Begginner really needs help

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by Drakeh, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    <shrugs> I have started to use video as a teaching tool with some of my more motivated students. Right after they promote to a new rank, I give them a DVD with some kata, drills, and mental concepts they will learn next in class. They are supposed to watch the video a few times on their own. I find the ones that have done so are considerably ahead of the ones that haven't as would be expected, and I think it beneficial and will continue to experiment and push the envelope in this way. Of course, this is not a 'distance learning' thing - the DVD media works hand in hand with my in-class instruction.

    Now do I think someone could use one of my videos to teach them something useful without the benefit of my guidance? Well, to an extent. I give a lot more detail on some topics I filmed than others. For example, I filmed a 1 hour video just entirely on stances and movement within them. A self-aware student with the use of mirrors and his own video camera can accomplish a lot watching my video over and over again while trying to follow the directions within it. Of course, most people aren't that patient or self-aware and wouldn't be capable of learning this way - and in the end, we still boil down to the fact that it's a lot easier and better to just receive tuition in person to begin with.
     
  2. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    But, to put it back in the context of the OP, do you think you can give the DVDs to a raw beginner and get a good result without instruction?
     
  3. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    Depends on what we mean by 'good'. It's such a subjective term.

    No, I don't think a true beginner learning entirely by DVD with no in-person corrections could attain a level of proficiency in my system (Goju-ryu) to where I would even promote them out of white belt. On the other hand, I think this same beginner, given the correct personal qualities to be able to learn this way, could very well come out of the experience with a rudimentary understanding of generic karate techniques. He likely won't have the particular characteristics that makes Goju-ryu powerful, but he very well could be on par with or even better than many casual commercial dojo students in technical proficiency if we don't consider the practical application aspect. I realize that's a rather low bar to set, but there it is.

    I am not supportive of using DVD to learn from entirely without the support of a dojo and teacher behind it. However, I have no problems at all with introducing new information to my students through video paired with my own lessons, and to be honest I would be intrigued to see if a complete beginner could digest anything useful if I sent them home with a disc with instructions to practice the information within it for a month before coming back. (Yeah, I know, it'll never happen.)
     
  4. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Yep, agreed, it's a very low bar, but it's realistic. That's the best you could hope for by using DVDs as your educational source (no instructor), and honestly, you're not guaranteed anything like that level of success!
     
  5. WC_lun

    WC_lun Senior Master

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    To the OP, perhaps list what part of the world you are in. Maybe one of the forum members will be able to point you to a good instractor nearer to you than 30km.

    Tactile input is neccesary for martial training. If you do not have this with skilled instruction, you are not really learning martial arts. Martial movements perhaps, but not the actual application of sytematic learning for the purpose of combat. This is a hard truth for some people to hear, especially those with a great desire to learn, but not the resources.
     
  6. Nomad

    Nomad Master Black Belt

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    Considering the number of "raw beginners" I've worked with over the years that had real difficulty in seeing that they were moving the wrong foot or hand in a basic step forward punch drill (with me beside them showing them how to do it), I hardly think that anyone without an extensive martial arts background could learn Unsu (a single, high level kata) from DVD's or Youtube (and even then, I'd question their understanding of what they were doing, at least).

    In my experience, martial arts students start getting good once they at least start to see the mistakes they're making... which can take awhile depending on the student. Before that, they're often oblivious, and need to be constantly corrected by someone who knows what they're looking for.

    Also agree strongly with WC_lun that the tactile feedback is a vital component of martial arts training. Being uke to a talented instructor feels very different from working with a partner at your own level, and it should, as they're doing a bunch of subtle things differently (with balance, weight, torque, breath, and so on) that you likely haven't figured out yet.

    It's also impossible to call what you're doing martial arts if you don't hit and get hit (at least occasionally). Otherwise, you're just fooling yourself that you know what either one is.
     
  7. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    I often teach what seems to be the same lesson to all students, from the newest who barely can form a stance or punch to a black belt with years of experience behind him. The level they learn the lesson depends on their own ability and understanding. But, when that material is revisited somewhat down the line, each student will add to their previous knowledge.

