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#113614 - 12/12/04 03:56 PM Teaching Myself
Anonymous
Unregistered


Im 15 and ive wanted to learn how to use a sword since i was 8. The problem is there arent any dojos near my house and believe me ive checked ive just decided to teach myself i have roughly 700 dollars to spend on materials can anyone help??

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#113615 - 12/12/04 04:53 PM Re: Teaching Myself
Anonymous
Unregistered


If you have $700.00, then your best bet would be to spend it on a plane ticket to fly somewhere that their is a dojo that teaches the type of sword you want to learn, because you CAN NOT, let me say that again, CAN NOT teach yourself. Put down the Ruroni Kenshin season 1 DVD and face the facts. If you really want to learn, you need a teacher. Unless you are willing to die, can live a few thousand years, have all the time you need, and an infinite amount of people to combat test with who are willing to die, then you might get somewhere. But other than that, unless you find a teacher, you're not going to be able to learn it.

-Mike Sweeney 1st Dan

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#113616 - 12/12/04 06:20 PM Re: Teaching Myself
laf7773 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 4064
Loc: Limbo
Where in Illinois are you?

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#113617 - 12/12/04 06:49 PM Re: Teaching Myself
Anonymous
Unregistered


Im in a suburb out of Chicago called New Lenox its near Joliet

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#113618 - 12/12/04 07:40 PM Re: Teaching Myself
laf7773 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 4064
Loc: Limbo
Take a look at aikido schools in your area. Most offer iaido at their school. I know there is an aikido school in Chicago that teaches iaido but that is about an hour away from you. You can also call them and ask if they know of anyone in your area teaching that may not advertise. There are several instructors out that teach only for the joy of teaching.

I don't recomend trying to teach yourself. There is a lot more involved than you think.

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#113619 - 12/13/04 10:39 AM Re: Teaching Myself
MAGon Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/22/03
Posts: 1737
Loc: Miami, Fl.
Well, I've always wanted to be an astronaut, so I guess I'll buy some books, study them REALLY closely, then crawl into a space shuttle when no one's looking and give myself the thrill of my life!

[IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/rolleyes.gif[/IMG]

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#113620 - 12/15/04 07:25 PM Re: Teaching Myself
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by MAGon:
Well, I've always wanted to be an astronaut, so I guess I'll buy some books, study them REALLY closely, then crawl into a space shuttle when no one's looking and give myself the thrill of my life!

[IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/rolleyes.gif[/IMG]
[/QUOTE]

WOW your funny as heck

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#113621 - 12/15/04 08:12 PM Re: Teaching Myself
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hard to believe there isn't a school in a town the size of Joliet. Good Luck!

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#113622 - 12/17/04 07:18 AM Re: Teaching Myself
MAGon Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/22/03
Posts: 1737
Loc: Miami, Fl.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Swordsman89:
WOW your funny as heck[/QUOTE]

Sorry if I came on too strong. I was trying to make a point.
Unfortunately, I read this thread after coming from a similar one in which one of the more knowledgeable guys who post here made the point that self teaching the sword arts is impossible. Another poster chastised him for his "negative ways" and encouraged self teaching. I was irritated by his attitude and unfortunately mixed up the threads. So I responded here in a manner you don't deserve.
Having done my Mea Culpa, what I tried to do was establish a parallel to make things obvious. My statement is absurd on it's face. Being an astronaut is a complex skill, necessitating not only "book learning" skills, but hands- on training while being coached and supervised by experts. An apprenticeship, if you will. I don't think anyone would argue that. What's often missed by many is that the same holds true for the MAs, more so the weapon arts BECAUSE YOU'RE SWINGING AROUND A WEAPON THAT CAN POTENTIALLY CAUSE YOU GRAVE HARM.
As it turns out, I can give you a concrete example from just last night: The Kenjutsu system I practice has a rich Iaijutsu curriculum. It ALSO has a very well written and illustrated manual (In three volumes, no less!) featuring the systems' present Shihan. I happen to own it, and I study it. NONE OF THE ADVANCED KATA ARE TO BE FOUND THERE. So the ones Sensei has started teaching me I wouldn't be able to learn otherwise. There's a reason for that, as you'll see below.
Last night, while trying to learn one of these new katas, and in spite of Sensei thoroughly demonstrating and explaining the moves several times, on my second try I darn near skewered my forearm with my blade. It turns out that I missed the small detail of drawing the sword almost vertically. Instead, I was drawing it almost horizontally for the first cut. As my left hand moved towards the sword's tsuba (Pommel), it met the kisaki (Sword point) head on. The only reason I didn't skewer my fool arm is that I FOLLOWED SENSEI'S ADVICE AND BOUGHT AN UNSHARPENED BLADE, FOR THE TIME BEING (Here's another example of necessary coaching). As it is, I still wound up with a deep (But thankfully small) cut, because the kisaki in even an unsharpened blade can be awesome!
You might say that my innate stupidity was the cause of this, but I think others here smarter than me have similar stories.

