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#404477 - 08/12/08 08:29 PM The Circular Logic of Self Instruction...
xMentalxLintx Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 19
...naysayers.

It is often said that trying to learn via instructional books or DVDs is a fool's errand, and will yield no fruit. When someone cites that they are effective with a weapon they learned by one of these means, they are told they are wrong--they are, in fact, very bad with it, and must be lying to us or themselves.

The reasoning is usually that anyone who created the book or DVD has obviously studied with a teacher, and thus studying with a teacher is really the only genuine way to learn. And those teachers studied with teachers, and those teachers, and... wait...

That's right. If you go back far enough with ANYTHING--weapons, musical instruments, automobiles, folding paper airplanes, whatever--you find that it was originally hashed out by one guy trying stuff. He may have used other existing and similar devices as models, but in the end he had to just try stuff.

Then he taught some buddies, and some of them tried new stuff and refined old stuff. Then they taught buddies. Then buddies started writing it down.

Instruction is not magical, and having a good teacher will not make you any better than anyone else on its own. Instruction in all things is simply a shortcut to save you, the learner, a lot of trial and error--or at least make sure the "error" part is less frequent than it could be. But it is not the sole means.

Even as a music educator, I can admit that there are plenty of self-taught musicians that are phenomenal, world-class performers. Does that mean my job is unnecessary? Of course not--not everyone has the time or desire to self-teach, and some people want to be part of a larger community of musicians and should thus learn the standardized language. Does it mean that my students are bad musicians because they "needed" a teacher and this other guy didn't? Not at all.

But THAT is usually what happens here. Someone with years of instruction is INSULTED that someone else wants to take the "shortcut," or (let's be honest) simply doesn't have the option (time, money, availability) of true instruction.

Is the would-be learner here to insult them? Not in the least. He's here because he has no option, but he wants to learn (and being a conscientious learner is just as important as having an expert teacher), his options are slim, and he wants opinions on the best way HE can do it. And let's face it, a book or DVD =is= better than no help at all.

What's more, some people (through study of dance, gymnastics, or martial arts) have a better awareness of body, and some of the more subtle nuances they MIGHT just pick up instinctively. Or they'll get them through trial and error, like millions of people have done before them.

Teaching isn't about "making you learn the way I learned." It's about showing someone how to learn. EVERY, and I mean EVERY good teacher has a goal of eventually empowering their students to TEACH THEMSELVES--we are the only job who hopes to make ourselves obsolete.

And all we, as teachers, do is provide a model and then troubleshoot while you try to imitate the model. That's it. We show you how it's done, then watch you try to do it, help you find your mistakes and fix them. A book and video can provide you a model, and as you learn, you'll be able to go back and find mistakes and fix them--and discussion with other people via the internet will help, too.

So, yes, you CAN teach yourself. ANYTHING. If you're willing to devote the time and bruises, you can learn it. It's simply a question of 1) will and 2) goals:

When it comes to the will to learn: Are you able to admit your mistakes, and LEARN from them rather than COMPLAIN about them or get discouraged? Are you willing to experiment and be wrong MANY times before finally getting it right?

When it comes to goals, remember that no goal is inherently "wrong." Is your goal to learn just one form so you can look and feel cool? GOOD! Do it! Your goal isn't to use it for combat, so knowing the intricacies of application isn't necessary for your goal--and you can always learn that later if you find your goals change. Is your goal to be able to scare off prowlers with a few choice moves? Learn them and leave the rest--you don't OWE anything to the arts, as the arts exist to serve man and not the other way around (be careful that you don't take advantage of PEOPLE, though).

The bottom line is: Don't be a student elitist. Just because someone is self-taught doesn't mean they're worse than you, nor does it mean they think they're better. It's no different than a student that learns quickly and one that takes a few more tries--both can get it equally right, and the only difference is time.

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#404478 - 08/12/08 08:37 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
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Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
No argument from me on most of your points. I have learned plenty from books, DVD's, internet, etc. But those resources pale in comparison to a qualified instructor. That is the major point that most members here try to make.

Aimed more at the kids who have come up with their own styles, which clearly have technical deficiencies compared to more established ones.
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#404479 - 08/12/08 08:51 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: MattJ]
xMentalxLintx Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 19
I absolutely agree that having a teacher is nearly always the most EFFICIENT way of learning anything.

But to me, there's no harm in someone that just wants to use a staff form to learn flexibility and coordination, without every move being combat-viable. There's no harm in someone that just wants to look cool with nunchaku--it doesn't do me any injustice for them to have some simple fun.

I think that's one of the reasons martial arts see some of the major periods of decline they do--elitism. At some point, you go from saying "You're nothing if you don't have a teacher" to saying "You're nothing if you don't have THIS teacher" to saying "You're nothing if you aren't in our group AND we're not taking any more people, so you're just always nothing."

It can't be about motive. What I mean is, the objection can't be "Oh, they want to learn it for the 'wrong reasons," whatever that means. Because plenty of people who want to learn "for the wrong reasons" still go seek and find instruction with highly-qualified pros. Why? Sometimes, because the pro wants the money. Sometimes, because the pro recognizes he'll either change his reasons, lose interest and give up, or maybe just have some fun and then go when it's his time--either way, no harm is done to the teacher or the student.

Most of the sentiment I see expressed, especially by a couple of the "big dogs" on the forum, is a defensive response. "You CANNOT learn from blah blah blah," or "You'll NEVER get anywhere from yadda yadda." As though admitting "You know what, yes, you can learn some things from a video," is admitting that their years of hard work must be a complete waste if this guy can just go get a DVD, or that this guy is somehow mocking them and their skill. He's not. He's not thinking about YOU, he's thinking about what he'd like to learn.

Help him or get out of his way, but geez, why discourage him? All that serves to do is make the learned feel "better" than the unwashed masses--and any good teacher would tell that student that's a horrible attitude to take.

If he wants a video, because it's his only option, point him toward the best video and wish him luck. If he comes back with questions, BE the teacher you claim is so important. He might surprise you and learn some things--they may or may not be as refined as yours, and they may take longer, but I doubt he cares, so why should you?

Oh, and if someone comes here citing that they are self-taught and are actually pretty good, they might very well be. Don't automatically cast them down as lying, as that makes YOU look bad, not them.

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#404480 - 08/12/08 09:12 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
DeadlyKnuckles Offline
Member

Registered: 07/26/08
Posts: 130
Loc: United States, Florida
Take it from someone who has tried teaching himself through books, videos and websites in the past - it's a waste of time and you won't get anywhere.

Instructional books and DVDs were designed to be supplements to one's training, not replacements.

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#404481 - 08/12/08 09:52 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: DeadlyKnuckles]
xMentalxLintx Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 19
See, that's what I mean--"won't get anywhere."

Why? Because you or someone you know didn't? Because someone told you no one can? What do you say, then, about all the people everywhere who learn so very many complex things without formal instruction?

Are they all fakes? Are they all formally taught but won't admit it?

I fully understand how videos are designed as supplements or training aids, but they also have basic instructional value unto themselves if done right.

"You won't get as far as fast" is very true. "You won't get anywhere" just smells of elitism, and doesn't ring true as a universal reality.

If it's someone's only option, why not use it? Isn't it better to have SOME instruction than no help at all? And isn't it better to have someone who's involved in the art by proxy than to have the art limited only to those lucky souls that live within range of proper instruction, and have the time and money to spend on it?

Youtube (and related internet video phenomena) are responsible for a large upswing in martial arts interest. Why waste that opportunity by showing people that martial artists are a bunch of elitists that will push away anyone but the "big-time-go-pro" guy who happens to live in range?

I studied with David Chin, America's Grandmaster in Hop Gar Kung Fu, but not because I knew he was David Chin... it was because he was the only game in town. I didn't know how famous he was until after moving away, and part of that is because he =never= bragged or acted like it. He took me in as a student with little prior experience, and no desire to fight in MMA tournaments (which he trains folks for regularly), and he taught me where I was.

He never had a bad thing to say about any kind of learning, and emphasized that it had to do with what your goals were. If you were meeting those goals, it was good instruction for you.

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#404482 - 08/13/08 06:47 AM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
Chatan1979 Offline
Member

Registered: 03/21/05
Posts: 338
Loc: Mahomet , Illinois


I agree that there are some people who are "naturals" at certain activities and may have some inherent ability to teach themselves an activity i.e, musicians, artists, etc. However the problem, imho, arises when people like this make the claim that their "self training" is the real thing. We have had plenty of people on this forum, especially the weapon forum, wherein someone claims to have taught themselves how to fight with a katana. Generally it turns out that they are merely swinging a dangerous weapon around in their backyard mimicking something they saw in a movie. Ive had people like this come into my dojo, where we teach MJER Eishin Ryu Iaido. Students like this, who have only swung, flipped, and spun a sword around during their "self training" generally do not last simply because when they get a taste for the real thing, they realize that there are no fancy flips. The actual learning process is very dificult. They dislike the formalities, bowing, etiquette, etc. As a result they return to their self training.

Again I am no disagreeing that people cant learn something on their own, but it becomes a problem when they claim it as
"official" training.

On a personal, yet related note. Growing up I was really into drawing. I loved drawing comic characters. I would draw everyday and I thought that I was really great. I didnt take any art classes because I didnt want to have to participate in art activities that werent related to what I did. Eventually I had an opportunity to try a few comic drawing seminars at a college. I was so excited. I brought a bunch of my work with me to have critiqued. I was absolutely crushed when I received negative feedback on my work. Now I realize that I should have been taking regular art classes so that I could master the basics of line, scale, shading, color, figure drawing, perspective, complex perspective, and many other basic elements of art that I had missed because I chose to "self train" myself.

I dunno if any of what I just said makes sense because it is very early and Im not quite awake.
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#404483 - 08/13/08 06:59 AM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: Chatan1979]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
It's very simple: there is more to martial arts than technique. Form, kata, even power generation can be shown on video and mimiced endlessly and sincere, dedicated and talented folks can, sooner or later, evolve. That's the hard way...but the only way for some. Even those who train in a school and with teachers often go long stretches without formal instruction because they have to.

But learning SOME martial arts is more than learning technique. But perhaps that is only for SOME people. Those either lucky enough to find a good situation, or those that can sense what is missing and go looking for it. No one said it would be easy. So...yeah...SOME MA IS elite.

