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Silent, Slow, Cooperative: In Self-Defense You Can Train Like a Winner or Die Trying

Beyond a basic misunderstanding of our stance on the use of violence (it is only ever the last resort), the part of our program that receives the most criticism is our training methodology.

Silent, slow, and cooperative.

The silent part is easy enough—we don’t want to communicate if we’re training to operate in the place where communication has failed (preparing ourselves for asocial action)—but going slow makes no sense whatsoever. Especially when everyone knows violence actually happens at full speed.

And “reacting” for each other is equally nonsensical; working against full resistance makes much more sense as no one’s going to move for you in the real world. The old, and well accepted paradigm of full-contact sparring is in order—time-tested, satisfying, and in-step with our expectations and understanding of violence.

Except that full-contact sparring ignores both modern innovations in the training of physical coordination and the mechanical facts of successful violence… besides, if no one goes to the hospital, how effective is it, really?

SLOW IS SMOOTH… SMOOTH IS FAST

When we look at the successful use of violence—where one person inflicts debilitating injury on another—we see the same features repeated over and over: accuracy & correctness.

Accuracy means they hit a vulnerable target, not the forehead, not the cheek but precisely the eye. Correctness means they struck with enough force and follow-through to ruin that important bit of anatomy.

If you miss, nothing happens. If you hit, but without sufficient force and follow-through to disrupt tissue, nothing happens. Get both right and everything changes: he’s blind and begins behaving like a blind man with a serious injury.

This is the answer, in a nutshell, for why we train the way we do. We train for the moment where everything changes in your favor—not for the three seconds of chaos before the first real injury. Not for the five rounds of non-specific trauma before the “accident” in the ring. We train to make accidents happen on purpose.

So how best to do that? If we know we must be accurate and correct with the tool at our disposal—our own body—then we must train to wield it accurately and correctly. This is where going slow comes in.

The concept of training rapid-fire physical action in slow-motion is called “deep practice”, and Googling the term will lead you down a rabbit hole of near-endless thought, discussion and application. In music, golf, Olympic weightlifting, shooting, and really the training of any physical action where precision matters and extraneous movement is undesirable or dangerous.

The short story is that deep practice allows you to be aware of every single movement you make—correct and incorrect—and allows you to discard the unwanted movement while reinforcing the movement you do want. This self-correction rewires the brain in a way that tracks directly to rapid-fire, full-speed execution.

Train fast and you make so many mistakes you have no idea how to improve; train slow and the errors occur one at a time and give you the opportunity to trim them off, leaving nothing but the desired sequence of movement.

Daniel Coyle’s book, The Talent Code, is an in-depth discussion of deep practice and its results in many different physical pursuits. I recommend it for anyone still curious after drinking from the fire hose of a “deep practice” Google search.

NO ESCAPE: MOVE WITH THE INJURED MAN

If we have been accurate and correct—if we hit a square-inch of important anatomy with enough force to break it—we inflict a debilitating injury. This is the part where the scrappy furball resolves into one man going from being dangerous and active to helpless and reactive.

When it comes to blunt force trauma, injured people move in response to their injury. Neurologically, organisms move away from negative stimuli—broken ribs and a bruised spleen, a ruptured eye, a crushed groin, a broken joint—the body tries to move the site of the injury away from whatever caused it, in a vain attempt to prevent further injury. (Note that this has nothing to do with pain—pain is entirely subjective while a broken knee is not.)

Also, forces move mass. When you break something inside the man by smashing it with your body weight in motion, you will tend to unbalance and move him. Both of these mechanisms can be seen in action at the moment of injury.

If we wish to train for that moment, then we need to find our target, strike it accurately, follow all the way through with our mass and if we have done that correctly we should expect to see results—our partner’s reaction.

If we train without reactions, we are left with a choice: either nothing we do will “work” or we can actually injure our partner and get one great reaction… and lose our partner for the near future as he goes to the hospital and then spends time off the mats recovering. And comes back, maybe, one eye short.

As we (kind of don’t) like to say at more advanced levels of training: “You can give me a reaction or I can take one from you.”

When we look at real, successful violence we see the results of injury—we want to add those results into our training to give us realistic sight pictures of success. That way we know when we “got it” and it’s time to pile in and finish it, and when we don’t so we know to redouble our efforts (with better accuracy and correctness).

