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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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