A few weeks back, I sent some videos to one of my students through whatsapp about how to properly work on shadow boxing. She was doing it haphazardly and I wanted to take advantage of every minute of training she could get.
She had just competed and I noticed that her fighting style involved having her guard wide open. One thing I had noted to the black belt she usually trains with. His answer was a surprise “I keep on telling her and she doesn’t listen!”
Then, several people came to her after her fight, all good willed, offering the same advice: “close your guard“.
Then, she sends me a quick video of her training a few weeks later and her guard hasn’t change, not in the slighest.
This bothered me to say the least.
Here were several people pointing out the same flaw and to some level, the advice is being ignored.
To me, the fact that she continues to have the same guard is a decision from her to ignore the advice, even if the decision is an unconscious one.
This also indicates to me that she doesn’t put any importance into correcting this important aspect of her fighting style.
This led me to give her a little bit of tough love in one video I shared with her.
I told her that at her level, 6th kyu, I would expect more from her. She is considered already as an advanced student and there are some thing at her level that she should already dominate.
One of them being her fighting stance.
Yet, her teacher, as well as several others, keeps on telling her that her guard is too open and needs correcting. And yet, we don’t ser any progress.
I mentionned that at her level, I would expect her to work on what we ask her to work on. She might not be doing it right every time, but we do need to see that she is actually making the effort to fix it.
Which she wasn’t at the time.
As she gains more experience, corrections should start being made on the spot, because her level of body awareness will increase and eventually, she will be able to correct herself without having a teacher correcting her.
This, to me, is mindful training.
Am I asking too much of her?
Maybe. Sometimes, you need to push your students a bit, get them out of their comfort zone, maybe even make them feel a bit guilty, in order to make that click happen in their mind.
Last thing I want is that click to happen when she gets knocked out in a tournament due to having a poor guard.