[This message has been edited by MAGon (edited 12-21-2004).]

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#113623 - 12/17/04 10:15 AM Re: Teaching Myself
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5822
Loc: USA
Magon

I really did think it was funny.

Made a good point too.

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#113624 - 12/17/04 10:42 AM Re: Teaching Myself
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by MAGon:
You might say that my innate stupidity was the cause of this, but I think others here smarter than me have similar stories.
[/QUOTE]

More common than stupid. I cut my knee with a live broadsword once. I was performing the "Dragon Swishes it's tail" technique (a looping figure eight spin With a grip switch from the front hand to the back that finishes with a low left backhanded slice, ending with your sword behind your back), and I followed through into my left knee. There was blood everywhere, lol.

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#113625 - 12/17/04 06:54 PM Re: Teaching Myself
Amos Smith Offline
Member

Registered: 12/19/00
Posts: 133
Loc: Wisconsin
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Swordsman89:
Im 15 and ive wanted to learn how to use a sword since i was 8. The problem is there arent any dojos near my house and believe me ive checked ive just decided to teach myself i have roughly 700 dollars to spend on materials can anyone help??[/QUOTE]

guess you didn't look too hard: www.chicagobudokai.com

take note of Heiwa Dojo in Joliet.

Amos



[This message has been edited by Amos Smith (edited 12-17-2004).]

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#113626 - 12/21/04 09:30 AM Re: Teaching Myself
MAGon Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/22/03
Posts: 1737
Loc: Miami, Fl.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by cxt:

Magon

I really did think it was funny.

Made a good point too.
[/QUOTE]

Thanks, bud.

[QUOTE]Originally posted by SifuSkyler:
More common than stupid. I cut my knee with a live broadsword once. I was performing the "Dragon Swishes it's tail" technique (a looping figure eight spin With a grip switch from the front hand to the back that finishes with a low left backhanded slice, ending with your sword behind your back), and I followed through into my left knee. There was blood everywhere, lol.[/QUOTE]

Sensei told me a few years ago an old Japanese saying that goes something like "Before you get to know your sword, your sword will get to know YOU". By which is meant that it's inevitable that you'll cut yourself at some point, before you get good enough. Hopefully, if you have a good teacher, you'll be taught to avoid the mistakes that'll get you SERIOUSLY cut. But cut you will be!!!

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#113627 - 12/22/04 09:31 AM Re: Teaching Myself
schanne Offline
breaks things

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 4370
Loc: Woodbury NJ
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Swordsman89:
Im 15 and ive wanted to learn how to use a sword since i was 8. The problem is there arent any dojos near my house and believe me ive checked ive just decided to teach myself i have roughly 700 dollars to spend on materials can anyone help??[/QUOTE]

If it is your "only alternative" there is nothing wrong with teaching yourself through some type of media. It will never be the same as a proper instructor but it's a lot better than sitting on your butt playing video games. At least your making an honest effort.

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#113628 - 12/23/04 04:39 PM Re: Teaching Myself
Anonymous
Unregistered


Indeed......

It has been four years now since I have begun to train myself. It's hard....very hard, but it does beat doing nothing. I'm currently sixteen. I, myself, have tried different dojos, but each one felt lacking so I stuck with self training. If your devoted enough you can do anythin.

Think about it,

~ Who taught the first dancer to dance,
or the first artist to paint?~

Just keep trying......

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#113629 - 12/23/04 08:21 PM Re: Teaching Myself
laf7773 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 4064
Loc: Limbo
[QUOTE]I, myself, have tried different dojos, but each one felt lacking so I stuck with self training.[/QUOTE]

Lacking in what aspect? How would teaching yourself something you don't know be better than learning from someone with experience? If you’re a beginner in the sword arts, how do you know they are lacking?