Also, I've heard it stated that 'martial arts is hand's on'. You have to 'feel it'. I suppose one could get a judo, or aikido video, grab a friend and start experimenting with throws. Good luck not getting hurt. But there is also something really, really special about learning through experience with someone better than you. To 'feel' a technique, to have an 'ah ha' moment, to learn something through direct experience ('show me') that gets to the point and cuts through all the talky-talk and limitations of language and the indirectness of description. Simply put, it's a superior way to learn this art.

I took a little music, and can buy records of great recordings. I can even elect to try to attend Julliard for the networking and mentoring opportunities that one won't get at a local public college. But I actually experienced Andre Segovia playing in an intimate setting...and can tell you...the presence, and aliveness of the moment experiencing an art from a master was a completely different level of learning.


Edited by harlan (08/13/08 07:25 AM)

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#404484 - 08/13/08 08:36 AM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: harlan]
Chatan1979 Offline
Member

Registered: 03/21/05
Posts: 338
Loc: Mahomet , Illinois
Quote:

It's very simple: there is more to martial arts than technique. Form, kata, even power generation can be shown on video and mimiced endlessly and sincere, dedicated and talented folks can, sooner or later, evolve. That's the hard way...but the only way for some. Even those who train in a school and with teachers often go long stretches without formal instruction because they have to.

But learning SOME martial arts is more than learning technique. But perhaps that is only for SOME people. Those either lucky enough to find a good situation, or those that can sense what is missing and go looking for it. No one said it would be easy. So...yeah...SOME MA IS elite.

Also, I've heard it stated that 'martial arts is hand's on'. You have to 'feel it'. I suppose one could get a judo, or aikido video, grab a friend and start experimenting with throws. Good luck not getting hurt. But there is also something really, really special about learning through experience with someone better than you. To 'feel' a technique, to have an 'ah ha' moment, to learn something through direct experience ('show me') that gets to the point and cuts through all the talky-talk and limitations of language and the indirectness of description. Simply put, it's a superior way to learn this art.

I took a little music, and can buy records of great recordings. I can even elect to try to attend Julliard for the networking and mentoring opportunities that one won't get at a local public college. But I actually experienced Andre Segovia playing in an intimate setting...and can tell you...the presence, and aliveness of the moment experiencing an art from a master was a completely different level of learning.




I agree. With self training you not only do not receive verbal feedback/criticism, but you dont get to feel the technique as it should be. Take a simple Aikido technique like Nikkyo.This technique, visually looks very very simple, but it is all about feel. I learned nikkyo better from having it done to me from my sensei than I did from performing it. If i was simply looking at a book or a video, I would try to "muscle" the technique to make it work,when in actuality, nikkyo doesnt require much muscular power to make it work. If I was only watching a video of nikkyo, it would be very very dificult to learn this.

I can look at a book and memorize the movements to tekki shodan, but it takes an instructor to teach me the proper use of koshi, breathing, timing, application, movement from hara, etc.
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There is always someone who knows more, and noone who knows it all....

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#404485 - 08/13/08 07:09 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: Chatan1979]
xMentalxLintx Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 19
Quote:

However the problem, imho, arises when people like this make the claim that their "self training" is the real thing.




And, to me, the question is "Why is that a problem?" Someone who believes their self-training will suffice will either be proved right or wrong by life--they don't need us staring disapprovingly over their shoulders. There are plenty of students who study with someone and do just as badly as the "self-taught" guy, but they can claim "formal instruction"--to me, THAT seems more of a problem, as it causes people to think bad things about that sensei/sifu/etc.

As to your drawing, see what I mean? What you did before made YOU happy... and then someone craps on it because you didn't take a bajillion classes, and it breaks the whole wagon. It's one thing to recommend to someone "Hey, you're doing some things right here, and if maybe if you tried this-or-that course, you could develop on some of these things faster." It's another thing to say "Ha! You suck, and it's because you dared to try to teach yourself!"

Remember, EVERYONE that chooses to study a martial art has a real reason for doing so. ESPECIALLY, even, the guy that self-teaches. He could be using that time to sit and watch TV or play video games, but something is drawing him to the art. If he can't get to a teacher, the least we could do as fellow "artists" is point him toward whatever resource would best suit his individual needs.

And, as it comes to learning the subtleties and nuances of the art, go to most of America's Karate or Tae Kwon Do studios and watch them teach. You'll see kids pop out "black belts" like a rabbit pops out turds. They're receiving formal instruction, right? Ah, now we get into dividing the martial arts world further, from just "video guys versus studio guys" to "video guys vs. bad studio guys vs. good studio guys.... vs. my studio is better, so you suck vs. no mine vs. you're all wrong" and it never ends.

Welcome people to the art in whatever way they can experience. No harm in teaching tai chi to older folks who never intend to fight, so no harm in pointing a guy toward an instructional video for a nunchaku form so he can feel cool for a few minutes once in awhile.

So again, my point isn't that self-learning is best. It's that, while not the most efficient, it's POSSIBLE. And my bigger point is that the naysayers that constantly talk down to people who want to learn something that way and belittle their efforts are just elitists with insecurity issues, and they reflect poorly on the teachers they brag so much about.

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#404486 - 08/13/08 07:54 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Quote:

And, as it comes to learning the subtleties and nuances of the art, go to most of America's Karate or Tae Kwon Do studios and watch them teach. You'll see kids pop out "black belts" like a rabbit pops out turds. They're receiving formal instruction, right? Ah, now we get into dividing the martial arts world further, from just "video guys versus studio guys" to "video guys vs. bad studio guys vs. good studio guys.... vs. my studio is better, so you suck vs. no mine vs. you're all wrong" and it never ends.




LOL. Good point. The McDojo phenomenon certainly throws a wrench into the "find an instructor" thing, doesn't it?

PS - I am requesting that this go in the MA Talk forum for better exposure.


Edited by MattJ (08/13/08 07:57 PM)
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#404487 - 08/13/08 09:31 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
Mental it really depends on what you mean by skill.

Obviously anyone can do anything, but I reserve judgement where they're going to be in 30 years. Whether they evidence skill or are just flopping something around.

Good instructors who've been trained by good instructors, etc. do exist. Instead of spending time trying to figure out what to do and ending up discarding messed up experiements, those instructors have a pattern for instruction to develop skilled training.

There already exists so much slop technique by individuals who are doing their own thing, when it comes to weapons training I'm hard pressed to think of an example of someone who really has taken the time to work it out themselves.

For one thing weapons training is just generic, each sort of weapons (and there are thousands of potential choices) is an entire art and study in itself. Some suppot other weapons studies, some are unique to themselves.

You can't get the slightest idea what skill represnts from any book or any video tape or series. Study is layers of focused work, that might cumulate in a good performance in a movie, but hardly shows where things go from there.

Forget these uses, my father is a retired butcher. For 50 years he slaughtere beef, separated, cut, etc. He knows how to take a knife and take a steer apart (of course this is a generalization for discussion). How long do you think someone teaching themselves how to butcher will take to find and prepare a good ribeye.

It won't happen overnight. Can it be done, sure, but is it effective to work it outyourself, or is it better to get a job with a profesional and learn from those skilled.

I'm afraid you're being far too general in your analysis, to the point it's just argument.

Take a stick, you can swing and hit with it instantly. How long do you think self discovery will help one develop high level escrima skill, to be able to get into the ring in the islands and put it to use.

And swinging a stick is rather basic, but when you experiment and learn, those being taught are focusing on what works, skill level by skill level.

Perhaps in a few decades, if your efforts work out you might end up with similar skills, except those who started on a faster track of skill acquisition spent more time working at higher levels of training.

All things aren't equal, and I wish everyone success, self taught or instructred, but at the same time, just because it can be done doesn't make it better.

Personally I want all who want to self train kobudo skills to do so. I'm sure in the long run it's better for my students that the others are doing it that way.

Unforunately I've trained with indiviuals who their weapons truly come alive in their hands and movement, and recognize their skills came from decades of hard work from instructors who in turn spent decades with their instructors learning those skills, etc.

BTW you can't self instruct, to instruct implies you have knowledge to impart. You can self research and perhaps in time turn to instruct too.

Of course how does that differ from a lot of the weapons stuff going around too.
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#404488 - 08/14/08 04:51 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: Victor Smith]
xMentalxLintx Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 19
Quote:

Obviously anyone can do anything, but I reserve judgement where they're going to be in 30 years.




Right, but who says they want to be anywhere specific in 30 years? Are we now to reserve martial arts instruction only for those who, from day one, want to commit to lifelong study? Or do we want the arts to be the kind of thing that a person can join where they are and leave freely--in effect, a personalized experience about personal goals and personal growth?

Quote:

Instead of spending time trying to figure out what to do and ending up discarding messed up experiements, those instructors have a pattern for instruction to develop skilled training.




Exactly. It's a shortcut. A very good, very efficient shortcut, but a shortcut nonetheless. You can still get there the long way, if you choose--but it's not called the "long" way for nothing. Formal instruction is not the exclusive means of achieving any level of skill.

Quote:

There already exists so much slop technique by individuals who are doing their own thing...




And people involved in formal instruction, too. And then we can debate whether combat-ready instruction is better than more abstract form instruction. And we can further divide the martial arts world into little categories, each thinking it's better than all the others. Or we can try to be inclusive.

Quote:

You can't get the slightest idea what skill represnts from any book or any video tape or series.




It is often the tactic of elitists to resort to (and then defend) absolutes. Instead of simply saying "it's a lot harder/longer," they just say "can't ever, never never never" or "not even the slightest idea." The problem with absolute statements is that if even a SINGLE person benefits from a video, you're proved completely wrong forever. Better to just stick with indicating that instruction is PREFERABLE, but showing understanding toward interested people who can't get to formal instruction.

Quote:

How long do you think someone teaching themselves how to butcher will take to find and prepare a good ribeye?




Longer. But if they really want to, they still can. And if they don't really care to cut the best ribeye, then maybe they just like the feeling that THEY are cutting THEIR OWN meat. Maybe they're not in it for the same reasons as your father, so maybe they don't need the same kind of instruction.

Quote:

I'm afraid you're being far too general in your analysis, to the point it's just argument.




Not remotely. My argument is in agreement with the fact that instruction is FASTER, BETTER, and more EFFICIENT. That's not at all what I'm arguing, and I've not seen a single person anywhere ever argue that it's "better" to not have a teacher.

What I'm arguing against is the open hostility some people on forums like this ("moderators" included, making the title a bit ironic) demonstrate toward people who, in a situation where formal instruction isn't possible, simply ask "Hey, what are my best available resources for other means of instruction? Where can I find SOMETHING, which is better than NOTHING?"

