Yet another week goes by where I don’t fail to pick up a little snippet of inspiration for my next article from my Instructor Terry Barnett.

During a session of Jun Fan Kick Boxing, we were discussing training methods and the importance of reviewing techniques we may have neglected over time, or training methods that we may have moved on from and left to gather dust in the “that’s outdated” area of our mind.

Terry quoted the famous JKD philosophy of “Absorb what is useful, Reject what is useless, and Add specifically what is you own” but then continued by suggesting he believes the phrase should be completed with “… And then go back to the beginning”.

The last bit is something we are probably all guilty of Not doing. Continually moving forwards, adopting the latest training methodologies and strategies, and perhaps not going back to review our past decisions as much as we should.

I am a big believer in looking forwards, and continuing to expand and grow and change with the times. We are an evolving species – well, at least some of us are if you ignore the Jeremy Kyle programs – and with this evolution comes new approaches and more efficient and effective concepts.

But with this new found knowledge can come a greater understanding of the things we have rejected in the past – a deeper understanding that could potentially change our previous opinion and decisions.

I recently watched a program about Submarines. I know… I am that sad….. anyway…

The conversation with Terry reminded me of the part of the program where they described the nuclear reactor and how it powers the sub.

Nuclear power, like it or hate it, has revolutionised the submarine design, but the genius of it is that it also uses an age old process of Steam Power to actually convert the heat from the Nuclear reactor to a useable force to propel the sub.

Can you imagine if, when we first started to move to petrol and diesel powered engines, we abandoned Steam power completely, and relegated it to the same area of “that’s outdated and useless – we’ve moved on now”??

The fact that the boffins behind all of these incredible engineering designs are prepared to go back and revisit old technologies, with a new found level of skill and engineering knowledge, means they are able to revisit and re-apply these old solutions to modern problems.

And we are seeing this more and more in the fitness industry where, all of the funky and clever gym machines and gadgets, are now being replaced by traditional and conventional free weights. Personal trainers are now going back to simple kettle bells, free weights, and even bodyweight exercises rather than sit their clients on fancy “hi-tech” machines. Boot camp training doesn’t even require a gym and look how popular that has become and how many people are claiming huge benefits from these types of sessions. And they don’t look too much different from training methods used by the military for many many years.


Being prepared to go back and review the decisions you have made in the past is a great way of finding gems that you had buried and thought useless, but which now have great value.

I also have to thank my good friend Mr Fraser Kyne for steering me towards this other little gem that brilliantly illustrates my point.

Terry Moore gives a wonderful talk on the benefits of going back and reviewing even the tiniest thing that we had thought we had mastered. Tying you shoe laces is probably one of the first major achievements as a child and with many years of repetition, it’s also probably something we assume we no longer need to go back and review or improve. Not so.

What we also need to consider is that, whilst we may have discounted certain things when we first tried to learn and apply them, the subsequent years of training and personal development could have given us skills that means those techniques are now far more appropriate and effective.

Maybe Jodan Mawashigeri (roundhouse kick to the head) isn’t the best technique to use in a self defence situation. But for someone who has then gone on to spend 30plus years developing and honing their kicking skills, their flexibility, their control, their power and their efficiency as a kicker, they may very well go back and change their mind. I know this is not a great example, but we only have to look at legends such as Terry O’Neil or Bill Wallace to appreciate that it’s possible.

So. Absorb what is useful. Reject what is useless, and add specifically what is your own. But most definitely, be prepared to go back to the beginning and revisit all of these things as you’re opinions and decisions may have changed with your continued development.

Stay Safe and Have Fun

Al x

One comment

  1. John Carter

    “Sound advice indeed!”

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