Our forms are the dictionary, encyclopedia, and playbook of our martial arts style. Forms were created and improved upon over hundreds of years and generations upon generations of martial artists who dedicated their lives to learning the best ways to defend themselves and their loved ones from one or more highly skilled attackers. For this reason, the forms are not to be taken lightly.
Single step movements are a way for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students alike to work on singular movements from forms that need improvement. Of course, certain single-step movements such as the horse stance punch, forward bow punch, open-hand movement, etc. are the foundations of our training. These movements are found in most forms and for this reason are some of the first things new students learn at our school and are continually practiced. Even the kicks practiced in class can be considered a single step movement as they create a foundation to properly execute the movement in sparring.
However, single step movements need not be reserved for beginning students. Forms have a number of demanding movements that require strength, explosiveness, flexibility and general athleticism. A great example of a movement that many students struggle with is the first movement in bashu. It is a fast down movement evading a high attack and following up with a punch to the mid-section.
For those who struggle with this movement (or any movement), simply break it down into a single step movement and practice doing it up and down the mat before or after class. Sometimes you will do the movement going forward… sometimes it will be done going backward. Either way, watch yourself in the mirror. Practice doing it slowly at first. Is your posture correct? Are you low enough? Is your body too tight to make it work properly? Are your muscles strong enough to do it very slowly? It may take time to develop the strength, balance, and/or flexibility to get it right. Learn what you can from this practice and continue until you are satisfied the movement is up to snuff and their is another movement that needs your attention more.