Ask any professional how they became good at their martial arts skills and they will tell you practice. Ask them what they practiced and you will most likely hear “the fundamentals” or “the basics.”
I once interviewed 13 great martial artists. The thing that struck me was that every one of them talked about how their earliest instructor was a traditionalist and had them study the basics. In other words, what made them great was the fact that they spent time on the fundamentals.
Now the sad part of this was that half of them were not teaching the knowledge they claimed made them good. They were into the flash and the short cuts. While this is fine for them, it’s not fine for their students. Remember a shortcut is only part of a motion, but most motions are made up of many parts which can lead to shortcuts. Shortcuts lead nowhere. When a master takes a shortcut they look good, but when a student learns only shortcuts they look poorly trained.
Practice your fundamentals and I promise you the fun stuff will be better, faster and functional. Fundamentals are – stances and forms. If you are taught quality forms, then they are worth it. If the forms are just made up, it can teach you bad habits in training that are hard to overcome. There are no excuses, if you want to master your art and your body then these should be perfect.
Stances: horse, bow, front, cat, high back and low back. They should be low and comfortable so you are able to move in different directions while staying level. Also, the lower you are in your stance, the more stable you will be.
Kicks: front side, back and round kick. These should be controlled and very smooth.
Blocks: high rising, downward, outside block, front punch, back hand and vertical fist. If these are perfect your training can start!
The list above works all your major muscle groups as well all major defense and offensive directions. If you just had those basics perfect you could master most any art. Regardless of whether they use those motions are not. The reason is simple, once you master your body you can make it do anything. A new style of martial arts is like learning a new dance. It can be challenging, but not impossible.