We often hear about the importance of fundamentals. No sport, subject in school, career or fighter can do without them. But why is that?
In fighting, this becomes very clear the longer you train. As you progress, learn more techniques and employ different strategies, the journey always cycles back to the basics. The greatest fighters aren’t necessarily great because of anything new or flashy that they do (though it helps with their reputation), but their ability to take advantage of fundamental mistakes in their opponents. A strong grasp of the basics allows them to perceive and understand the moments in the fight that allow for the most devastating damage to be done. The longer we train and higher we climb, the more crucial it is to sharpen these fundamentals.
Mathematics is a field that embodies this idea well. The four basic operations (addition, subtraction, division and multiplication) are all closely related to each other, and serve as foundation.
No matter how specialized the stream of math, most of the successes and errors lie in basic computation. Adding the wrong digit is all it takes to set a complex equation or process completely off course. And if you happen to be someone who hasn’t studied math since high school, then you know that it’s the basics you use most in everyday life, out of everything you have learned.
So what are the fundamentals? Depending on who you ask, that question may yield many answers. I believe these are 3 that fit into training and everyday life nicely:
In fighting, this means footwork- being in a position that allows for stability and mobility for any technique.
"It is essential to preserve the balance and poise of the fighting turret carrying your artillery. No matter in what direction you move, your aim is to retain the fundamental stance, which has been found the most effective. Let the moving pedestal be as nimble as possible."- Bruce Lee
Stay organized. Keep track of your goals and the steps in your action plan to achieve them.
2. Shield and Sword
Offense and defense are two sides of the same coin. For every question, there is an answer. For every opening you expose, the same opening should be covered for yourself. In the fight, throwing a punch with a proper guard is critical to protecting yourself from the same damage you hope to inflict.
To be strong, you must know where you are weak. As you work toward your goals, stay aware and prepared for setbacks as much as possible.
Rushing is a sign of inexperience or desperation. True speed in the fight comes from timing. The greatest damage is caused and least defended against when applied at the right time. This may mean moments of imbalance, slack guard, or over commitment. I don’t like the term “lucky punch”, because it takes away from the bottom line: what caused the damage. That cause is timing.
In relationships, business and every other facet of life you can think of, being patient can be difficult. It is, however, most rewarding. Ideas and dreams can wither away when put out too early, or blossom when the climate is just right. Read the conditions, make the decision, and execute.