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Training in Gross-motor Skills

Gross-motor Skills (from Wikipedia): Abilities usually acquired during childhood as part of a child's motor learning. By the time they reach two years of age, almost all children are able to stand up, walk and run, walk up stairs, etc. These skills are built upon, improved, and better controlled throughout early childhood; and they continue in refinement throughout most of the individual's years of development into adulthood. These gross movements come from large muscle groups and whole body movement. These skills develop in a head-to-toe order. Children typically learn head control first; following that, they learn trunk stability, and then (finally) standing up and walking. It's been shown (Humphrey) that children exposed to outdoor play time activities will develop better gross motor skills.

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In the arenas of self-defense and life-preservation training, gross-motor movement training is crucial. All defensive (at least, all initial defensive) techniques should be gross-motor. Trying to implement fine-motor skills, especially just after the body has experienced a fight-or-flight adrenalin dump (which always occurs during the first stages of an attack), will be an exercise in futility. Once said "dump" has occurred, all that can be performed are gross-motor movements anyway. As such, any training in fine-motor defensive techniques (even if such movements have been "mastered") will, in large part, be essentially useless when it comes to self-defense and life-preservation.

Rather than training in complex, fine-motor skills and responses, train in those that involve whole-body movements. In learning to martial the whole body efficiently, a far more effective defense (even if it's just running from your attacker[1]) can be provided. Absent such training, your "trained defenses" will be relatively non-existent as you'll instinctually fall-back on more primal, gross-motor movements. Not that primal movements are ineffective (on the contrary), they just need to be trained diligently so they can be channeled effectively in an attack scenario.

God's peace to you...


  1. I'm a huge fan of running from an attacker or potentially hazardous situation. In my training seminars, I call it "Run Fu."


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