    In a similar way, sometimes as we work on forms, everyone watches each other perform. So, a brand new student is watching that black belt perform the Line Form... even though it'll literally be years before they learn it. But they'll have seen it -- and seen some corrections on it -- many times before they actually start learning it. I've seen this help them understand the form better and sometimes learn it more rapidly than when I was a student. (I started in a fairly new club, and we all were learning some of the forms at close to the same point. It was several years before we had a possibility of someone working on the advanced forms at the same time as others were learning beginner forms.)

    Having a glimpse ahead can be beneficial, and give insights into current training. DVDs can be a useful supplement, or refresher. But they're not a substitute for actually learning from someone who can make the myriad tweaks and adjustments. Yes -- every student must learn to that "insight" or ability to feel what the proper stances, punches, kicks, flows or connections for themselves. But it's hard to do that without someone showing you the correct way, so that you can learn to replicate it. It's not impossible... but it's certainly not easy. Kind of like it's possible that shaking a box of Scrabble tiles out onto the floor will produce a meaningful sentence. But it ain't likely!
     
  8. Indagator

    Indagator Blue Belt

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    I travel an 80km round trip to train. At one point I was making the trip twice a week. Sometimes it can only be once a month, in which case I work on the basics and solo training.
    In my case, though, I contact the instructor directly and we arrange times when we can mutually fit in training. So one could certainly say there's a wee hand of providence in there :)
    I have a friend also who travels a few towns over to train in Wing Chun who has a special arrangement to train privately with the instructor.
    Maybe you could try contacting the person who runs the school you wish to train in and see if something can be worked out, or if he/she is willing and able to provide private classes, or arrange a way for you to begin learning.

    How old are you though? Sometimes it just takes patience. I didn't begin training in ninjutsu until seven years after I had first wanted to train in it. I had a journey which taught me many lessons along the way, and personally if I could choose between having seven years of training as the person I was back then, or beginning training when I did and at the time and point in my life, with the maturity and lessons my path had earned me, I would definitely choose the latter. Timing can be important, and patience is not only a virtue but a boundless resource of reward. The wait may teach you things, your desire may grow or burn out, and your perspective will definitely change with time.
    If you have to wait, wait happily in the knowledge that what you are waiting for is worth waiting on. If it is truly what you want to do, then when the time is right there will be a way!

    DVDs can be good as a supplemental resource to live training, or as entertainment, but it is always best to learn via live transmission of an art, imho.

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2011
  9. Toast_in_the_Machine

    Toast_in_the_Machine Yellow Belt

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    I politely disagree. As the person posting the outrageous statement (almost troll like) in the thread, this is what I am discussing and most seem to be disagree with.

    Of course the complete novice has no understanding of what they should look for. It is, actually far worse than that, see the Dunning–Kruger effect. (A great little spice for an argument by the way).

    How does someone get the differences in interpretations or the reasons for such changes? Observing as broad a collection of interpretations as possible is a key for getting that insight. That is what a student does when they become a teacher, and with technology, a new student can now see many more versions in a week than they could have before in a year. Plus, the technology is completely patient. A move can be watched over and over and over in a way that no instructor would ever demonstrate. Two peoples interpretation of the same moves can be seen over and over and over until the differences can be spotted.

    It most certainly would be confusing at first. But, with focused attention, the student would begin to see first the differences and with more comparisons begin to see not just differences but which ones are better.

    The hypothetical student would need a great deal of proprioception. Awareness of a where a hand is or what the angle of the arm is in a form is taught not just thru the instructor pointing out that it is wrong, but from the student building their awareness. This underappreciated skill is a key contributing factor to how quickly a student can train. To our hypothetical kid, this awareness would need to be cultivated not as an afterthought, as it so often is, but as a key part of the instruction.

    (Please note – in my first post, I said this training wouldn’t work, but for different reasons).

