There are three areas that a comprehensive martial arts program should consist of:
1) Relative and Intuitive Athletic Development (RIAD): A student should develop an acute natural sense of distance control; a friendly/relaxed natural disposition between foot work and weight transfer; an immersed/well-developed natural instinct that can correctly anticipate opportunity in a short-lived window of rhythmic cadence— reflected in the mirror of timing; an elastic quality of motion, and so on. There are some 25 other RIAD’s as well that I am not going to delve into in this short blog article.
2) Rational and Technical Maturity (RTM): In this domain, a student must learn to correctly execute the fundamental techniques. More importantly, he or she needs to develop a mature understanding of why something needs to be done this way and not that way. Students should be able to rationally defend the logic of the move they have acquired, which means the student has matured in his or her understand of the technical field. Not until the student can demonstrate the technical aspect of the art, can one really claim that they have reached an adequate understanding and logic of their own training. This is not just learning techniques, but developing the ability to reason through all bio-mechanical and kinesthetic movements.
3) Just Philosophical Development (JPD): This domain formulates the reason why you train; what deems appropriate to fight, OR not to fight; and what is the appropriate moral and ethical decision-making in a given circumstance. This is the bedrock of your killer instinct. In this context, both those who fight for no apparent reason other than satisfying their own animal nature, as well as those of the opposite side of the pole who are fearful and allow injustice to occur, should both be discouraged and tactfully navigated to a more balanced approach. Nothing we do is mindless or by accident, but based on a solid philosophical foundations. The key here is developing a sense of justice and fairness.
In conclusion if a martial artist deepens himself in all 3 areas of: 1) Relative Intuitive Athletic Development (RIAD), 2) Rational and Technical Maturity (RTM), and 3) a Just Philosophical Development (JPD), then such a student would certainly have an edge over others who may be more focused in one or two areas. This student is well-balanced and better focused. They can filter the good from the bad, and illusion from reality. These students and coaches are neither closed minded nor easily swayed by popular fads. They are calm and composed and can problem solve more concisely and rationally. They are natural, instinctual, and insightful—-and generally grow to be more productive in their lives than those who are more focused on one or two of these features.