Insights and Training Tips from Tactical Arts


Insights from the Tactical Arts Academy

Using Performance Profiling to Assess and Improve your Filipino Martial Arts Skills


If we had more time to do so, many of us would spend more time training. Training for most of us is enjoyable. Putting in hours to improve our skills a little at a time is not a chore; it’s more of a pleasure. However, work, family, money, life can all compete for time that we would otherwise be training, talking about training, or, at least, thinking about training. Because of these demands on our time, we need to use the time we do have for training wisely. This is especially true as you climb to higher levels in the art.

Once you have past the beginner levels of learning Kali, where everything is new and improvement is exponential, you have to be focused when planning your training. At the intermediate and advanced levels, there are so many things to train. It can be difficult to remain focused, and sometimes it is hard to measure improvement when there are many skills that you can develop. With a good training plan, you can progress in the skills that will make the biggest difference. By using performance profiling, a tool commonly used in sports and athletics, you can determine the direction you need for a good training plan.

Performance profiling is a great tool for identifying strengths and weaknesses, and creating a plan to improve what matters the most. It is a method used to identify the most important skills and attributes needed to perform a sport or activity against which you compare your competency in each of those skills and attributes. The results of the comparison will show you what you do well and what you need to improve upon to have the ideal balance of skills and attributes.

Performance profiling will help you adjust your training to focus your efforts on what key areas need the most improvement. When you compare your strengths and weaknesses to those skills and attributes that matter the most, you will get a score for each. This score will help you decide which of the weaknesses you will address first in your training.

The score will also allow you to assess your improvements in those areas over time.
After you have completed an assessment, then addressed the issues discovered in your training, you can reassess your skills / attributes and see where you have improved. Over time, you will establish a record that will help you see trends in your performance.

Usually, this performance profiling is done by the instructor and the student together, but it can be used by the student alone. Here is a simple approach to creating your own performance profile.

STEP 1 - Identify the skills and attributes

To complete a full profile of your skills and attributes, first create a list of the skills and attributes anyone would need to be great at Kali. In doing this, divide these skills among four categories. The four categories are: technical, tactical, physical, and psychological.

Technical - This includes the specific techniques that are relevant to applying your style of Kali. It may include things like striking, footwork, locking, takedowns, disarms, counters to takedowns, etc.

Tactical - This includes the tactics that are involved in applying your style of Kali. These are things such as faking, baiting, fighting outside, fighting inside, creating openings, etc.

Physical - This includes the physical attributes that are needed for applying Kali, such as strength, stamina, speed, acceleration, power, etc.

Psychological - This includes attributes such as mental toughness, emotional balance, and attitude that are factors in being successful in applying Kali.

Try to identify 15 to 20 skills and attributes for each of the categories. After you have listed everything needed, narrow the list of skills down to the most important 6- 10 for each of the four categories.

STEP 2 - Chart the skills and rate them

For each category, create a four column chart that will help you assess your skills.

Column 1 - In the first column, include a list of those top skills and attributes you identified.

Column 2 - In the second column, put a number from one to ten that is your perception of how important that skill is for an elite practitioner of the art.

Column 3
- In the third column, rate yourself from one to ten in that particular skill or attribute.

Column 4
- In the fourth column, subtract the rate you entered in the third column from ten, then multiply that result by the number you put in the second column.

Step 3 - Evaluate your score and plan your future training

This will give you a score that you can use to evaluate the discrepancy between the skill needed by an elite practitioner and your current performance of that particular skill. The higher the number you get, the more important it is for you to address that particular skill or attribute in training or in mental preparation.

Here is a sample chart in the technical category.


skill / attribute

level of importance

(1 to 10)

self assessment

(1 to 10)

discrepancy score

(10 - column 3) x col 2

striking 10 7 30
footwork 9 6 30
offensive entries 10 8 20
evasions 10 5 50
close range techniques 8 9 8
flow from one technique to another 8 7 24

In the chart above, the student calculated a score of 50 for his evasion skills. This score is calculated as (10- 5) x 10 = 50. Because this is the highest score of all the skills listed, this student should focus his training on improving his evasions. He then would also focus more on his striking and footwork skills.

Please note, this is just an example. I am not suggesting that these are the top skills in this example. You must adjust the skills to be what you think are the most important for your art. Use the method above to create your own lists and charts based on your thoughts.

Final Words

Using this performance profiling will help you budget your training time to work on what you need to improve the most. By knowing exactly where you need to focus, you will avoid wasting training time working on skills that are not as relevant to your needs.

If you use this performance profiling tool together with your instructor, you will get better insight on what skills are most important. You will also get a more objective assessment of your capabilities. If you do this exercise with your instructor, compare your self assessment with the assessment your instructor does for you. Discuss any differences in scores and make a training plan together. Having guidance and feedback from your instructor will give you more accurate and more useful results.

When you finish your profile, make a training plan and stick to it. After 2-3 months, do another assessment of your skills and reevaluate your training priorities. Knowing that you are on track with your training will motivate you to work harder and make improvements sooner. Find the time to train, and train hard.

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