There's this open, unchecked "YOU CAN'T! GO AWAY!" attitude, to the point that there's a pre-emptive sticky post designed to shoo people away before they even get a chance to speak. And what's more, it's an unreasonable idea to say that "no one can ever get any benefit from these tapes unless you travel hundreds of miles to the nearest kung fu instructor to study blah blah blah."

I'm just saying, either HELP them or LET THEM BE. Don't try to HINDER them in their study, whatever their reasons might be. It's against the spirit of most martial arts that I know of.

Quote:

All things aren't equal, and I wish everyone success, self taught or instructred, but at the same time, just because it can be done doesn't make it better.




No one has EVER said that it's better. Just that it's possible, so people around here should stop being such dojo-snobs and either HELP a new person find the BEST POSSIBLE video/book rather than just shoo them off as though they're somehow a better person because they live three doors down from a grandmaster and have a few hundred extra dollars.

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#404489 - 08/14/08 07:30 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
DeadlyKnuckles Offline
Member

Registered: 07/26/08
Posts: 130
Loc: United States, Florida
We help them by suggesting that they stop reading Black Belt Magazine and actually find an instructor.

Believe it or not, I've came across many individuals who taught themselves. However, not a single one of them did so because there weren't any Martial Arts schools near them or because they didn't have money for classes. They taught themselves because of their misconceptions of the Martial Arts. They believed that the Martial Arts were too "flashy" or "impractical" despite never having trained a single day in their lives. And sometimes (if not often), it was simply because they were lazy.

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#404490 - 08/14/08 08:19 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: DeadlyKnuckles]
xMentalxLintx Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 19
And what if they are? You'd rather have them go stink up someone's dojo with laziness? To me, that's a BETTER reason for a person like that to just stay at home with a video and not waste anyone else's time.

But, that's beside the point. I'm sure it's absolutely true that you've never, ever encountered a single person that didn't live within spitting distance of a "qualified instructor," or ever met someone who couldn't afford them. Ever.

I'll counter by saying I've met hundreds of such people. People that wanted to learn this-or-that, but could only find "Tae Kwon Do Bell" or "Karate King" for the crappy fast-food style martial arts. Or they lived nearby, but couldn't afford, say, $70 per month (which is what I had to pay, while I could afford it, to study with Sifu Chin in NC--and that was a bargain to study with the likes of him.)

I must also say, I've not met anyone who chose to STUDY martial arts themselves because they thought THE MARTIAL ARTS (which they were endeavoring to study through tapes/books) were too flashy. Usually, it's exactly that flashiness that draws them to want to learn it.

People in general don't want to learn nunchaku because they're incredibly practical. They want to learn them because they're difficult or because they're cool looking.

The bottom line here is that your "suggestion" that they "stop reading magazines and find an instructor" isn't a suggestion at all. Not in the way it's presented. It's presented with incredibly biased and INACCURATE statements that no one can ever learn anything unless it's from an instructor--it smells badly of elitism and insecurity.

As a teacher, I have a basic principle I go by--if you're not going to HELP someone, get out of their way. If you can't help them, or simply won't, just let them do what they're doing--they'll fail on their own, or give up, or succeed where you thought they wouldn't.

If you're, for instance, a master of the qijiebian, and someone comes on here "Hey, I'd like to learn that! But there are no kung fu schools around here that will teach it--can you point me toward some videos or books?" then why wouldn't you at the very least say "Well, it's hard to do, even a bit dangerous, and it's better to have a teacher, but Book X and Video Y are the best resources you'll find outside that. Books A and M are crap, and Video G doesn't use any slow-motion, but is better for more advanced stuff."

It takes a teacher and an artist to tell someone where they CAN go. It only takes an arrogant cynic to point out where they CAN'T.

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#404491 - 08/14/08 09:07 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
DeadlyKnuckles Offline
Member

Registered: 07/26/08
Posts: 130
Loc: United States, Florida
Let me fill you in on who you're talking to:

I attended Taekwondo classes for four or so years. Towards the end of that fourth year, I decided to leave because:

A. The place was a McDojo.
B. Very expensive.
C. Light-contact sparring.

It's been five years (or more) since I left. I have tried looking for another Martial Art school, but there are none that I'm interested in joining within walking distance of my house. Even then, the only schools within walking distance of my house are McDojo's. So, I'm stuck having to wait until either:

A. I get a car (won't be anytime in the near future).
B. Find someone (don't see this happening anytime soon).
C. Not care anymore (the least likely of the three).

However, in the meantime I have been reading various books on the Martial Arts. And the only book I tried teaching myself from was one on the use of a bo. However, I shortly realized I was wasting my time, doing nothing more than imitating the guy in the picture.

So, I know very well what it's like. But regardless, I recommend finding an instructor to those seeking to teach themselves. However, the only exception I ever make to that is if they had previous Martial Arts training. Other than that - "find an instructor, kiddo. No Black Belt Magazine for you".

(Just to add - the book on the bo wasn't the only attempt I ever made at teaching myself.)

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#404492 - 08/14/08 11:05 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: DeadlyKnuckles]
xMentalxLintx Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 19
Let me fill you in on who you're talking to:

I don't care what you have or have not studied, as it has no bearing on any of the previously-made points. It also isn't anything impressive, so I'm hoping that's not what you were getting at, either.

You know what YOUR experience was/is like. You have no idea the range of possible experiences out there, or any apparent appreciation for the variety of goals and hopes for martial arts instruction that various people may hold. Again, an issue that is personal in nature.

I'm not talking about people (perhaps like yourself) that "recommend against videos and books." I'm talking about people (which may not include you) on forums like these that belittle and berate each and every person that asks about learning X or Y by video, making claims like "you'll never learn anything" or other things they can't possibly prove... or responding to someone who says "I used a video, and it taught me what I wanted to know" with something like "Nuh uh, you lie, videos are teh suck."

If that's not you, it's not you. No need to defend them (or yourself, since you're not in the group I'm talking about).

I'll repeat: NO ONE in this thread or on this forum is saying "Videos are superior to live instruction." No one is saying "Videos are equal to live intruction." What IS being said is "ease up on people that ask, and either leave them alone or point them toward the BEST among the videos and books that you know of, because at least they're interested, and SOME help is better than NO help."

What YOU consider a waste of time might be EXACTLY what someone else is looking for.

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#404493 - 08/14/08 11:35 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
DeadlyKnuckles Offline
Member

Registered: 07/26/08
Posts: 130
Loc: United States, Florida
How many individuals do you know of that have been able to teach themselves with noticeable results/progress, though with no prior Martial Arts experience?

I'm just curious because I don't know of any.

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#404494 - 08/15/08 07:15 AM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: DeadlyKnuckles]
xMentalxLintx Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 19
You probably "don't know of any" because you've allowed overt elitism to severely taint what you consider "noticeable results." As soon as you find out it was learned from a video/book, you probably immediately write that person off in your subconscious and then scour their form for errors (which you'll find in ANYONE, student or not).

You hold those people to a higher standard than students, so as to manufacture support for your opinion. You call any sign of progress, what, fool's luck of something, maybe? Or you just ignore it completely, because it was from a book or DVD.

Bottom line, I know TONS of people who've learned WHAT THEY WANTED TO LEARN from a book or DVD. They know things they didn't know before, and that is learning/results/progress. They met a personal goal, which is learning/results/progress.

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#404495 - 08/15/08 07:55 AM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
Mental,

I too have seen many who were unwilling to wait till correct instruction was possible and each time what they created, which I hope was personally satisfying for them, when compared to correct training is not in the same sale of events.

First what are we talking aout with 'self education'. Something to use for personal defensive purposes. That may well be a rational choice, such as learning how to keep a hairpin on your sleeve to grab and stab for self defeense.

Or are you talking about using wepaons for 'fun' or 'competition'?

I've seen almost everything there is books and video's and none of them are really useful if you want to learn something without a sound grounding in the weapons basics for the book/video in question.

Watching a good form performance shares nothing with how to learn how to get to that point. Imitating a video always leads to shallow performance (even if the person enjoys it).

Even those who work their tails off with flash techniques are severly lacking in other areas. Simply because they've had no direction those areas exist.

My advice for anyone is if you can't find good instruction in what you want, change your wants and do something else, period. Doing something else is personally more gratifying than pretending you're practicing kobudo.

Classical kobudo today (bo, sai, kama, tonfa, nunchaku, etc.) has NO place in personal defense. For the most part you really can't carry them, or if you do you're violating the law in many areas. The value to kobudo is long term (20+ years) support of your empty hand art applications, buidling strength through the study.

On the other hand, weapons studies for practical useage, such as if you're attacked you want to carve somebody up and I really have a hard time understanding why) are somewhat different. Anyone can cut with a knife or hit with a stick (ignoring practical use of firearms much more practical for real self defense if you know about it ahead of time), but serious training is preferable to video's there too (including shooting).

There are some practical reasons. Almost all weapons study gets to the point where you will hurt yourself, even seriously till you really learn how to respect the weapon. Instruction lessens the potential damage when that occurs, perhaps. On your own, well if you wnat to do fancy kama moves that may slice into your arm, cool. I've seen that done in tournaments many times. Just like people dancing with non-sharpened kintana kata, and a iai expert showing me how if the blade was real they would have lost their fingers.

While it can be about money, in my 35 years almost all of my instructors taught me for free, but only on their terms.

In turn I"ve only ever taught for free, and yes I do teach kobudo, but only on my terms. Normally about 5 or 6 years into an individuals training and then only at the pace I choose. Many of those studies don't begin until +15 years into training, afterall the only real value as I see it is in a supporting role.

Then again as I don't take money, I don't have to follow anything but how I've been trained either.

The issue remains if you really want to do something, quality is what really matters, and an adult learns how to control our desires so if what we want isn't there, to find something else valuable to occupy our time.

Of course it's possible many adults are't adult about their control either. Yet in weapons study control is everything.

For those who don't think I know what I'm talking about I suggest they rush out and buy a very solid 3 sectional staff, study from the following video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqsYw-aUTjk and really enjoy the very solid thwack you experience on the back of your head.

btw, when I studied with a very good instuctor I nailed myself too (and not with a wu-shu light 3 section), but it will happen more frequently without an instructor.