People won’t just move for you, but injured people will move in response to their injury. And we want to learn not just how to cause that injury, but how to take full advantage of it. Modeling the reactions gives us that opportunity to train for that moment instead of being surprised by it.

Taken all together, our counterintuitive training methodology seeks to replicate what we see in successful violence, instead of training to go five rounds or overpower the man we want to “cheat” and do the things that aren’t allowed in competition, or even in no-holds-barred, anything-goes full-contact matches.

We want exactly the eye, with enough purchase and follow-through to tear it out of the skull, and with the other man moving like he’s just lost one of them. The only way to train that is slowly—to lay it in accurately and correctly—and with a partner who’s going to move that eye away from your hand. Anything else is haphazard, dangerous, and preparing you for a terrifying epic battle instead of simple, fight-ending injury.

–Chris Ranck-Buhr
   TFT Master Instructor

Addendum: How Slow Is Slow?

Slow enough that you:

- Get everything you want exactly right,
- Maintain your balance, and
- Your partner is able to give you good, clean reactions.

Whenever one or more of these isn’t true, you need to slow down until they’re all back in line. As your skill improves, and that of your partner, you can pick up the pace, but only as long as you’re fulfilling all three criteria. The workout pace is always going to be bounded by the weakest link; if a Cadre Instructor jumps in with a beginner the instructor can get everything they want exactly right and maintain their balance at speed… but that beginner won’t be able to give good clean reactions. So they’d have to slow the pace to match the beginner’s reactions. On the flip side, while the instructor can give good, clean reactions at speed, the beginner can’t work perfectly and in balance at that rate, so, again, the rate will default to the lowest common denominator.

[Tim Larkin note: As Chris mentions, training SLOW is probably the most criticized (yet most misunderstood) aspect of TFT training. All that's about to come to a screeching halt. A renowned biomedical engineer has now published a definitive work on the subject, confirming why SLOW training is crucial to maximize your success in specifically learning TFT (and many other skills as well). Watch for my notes on his research coming soon!]

63 comments… add one

  • Jack Bertsch September 19, 2012, 12:40 pm

    Going slow also reduces unintended injuries to your reaction partner. Chris, you have delivered another home run.
    Thanks

    Reply
  • jorge September 19, 2012, 12:45 pm

    SLOW…this missing thing in even the best coaches lessons’.

    last night practicing counter punches while stepping backward into opposite stance (southpaw) I was having trouble w timing….so instinctively to get it right I signaled my partner to ‘walk it thru’ and I did it slow…got it.

    No questioning the validity of this article.

    Reply
  • Stuart September 19, 2012, 12:48 pm

    I have believed this was the best way for 30 years. Good job and the info.

    Reply
  • Theresa September 19, 2012, 12:48 pm

    the newsletters are so educateing i cant believe they are free. then i think how awesome your live class must be..truely worth the price. cant wait to get the live class session. you are a truely gifted writer and teacher. i bet you saved alot of peoples lives by the way you teach. you have a way of makeing it sink deep inside my brain for i wont forget when the time comes. i bed the way you strike sinks deep to . with accuracy and perfect timeing.. cheers to TFT

    Reply
    • Kimo September 19, 2012, 4:30 pm

      The newsletters are “free” but not exactly. You haven’t taken a class yet, but most of us have. The more you are into these posts, the more you will want to take a class and also purchase the DVD programs. I’ve been to the class and also purchased several DVD packages which all come with a coupon to talk to Tim or Chris about specific questions you may have. I’m guessing that many, like me, have a collection of these coupons that they haven’t used because they follow the material and then have “aha moments” while training or reading the newsletters or listening in on the free call-ins when they’re offered. So, yes they are free; but indirectly they cost money because you WILL want to be a customer. Also, stop bringing attention to these things being in an open forum; I don’t want to start paying for them. I’ve already paid a few grand to TFT and this forum is a nice way the group gives back to us. And like I mentioned, it’s a continuous cycle. This information put in an open forum breeds even more business. Win-WIn.

