Training Tips – Closed Loop Skills

MarkGrupposoWith Judan Mark Grupposo

Closed-loop movements are performed with a predetermined

starting point and finish. They do not require your Central

Nervous System (CNS) to process feedback from external

stimuli in order to properly perform the movement; they do not require

you to react to an opponent or environmental change.

Examples of “Closed Loop” skills include:

  1. Kicks, Strikes, and Blocks done “in the air”
  2. Pinans, Katas, and Forms
  3. Combinations performed without a partner
  4. Pre-determined Kempo Punch Defenses

Essentially, these skills can be practiced over and over until your

Central Nervous System has “memorized” the patterns into a motor engram.

There will always be external pressures such as an instructor calling out commands,

but these pressures do not affect the actual skill being performed. You do not need to adjust your movements to an opponent; the terrain is always

the same (to a certain degree), environment and skills are predetermined

and the entire routine can be practiced exactly as it will be performed.

In closed-skill events, you are essentially competing with

yourself to perform a sports skill in competition. The skill can be

started and finished whenever you choose (to a certain degree;

there are generally time limits on these events) without any external

interference. Once the movement is initiated, your body can react to

internal feedback. For example, in the middle of a Kata , you may

realize you need to rotate faster to properly complete the required

turn; you can then adjust your body accordingly to increase rotational speed.

But, it is not necessary to react to external factors such as moving targets or

opponents crossing your path.

So, closed loop training is great for developing and rehearsing skills. But do not assume that you will be able to successfully utilize and be effective with these skills without training and engaging with an actual opponent, referred to as “Open Loop” skills.

Until next time,

Judan Mark Grupposo

Or as Grandmaster Villari calls me, Judan “G”

June 14, 2015

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