[QUOTE]~ Who taught the first dancer to dance,
or the first artist to paint?~[/QUOTE]

These examples are hardly the same. You can't compare a painting with a 30" blade.

We get a lot of people here who think it's fine to teach himself or herself a sword art or any art for that matter. Many feel this way because they have a gross misunderstanding of what it takes to become proficient at any art. Many think if they mimic what they see in the movies or in books, teach themselves to perform the moves of an arts kata and generally do the things they think make it "look" like they know what they are doing, that they ARE doing it right or even better. Some even think they can start from scratch and make up their own style, techniques and so forth with NO previous training what so ever.

There is more to it than what you think it "looks" like. There are things you can learn on your own. Things like basic etiquette and terminology. You can educate yourself on various companies and what constitutes a quality sword and what is just for decoration. You can do basic conditioning like getting used to sitting in seiza. You can learn about the history of various arts. Trying to teach yourself much more will result in you having to back peddle and relearn everything the right way.

The instructor is there to show you the proper way, how to hold the sword and teach you why it's the right way. They are there to make corrections in your posture, angle and direction that you would never have known about. Learning in a dojo environment instead of teaching yourself means you will learn proper distance, timing and rhythm that you wouldn't learn otherwise.

Their experience and the experience of the thousands of practitioners before them helps you avoid making the MANY mistakes you would make.

Sword arts didn't evolve over the life of one man. They evolved over years of practice and battle testing. The techniques you would learn today in a dojo are in place because they were deemed necessary by those whose life depended on them (at lest in most cases).

So how is it again that a 16 yr old can do a better job of teaching himself an art he has little or no formal training in than someone with a lineage of practitioners behind him that spans 400 years?

Just curious.

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#113630 - 12/24/04 06:31 AM Re: Teaching Myself
MAGon Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/22/03
Posts: 1737
Loc: Miami, Fl.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Yuki Neko:

~ Who taught the first dancer to dance,
or the first artist to paint?~

Just keep trying......
[/QUOTE]

So true. I'll keep this in mind. I have this idea I'm interested in perhaps patenting. The thing is circular and spins on an axle. Four can be attached to a frame and if you push it, it moves from point A to point B.

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#113631 - 12/24/04 11:34 PM Re: Teaching Myself
Anonymous
Unregistered


What was your point in that one MAGon? That made sense, but is there a point to that one? Another thing, is that when I first started reading here, I thought that self teaching was okay, as long as others help you, somewhat. Like I learned a few TKD kata from an Aunt, the basics of Jujitsu from a book, and I learned how to box from my friend. In between all that, I read about martial arts on the internet, and applied it to what I already knew. After a while I got better, and I know I did good, but now I wonder if there might be flaws in my technique, or how I move. Anyone wanna give me some advice?

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#113632 - 12/25/04 12:17 AM Re: Teaching Myself
laf7773 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 4064
Loc: Limbo
ind a school and system in your area to join. It doesn't even really need to be a "school" really; a training group will be fine so long as the instructor is qualified to teach. I would suggest training under someone with legitimate experience in a legitimate art, not the kid down the street that took 4 years of joekarate or even 4 years of a legitimate system.

Make sure it is a system and instructor you feel comfortable with. You will notice some things in the beginning about what you have done right and what you have done wrong. The longer you stay with a system the more you will understand the differences i'm talking about.

You may have done some good things in your self-training. The problem is you aren't going to know unless you start training with an instructor or find yourself in a situation where you need your skills. I'd rather find out my training was deficient in a controlled environment than when i really need it.

Even if you have done everything "right" your not going to get past a "basic" stage without knowledgeable instruction.

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#113633 - 12/25/04 12:35 AM Re: Teaching Myself
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thanks. I'll find an instructor. But would it be good to still do some of the self-training things I did already, while taking a class, or while having an instructor?

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#113634 - 12/25/04 11:37 AM Re: Teaching Myself
laf7773 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 4064
Loc: Limbo
It really depends on the instructor. Some would rather you work on what they give you. It also depends on what you've been working on and if it's actually beneficial to your training.

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#113635 - 12/26/04 07:03 AM Re: Teaching Myself
Anonymous
Unregistered


You should also remember that there are instructors, and then there are instructors. All are not created equal.