      Reply
  • Jim Norris September 19, 2012, 12:50 pm

    I wish some one could show me how to train when they have no one to train with,I look at the world now days and see more and more Terroiest training for free.I have been to the Vagas training class, but thats been 8 yrs ago. I have not trained sence. and I have no income to get back to Tim class’s Our world is getting hostal these day.With the drug cartel acrossing the boarders and people losing there jobs So how can I train by my self and know what i learn at the vagas class will be there when i need it

    Reply
    • Tom Robertson September 19, 2012, 6:28 pm

      To Jim from the Vegas Class 8 years ago. If you don’t have a training partner, then visualize one, and go through the moves. One of my instructors described this technique to our class a few months ago. He said if you have trouble visualizing a training partner, then set a pair of shoes on the floor in front of you, as though there were an opponent standing in them, and commence your role as action partner.

      Remember to move slowly – intent, correct targeting, transfer of body weight, and rotation of one square inch of your anatomy through that square inch of the opponent’s anatomy “not rated for the traffic” as another of my instructors says, gets you an injury. Visualize the imaginary reaction partner’s movements, and move smoothly through the infliction of your next injury. As you gain experience, concentrate on maintenance of balance, and try to move smoothly and efficiently from injury to injury. Above all else, move slowly.

      If you only took a single weekend class, then you probably weren’t shown how to do leg dynamics. Go to the TFT website and find the video lesson on leg dynamics. Working on leg dynamics will really help you develop a sense of balance. Leg dynamics strengthen your leg muscles isometrically. Most importantly, once you become good at leg dynamics, you can effortlessly lower your body weight through those targets.

      Another of my instructors told us that when he was first learning, he and another student alternating a 3-hour drive to practice with each other twice a month. If even this is not an option for you, then just practice with the imaginary partner, focusing on precise, slow, controlled motion.

      Reply
    • Nate Rogers September 20, 2012, 10:24 am

      I’m looking for a training partner. Where do you live?

      Nate Rogers
      n8orangejuice@gmail.com

      Reply
      • Jim Norris September 20, 2012, 10:29 am

        I live in Breckenridge Tx

        Reply
        • Nate Rogers September 20, 2012, 10:59 am

          Cool. Kansas City. Sorry

          Reply
        • TFS September 21, 2012, 4:44 pm

          Part of Advanced Training at Premier in Abilene

          Reply
  • Brian September 19, 2012, 12:52 pm

    Training slow is a must for TFT type training. Training to target specific vital areas of the body everytime would require it.

    Of course the more experience someone has with it the faster their movements will be. It needs to become “muscle memory” .

    Reply
    • Jim September 22, 2012, 12:33 pm

      Where is Premier in Abilene and whats the cost of coming to this class

      Reply
      • TFS September 23, 2012, 6:50 am

        The school teaches the typical stuff, mostly MMA and Krav. I teach the advanced belts. TFT is part of what I teach. The concepts of identyfying the vital targets and striking with devestating power is what I like about TFT. “Touching” the vital target with the proper body mechanics, and having your partner “react” correctly, is not taught in the regular class. Slowing down, being accurate and play-acting are things I have taken from TFT. We will work on 2 – 3 TFT drills for a few months and blend the concepts into other drills.
        Because of the drive, and the school does not normally teach TFT, we might need to work something out. Check the phone book and my name is Tony.

        Reply
  • Mike Wolfe September 19, 2012, 1:10 pm

    Thanks Chris; you are so much better at explaining this than I am with my training partners. I think human nature is to want to have the so called “Bruce Lee” speed and impress others. TFT isn’t meant to impress others it is meant to save your life! Once again thanks.

    Reply
  • Chris B September 19, 2012, 1:10 pm

    Training slow, many discipline train slow to get the movement down and the needed focus. So this makes prefect sense to me.
    I learned Western Fencing several decades ago. My master showed us everything in slow motion, had us pratice everything in slow motion, and over time gradually brought us up to speed. When wielding a sword or knife, my movements are extremely exact, as I was taught, very precise, as I was taught, and the results were extremely fast, as I learned I could do, because learning slow taught me how to totally focus my blade to a tiny point on the opponent! The speed came from not needing to think about how to stike the place I desired. Any place I desired! Any time I desired! As gently or as vigorously as I desired. Leaving me with no fear when I have a weapon in my hand only calmness, because I know who is going to prevail.