Edited by Victor Smith (08/15/08 07:57 AM)
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#404496 - 08/15/08 08:18 AM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Then they are dilettants...not martial artists. Frankly, if anyone is satisfied in their learning by a book or dvd, then they are happy wading around in the shallow end of the pool. And as far as I'm concerned, if they can't appreciate some well-intentioned advice and get over their desire to 'do it their way'...they can stay there.


Quote:

Bottom line, I know TONS of people who've learned WHAT THEY WANTED TO LEARN from a book or DVD. They know things they didn't know before, and that is learning/results/progress. They met a personal goal, which is learning/results/progress.



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#404497 - 08/15/08 08:29 AM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: Victor Smith]
puffadder Offline
Member

Registered: 04/29/07
Posts: 250
Loc: UK
Despite having studied for decades and taught for many years I still read books, watch DVDs and so on. I find they help to clarify certain points, explain principles in different ways that may make more sense and so on. They are an excellent adjunt to class learning but, for me, they couldn't replace the experience of class.

I have no doubt that for some people, book/DVD learning alone may be an option. It is certainly not the most effective option as they are missing out on the direct contact with a range of different individuals, some better, some worse that only classwork can really give. Not only that but a class invariably has a set curriculum - a path for you to follow that leads to expertise and skill whereas book learning alone means you are blazing your own trail.

xMental is right in that eventually a student should aim to outgrow his teacher and his development will continue in a way that makes the most of his individual skills and attributes. Classes often tend to teach a one-size-fits-all approach as they have many students of many different sizes, skills etc to cater for. The better schools will teach variatons of forms, techniques etc to allow for individual differences in practitioners. This isn't possible from books and DVDs which will show only one way to perform something. Thus the knowledge can become frozen in time and can become dogma for those who lack the imagination or skill to bring that knowledge to life again by experimenting with it against real opponents. But even then it would be very difficult to translate that knowledge without an experienced teacher who can read the movements and translate them accurately. Books tend to give only one possible use of a certain series of movements and there may be a dozen or more ways of using a technique that aren't shown.
Yes books can take you part of the way but for serious students it becomes essential to have a serious master.

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#404498 - 08/15/08 05:43 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: harlan]
xMentalxLintx Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 19
Harlan:

It's exactly that "if you don't want to be the best, go home" mentality that chokes off the martial arts in a lot of areas. Some people just want to do things for personal enrichment--entertainment included.

Sure, you can continue to view those people with an arrogant contempt. It is often the curse of people who fail to achieve greatness to turn around and laugh at the people behind them. Go ahead--respond to that comment to the tune of "You have no idea what I have/have not achieved" and then continue to judge OTHER people so concretely whom you've never met, either.

Regardless, someone that wants to learn a basic nunchaku form to "look cool" isn't hurting anyone but himself. But, perhaps if YOU were to point him toward the best possible video, he might change his mind about not wanting to delve deeper.

If we show respect and good nature to these people, we might win them over--or, at the very least, we do no harm to anyone. If we show them our arse ends by being stuffy, know-it-all elitist dojo snobs, all we do is drive potential artists off because of our hasty and arrogant judgments.

Quote:

Frankly, if anyone is satisfied in their learning by a book or dvd, then they are happy wading around in the shallow end of the pool. And as far as I'm concerned, if they can't appreciate some well-intentioned advice and get over their desire to 'do it their way'...they can stay there.




Ah, so instead of what you see as blindly adhering to "their way," they should blindly adhere to your way, and just give up if instruction isn't available? That kind of attitude should shame any instructor that has ever let you past them.

I'd be willing to bet that MOST, if not ALL of the people currently studying martial arts originally got into it because, on some level, it looked "cool." Or it appealed to them on some level BEFORE the intellectual level.

Kids don't start karate because they believe it will bring them self-discipline. They do it because jump kicks look fun and awesome to them. Some of them continue past that and mature as artists, others don't. But that's not to say that those that didn't never got anything out of it or ever had a good time.

But regardless, it's okay if you want to just leave those people where they are. Just don't say anything to them. It's the spiteful arrogance people display by reacting to every single question with the word "video" in it with such scorn--even PREEMPTIVELY showing that same contempt to anyone who might even dare to THINK of asking.

Help them or ignore them. Just don't belittle and insult them to make your black belt seem a little less dusty.

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#404499 - 08/17/08 03:50 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
harleyt26 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/23/04
Posts: 75
Loc: Summerfield,Florida U.S.A.
I have no problem with someone self training themselves in swinging a stick. Its the elitist self trained people that think they can learn an art form by reading a book or watching a video and compare it to a generations old system that has had many lifetimes invested in the correction of mistakes and inacuracies.If they are happy just swinging their stick around that is great and I hope they have a very good time.But when they try to compare that to a martial art they are trying to be the elitist without the hardships many of us have endured to gain the knowlege we worked very hard to get.

You said you are a music teacher.If someone self trained themselves to play by ear then started teaching music or advertising music classes that claimed to be of the same value as the classes offered by you.Who would be the elitist then?

There are no good instructional kobudo videos,the whole realm of even basic theories cannot be imparted by book or video,the video would be weeks and weeks long just to tell you the basic principles.And a book would be volumes.Then without someone of expeience to observe and correct the chances of it being close to correct would less than the odds of winning the lottery.

To mimic a book or video is just that,performing what you think you see being done in the book or video with no substance to the movements or only a superficial amount of substance.Usually just enough imformation to be used as a marketing tool to get the watchers interest up enough to get them in touch with the proper instructor.

Now for those that want to self train for their own pleasure,I can understand that.Even though a cheerleaders baton would be the same kind of fun.It is very insulting for those of us that have gone the distance with time,money,blood and sweat to have someone self train and call it Japanese,Okinawan,Chinese,Philpino etc.kobudo or weapons.Call us elitists if you will we are the elite that have the training,and are in the videos and books you are self training from.

Tom Hodges
_________________________
Thomas Hodges, train 100 practice 1000

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#404500 - 08/17/08 04:40 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: harleyt26]
xMentalxLintx Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 19
Quote:

If they are happy just swinging their stick around that is great and I hope they have a very good time.But when they try to compare that to a martial art they are trying to be the elitist without the hardships many of us have endured to gain the knowlege we worked very hard to get.




What about someone who takes a class and does poorly? Are they better than someone that uses a video and does well? Of course you would say yes. Or are you insulted by someone who takes a class and does better and faster than you in that class? After all, they didn't put in the same time as you, right?

My point isn't that the guy is right to say "I got a better education from this video than you did from an instructor." My point is that it's an awful sign of immense insecurity when you let a claim like that get to you as badly as it seems to.

If he's really that bad, people will see it and know when they compare the results you get to those he got. Nothing he says can affect you unless you let it.

Quote:

You said you are a music teacher.If someone self trained themselves to play by ear then started teaching music or advertising music classes that claimed to be of the same value as the classes offered by you.Who would be the elitist then?




Okay 1) you're not sure what "elitist" means. No, really, you're not--you think you are, but you aren't. Using a word you don't fully understand only serves to make you look as foolish as the people you claim are using weapons they don't fully understand--I'll let you decide just how foolish that is.

2) Again, people do that with music ALL THE TIME. There's an entire INDUSTRY of it. But we, as music educators, don't let it bother us. Those people will take those classes for quick, marketable results (American Idol, etc).

In the end, I know full well that they just want to be trained to produce a prefabricated result so they can look/feel cool. I won't teach them, but if they ask I'll at least point them toward whatever the best quality method is that they're willing/able to do.

There are plenty of people IN MY CLASSES (and in every single martial arts studio out there, INCLUDING the "best") that aren't there for the deepest and 'purest' of reasons. They're no "better" than the ones that say "Just show me how to sing high as quickly as possible, or play the bassoon really fast." But in my class I continue to teach to the people that want to learn the language of music, not just how to copy a few useful bits here and there.

Sometimes I sway the outliers. Usually I don't. But they don't hurt me or my other students, and I've not seen one hurt himself. My job is to teach, not to shove learners into boxes.

Quote:

There are no good instructional kobudo videos,the whole realm of even basic theories cannot be imparted by book or video,the video would be weeks and weeks long just to tell you the basic principles.




See here? The grotesqueries of exaggeration are plainly evident. A good video can do a good job of accurately describing certain basic principles, and when coupled with a book it can cover a lot of those basics in a short time.

Now here's the difference--that's teaching the BRAIN. The brain learns along completely different pathways from the BODY. An instructor is useful in making sure the student is effectively transferring that learning from brain to body. Going without an instructor means going without that feedback, which is a major disadvantage, no doubt.

But it doesn't mean that there is any secret knowledge that can never be imparted. If it can be SAID in person and DEMONSTRATED in person, it can be PRINTED in a book and RECORDED by a video camera. The ONLY thing missing (And don't get me wrong, it's important) is the live feedback-learning-loop and troubleshooting an instructor provides.

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#404501 - 08/17/08 09:44 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
harleyt26 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/23/04
Posts: 75
Loc: Summerfield,Florida U.S.A.
For someone to take a class and do poorly could be due to many reasons:Wrong teacher,wrong style,wrong atmosphere etc.At least that person tried the appropriate channel to take advantage of the subject they were interested in.

I am not being insecure about anything,I am only pointing out the difference between an education from a school or institution compared to a media education.Not the same thing.As you put it you should be able to learn brain surgery by video and book.But we all know thats not the surgeon you would choose.But in your opinion all the information could be achieved in that fashion.Sorry to be such an elitist,or not,but you are incredibly incorrect.

Yes you are correct if he is really that bad people will see and recognize his inadaquacies.I just do not want those same people assuming that is what I do because he chose a video or book with the name of the style I do on it.

I guess I will need your definition of elitist since you seem to think my definition is incorrect.That definition being one who thinks what they do to be of a better or more elite nature than anothers lesser acts.You need to read a little closer and recognize the difference in the usage of elite and or elitist.

And then you say you won't teach those that do the same type of thing in your industry? But you will point them in the right direction.Would that be a video of yourself? So that they could then go on to say they learned from you?Don't be a elitist but at least try to be realistic.

Why do you allow people in your classes that are not there for proper reasons?

I was referring to the others on this list(as the elite) that have tried to explain thigs to you.And you do not know me or the videos I have appeared in.

And you could not be more wrong about a videos capability to transfer the knowlege we are speaking of.As well as the fact that after the student does initialy learn the basics they must continue to return to the basics to improve correct and advance the knowlege that is contained in them.

It is obvious,to me at least,that you are not going to accept the facts when they are presented to you by the leaders in the arts you are speaking of.