As for self teaching, some of us have no choice. Training under a qualified instructor is without question the better way to go. But in some situations, your choice is either self training or no training. There is one and only one Iaido school within 2 hour drive from where I live. They meet Friday nights. I work second shift so have no chance of getting to classes. Working second shift deprives me of almost all martial arts training in my area. So my choice is either I self train, or don't train at all.

Since I really don't care all that much, (I train for fun and fitness), I will continue with what I'm doing. Am I learning some bad techniques? More than likely. Do I care? No.

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#113636 - 01/02/05 08:24 PM Re: Teaching Myself
Anonymous
Unregistered


.......
just depends on how devoted you are to something
.......

Instructors are their for guidance...
However, The world around you can be an instructor. This does not in any way condemn teachers; personally, I learned a few things from them.
(But as I stated it was lacking to me)


You can be instructed.......
You can learn from experience......
It's whatever feels right in your heart,

There are many methods of learning
and many ways of self training

I'm not sure if this helps you a lot
but I'm only stating what I myself have experienced

~In the end no matter what you choose
there is really only one question
How devoted are you~

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#113637 - 01/02/05 08:41 PM Re: Teaching Myself
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by laf7773:
There is more to it than what you think it "looks" like. There are things you can learn on your own. Things like basic etiquette and terminology. You can educate yourself on various companies and what constitutes a quality sword and what is just for decoration. You can do basic conditioning like getting used to sitting in seiza. You can learn about the history of various arts. Trying to teach yourself much more will result in you having to back peddle and relearn everything the right way.

[/QUOTE]

I couldn't have put this any better. You ABSOLUTELY must know what your doing or all of your efforts will only make it more difficult for you down the road. As my sensei always says "Practice doesn't make purfect, Practice is good for you but in order to become good you must have purfect practice."

Glenn Letourneau

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#113638 - 01/02/05 11:42 PM Re: Teaching Myself
laf7773 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 4064
Loc: Limbo
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Yuki Neko:
.......
just depends on how devoted you are to something
.......

Instructors are their for guidance...
However, The world around you can be an instructor. This does not in any way condemn teachers; personally, I learned a few things from them.
(But as I stated it was lacking to me)


You can be instructed.......
You can learn from experience......
It's whatever feels right in your heart,

There are many methods of learning
and many ways of self training

I'm not sure if this helps you a lot
but I'm only stating what I myself have experienced

~In the end no matter what you choose
there is really only one question
How devoted are you~
[/QUOTE]

Instructors are there to TEACH you the proper technique. It's your job to practice what you are taught.

How does the "world around you" teach you Japanese swordsmanship?

Again, how does a 16 yr old with limited experience in Japanese sword arts find an experienced instructor "lacking"? You still haven't answered this. What exactly were they lacking in?

How are you going to get "experience" in sword fighting today? How will you know what will get you killed and what will not? That's the funny thing about koryu sword arts, they were around when people actually USED swords in battle. This is where you should take advantage or THEIR experience, experience you may never get on your own.

It's not "what feels right in your heart". What feels right to you, the one with NO experience, is what can get you killed or cause you to injure your self or someone close to you.

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#113639 - 01/04/05 08:29 AM Re: Teaching Myself
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Yuki Neko:

You can learn from experience......
It's whatever feels right in your heart,
[/QUOTE]

Heh. Hard to argue with logic like that. If you feel a sword in your heart, you know you've made a mistake and should learn from that experience [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/biggrin.gif[/IMG]

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#113640 - 01/04/05 11:15 AM Re: Teaching Myself
MAGon Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/22/03
Posts: 1737
Loc: Miami, Fl.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by JuStAkId:


What was your point in that one MAGon? That made sense, but is there a point to that one? Another thing, is that when I first started reading here, I thought that self teaching was okay, as long as others help you, somewhat. Like I learned a few TKD kata from an Aunt, the basics of Jujitsu from a book, and I learned how to box from my friend. In between all that, I read about martial arts on the internet, and applied it to what I already knew. After a while I got better, and I know I did good, but now I wonder if there might be flaws in my technique, or how I move. Anyone wanna give me some advice?
[/QUOTE]

Just drawing a (Somewhat sarcastic) paralell: Look, does it make sense to ignore several thousands of yrs. of theoretical and practical knowledge on the capabilities of the wheel and go off by yourself to try and figure out what you can do with the thing? Or is your time better spent studying what's already known and hopefully becoming knowledgeable enough to come up with something new nobody's thought of before?
The paralell to the sword arts is fairly obvious: There are written records and oral teachings about these that go back hundreds of yrs. In addition, the same as in engineering, there's applications that just can't be learned from books and require a knowledgeable teacher to demonstrate. As Mr. Mahan makes the point, it's tough to find out that attempting to wield a sword in a particular way you may think is a good idea others discovered 400 yrs. ago only leads to stabbing yourself through the heart!!!