    So this is not just a great way to learn, it has centuries of practice behind it proving the point! No pun intended. :)

    Reply
  • Mike September 19, 2012, 1:18 pm

    The method used by TFT (slow training) couldn’t be any more perfect. I think it is misunderstood because it’s showing people how to injure and even kill a predator. I know of no self defense courses that teach this. As a retired police officer I can say any defensive tactics training I ever learned was done “slowly”. Now, at age 65 with health issues I have no apprehensions about going wherever I choose thanks to TFT. Thank you Tim for developing this fantastic training and thanks Chris and all the staff.

    Reply
  • Grandmaster R. Anthony Kemmerlin, Sr. September 19, 2012, 1:38 pm

    Thank you for reaffriming the importance of building correct muscle memory slowly, methodically and accurately. Your concepts continues to reinforce the scientific nature of the dynamics of a physical confrontation. Stay the course no matter what. Stay focus on your teachings. After all, our training is to correct our own mind.

    Reply
  • Welch Hill September 19, 2012, 1:38 pm

    Just to say that every day I get your e-mail, and going over your Striking DVD Series that I ordered-I made the correct choice of going with your training-it is simply the very best. Welch Hill

    Reply
  • Donald Stahl September 19, 2012, 2:03 pm

    It’s always a pleasure and almost always informative to read what you write.

    Reply
  • Ken Chenault September 19, 2012, 2:34 pm

    Great apologetic on why we train the way we train. If they don’t get it from this, they never will. Thanks Chris and Tim.

    Reply
  • barry September 19, 2012, 2:46 pm

    i’d like to see tft add an additional phase of training, that has improvised striking target-bags (eg, various size bags filled w/ beans, rice), that are held on the partners’ target areas, for full-force, full-speed blows; work up gradually; have you guys tried this?

    Reply
  • Jim Soos September 19, 2012, 2:55 pm

    When learning anything slow is the best way for perfection. Focus is learned slowly. Speed comes with experience. This is how I train my scuba students and it works every time.

    Great article Tim. Keep up the good work.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  • Walter Sasiadek September 19, 2012, 4:37 pm

    Here’s a quote that applies.

    “Fast is fine BUT accuracy is everything. You must learn to be slow in a hurry.”
    Wyatt Earp

    Reply
  • Steve Madaffari September 19, 2012, 5:07 pm

    Another great post that reinforces the effectiveness of training slow and sure. In my experience with the go-slow training, I’ve found that it actually takes less time to learn properly. By practicing slow and methodical, adjustments can be made and mistakes corrected for precision.I look forward to the research paper that Tim mentioned. Another good article is “The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance” by K. Anders Ericsson,Ralf Krampe and Clemens Tesch-Romer.Chris, this post will be helpful with explaining to others the ‘WHY’ do you go so slow.

    Reply
  • RAYMOND September 19, 2012, 6:04 pm

    AS A FORMER KARATE INSTRUCTOR, WE SORT OF SNIKERED AT THE SLOW TAI CHI DRILLS AS SIMPLY FOR HEALTH AND BALANCE. AFTER LEARNING ‘NERVE POINT STRIKING THEORY’ I SAW THAT THE MOVES WERE VERY PRECISE STRIKES. JUST LIKE KATA, ONLY MOST KATA (not all) WERE DONE AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. IT SEEMS THAT BASED ON WHAT YOU GUYS HAVE UNCOVERED AND TEACH,THE TAI CHI WAS PROBABLY TRAINING MORE EFFECTIVE FIGHTERS….RAY

    Reply
  • Thiagan September 19, 2012, 6:11 pm

    Hi Guys, what you say above is well clear at least the language (English) is clear. Is the content accurate and clear. I do not know. Under these circumstances if the subject matter is now or at a later date and time going to be vital, we have to seek out and study as best as we can and or contact people who know better than us.

    Therefore please check out and let me know your comments on:
    http://www.thearma.org/essays/fighting-in-slow-motion.html
    Thank you and Best wishes

    Reply
  • David September 19, 2012, 7:15 pm

    Very interesting. There’s an old Russian proverb: “The slower you go, the farther you get.”

    Reply
  • Richard Johnson September 19, 2012, 9:29 pm

    Nice article. I love slow training. It has led me to not one but two rewarding careers. I usually say, “Slow is for precision. Calm is for control. Relaxed is for speed and power.” Of course, this is not limp-noodle relaxed, one has to engage the relaxed-strength paradox, but that is a different topic.

