay to develop competence in any field of endeavor.