The Importance of Basics: Building a Strong Foundation

laying a foundation

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: New College Edition defines “basic” as: “1. Of, pertaining to, or constituting a basis; underlying; fundamental.” This definition perfectly encapsulates the essence of martial arts training. Basics are the building blocks upon which all other skills are constructed. These fundamental elements are crucial for progress and mastery in any martial art.

Constituting a Basis

The material first taught to martial arts students is not arbitrary; it is carefully selected to serve as the foundation for all future training. Stances, punches, and kicks are integral to every stage of martial arts practice. These basic techniques are the bedrock upon which more complex movements and combinations are built. With a solid grasp of these fundamentals, martial arts advancement is possible.


Understanding and performing advanced movements in martial arts requires a thorough knowledge of the basics. The foundational techniques are a common language between instructors and students, allowing for effective communication and efficient learning. Without this mutual terminology and shared understanding, explanations would be lengthy and convoluted, hindering learning.

Never Confuse Basic for Simplistic

The term “Jian” in Chinese means simplifying something to its essence, distilling it into its core components. This concept is directly applicable to martial arts basics. Basic techniques are not simplistic but refined to their most effective and efficient form. Just as in education, where the fundamentals learned in first grade are never discarded but built upon, the basic punches and kicks learned as a white belt are continually used and refined throughout a martial artist’s journey.

The House Analogy

Building a strong martial artist can be likened to constructing a house. You wouldn’t start building a house by installing the roof first; you start with a solid cement foundation. Following this, you erect the framework, install the plumbing, electrical systems, and insulation, and add the interior walls. Each step must be completed in the proper order to ensure the stability and integrity of the house. Similarly, in martial arts, you must start with the basics to build a solid foundation. A martial artist’s skills would be unstable and incomplete without mastering the foundational techniques.

Practice Makes Perfect

Consistent practice of basic techniques is crucial for improving advanced material. Basics are not something to be learned once and forgotten; the skills should be practiced at every opportunity. This continuous reinforcement helps engrain these techniques into muscle memory, allowing for more fluid and effective application in advanced scenarios. The more you practice your basics, the more natural and automatic they become, enhancing your overall martial arts proficiency.

Fundamentals: The Key to Mastery

In martial arts, as in many areas of life, the basics are the key to mastery. All other skills build upon the essential foundation techniques. You create a solid base that supports your growth and development as a martial artist by continuously practicing and refining your basic techniques. Remember, even the most advanced practitioners never abandon the basics; they continue to practice and perfect them throughout their martial arts journey.

Are you ready to build a strong foundation in martial arts? Join our classes at Golden Leopard Kempo and start your journey toward mastery. Our experienced instructors will guide you through the basics and help you develop your skills to succeed. Enroll today and take the first step towards becoming a proficient martial artist. Visit our website or contact us to book your first class. Don’t wait—start building your foundation now!


  • Bryan Bagnas

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

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