How much do you pay for your so called good training video? You are going to need thousands of them to get anywhere.Why not just pay the teacher the get a few videos to use as refreshers to what your teachers is helping you with at that time.

Enjoy your baton twirling,
Ganmbatte
Tom Hodges
_________________________
Thomas Hodges, train 100 practice 1000

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#404502 - 08/18/08 07:20 AM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
puffadder Offline
Member

Registered: 04/29/07
Posts: 250
Loc: UK
Quote:



Now here's the difference--that's teaching the BRAIN. The brain learns along completely different pathways from the BODY.




I have to ask you to back up this assertion. Until now I have followed your lines of reasoning about self tuition but I haven't heard of this before.

There is an old saying that the mind reflects the body and vice versa. If the mind is frozen in fear then the body is frozen. If the body is flexible you can think more flexibly, if mind is relaxed and calm so is body and so on.

As far as I am aware when learning a new skill the brain trys many different variations of movement before selecting the most efficient then it stores it in memory by creating new neural pathways which last, pretty much for life. Hence the apparent lack of coordination at first while the brain experiments with combinations of muscle movements and also how we never forget how to ride a bike etc.

What are these different pathways you speak of?

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#404503 - 08/18/08 05:48 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: puffadder]
xMentalxLintx Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 19
Puff:

I can tell you, step-by-step, how to do any movement in martial arts. That does not mean you could then immediately stand up and do it at full speed.

Why is it that, even when we fully understand something MENTALLY, we still have to do it slow at first? Simple.

Coordination. "Muscle memory." The mechanical aspects of the BODY learning to perform what the BRAIN knows. It's a two-step process. Now, someone can become so good in a certain area of study that it happens a lot faster and SEEMS like one step, but it's not.

You see this kind of thing in music all the time, for instance. A child knows the fingerings for every note, but they have trouble playing a scale at full speed. Why? Because their FINGERS haven't learned what their BRAIN knows.

The brain/mind can learn through auditory and visual means with little or no difficulty. The body MUST have kinesthetic instruction--muscles learn by doing, getting "the feel" of it.

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#404504 - 08/19/08 05:29 AM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
puffadder Offline
Member

Registered: 04/29/07
Posts: 250
Loc: UK
Fortunately this process speeds up with practice. I am also a musician as well as a martial artist and kow from both studies how much easier it is to follow a complicated movement or run of notes now than it was 10 or 20 years ago even if I've never seen them before.

However, in response to your original point surely this means that book and DVD learning are more effective for those who have years of training behind them as they are able to coordinate the movements and so learn effectively rather than the uncoordinated novice?

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#404505 - 08/19/08 11:11 AM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: puffadder]
harleyt26 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/23/04
Posts: 75
Loc: Summerfield,Florida U.S.A.
Puffadder,not in my opinion. Because you have many years experience in Kung Fu or I having years of experience in Ryu Kyu Kobudo does not in my opinion mean we could gain the necessary information from a book or video to do,for example,Savate,Kapoera,Arnis or any other art we have no foundation in to the point we could be effective in it. For our own pleasure maybe, but not to a effective level to be able to claim knowlege in it.

As it would be for a brass musician to play a string instument. The same music but a different knowlege is required along with proper training to be effective.Again you could self train for your own pleasure but to be effective you need good teachers.

Tom Hodges
_________________________
Thomas Hodges, train 100 practice 1000

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#404506 - 08/19/08 11:19 AM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Sorry...been busy...but checked into this thread and wanted to reply to this one point...and then I'm done with it.

No one has argued with you that in studying martial arts there are a variety of people looking for a variety of things, and at different levels. You insist on grouping dilettants with professionals, with beginners in their journey with those that have gone on to indepth studies. No one disagrees that a dvd or book for a beginner can be informative. It can also be a turnoff or downright lies and misinformation.

As my teacher told me when I started, 'If you want exercise...join a gym. If all you want is history or philosophy...read a book. If you want to learn a martial art, I expect you to show up, to practice...and not to waste my time.'

What you label as 'elitist' I consider to be 'fortunate'. It's for the fortunate few that are seriously interested in long term studies to find a good teacher/s. As I mentioned in my first post, and that you have completely ignored...martial arts study CAN include a whole lot more than what is only found in books. You talk about 'self-enrichment'....and yet your posts seem to reflect a serious lack of understanding that comes with a student/teacher relationship. Of mentoring. Study with a teacher is a two-way street...of give and take...and deep learning that is not possible through books.

You are entirely correct...that if all one wants is entertainment, or diversion, then perhaps they should just go rent a dvd. Or hang out in a 'martial arts' forum... and 'talk' about it.


Quote:

Harlan:

It's exactly that "if you don't want to be the best, go home" mentality that chokes off the martial arts in a lot of areas. Some people just want to do things for personal enrichment--entertainment included.



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#404507 - 08/19/08 05:51 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: harleyt26]
puffadder Offline
Member

Registered: 04/29/07
Posts: 250
Loc: UK
Quote:

Puffadder,not in my opinion. Because you have many years experience in Kung Fu or I having years of experience in Ryu Kyu Kobudo does not in my opinion mean we could gain the necessary information from a book or video to do,for example,Savate,Kapoera,Arnis or any other art we have no foundation in to the point we could be effective in it. For our own pleasure maybe, but not to a effective level to be able to claim knowlege in it.

As it would be for a brass musician to play a string instument. The same music but a different knowlege is required along with proper training to be effective.Again you could self train for your own pleasure but to be effective you need good teachers.

Tom Hodges




Tom
I didn't say it would be easy, just easier for you or I than for a complete novice as we already have core abilities of coordination, balance, timing etc. Hence we could probably gain more from a DVD than a complete beginner could both in the physical practice and also using our experience to analyse the way different skills are put together - seeing weak points and strong points that a beginner would miss. Certainly we wouldn't be able to claim any level of expertise or in depth knowledge in it but such study could potentially add to our existing knowledge-base.

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#404508 - 08/19/08 06:59 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: puffadder]
harleyt26 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/23/04
Posts: 75
Loc: Summerfield,Florida U.S.A.
Maybe I could emulate what I see on a Kung Fu video or what I interpret from a Kung Fu book. I have never had a single class on any Chinese arts. I have a feeling there are basic sublties that cannot be conveyed by anything but person to person observation. Now if I were viewing a video then recording my interpretation for your criticism that might eventually be a way to learn Kung Fu in a very long term fashion. But for me to practice my own interpretation only would only be Tom Fu. And would be an insult to you to then say I was performing your Kung Fu as taught by you. But I do agree that with many years of experience I could learn to do it incorrectly much faster but probably with a little better insight than a beginner.

Tom Hodges
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Thomas Hodges, train 100 practice 1000

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#404509 - 08/19/08 08:07 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: harleyt26]
xMentalxLintx Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 19
So it still comes back to the point that yes, a teacher is preferred. A teacher is not the ONLY way to "learn anything," and it is an untrue statement that "you can't learn anything at all from a DVD or book," which is the statement frequently made on these forums to which I was originally responding.

Different people have different expectations. It is just as elitist to believe that anyone who's not as "into it" as you is just some hack that should give up. That'd be like saying anyone who's not aiming for Olympic Gold should never touch the pole vault.

If someone has an interest, BUILD ON THAT INTEREST. If the interest is currently, "Hey, I don't have a teacher but want to try to learn SOMETHING," then point them toward the best video/book that you know of. Maybe it's "Hey, it's too expensive to start, so I'd like to look at a few things first to see if it's right for me before I commit $150 a month" (Yeah, it's pricier in some places).

If that's where they are, then point them toward something that reaches them where they are AND can entice them down a better path if one is available. You were ALL beginners at one point, and every single one of you first got into it because SOMETHING about it just plain looked fun and cool.

I'm not saying "Tell them a video is just as good as a teacher." I'm just saying, if that's what they're looking for, why not point them toward the best that you know of, so that maybe that encouragement will help them find the "right" path?

Or is it really just about making sure that only people with your connections and your income can be called "real" martial artists, so you can always feel more important?

If it's about helping, then help them where they are--you don't throw someone a life preserver by dropping it at your feet and demanding them come to it. You throw it to THEM, so that maybe they have a SHOT at making it to where you are.

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#404510 - 08/20/08 07:14 AM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
harleyt26 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/23/04
Posts: 75
Loc: Summerfield,Florida U.S.A.
So then what video or book is it that you would point them to? I don't know of any that would be any more than a demo of the teachers style or abilities. The ones I have seen that are sold as "instructional" only show a portion of the material and are designed to bring the student to the teacher. How can you point a person interested in a martial art to a less than adequate representation.That may turn them off as well as on to that art.

Tom Hodges
_________________________
Thomas Hodges, train 100 practice 1000

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#404511 - 08/20/08 07:31 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: harleyt26]
xMentalxLintx Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 19
So, if I am to understand... someone who doesn't have access to a teacher, whose only option is a video, is going to be TURNED OFF of martial arts by pointing him toward the best resource he may have access to?

Well, what do you think telling him "Videos are dumb, you have to have a teacher or you're dumb" will do? First, it tells him that we're a bunch of pricks. Then it tells him that he has no hope. That's not apt to get him pumped up.

There are plenty of bad videos, or at least "bad for beginners." There are other video/book combinations that can go a long way toward helping someone, as well as the old "trial and error" that is still a great way to learn some things.

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#404512 - 08/27/08 04:25 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
Vennificus Offline
Member

Registered: 01/21/08
Posts: 206
Loc: The frozen realms of Kah-Nah-D...
((due to controversy, I'm including brain-translations in my posts, to show what I'm reading and how it's being conveyed))

It's odd. The title is circular logic,
and so far the argument is just going in circles.
So after reading it I've gotten this message:

a)Having a teacher is a good way to go, you're likely to have a fair bit of sucsess, but the downside being finding a place to go with it if you surpass your teacher.

b)You can learn from a book or video, but it's not a sure-fire as a teacher, without contact, it is less likely to get the fine points and is dangerous.

c)Every now and then, someone who has fleshed it out for themselves can become good. It is much more dangerous, and less likely that you will be sucsessful, but you CAN potentially learn from it.

d)people need to lighten up. Not everyone is doing it for the same reason, some for mixed reasons. There is no need to get angry at someone for wanting to have fun or add a bit of spice to their life by trying to learn with limited options.


and now for my own added thought.
Message received, so, Why do people get so angry? are they trying to protect the new kids from learning? It feels like they're either caring, or trying to assert dominance. ((before you get angry at me, ask yourself if you are. Do not reply with the answer to that, Just do the introspection thing and ponder on it))

POST:
So maybe you (I'd say 'we', but I'm on the other side of the wall) can try and help those of limited options somehow. We all know there are kids who want to be superior fast, a kinda "lookit me mama" approach to life, there's not much you can do about them, except try and teach them. In the end this train of thought leads off to the side and into philosiphy, with "what are we teaching them anyway. Are we teaching them violence, oh dear, I seem to be a bad person blah blah blah" but If you cut it off before that and somehow rationalize it, you get a quest for the unattainable perfection, something you can find everywhere. Music, martial arts, hula-hooping, Etc. It's something that is built into us as humans, and you all know this. So teach them, and learn from our (because it applies to the learner as well) mistakes, much in the way, martial arts originated.

