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Flash versus Fundamental by Roy Harris

Over the years, there has been talk about flashy techniques versus fundamental technique. Well, recently, on one of the forums I answer questions on, someone asked, “What exactly is a flashy technique from Brazil? I have heard this coined phrase a ton of times and never really knew what one was. What would be an example of a flashy technique from Brazil?”

Here was my response:

When some people, myself included, use the term “Flash”, we are talking about the “good looking” techniques that generally can only be applied on a consistent basis by fanatics and the athletes. Let me give you an example.

When it comes to kickboxing, let’s compare two techniques:

1. A jab.
2. A jumping, spinning side kick.

From my perspective, I would classify the jab as a “fundamental” technique and the jumping, spinning side kick as a “flashy” technique. While it is possible to make both techniques functional, not everyone is going to have the time nor the inclination to make the second technique (the jumping, spinning side kick) fully functional. Plus, when it comes to the amount of time it would take (in training) to make each technique functional, it would take most practitioners two, three or maybe even four times as many hours to make the second technique functional as it would the first.

So, in my mind, the differences between the two are:
1. Fundamental techniques are used by practitioners of all levels (whether it is a person’s first week of training or a professional’s seventh year of fighting or anyone in between).

2. Flashy techniques are used by fanatics and athletes who have the time, discipline, initiative, emotional resolve and financial resources to train twenty to forty hours per week to make the “lower percentage” techniques work for them.

3. Fundamental techniques do not require a high level of athleticism to employ.

4. Flashy techniques REQUIRE a high level of athleticism to employ. In comparing the two techniques mentioned above, the jumping, spinning side kick would require the practitioner have a high level of balance, coordination, accuracy, power, timing and distancing. Why? Because the kick would require the practitioner to A) Temporarily leave the ground, B) strike with the heel of the one foot just as the other foot was landing back on the ground, and then C) immediately catch his balance after landing on the ground. All of this would have to be done in a split second and would have to have perfect distancing (too short and the movement is wasted and ineffective because it does not make contact; too long and the kick is jammed and balance is thrown off very easily) and perfect timing.

Now, I am sure that some of you are wondering what the different between a fanatic, an athlete and an average practitioner is. Well, here is how I look at it:

1. The fanatic and the athlete will spend an inordinate amount of time training his particular discipline (anywhere from twenty to fifty hours per week). In other words, they will turn their discipline into a JOB. This kind of practitioner will focus not only focus on the fundamentals, but he or she will also focus on the smaller areas of the discipline to gain an advantage over his or her competition.

2. The regular / normal practitioner will practice his discipline in between his normal responsibilities he must attend to on a weekly basis. In other words, this practitioner will treat his discipline like a hobby; something he does for enjoyment – two to ten hours per week.

Does all of this make sense? Do you see the differences between them?

I hope this mini-article has been helpful.

Good training to you,

Roy Harris