    I look forward to the upcoming study.

    Thanks, and I want to refer a few friends to this page if you don’t mind.

    Reply
  • Mick September 19, 2012, 10:49 pm

    that’s not my mate Trav getting a lesson on the finer points of flying and the inherent dangers of gravity, courtesy of my drinking partner in the attached photo, is it? ;-)

    Reply
  • Timothy Clyne September 20, 2012, 1:16 am

    Chris certainly knows what he is asserting .
    I consider myself extremely fortunate to have spoken directly with Master Instructor Chris Ranck-Buhr and I do not want to detract from his point.
    I also concur that relatively slow is essential to properly learning and executing the techniques of Target Focus Training especially when it matters.
    His statement regarding “Slow is Fast” should be a minor tenet in your permanent TFT education .
    The Major Tenet being ROTATION, PENETRATION, Cause an INJURY.
    I am well versed in applied use of physical force.
    TFT is a superior product offered at a bargain price. TFT curriculum is the absolute best product offered to civilians and in a manner geared towards essential retention of information , lightning fast learning curve and your personal success when it counts most.
    I can not overstate this. The instructors of TFT are Masters of the application of the science of human control when force is necessary .

    Reply
  • Doug Lucas September 20, 2012, 2:16 am

    I believe this “theory” has stood the test of time. Although not practiced universially by, this learning technique has proven itself in many sports, as well as other self-defense styles and tecniques, e.g., firearms training. So I would say you should incorporate what you have read here into other learning areas, from golf to the whole spectrum of self-defense.

    Reply
  • Henry September 20, 2012, 3:20 am

    Like I told my scouts, it more important to know how to tie a knot right then is to do it fast, as your life may depend on it, speed will come with practice, also you may be surprised how fast you can tie a knot when you really need to.

    Reply
  • Ted September 20, 2012, 4:44 am

    My Silat Master has been teaching us since the early 90′s to go as slowly as possible, with careful targeting, and that speed can only happen so long as it is acompanied by cleanliness. “Slow sparring” counts on people “honoring the blows. And Kembagan is the proccess of doing this individually, visualizing the opponent. It’s interesting how in real combat systems, based on causing real injury quickly, this concept of slow has been known and appreciated all along. We also struggle with the opinions of those who see value only in full contact sparring. I look forward to training with the TFT program, it seems very professional and progressive.

    Reply
  • Shariff September 20, 2012, 5:23 am

    And going slow is difficult, but with enough focus and training, this ideology definitely works. It makes sense!

    Reply
  • Patrick Mattison September 20, 2012, 5:31 am

    Practice! Practice! Practice! Start slow and build the techniques to develop accuracy with speed.

    Keep on prompting us.

    Reply
  • Doug Nelson September 20, 2012, 5:37 am

    Great blog, Chris. Having taken only the initial course with TFT, but with a number of years of martial arts training, I thought the “slow process” (and your training methods in general) were some of the best methods I have experienced. I do hope to continue with your live training when I can.

    Reply
  • Jonny Figgis September 20, 2012, 6:00 am

    Great article. I’ve just incorporated this into my teaching but I’m having problems getting students to maintain a slow pace. They just naturally want to speed up. Any tips?

    Reply
    • Ted October 3, 2012, 2:55 pm

      Yep. Make a mandatory part of your teaching program. Make it as integral a part of their training, and yours, as anything else you teach.

      Present this article to your classes and discuss it.

      The slow training is something that needs to be practiced over and over again and LEARNED, just like a punch or a kick or other exercise, in order to learn it effectively.

      If myself and my partner are out of control and going to fast for comfort. We simply stop what we are doing and slow it down, waaaaaaaaaay down, until we ared satisfied everything is going perfectly, just the way we want it.