Post-post post:
I found the music argument a good one. I (like many people who live on this rock of an island) play accordion, and, again, with limited options I've begun to learn by ear, learning songs like "through the fire and the flames" and "bed of razors." In this process I had to learn scales, fingering, timing, etc., and yet I know that still have need to learn (chords are my main enemy). It all applies to what's been said already. (see beginning of post)
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#404513 - 08/28/08 12:59 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5823
Loc: USA
xMental

So in effect you want to take the statment "you can't learn anything from a book/DVD etc as a LITTERAL, ABSOLUTE statement that can "disproved" by showing that in effect that if one can learn "something"--even if there are MUCH better ways to learn it the statment is "false."

That assumes the statement is be taken LITTERALLY instead of the simple, to the point and blunt advice that it is.

Perhaps we should look at some of YOUR aguments and view THEM ALL thu such a narrow LITTERAL lens....hmmmmm

Another question is why anyone should care much for someones level of "interst."

As far as I'm concerend anyone that is unwilling to put in the time and effort to get proper training should be DISCOURGED as much as possibe from doing it....in my experience well intentioned people often get hurt or worse hurt others quite often.
I rock climb as hobby--someone is "interested" in learning to climb I suggest a good book AND INSIST that they go to a good class....if they are not interested enough to get real training...I don't suggest the book at all.
That is all I need some yahoo thinking they can learn to climb from a book and killing themselevs of OTHERS.
Somebody wants to learn to shoot a gun.....again, I can suggets many books--but most the GOOD ones mean little without some practical "hands on" expereince......its a bad idea IMO to let simply "interest" dictate and decide what and how people take potentially dangerous activites....such as swinging a heavy oak bo or sharp kama around.

IMO you don't really know if something is REALLY of interest until you actually do it---reading about or watching it on the TV is a a kinda of 3td person thing that tells you pretty much nothing about if its PRACTICE would really interest you at all....you might very well love the way the guy does the kata and wish you could do that too...but you might very well HATE the hard grind of the training needed to get there.

One famous aritist was put thu the wringer by his father whom insisted that he master all sorts of things about prspective and shading etc before he was allowed to even pick up a brush---THEN he was put thu a vastly techniqual education on how to paint etc.

Years later he was asked if such a ridged and unyeailding course of study might have killed his budding genius?

His answer?

"If it kills it it ought to be killed...if its not strong enough to take the gaff of real training then its not worth much anyway."

Just from food for thought from another perspective.

I activly DISCOURGE people from taking martial arts--esp at young ages.....many times they have unresonable expectations about an art....unresonable expectations that they have picked up from reading too many books or spending too much time on the internet without actually TRAINING.
They often end up spending a LOT of money and way to much TIME--time that could be better spent in doing something they enjoy.

And lets be honest----if your argueing books and DVD's--what if what they teach you does not match the class itself?
There are many teaches of the same art--some dude spends lords knows how much time learning Seisan from a DVD and finds out that how he is doing is totoally "wrong" from how we teach it.....what have they really achived?..And you know its going to [censored] them off when I tell them "sorry, but that is not how we do it here"...or worse "sorry but that sucks"......what do you think that is going to do to someones "interest" level??????

Sure one can make an argument on almost anything......but being able to advance an argument is a world away from it being a valid one.


Edited by cxt (08/28/08 01:17 PM)
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I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#404514 - 08/28/08 01:47 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: cxt]
Chatan1979 Offline
Member

Registered: 03/21/05
Posts: 338
Loc: Mahomet , Illinois
Quote:

xMental

So in effect you want to take the statment "you can't learn anything from a book/DVD etc as a LITTERAL, ABSOLUTE statement that can "disproved" by showing that in effect that if one can learn "something"--even if there are MUCH better ways to learn it the statment is "false."

That assumes the statement is be taken LITTERALLY instead of the simple, to the point and blunt advice that it is.

Perhaps we should look at some of YOUR aguments and view THEM ALL thu such a narrow LITTERAL lens....hmmmmm

Another question is why anyone should care much for someones level of "interst."

As far as I'm concerend anyone that is unwilling to put in the time and effort to get proper training should be DISCOURGED as much as possibe from doing it....in my experience well intentioned people often get hurt or worse hurt others quite often.
I rock climb as hobby--someone is "interested" in learning to climb I suggest a good book AND INSIST that they go to a good class....if they are not interested enough to get real training...I don't suggest the book at all.
That is all I need some yahoo thinking they can learn to climb from a book and killing themselevs of OTHERS.
Somebody wants to learn to shoot a gun.....again, I can suggets many books--but most the GOOD ones mean little without some practical "hands on" expereince......its a bad idea IMO to let simply "interest" dictate and decide what and how people take potentially dangerous activites....such as swinging a heavy oak bo or sharp kama around.

IMO you don't really know if something is REALLY of interest until you actually do it---reading about or watching it on the TV is a a kinda of 3td person thing that tells you pretty much nothing about if its PRACTICE would really interest you at all....you might very well love the way the guy does the kata and wish you could do that too...but you might very well HATE the hard grind of the training needed to get there.

One famous aritist was put thu the wringer by his father whom insisted that he master all sorts of things about prspective and shading etc before he was allowed to even pick up a brush---THEN he was put thu a vastly techniqual education on how to paint etc.

Years later he was asked if such a ridged and unyeailding course of study might have killed his budding genius?

His answer?

"If it kills it it ought to be killed...if its not strong enough to take the gaff of real training then its not worth much anyway."

Just from food for thought from another perspective.

I activly DISCOURGE people from taking martial arts--esp at young ages.....many times they have unresonable expectations about an art....unresonable expectations that they have picked up from reading too many books or spending too much time on the internet without actually TRAINING.
They often end up spending a LOT of money and way to much TIME--time that could be better spent in doing something they enjoy.

And lets be honest----if your argueing books and DVD's--what if what they teach you does not match the class itself?
There are many teaches of the same art--some dude spends lords knows how much time learning Seisan from a DVD and finds out that how he is doing is totoally "wrong" from how we teach it.....what have they really achived?..And you know its going to [censored] them off when I tell them "sorry, but that is not how we do it here"...or worse "sorry but that sucks"......what do you think that is going to do to someones "interest" level??????

Sure one can make an argument on almost anything......but being able to advance an argument is a world away from it being a valid one.





Completely agree with all you've said. I think that a lot times, at least at my dojo, we get students who come in , as you said, with unrealistic expectations about our art. They've either read a book, watched a movie or saw something on YouTube. They expect to learn all the cool stuff they saw in the book or DVD, but then are extremely discouraged when they realize that they have a LONG way to go before any of that happens.

What can one honestly expect from soley book learning? IMO thats like the typical rape prevention class, where women take an hour class on rape defense and then expect to be able to defend themselves from that ONE class.

As I have always said. I have no problem with books as a supplement to supervised instruction. But not as a sole means to learning.


CXT, it was funny you mentioned the example of someone learning Seisan from a DVD only to find out its the wrong version. I had a student do this very thing very recently. He went on Youtube and started teaching himself pinian yondan and then proceeded to show it to me. He was rather distraught when I told him it was not the version we do. We practice the Heian kata.
_________________________
There is always someone who knows more, and noone who knows it all....

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#404515 - 08/28/08 01:49 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
janxspirit Offline
Member

Registered: 02/21/08
Posts: 132
Quote:

...naysayers.

It is often said that trying to learn via instructional books or DVDs is a fool's errand, and will yield no fruit. When someone cites that they are effective with a weapon they learned by one of these means, they are told they are wrong--they are, in fact, very bad with it, and must be lying to us or themselves.

The reasoning is usually that anyone who created the book or DVD has obviously studied with a teacher, and thus studying with a teacher is really the only genuine way to learn. And those teachers studied with teachers, and those teachers, and... wait...

That's right. If you go back far enough with ANYTHING--weapons, musical instruments, automobiles, folding paper airplanes, whatever--you find that it was originally hashed out by one guy trying stuff. He may have used other existing and similar devices as models, but in the end he had to just try stuff.

Then he taught some buddies, and some of them tried new stuff and refined old stuff. Then they taught buddies. Then buddies started writing it down.

Instruction is not magical, and having a good teacher will not make you any better than anyone else on its own. Instruction in all things is simply a shortcut to save you, the learner, a lot of trial and error--or at least make sure the "error" part is less frequent than it could be. But it is not the sole means.

Even as a music educator, I can admit that there are plenty of self-taught musicians that are phenomenal, world-class performers. Does that mean my job is unnecessary? Of course not--not everyone has the time or desire to self-teach, and some people want to be part of a larger community of musicians and should thus learn the standardized language. Does it mean that my students are bad musicians because they "needed" a teacher and this other guy didn't? Not at all.

But THAT is usually what happens here. Someone with years of instruction is INSULTED that someone else wants to take the "shortcut," or (let's be honest) simply doesn't have the option (time, money, availability) of true instruction.

Is the would-be learner here to insult them? Not in the least. He's here because he has no option, but he wants to learn (and being a conscientious learner is just as important as having an expert teacher), his options are slim, and he wants opinions on the best way HE can do it. And let's face it, a book or DVD =is= better than no help at all.

What's more, some people (through study of dance, gymnastics, or martial arts) have a better awareness of body, and some of the more subtle nuances they MIGHT just pick up instinctively. Or they'll get them through trial and error, like millions of people have done before them.

Teaching isn't about "making you learn the way I learned." It's about showing someone how to learn. EVERY, and I mean EVERY good teacher has a goal of eventually empowering their students to TEACH THEMSELVES--we are the only job who hopes to make ourselves obsolete.

