laying a foundation

Basics are the Foundation

“Basics” are not basic rather they are the foundation.

Basic is defined by The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: New College Edition as: “1. Of, pertaining to, or constituting a basis; underlying; fundamental.”

Constituting a basis
The material first taught are the building blocks from which other techniques can be taught. It is the basis of the art. Stances, punches and kicks are used everywhere.

Without the foundation knowledge, you can’t understand or perform later movements. Explanations can take a long time, unless a mutual nomenclature is established to communication effectively.
Never confuse basic for simplistic
The term “jian” means simplified to its base or essence, to distill to the atomic level or core. If you think of “basics” this way, you’ll gain a lot of insight. Simple does not mean ineffective. Just as in school, despite popular belief, you do not disregard what you learn in first grade. Rather, you build foundations of knowledge upon them. In regular conversation, you still use the letters you learned in grammar school. Likewise, you still use the punch and kick you learned as a white belt.

House analogy
Consider how a house is built. In rough terms, you first lay a foundation of cement. Then you build the framework. Next, the plumbing, electrical and insulation is installed. Then the walls are put on. You need to start at the beginning in order to build a strong house. You also need to start at the beginning to build a strong martial artist.

Practice your basics at every opportunity. They will help improve your advanced material more than any other practice.


  • Bryan Bagnas

    Grandmaster and Founder of Golden Leopard Kempo Martial Arts School, teaching Philippine Combatives, Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu, Kickboxing, Hawaiian Shaolin Kempo, and Self-Defense to San Diego students for over three decades.