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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: 3219
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.
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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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: 3219
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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