And all we, as teachers, do is provide a model and then troubleshoot while you try to imitate the model. That's it. We show you how it's done, then watch you try to do it, help you find your mistakes and fix them. A book and video can provide you a model, and as you learn, you'll be able to go back and find mistakes and fix them--and discussion with other people via the internet will help, too.

So, yes, you CAN teach yourself. ANYTHING. If you're willing to devote the time and bruises, you can learn it. It's simply a question of 1) will and 2) goals:

When it comes to the will to learn: Are you able to admit your mistakes, and LEARN from them rather than COMPLAIN about them or get discouraged? Are you willing to experiment and be wrong MANY times before finally getting it right?

When it comes to goals, remember that no goal is inherently "wrong." Is your goal to learn just one form so you can look and feel cool? GOOD! Do it! Your goal isn't to use it for combat, so knowing the intricacies of application isn't necessary for your goal--and you can always learn that later if you find your goals change. Is your goal to be able to scare off prowlers with a few choice moves? Learn them and leave the rest--you don't OWE anything to the arts, as the arts exist to serve man and not the other way around (be careful that you don't take advantage of PEOPLE, though).

The bottom line is: Don't be a student elitist. Just because someone is self-taught doesn't mean they're worse than you, nor does it mean they think they're better. It's no different than a student that learns quickly and one that takes a few more tries--both can get it equally right, and the only difference is time.




I agree.

We have a small fight club in St. Louis Missouri and our guys grow tougher every month. We have lots of people come in and work with us, but when there is no one to teach we work from DVD's.

People who think you absolutely need a teacher are incorrect. If a person is willing to spar and work in an alive environment then that very environment will serve as a teacher.

Teachers do greatly ACCELERATE the process, so long as they are good teacher of a functional art form.

Some people will never be able to accept this. They require a teacher and they want lots of certificates and belts and whatnot.

It doesn't make it any less true.
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#404516 - 08/28/08 07:07 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: cxt]
xMentalxLintx Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 19
Quote:

Perhaps we should look at some of YOUR aguments and view THEM ALL thu such a narrow LITTERAL lens....hmmmmm




Go right ahead. I literally believe that people can learn something from DVDs, such that it is, in fact, better than elitists telling them to shove off.

Quote:

As far as I'm concerend anyone that is unwilling to put in the time and effort to get proper training should be DISCOURGED as much as possibe from doing it....in my experience well intentioned people often get hurt or worse hurt others quite often.




Interesting. These 'well-intentioned' people could only hurt someone in a classroom setting... which would mean they have instruction of a formal variety. And I'm sorry, but you don't care if they hurt themselves. That's not at all what this is about.

Quote:

And lets be honest----if your argueing books and DVD's--what if what they teach you does not match the class itself?




These people I'm talking about can't get to a class. They're learning on their own, because maybe it's the only option available. But if they seek instruction later on, it's pretty safe to say that SOMETHING from the DVD will transfer--and it's also a sure bet that without the book/DVD, they'd have never bothered to go seek instruction at all. We can only gain from helping these people, it doesn't hurt us in the least.

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#404517 - 08/28/08 07:12 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
xMentalxLintx Offline
Newbie

Registered: 08/12/08
Posts: 19
Janx:

Quote:

Some people will never be able to accept this. They require a teacher and they want lots of certificates and belts and whatnot.




Bingo. That's what this is about. If you spend years learning a single form, or somesuch, and someone else comes along and learns it to a passable degree in half that time without the same level of training, you (if you're one of the insecure) will take it as a personal insult... it's some kind of message to you that you wasted your time, or that he's saying you're stupid because you needed help.

Is that likely to happen? No. But these elitist sorts don't even want to take the CHANCE, so they do what they can to stop people from even trying it another way--so that there's no chance that even by some fluke someone will gain something without jumping through all the hoops.

It happens in every field. Credentialling. I should get this job because I have the necessary degree--who cares if that guy does it just as well, or better, without the formal training? I have the paper, so I win, right? So we teach each other to talk down to the guy that learns for himself, so that he'll never become a threat to us.

Too bad folks like this don't realize he was never here to threaten them. He was here to learn something that he wanted to learn, and he probably didn't think about them for even a second. Because it's not bloody always about them.

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#404518 - 08/28/08 07:58 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
So...this boils down to you having an issue with people that have credentials to teach?

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#404519 - 08/28/08 08:06 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
DeadlyKnuckles Offline
Member

Registered: 07/26/08
Posts: 130
Loc: United States, Florida
Quote:

Janx:

Quote:

Some people will never be able to accept this. They require a teacher and they want lots of certificates and belts and whatnot.




Bingo. That's what this is about. If you spend years learning a single form, or somesuch, and someone else comes along and learns it to a passable degree in half that time without the same level of training, you (if you're one of the insecure) will take it as a personal insult... it's some kind of message to you that you wasted your time, or that he's saying you're stupid because you needed help.

Is that likely to happen? No. But these elitist sorts don't even want to take the CHANCE, so they do what they can to stop people from even trying it another way--so that there's no chance that even by some fluke someone will gain something without jumping through all the hoops.

It happens in every field. Credentialling. I should get this job because I have the necessary degree--who cares if that guy does it just as well, or better, without the formal training? I have the paper, so I win, right? So we teach each other to talk down to the guy that learns for himself, so that he'll never become a threat to us.

Too bad folks like this don't realize he was never here to threaten them. He was here to learn something that he wanted to learn, and he probably didn't think about them for even a second. Because it's not bloody always about them.



So, you believe that turning away those seeking to teach themselves is the result of some delusion of grandeur?

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#404520 - 08/29/08 04:00 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
Neko456 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
I feel if you have a soild foundations that's true. But if you just copy movement of the guy's doing in the DVD and not perform know the REAL technique then if thats what you want you got it. But really most weapon movement means something if you can't use the technique except for showing the movement what good is that?

Let's use for instance the nunchuka, I know plenty of DVD trained and self trained users that can swing them well and do all kinds of pretty stuff. But ask then to hit a soild target and the chuks pops them across the hand or head. Ask them to disarm a person with stick or demo knife and they don't know how, except try to hit the hand, while swings are possible it takes practice also the angled strike covers more range. The nunchuka as we well know has trapping, non swinging one hand and two hand striking, chokes, breaks, throws and trips so its not just a swinging or blugeoning weapon. All this is in the Bunkia and a lot of times DVD training doesn't show the possibilites. I agree you could win a place in a tournament with these movement that seen in a video but thats not really learning the weapons useage.

I believe teaching yourself (w/o a base) is a farsce brought on by watching too many movies or reading too many Bruce Lee manuals wrong. What people miss is that he studied numerous Marital Arts after ATTAINING HIS BASE and then added what he thought was useful. His studies included studied with people like Ed Parker, Jhoon Ree, various Chinese masters other then WC, Savate, Muya Thai, Fillopino arts, Karate, Wrestling, Judo's Gene LaBell and western Boxing on and on. All creditaled pros that could talk the talk and walk. Legends of the MAs.

There is no easy way to do and make it work.

But again with a solid foundation, there is nothing wrong with expanding your knowledge and arsenal with Video training and a training partner.


Edited by Neko456 (08/29/08 04:11 PM)
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#404521 - 08/29/08 04:01 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5823
Loc: USA
xmental

Ok I tried.

Saying that people can learn "something" from DVD's is a no brainer--sure they can "something"--its just a question of what and how much...and how well.

If you want to learn to drive a car, you have to get behind the wheel....just try getting your drivers license ONLY haveing watched DVD's about driving.
Can you learn "something" about it? Sure--IF the guy that made the DVD isn't a idiot....or maybe lived in say the UK where the drving was perhaps seriously differnt---or if your in the UK-switch the example.

Go tell the next guy you interview with for a job that you have no actual hands on training nor did you take actual classes from experts in the field in collge BUT that you have watched many DVD's about the job so your perfectly qualified to do the job.

You seem really hung up on the minutia of the word "something."

"elities telling them to shove off"

Ah, did you even read my post?

Beisides since YOUR going to assume that ANYBODY that wants people to get a real teacher--for many valid reasons...why SHOULDN'T we assume that ANYBODY that tells people that they can learn from a DVD is working their OWN agenda???????

Maybe you sell DVD's and need to drum up business....maybe your trying to shoot down the people that are giving good advice about the serious limitations of DVD instuction.....maybe you got most of your training by DVD and are now trying to desperatly rationalize your lack of real training.....maybe you took your sucky DVD training to a real school and got laughed off the mat and nor rather than face hard cheese truth that you really didn't get good training by DVD your trying to pretend that its everyone ELSE that has a problem...its EVERYONE else that is an "elitist."

"Classroom setting"

Nope, people can get hurt and hurt others pretty much anywhere----in climbing were not even in a "classroom" were out on a face where you need to really know what your doing or people can get really hurt.
Im martial arts, you could be trying to use what your ahm..."learned" from your DVD to defend yourself--and it could easily fail--and you could get hurt.
You could be doing something dangeous and not even know it----seriously hurt a buddy while you guys were trying out what you saw on your DVD.

BTW I very much DO "care" about people getting hurt---you have never met me, don't know me at all, but since I disagree with you POV I MUST be a bad guy that does not care about people...sheesh.

"Only option avalible"

Yeah, I hear that alot...and most of the time its really just a rationalization....there is training avalible if your willing to make an effort.

I have a buddy that spends 2 weekends a month making a nearly 500 mile trip just to train.
People change up their whol elives just to go to Japan, China, etc just to train....people work 2 jobs, some people could make a crap load more money doing something else but they could not train so they stick with the boring dead end job--FOR NOW
I have a buddy that used to get off work at 6:00 and make a 2 hour drive just to train with the one the experts of his system---train until 10 or so then make a 2 hour trip back---and I needed to be a work at 7:00 the next day--I'd do this 2-3 sometime 4 times a week for 5-6 YEARS.

Most of the time there is training IF you want their to be.

In those few cases where there is not? Tough call, what I often tell people is that they need to focus on really getting shape so they will be ready when they move someplace where they can get training.

If they are really stuck then they should join a group with a buddy where the can travel to train as often as possible--and practice what they learned in-between sessions.....I know of people in Canada that only make the training sessions 6 times a year....takes longer to get ahead but they seem to feel its worth it.