[QUOTE]Originally posted by JuStAkId:
Thanks. I'll find an instructor. But would it be good to still do some of the self-training things I did already, while taking a class, or while having an instructor?[/QUOTE]

That's an entirely different think all together. In fact, putting in extra time by yourself to polish what you've been taught by a competent instructor will make you a better swordsman. Sooner, too!



[This message has been edited by MAGon (edited 01-04-2005).]

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#113641 - 01/04/05 11:54 AM Re: Teaching Myself
Anonymous
Unregistered


These self teaching discussions are getting more and more amusing to read. There's no getting through to these people. It feels more sensible to sit back and read bout their adventures of creating a sword art through their experiences of fighting like a Samurai. It's kinda entertaining.

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#113642 - 01/05/05 04:57 AM Re: Teaching Myself
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thought I'd add my two cents worth. I have been interested in T'ai Chi for a loooong time - but always had trouble finding classes (till recently) so I attempted to learn it first from books (oh yeah - real successful lol) and then from a video. The video was a good one, but the fact remains that it is not possible to learn it properly from a video. I actually got stuck fairly early on, which turned out to be a really good thing, since I was not doing things properly. This meant that when I started a class I had much less to unlearn. When you do the form properly, it feels quite different, in terms of the muscles you are using, the intent of the motions, and the energy flow. In addition, an instructor can watch what you are doing and catch not only positioning items, but also the more subtle things like if you have tensed up. This type of thing applies to all the martial arts.

In addition, as has been stated previously in this thread, when you add the factor of a weapon, you also increase the risk.

This is in reference to the post above: "Sensei told me a few years ago an old Japanese saying that goes something like "Before you get to know your sword, your sword will get to know YOU". By which is meant that it's inevitable that you'll cut yourself at some point, before you get good enough"

One of the people that is training me in push hands mentioned that no matter how good someone is with a blade, she said it never fails that the moment they go to a live blade, they cut themselves. Certainly seems like the 'blade getting to know you before you get to know the blade.' [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

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#113643 - 01/07/05 12:31 PM Re: Teaching Myself
MAGon Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/22/03
Posts: 1737
Loc: Miami, Fl.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Walter Wong:
These self teaching discussions are getting more and more amusing to read. There's no getting through to these people. It feels more sensible to sit back and read bout their adventures of creating a sword art through their experiences of fighting like a Samurai. It's kinda entertaining.[/QUOTE]

Is it just me, or are any of you guys also starting to HATE those MA movies that portray the talented SUPERIOR Western guy mastering an art after a few months practice, some coaching and a a bit more going- off- on- their- own- for- training- and- self- enlightment?

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#113644 - 01/07/05 09:22 PM Re: Teaching Myself
Anonymous
Unregistered


[QUOTE]Originally posted by MAGon:
Is it just me, or are any of you guys also starting to HATE those MA movies that portray the talented SUPERIOR Western guy mastering an art after a few months practice, some coaching and a a bit more going- off- on- their- own- for- training- and- self- enlightment?

[/QUOTE]

Come on, you must know...If you can't do it in six easy steps, it's not American, lol. It's a good thing I'm a superior westerner, otherwise I couldn't have learned the entire Shaolin weapon set in four days. Now I can throw ki-blasts from my eye balls and swing a reverse-blade sword like no other. I pity the demon that messes with me.

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#113645 - 01/08/05 02:26 AM Re: Teaching Myself
Anonymous
Unregistered


I think you stand a better chance making yourself a quality sword from scracth than making yourself a quality swordsman.

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#113646 - 01/08/05 04:52 PM Re: Teaching Myself
MAGon Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/22/03
Posts: 1737
Loc: Miami, Fl.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by samurai117:
I think you stand a better chance making yourself a quality sword from scracth than making yourself a quality swordsman.[/QUOTE]

DARN!!!!! I wish I'd thought that one up myself!!! Good point!!! [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG]

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