How has your martial arts training changed over the years? What aspects of your training have varied the most? Anything you do now that might surprise others?
This is just an invitation to share your thoughts. The idea to start this thread struck me while reading the discussion on the evolution of Shotokan kihon. Here are some things that changed for me...
1. I used to believe that the only worthwhile way to train was for self-protection. Training was only good insofar as it made you better at fighting for your life. My views have changed slightly. I now think that the most pragmatic system will be interesting, fun, and enjoyable as well . . . if training is fun people are more likely to stick with it. A pragmatic fighting method is one that you can train for a lifetime. Also, training is meant to make your life better, not to make it worse.
2. I used to be really dogmatic about styles and technique. Now I hate dogmatism and prefer creativity.
3. I have a lot less faith in my ability to tell whether a technique is going to work purely by looking at it or watching it. I have sometimes had great success using “worthless” techniques that do not look like they would be effective.
4. On the flip side, I have discarded a lot of techniques that other people seem to love. I used to train guillotine and triangle chokes all the time. Now I use them only enough to know how to defend against them. Another thing: I used to train mostly closed-fist striking. Now I dislike it (unless I am wearing gloves). I prefer open hand or elbow strikes wherever possible.
5. I approach technique in a totally different way now. I used to think of technique as something that you mastered before you started working with a partner. Now I think that you work with a partner to see how to improve your technique.
6. I used to think drilling was something you did only to warm up for your sparring. Now I think that drilling at varying levels of resistance is just as (if not more) important than sparring. You need both to get better.
7. I used to be a perfectionist. Now I am a good-enoughist. I would rather consistently train solid technique than infrequently train perfect technique. Part of this is motivated by the realization that most teachers do not agree on what constitutes a perfect technique. On a related level, I also measure techniques not by their look, but by their effectiveness.
8. I used to really care about telegraphing my jabs, strikes, and takedowns. Now I barely even think about it. When I am sparring, I worry a lot more about timing. When I am working preemptive strikes, I worry a lot more about knockout power. (This one seems to spur some major disagreement with my training partners though.)
Just a few off the top of my head...