Lessons from the 30-day forms challenge

In November, Kyle Russell and Roger Grimes participated in a challenge. For every day in November, both teachers created a form. These forms had just a few rules. They needed to consist of five self defense techniques, each technique had to be performed on both sides. It was a really fun and educational experience, so it seems appropriate to discuss some key points to consider when creating forms that were learned along the way.

Creating a visually pleasing form can be difficult, performing them well in a short amount of time creates an even bigger challenge. Roger Grimes was so successful at this, that he was able to use a form he created to get 2nd place in a tournament.

Roger Grimes trophy winning performance

If you want to enter a creative forms competition and need to make a form, the tips below may help for you.

Tip 1: Start and Finish on your dominate side.

When performing any technique, if the beginning and the end look good, the technique will most likely look good. It helps to apply this same principle to your forms. Your techniques will most likely look better on your dominant side. Starting and finishing strong will make the form look better overall.

Tip 2: Separate self-defense techniques with basics

In Chuan Fa/Kenpo, most of the forms are created from self-defense techniques. Occasionally, it can be hard to find a good flow from one technique to another. This can often be solved by simply adding a basic. For example if you end one technique and find you need the other foot forward, rather than just taking a step, you could throw a thrust kick and step down into the next technique. Your basics should be pretty solid and this adds techniques you know you will perform well, which in turn may make the form look more aesthetic.

Tip 3: Hide your weak spots

There will always be parts of your form that you just do not perform as well as other parts of your form. This is well worth considering when choreographing your movements, especially if it is for a tournament or a public performance. One example of doing this would be to design the form so that when you perform a techniques on your non-dominate, you are facing away from your audience. This way your weaker techniques are partial blocked from view, making it harder for your mistakes to be noticed.

Tip 4: Use solid techniques in the design

We all have our favorite techniques, and there is nothing wrong with that! Use them to your advantage. Your favorite techniques are the ones that you are more likely to perform well and have a more in-depth understanding of. When you use techniques that are new to you, you will inevitably spend more time considering the technique during the performance. This leads to a less confident performance as many advance practitioners will notice you having to pause and consider your next move. Using techniques you like will make it more enjoyable, and you will naturally give a better performance.

Tip 5: Show off

If you are creating a form, make sure to show off your more impressive skills! Exaggerate movements when practical. You can do this by using deeper stances, higher kicks, higher jumps, and your KIAI! Yelling to emphasize certain techniques gives an appearance of power, and this can really help you score points in a tournament. Never forget this is a performance, you don’t want to be boring! Pretend your in a fight and move your body with that type of enthusiasm.

Kyle Russell performing an original form

Hopefully this article helps you, thank you for reading!

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