As a new student in the martial arts when we get hit in class or take a punch by accident in the middle of a technique it is easy to feel that something has gone wrong or that one has “messed up” the technique. If you practice martial arts that means you should never worry about getting hit in a self defense situation right? If you do the technique correctly that means you shouldn’t get hit right?
The lessons of getting hit are very important in the martial arts, and I would argue necessary in a controlled and safe environment.
Many times when we practice a technique (waza) our training partner is semi complaint- they aren’t just going to roll over when it is applies as that prevent one from learning the technique, but at same time they aren’t just going to let you apply it as this can create another dangerous illusion- one of compliance.
The same goes for when practicing techniques that work off a strike- your training partner is going to throw that punch with enough speed and follow through that if you don’t get out of the way, fail to block it, etc. you will get hit and it will ring your bell for a bit.
This is also part of the training experience as taking a hit is also a learned experience- the first few times puts one in complete shock- I just got hit!
From there, over the course of training one learns to start taking the blow, dealing with it in terms of moving the body, staying focused, and NOT being distracted or unnerved by it. Sure it still hurts, sure it sucks to get hit, but the technique continues- breathe, recover into proper kamae, and get your situational awareness back ASAP.
“Normalizing” getting hit allows one to continue when it happens for real, and as much as we train to not get hit, don’t want to get hit, and do our best not to get hit, it can and will happen.
Better to slowly introduce it in the dojo, in a safe and controlled environment, where if you get dazed and stunned for a moment, you know your training partner will have compassion and not be following up with a second or third strike so you can clear your head and catch your breath.
This normalization over time is what allows you to continue in the chaos, and look at it from this point of view- how can you know how a strike is going to affect or displace your training partner when you haven’t experienced the effects yourself?