Learning the martial arts aspects of 52 Blocks involves more than just learning the moves of each technique. Your instructor must consider many ideas and concepts when developing a training curriculum. For example, you must learn both physical and mental conditioning. A muscular body can withstand strikes better than a weak body, and a supple body can maintain balance when performing the more difficult techniques. A strong and supple body gives you speed and ease of movement. Cardiovascular endurance may be your most important physical attribute, but muscular endurance is important as well. You don’t know in advance for how long the fight will last in a self-defense scenario. In tournament competition, too, the person with greater endurance often wins over the more skilled fighter. Mentally, you must know how to deal with fearful situations without getting stunned. Having been there prior to the actual encounter is great for conditioning your mind and body, even if you have only been there in training.
Although 52 Blocks is popularly thought of as self-defense, it has been said that the best defense is offense. So you must learn both offense and defense. Offense should be learned with the proper attitude. The way you carry yourself in a threatening situation may determine whether you will be a victim or a winner. Some people equate proper attitude with confidence. I call it combat presence. When you square off to spar with your opponent, you should look as though you want to be there. Combat presence can be practiced in forms demonstrations as well by practicing with intent and making the audience feel your presence in the room. Have you ever noticed how some people manage to sneak in and out unnoticed? Have you noticed how they never say anything or draw attention to themselves? Combat presence means that you strive to let others know who and where you are. You want them to notice you; you want them to understand that they’d better not enter your space.
Learning the martial arts also involves learning specific details about your particular art, what it is used for, its history, and how it compares to or differs from other arts.