      Reply
    • Dane Dormio July 10, 2013, 11:59 pm

      Hey Johnny,

      Since you said you “just” incorporated slow practice into your teaching, I’d say give it time (and of course frequent correction). Also, make sure that the practice starts off on the right foot, slow and controlled, because it’s harder to change a pattern once it has been established. If they start off going fast, stop them immediately and have them start over. And of course, like anything else you teach, you have to be able to accurately model it, so focus mostly on incorporating it into your own practice. Probably nothing you didn’t know already, you just need to give it time to work. :)

      Reply
  • Jim Norris September 20, 2012, 6:10 am

    Thank Tim.when I went to your course in Vagas,you did give me the training manual,and video’s the Video’s was the first New York video’s.
    I do remember one Instructer that was as that class, at the time he had a neck braise on.He use a pair of shoes for training.The manual has the leg work in it

    Reply
  • Scott Merrill September 20, 2012, 9:09 am

    Having been a professional drummer and drumset instructor for over 40 years, I have much experience in learning and teaching what amounts to a virtually infinite set of complex physically/mentally coordinated actions. Two common adages in my business are: “Practice does not make perfect. PERFECT PRACTICE makes perfect.” And, “practice slow–learn fast.”

    Reply
  • Daniel Bowers September 20, 2012, 10:16 am

    (Coming from someone not very experienced:) In practicing TFT, you can slow down your muscles’ movements, but the acceleration of gravity is constant. The TFT videos I’ve watched where you are dropping on to an opponent suggest putting more weight away from your training partner during practice, but visualizing dropping all your weight onto the enemy, so that you are effective in a real life fight. E.g., if doing a double knee plant, you would put your weight over your feet as you slowly kneel onto your partner. Any thoughts on the gravity-never-slows issue?

    Reply
    • Jim September 22, 2012, 8:12 pm

      I’ve been to ONE tft class and I am not an instructor. I would agree with your observation that gravity is always there; since one rule of cooperative practice is not to kill your partner, you are correct that weight is kept off of the practice partner and control is maintained at all times. Remember that it will be YOUR turn to play target next – how do you want to be treated? No one wants to go home from practice with a creacked rib or a perforated spleen.

      In an asocial situation, you would do the knee drop at 32 feet per second squared and you would direct your knee to hit your chosen target. Then you would “get up, turn your back, and walk away.”

      Reply
  • Jim Guest September 20, 2012, 3:49 pm

    I train students in knife work and other forms of self-protection. The most difficult challenge I have is getting the students to slow down. Once they have a concept or some nice combination, they want to do it as fast as possible – and their accuracy and follow-through falls apart. I’m so glad I was able to spend a weekend with Tim and his instructors so the idea of slow practice and continually moving into your opponent became deeply ingrained in what I do. TFT was the most expensive training I have ever experienced – and hour per hour – the most valuable. I can assure the critics: These guys know what they are talking about.

    Reply
  • David September 20, 2012, 6:48 pm

    Slow and accurate is what counts. Outstanding………

    Reply
  • George Cooper September 21, 2012, 10:08 am

    Cannot wait to learn TFT!

    Reply
  • Jim September 22, 2012, 8:01 pm

    Some trainers talk about the adrenal stress response, and I wonder if that could be duplicated by doing some sprints of other high volume exercise JUST BEFORE doing your SLOW tft?

    Or is the adrenal stress response of little significance?

    Reply
  • geno September 22, 2012, 9:02 pm

    Going slow allows for “perfect” practice. I think this is by far the best method. I use it in practice, drawing my “carry weapon” from different locations…muscle memory, flow. Cannot overstate……the way Chris, Matt, Bruce and Tim teach, it is the best method!

    Reply
  • Tim September 22, 2012, 11:38 pm

    Hi I just want to start out by saying hello and thank you to the whole TFT crew for the efforts put into every and all TFT products blogs I have purchesed and or recieved and read by email.
    That being said, I just wanted to comment that I have always thought and practiced slowly in most everything I do, I have found (for myself anyway) that I was able to workout and practice twice as much as most people,
    Reason is by doing everything in slow motion I am able to remember more, then it is easier for me to layback close my eyes and having another workout by going through everything I had done that afternoon over and over and over in my head,
    I found if I felt like making the techniques faster I could do them in my head,
    I believe I will continue to practice this way because if I messed up in real practice like I mess up so easily by speeding up the moves in my head myself or my partner would be spending more time recovering than learning or running out of body parts to practice on.
    So thanks for everything and keep up the good work I’ll be looking foward to hearing more.

    Reply
  • Keith September 24, 2012, 6:58 pm

    Well said. Slow allows one to practice and practice until they get it correct. Any sport or activity improves with practice.

