"Be target-centric in your responses…"—Part A of Principal "9" from The Twelve Principals of Temple Martial Arts Training

The manner in which you train is the manner in which you'll fight.

When executing a technique in training, don't just throw it without visualizing your target. Every technique you initiate should be target-centric in its execution, meaning, it should be thrown for the express purpose of inflicting maximal damage to a specific, vulnerable target on your threat's body. For example, I implement a downward strike with the bottom edge of my right forearm, but I only practice slamming it down on the clavicle (or collar bone) of the human body. This is the only target on which I would ever use this technique. The technique is so target-centric I call it The Clavicle Strike. It would make no sense for me to try to throw it at any other part of the body (except, perhaps, the back of my opponent's neck if, say, he were doubled over and exposing that part of his neck to me).

Not all strikes are so target-centric, but they can be made to be so (or quite nearly so). For example, when I throw a left heaving push kick, my target is almost always the upper mid-section of the human body. Of course, I can throw it elsewhere (such as to the chest or to the right or left sides of the hips), but when I do, I don't get nearly the same effect as when I kick above my opponent's center of gravity, causing him to lose his balance and bend forward at the waste. Given this, whenever I throw my left heaving push kick, I throw it to the solar plexus—about 99.9% of the time. Perhaps I should start calling it The Left Heaving Solar Plexus Thrust.

Don't be willy-nilly with your techniques. Flinging a head-level round kick may look cool in the movies, but, take it from personal experience, no one looks cool in a fight. No one. Similarly, if you throw a round kick to your opponent's hip, while it may cause pain, it won't inflict much damage; in fact, such a kick will hurt you about as much as it does your opponent. To me, throwing such a strike makes no sense at all. However, if you drop your target about twelve inches, you'll connect with your opponent's thigh. That kind of strike will put him on the ground with a partially (and temporarily) paralyzed leg, and you'll hardly feel a thing.

Being mindfully target-centric inflicts maximal damage to your opponent while minimizing damage to you. Train to throw all your techniques in such ways; you'll thank me later.


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