If you have NO other option than DVD's...and there are such people....then IMO you do what you have do...BUT SAY THAT AND SIMPLY ACPEPPT that its not a good being there and getting real teaching....don't give a lot of post-hoc rationaliztions about it somehow being just as good.

Sounds like your selling something...either to others or maybe yourself...or both.

"without the book/dvd theyed have never bothered to go seek instuctiuon"

Where is that written that all students ONLY seek out training from reading books and seeing DVD's?
That makes no sense at all---everytime some new martial arts movie comes out people get swarmed with people---people whom generally quit because the movie and the training didn't match.
Hell, talk to the folks that survived the Teenage Mutant Ninja crazy of the late 80's.

Like I said, most of the time the books and DVD;s don't match what people are doing anyway---so we gotta UNTEACH a student that resents us for it--and not only does it take longer to unteach a student--they genrally quit more often--so its a waste of time all around.

"We can only gain by helping these people"

And in my opinion we help them BEST by advocating quality "hands on" insturction from experienced teachers......not telling people that they can and should learn from books and DVD's.
IMO we help them best by helping people to make informed choices.
IMO we help them best by being honest with the serious limitations of using books and DVD's as "stand-ins" for proper instruction.
IMO we help them best by helping them to understand that although "something" can be gleaned from books and DVD's they are NOT acceptible subsitutes for actual hands on training.....indeed they can often be quite detrimental to it.

We, IMO, help them best by being HONEST with them.....even if some of them don't like hearing it.

Ask yourself whom your "really" trying to help---potential students or yourself????


Edited by cxt (08/29/08 04:15 PM)
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#404522 - 09/05/08 05:08 AM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: cxt]
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
I've learned a couple of things through books or dvd's,but only after having a good base already.

I don't believe it's the wise approach,but you can learn something. You also have a greater chance of learning things wrong and then you have to unlearn it.
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The2nd ammendment, it makes all the others possible. <///<




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#404523 - 09/10/08 11:17 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: BrianS]
Yugen83 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/02/08
Posts: 110
Loc: Southern Maryland
Quote:

I've learned a couple of things through books or dvd's,but only after having a good base already.

I don't believe it's the wise approach,but you can learn something. You also have a greater chance of learning things wrong and then you have to unlearn it.




I agree with you, Brian. You will build lots of bad habits by learning from a book or dvd at the beginning. If you have a base and have recieved years of live instruction, then books and/or dvd's can be helpful. However, it is an unwise route to go if starting from scratch.
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#404524 - 09/11/08 12:20 AM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: xMentalxLintx]
Yugen83 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/02/08
Posts: 110
Loc: Southern Maryland
Quote:

Even as a music educator, I can admit that there are plenty of self-taught musicians that are phenomenal, world-class performers. Does that mean my job is unnecessary? Of course not--not everyone has the time or desire to self-teach, and some people want to be part of a larger community of musicians and should thus learn the standardized language. Does it mean that my students are bad musicians because they "needed" a teacher and this other guy didn't? Not at all.

But THAT is usually what happens here. Someone with years of instruction is INSULTED that someone else wants to take the "shortcut," or (let's be honest) simply doesn't have the option (time, money, availability) of true instruction.

Is the would-be learner here to insult them? Not in the least. He's here because he has no option, but he wants to learn (and being a conscientious learner is just as important as having an expert teacher), his options are slim, and he wants opinions on the best way HE can do it. And let's face it, a book or DVD =is= better than no help at all.




I don't think that it is impossible to learn from a book or dvd. I just think that it is not the best way to go for a beginner. Now, martial arts is not rocket science and it is not something so far beyond the average human being that it can't be learned without an instructor. Heck, it is all physics, body mechanics, and geometry. However, I believe that learning from a live instructor is a far more efficient means, especially for a beginner. I understand that not everybody has the luxury of being able to learn from a live instructor, and for these people, this is all that they've got. I actually admire the fact that they are so passionate about the arts that they are out there making something happen even if the common means is out of reach. That speaks volumes about their dedication and character, IMO. I personally have nothing against home study students. I don't insult them or their training. I encourage them in their training and I actually try to help them find live instruction when I can. As far as sour grapes, well, there are a lot of people who poured a lot of time and money into commercial martial arts schools and they feel that since they did it then everybody else must do it, too. If somebody does things differently then they are "cheating" or they are doing it "wrong", according to them. Yes, it is a very narrowminded and ignorant viewpoint. There are lots of people who train in commercial schools, pay high prices, and still recieve crappy instruction (not to mention the other nonsense that they must put up with from the other students). They are often no better than the worst home study students, the only difference is that they did it the "right" way and payed loads of cash to help some person pay the rent on their building. In my very humble opinion, you haven't truly learned anything until you can make it work full contact against a fully resisting opponent who is trying to knock your block off just as hard as you are trying to knock theirs off, and you can free spar in your own backyard to do this, for crying out loud! The baddest fighters in the world learned how to do it on the streets without an instructor - they learned from experience, which is yet another way to learn that is different from the "right" way. I don't recommend anybody doing home study or learning from books/dvd, but if it is all that you've got and you are truly serious about training then do what you gotta do. Just be sure to pressure test it against a live opponent so that you can recieve hands-on training and valuable feedback. Most programs also allow you to correspond directly with the instructor or actually go out to where the instructor is to get some live training with him/her whenever you get the time. the key is having an open mind and respecting what others do even if it is different from what you do. If they truly are "wrong" then they will find out first hand.
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#404525 - 02/11/09 06:42 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: Yugen83]
Triddle Offline
Member

Registered: 01/30/06
Posts: 129
Loc: Australia
I think a perfect example of how it is possible to teach oneself using a variety of texts is found in looking at western (weapons based) martial arts. In the last 20 years or so these have seen a revival, going from being thought essentially non-existant to being very complete systems of armed combat. These people taught themselves mostly by looking at centuries old manuscripts and 'figuring it out' over years. There are a lot of very high quality swordsmen (and axemen/spearmen, whatever) that have learned in this manner, easily as good as their more formally trained japanese/chinese style counterparts. The historical fencing guys for example are extremely good, then there's various organisations like dagohir groups, things like ARMA and the SCA. These groups all include a lot of people who have a lot of skill, yet many of these people were either self taught or taught by someone who was self taught. Its a matter of time and effort, people dedicated their lives to reviving WMA and as far as I can see they've been quite sucessful. Also note, this is an outsiders observations... I like to collect swords and do a little backyard cutting, which is mostly how I got my exposure to WMA, but I'm no swordsman and no member of any WMA group.

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#404526 - 04/20/09 02:15 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: Triddle]
JLeeT Offline
Stranger

Registered: 04/20/09
Posts: 1
I have taken a total of a handful of years of martial arts, more specifically Sanshinkai Karate, here in Raleigh, NC. I guess it would be what is considered here as "McKarate" by some of the standards I am envisioning here based on this topic alone. I have taken enough of this that I can (and have) defend myself from an attacker with very little struggle involved. But I am by no means a "master" of any kind or type. I actually prefer to be a thought of as a "student" because I am always trying to learn more, not necessarily practice more, but learn none the less. "No one man is a master at anything, as they can always learn something more."

The problem I have run into is that I have physical and economic limitations that prevent me from sticking with it for extended periods of time. It's hard paying $125 a month for lessons by an instructor I have known for almost 20 years, and have seen his kids born, and grow up into students, teachers, and college students. Especially considering how hard finding a job is these days in any field. So I have been forced to drop out of taking the lessons for a 3rd time in my life because of something getting in the way (as life often does).

So, to make up for this, I train on my own as much as I can, and as much as I can afford. I swim in a public indoor pool for exercise and conditioning. I study and practice the katas I know on my own, along with anything I have picked up from being around this dojo's students for so long. I know the basics of weapon combat, but only the basics. I would love to learn how to use tonfa, but I am very picky in the sense that I want two very specific sets of tonfa (one of which would HAVE to be custom made).
I have been in one tournament during my stint in this art, and I really didn't enjoy it. I nabbed a gold and a silver ranking amongst my peers in two separate events. But both felt hollow because, to me, it seemed like having tournaments kind of defeats the real purpose of martial arts (as I was taught it, to defend, no exceptions). I have witnessed much elitism amongst the many people I have met during this time, and it disgusts me. I don't deny that it is a lifetime of challenges for those who stick with this type of path throughout their many years.

Ultimately, I can't see myself becoming any "high ranking" member of the art in my lifetime. But, that's okay with me as I know enough to protect myself and my loved ones if need be, and I am happy with that.


Throughout all of my experiences, it (and I can't stress this enough) FEELS like the problem exists in how the art is taught in this country. To be fair, I have no personal experience to compare this to (for other countries), so I could be wrong, but the point is the impression one gets from "those in charge" or "higher ups" of these concepts.

I have been up against black belts that can introduce the floor to me, and sure they have worked hard to get where they are, and they deserve it! I do not deny that. But if a black belt acts like a white belt, then he is color blind!

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#404527 - 04/20/09 02:43 PM Re: The Circular Logic of Self Instruction... [Re: Triddle]
Zach_Zinn Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 1031
Loc: Olympia, WA
Quote:

I think a perfect example of how it is possible to teach oneself using a variety of texts is found in looking at western (weapons based) martial arts. In the last 20 years or so these have seen a revival, going from being thought essentially non-existant to being very complete systems of armed combat. These people taught themselves mostly by looking at centuries old manuscripts and 'figuring it out' over years. There are a lot of very high quality swordsmen (and axemen/spearmen, whatever) that have learned in this manner, easily as good as their more formally trained japanese/chinese style counterparts. The historical fencing guys for example are extremely good, then there's various organisations like dagohir groups, things like ARMA and the SCA. These groups all include a lot of people who have a lot of skill, yet many of these people were either self taught or taught by someone who was self taught. Its a matter of time and effort, people dedicated their lives to reviving WMA and as far as I can see they've been quite sucessful. Also note, this is an outsiders observations... I like to collect swords and do a little backyard cutting, which is mostly how I got my exposure to WMA, but I'm no swordsman and no member of any WMA group.




I'm gonna play devil's advocate on this one...when I watch videos of ARMA and other WMA, they are often very impressive.

However there's no question in my mind that a lot of the original adherents of WMA revival idea had some training in Judo, Karate, Greco-roman wrestling, Ju Jutsu.. what have you.

You can't learn to throw ogoshi from some old manuscripts alone, so while a large part of the curriculum might come from reconstructed sources, it's pretty clear that the fact that ARMA etc. people already had some martial experience plays a big role in the WMA community.

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