    Does something like this exist for martial arts today? Broadly – no. It is being built for other human activities with some, especially those with simple repeated activities. Probably the easiest to see demonstrated would be golf video instruction (although many would say the golf swing isn’t exactly simple). (Yes I am about to use golf as a simile, and yes, it is a simile, I’m not saying they are exactly the same thing.) Golfers use tools like http://cswing.com/swinglibrary.html to compare their swing to the pros. For those unfamiliar with these tools, you film yourself hitting a golf ball and then superimpose a pro golfer next to you and compare “Tiger Woods here” vs. “you here”. Phrases like “don’t come over the top on that swing” or “you are too much outside in” don’t work nearly as well as the cold hearted video showing you next to someone doing it right. This video is a feedback tool that many successful golfers use. (That and launch monitors) Along the same line, I know of several scratch golfers who can watch a pro swing and call out if the shot is left or right before the camera pans out. How? Film study. They have watched thousands of similar shots and can see exactly where the flaw is. These same golfers also know when they hit a shot left or right exactly what they did wrong, based only on the flight of the ball and their own increased proprioception. Think of how this technology can be put to use in martial arts training.

    Many dojos have mirrors, why not video cameras as well?

    Should the OP buy a DVD and learn everything on it? No (*). Should the OP take every advantage of video, even as a beginner? Yes.




    (*) It may be better than nothing, but there are lots of other alternatives that should be explored.
     
  10. frank raud

    frank raud Master Black Belt

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    So because an experienced golfer can instantly judge where a ball will go(left or right) based on observation(and their EXPERIENCE), you believe someone with no EXPERIENCE can figure out not only how to correctly do a martial arts technique, but can judge between multiple videos/DVDs as to who is performing the technique/kata/poomse/hyung better than the other videos they have observed?
    What is your actual martial arts training background? How many martial arts have YOU learned by video? If there is a martial art you have learned strictly by video, would you be willing to put up a video of same to be critiqued by experienced martial artists in the same style? Or is this all hypothetical and something you think may be available in the future, which makes it irrelevant to the OP on this thread?
     
  11. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    Yes, I believe this is possible. A complete newbie won't be able to view kata videos of (say) Morio Higaonna and be able to state why Higaonna Sensei is so technically outstanding, but he would be able to tell the level of quality of Higaonna Sensei when contrasting his performance versus a more mediocre player. Heck, the parents in my church class who don't train at all can see the difference between kid A and kid B even though they might not be able to articulate what separates one from the other.

    I should add that I'm referring to the second part of your sentence quoted above. I do think figuring out how to execute technique entirely through video instruction is a much harder proposition, yet still not impossible for the right person, assuming the media he is working with has the appropriate level of detail for the content he is trying to absorb. Something like a reverse punch or a front stance is imminently learnable from a GOOD video. Learning the Chen Tai Chi Chuan form... well, not so much.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2011
  12. frank raud

    frank raud Master Black Belt

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    Fair enough that someone could recognize Higaonna Sensei as superior to others, but as you state, they dont have the ability to disect why he is so outstanding. So they can make a subjective observation(this one is better than that one), but not an objective observation(this one is better because). And that ability comes from experience.
     
  13. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    I have no real quarrel with that.
     
  14. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    However the context of DVD learning in this thread comes from the OP, where our thread starter is a teenager with a bit of boxing, and no way of getting to a martial art school. He has no experience in martial arts, so putting forth DVD learning as viable based on previous experience being applied to the DVDs and their content really is not what is being discussed here.

    Yeah, I'm familiar with the Dunning-Kruger effect... but I don't see how it supports the idea of DVD training for an inexperienced beginner. Which is the thrust of this thread.

    But without the experience leading up to that, how would the student know what the differences mean, or which are good, and why? I mean, I can put up a range of different versions of a range of systems that you are unfamiliar with... can you tell me which is good, which should be followed, which is correct, and why?

    Tell you what, let's try. Following are a few examples of a kata called "Koku". It's the first kata in one of the Ninjutsu schools, Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu, and each example here is from either one of the heads of an organisation (Hatsumi Sensei of the Bujinkan, Tanemura Sensei of the Genbukan) or is an example of "this is how it's done" (from the Akban organisation, originally from the Bujinkan).


    Hatsumi Sensei - Bujinkan


    Tanemura Sensei - Genbukan (Koku is the first technique shown, 0:14-0:17)


    Akban organisation.

    Now, I can see where the variations are, which group is doing things differently, where it's accurate, and where it's not, as well as pick up some major mistakes. How'd you do?

    Just because they can see differences doesn't mean they can tell which is the one they should copy, or why. Additionally, they may spot the differences, but unless someone is pointing out the errors to the student themselves, there is no guarantee that they would ever notice such things in themselves, let alone correct them.

