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Thomas Clifford’s Martial Arts

Building A Rock-Solid Foundation...

Building A Rock-Solid Foundation

Posted: July 05, 2019



Dear Peak Performer,

I am certain that this blog finds you well.

The following is a summary of our approach to learning/teaching our system.

I am confident that you will recognize the methodology.

In fact, you will come to realize that you have experienced and utilized these strategies throughout your entire life.

Children and adults enjoy greater success and a more fulfilling Martial Arts experience through this approach.

Here are the 5 steps of Mastery:


Demonstration is the performance of a specific technique or techniques, that gives a 3 dimensional visual imprint for the observer. The accuracy of the “demo” is crucial.

It is more important “how” the technique is done than “who” does it. A skilled student is a better choice than an injured instructor when it comes to Demonstration.

Explanation is the narrative that brings the students attention to key points through the auditory learning modality. Vocabulary and voice quality are essential. Emotion and passion should come across “louder” than the words.

Programming is the most significant of the steps. It’s the phase of learning a physical skill where the student is “going through the motions”. The student is transferring what they looked at and listened to, into an animated action.

The knowledge they took in through their eyes and ears must be “down loaded” from the brain to the body. This conversion of cerebral understanding to neuromuscular skill is the key successful teaching/learning in the martial arts.

The attention paid here will dramatically effect the outcome. It is also the step that when possible, the student gets to feel the technique being “done” to them. It is the kinesthetic/tactile learning modality.

Training happens after the technique has been sufficiently “burned” in. It is where we move to a higher level of intensity, including “live” training when appropriate.

If you move to this stage to quickly you can expect problems. These setbacks range from injuries to difficult to “break” habits. Never the less, this High Intensity Training (H.I.T.) is must for establishing true skill.

Habituation is both the result of the four previous steps, and a step in and of itself. You use the current level of skill or “habit” to design the next level of Demonstration, Explanation and Re-Programing.

This cycle is extraordinarily effective, and when implemented consciously, ensures greater progress and outstanding results.

I look forward to seeing you in class!


Thomas Clifford


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