    Reply
  • Michael K September 25, 2012, 6:58 am

    I 100% agree with moving slow. You shouldn’t need this long article.
    Where I think TFT get criticized is that the style goes against other Reality Based Self Defence methods. I’m sure you’ve seen some. With dissarms, boxing punches and full head cover blocking, I’m sure you know what the other guys are teaching. So when some one sees TFT the odd one out. They spot the most obvious difference and bring that up.

    Besides all that was said and the fact it reduces unintended injuries. Going slow weeds out the macho testosterone nature of martial arts and fighting. This brings it all back to the fact TFT is self defence and not about kicking ass. And that is some thing I respect about TFT.

    Reply
  • steve September 25, 2012, 11:08 pm

    Tim, I know your method of slow training is critical to ensure and maintain the health and well being of everyone involved in TFT training. Training fast with speed would quickly thin the class out to the last man standing; an unavoidable result. Hope to attend a training class.

    Reply
  • Tim September 27, 2012, 12:23 pm

    I have to agree with your article.
    I grew up competing in rodeo as a calf roper.
    It is the most technical of the events, where many things can go wrong in just seconds.
    35 years ago, the guys that instructed me had a saying when we practiced; “go slow to be fast”.
    They understood the concept you’re talking about back then.
    Since then, I’ve used this concept as an instructor in several sports.
    Another great article from TFT.
    Thanks,
    Tim

    Reply
  • CDR October 1, 2012, 12:32 pm

    Ed Parker (IKKA/Kempo Karate) taught this principle over 40 years ago. He called it ‘body reaction’. Strike the groin, the head is going to come down as the groin is pulled back. Stike the eye, the head goes back and/or rotates away from the strike. These are evolutionary reactions of the human body as stated in this article. Some of the reactions take time (see the the TFT article on groin strikes for excellent video on this) that needs to be incorporated in training. (Parker called these ‘timing moves’ which were really preparing for the next move into the opponent that body reaction was going to provide.) Going slow actually has centuries of experience behind it. That is how the Shaolin monks (to this day) begin their training. I’m sure the biomedical engineer is going to confirm what evolution determined a long time ago.

    Reply
  • Ted October 3, 2012, 2:49 pm

    Awesome article. This business of training slow applies to any new skill someone is learning. Slow training is an incredibly effective tool.

    It was one of the first things I had to learn in TFT training. I was all over the place to begin with and going 300 miles per hour on top of it. This simply will not do.

    It’s the same with playing and practicing my guitar, for example. The very tip of my fingers must touch the guitar string in an incredibly slow fashion (40 bpm, one note at a time, to start with), not only in order to get the precise note I want, but also to set my other fingers up to make their next move on the fretboard.

    TFT is literally no different. One works to pin-point the target to be destroyed and follows through the target until desired result is acheived.

    Slow training has saved me so many bloody problems in life and in training (for just about anything) that I really can’t even remember what I did before I started the practice. I wish I would have learned this stuff at age two. I can only wonder how much time knowing this material could have saved me all these years.

    Thanks to the crew at TFT for stressing the hell out training slow and writing intensely about it.

    Reply
  • Dave October 6, 2012, 6:42 am

    with every knee drop do you pick foot up before hitting target

    Reply
  • Rawleigh McCullough October 10, 2012, 8:20 am

    I’ve always trained slow to get something right, speed will come later. Training fast has no value. You guys have another great article on the importance of quality training. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  • Mike H October 19, 2012, 10:17 pm

    Maybe that is the secret of Tai Chi…..

    Reply
  • paul December 3, 2012, 1:24 am

    great info.
    thanks for the link to “Talent Code”.

    Reply
  • John Watson December 21, 2012, 4:02 pm

    Brilliant article Thanks!

    Reply
  • glenn robinson March 1, 2013, 2:38 am

    I really appreciate my ongoing training in TFT as i NEVER get injured. I have trained in various martial arts over the years and have sustained numerous injuries. For this reason amongst others TFT is a godsend to me. Thanks Tim and Chris for all the work you’ve done in making this (slow training method) available to civilians like myself.

    Reply
  • Dane Dormio July 10, 2013, 9:34 pm

    Obviously we tai chi guys agree with you wholeheartedly. :)

    Reply

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