Today, in Kung Fu class, Sifu Amanda had us do an awesome exercise. We had to chose one technique from our forms and find two different real-life applications for it. It was challenging, but extremely fun. For example, I took the double kidney strike from Hon 1 and converted it into a double knifehand strike to both sides of the neck first. Then I turned it into a double-leg takedown. I also turned a tiger attack from Hon 2 into a 2-hit face rake and a tiger claw/single-leg takedown. The latter was a bit of a stretch, but Sifu Amanda seemed to appreciate my effort.
Sifu Amanda had us do this exercise because she wants us to remember that katas are supposed to be practice for real-life self-defense. The techniques aren't as readily apparent, because the Asian martial arts masters disguised them. They didn't want their enemies to learn their system and turn it against them. In some cases, they were forbidden to practice martial arts by an occupying power, so they disguised the techniques as dances. In creating katas, they found a great way to both practice and memorize hundreds of moves. However, many students have either lost sight of this fact or never learned it to begin with. They are basically just going through the motions and doing "combat zumba." Sifu Amanda stressed the importance of actually figuring out what we were doing so that we could defend ourselves properly. She also emphasized seeing all of the aspects of our art as one instead of compartmentalizing them into sparring, forms, and self-defense. She said that doing the latter is just as bad as being a Christian and keeping your church life, work life, and social life separate. To be an effective martial artist and a Christian, you have to synergize. She didn't use that exact word, but that was the point that she was making: every aspect of your life should work together in unity. I look forward to synergizing the different areas of martial arts to make myself a better fighter. In the same way, I look forward to synergizing my life so that I can be a better witness for Christ.