One thing that a potential investigator of TWFM should know straight out is that training in this system is different than starting out in almost any other systems on the market today. I have observed many times that students are excited with and yet overwhelmed by the technical depth and detail involved in TWFM. It definitely is not Mcdonalds Martial Arts. It will challenge you and require you more than anything to outgrow the limits of thought and movement patterns as you strive gain a combative advantage via upgraded habits and instincts.
For example, when you learn a straight punch most people think, a straight punch is where you punch straight and that is it, right? From the most rudimentary level of understanding that is true. However, that level of understanding is the level of understanding that you had prior to training, which is also the level of understanding that any adversary you face will have and thus it yields no potential advantage and so I should not be charging to teach you that.
Many systems often do not move much past this rudimentary level of understanding ever or until you are “highly advanced”. From day one you just throw a straight punch and a year later your straight punch is about as potent as it was a year ago. The rudimentary face value perspective of martial arts yields little to no value.
For example the rudimentary thought that striking is just striking neglects principles such as kinesthetic linking, use of gravity to supplement acceleration, angles of anchoring for leverage, and targeting, etc. which are the real difference between a strike that devastates an enemy upon contact and one where your wrist crumples and which has little to no effect.
The key is the details. There are a limited number of movement possibilities that the human body has and all healthy human bodies have those possibilities prior to training. Our thought is that you train to acquire the advantages possible through knowledge and skill so that your straight punch for example will outclass the straight punch which an adversary can throw at you who has little to no training and understanding mixed into it.
This perspective of seeking distinctions which give us an advantage is a core attribute behind the development and practice of TWFM. It should be noted that there is also a level of creating distinctions that has diminished returns and so a balance must be struck on every given subject.
For example the subject of situational awareness, when this is brought up most people will assume this simply means “looking around” and “paying attention”. To this I cannot disagree, but everybody looks around and pays attention in their own way. Training helps you to know how to utilize senses to the max, how to expand your faculties where possible and how to interpret what you pick up on so that you seem to have a built in magic ability to scan an area and immediately pickup on all potential threats, benefits and neutral elements in a split second.
However overly complicated training related to awareness can complicate your awareness and lead to the same vulnerabilities as an unobservant state. When one has an overly complicated awareness filter they are distracted because they are trying to pay attention to lots of small often trivial details in a situation. They can tell you the license plate off of a car in the parking lot like Jason Bourne but they didn’t notice that a guy just walked past them who seemed to be talking to themselves in a mentally disturbed manner and has a bulge on his right side that could be a potential weapon.
Ultimately you only take you and your instincts into a fight with you. You may have weapons of various types but it is still you and your instinctive automatic sense of how to use what you have that governs what you do. Your instructor won’t be there with you to help, you will be on your own, it will be a contest of whose automatic habits and capabilities are superior. TWFM training has the core intent of upgrading your instincts, skill sets and overall capabilities so that you have an advantage over someone who is untrained.
Almost always we have the experience of recognizing right away that what the instructor is doing is highly effective but then find that it is not as easy to do as it appeared. The skills shared take work and practice to develop. They give you an advantage that an opponent won’t be able to match without also spending the time and work to effectively develop skills.
When you come to class, if what you want is to be standing in a line throwing punches and kicks in unison with other class mates, TWFM is probably not for you. We go over techniques in depth and practice them from multiple aspects using multiple drills to work to upgrade your instinctive coordination patterns. We focus on application as the primary objective, considering a technique and movement to be of little value if you do not know the keys to power output, timing and distancing that make the technique work. We discuss scenarios in depth with the intent of causing you to understand street assault scenarios to a degree that allows you to outclass a potential assailant.
While our methods of teaching are bridged and efficient, we do not offer gimmick self-defense and make no promises that after taking a month of class you will be invincible. In general, it takes some committed time, usually 6 months minimum to really develop advantages that will count against criminals who often have been doing what they have been doing for a long time. Note taking is often a must for long term retention and consistent attendance is often crucial to be able to make the progress that you want.
On the flip side, it is not necessary to spend a lifetime studying before you are effective. You will see results within the first month. Although the first month is often overwhelming, as you hear the repetition of terms and as you continue to intensively drill the movements it gets easier and easier and thus your improvement accelerates. The one thing that an instructor really needs from you is the consistent committed time to create the lasting change. Give it about 6 months to a year of committed practice and you can have the skills you need to face and end a large percentage of the threats that exist in modern society.