    No, I don't think it's underappreciated, we're just saying that such awareness is also taught (by your instructor pointing things out to you, you become aware of them, and then you can start on the journey of self correction.. a DVD doesn't provide that). And none of this changes the fact that the method of learning maths etc is completely removed from the method and process of learning a martial art.

    No, what you said was that DVDs were an underestimated learning tool, and the problem was without a teacher to provide structure the potential student would get bored... really not the same thing that we're saying in terms of it not working....

    Well, firstly, that's a very different skill set again. Golf and martial arts really don't have anything in common in terms of how they are learnt. It's not just that they aren't the same thing, it's that they bear almost no relation to each other.

    And all of this is based on a previous amount of experience and skill in playing golf. Still not something that will work for martial arts... it's a lot more than just getting your arm in the right place.

    I've been to BJJ tournaments and, before the match started, picked who would win, and how, as well as roughly how long it would take. How? Simple, I have experience in these things. Same with your guys watching the golf... it's more to do with their experience, not just watching tapes. Honestly, your simile is desperately flawed.

    That's a completely different thing to what we're discussing, though. Videoing yourself as a form of self critique, using mirrors etc, fine, great, advised, in fact. But what we're discussing is using DVDs to learn when you have no experience. That's what the OP was asking about, and that's the context we're discussing things in.

    They can get some interest out of it, but that's about it. As I said when you first posted, videos can be great to learn about different arts, not to actually learn them. And an absolute beginner? No chance, frankly.

    This is not an advised one.

    Seconded!

    I'd be interested in seeing what you think is the good, bad, or indifferent of the clips I posted above as well... which one should be followed, and why? What's wrong with the others? Or should you do something that's a compromise between each of them?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  15. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    I'll play even though the exercise might not mean that much since I am an experienced martial artist rather than a rank beginner.

    I prefer the Genbukan video of the three. It's a newer video and the technique is performed slowly enough to where I can see what Tanemura Sensei is doing. He appears to be stable enough although I would not raise up onto my ball of the foot on the supporting leg as he does when he kicks. Perhaps there is a reason he does that, and a good instructional video would clearly state why for the watcher. I also had a hard time understanding Tanemura Sensei but he is also offering some performance tips at this seminar, which is more than can be said for the other two clips.

    The brevity of the Hatsumi clip along with its low video quality makes it hard to discern Hatsumi Sensei's footwork and stances as he performs the technique. His movements also seem disconnected from each other there, which is different from how I would teach the technique - and I do teach something similar in karate though we don't have a name for it.

    The third clip had a slow motion play back and from a couple of angles which is also good. The demonstrator didn't seem as clean though compared to the Genbukan clip. Not knowing what is correct for his style, I also would prefer a more straight kamae as that is what I am used to.

    I'd be interested in your thoughts of the three as an actual practitioner of the Bunjinkan arts. Which is 'best'?
     
  16. Toast_in_the_Machine

    Toast_in_the_Machine Yellow Belt

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    Those golfers watched the videos as they went from beginner to more experienced golfer. There has been golf on TV for quite some time. And the video learning for golf has been around for at least a decade. Many of the current pro golfers have trained this way.

    I believe I answered that in my very first post.

    How about some counter (slightly strawman) questions: Why should a beginner not watch videos of their style? If it is good that they watch some videos – then how much is too much?
     
  17. Toast_in_the_Machine

    Toast_in_the_Machine Yellow Belt

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    I have, at no time said that DVD only learning is viable. In fact I have stated it wouldn&#8217;t work, just that my expectation for why it wouldn&#8217;t work seems to be different from others reasons why it wouldn&#8217;t work.


    I didn&#8217;t say bored, I would call that an inaccurate simplification of my point.



    You can pick a winner not because you are experienced in doing BJJ in an isolated environment, but because (and I&#8217;m guessing here) you have seen many BJJ matches between many different people. Which is my point, to be able to see differences and know quality, you need a broad exposure and video provides an excellent tool to do so.

    We may have a problem in that you, in a very detailed reply to me, are discussing one thing, and I&#8217;m discussing something different. Because that is what I am discussing (using video as a tool to learn to both distinguish quality in others and in oneself), some people here seem to be discussing something else, but I can&#8217;t help that. For me the context was never a simple &#8220;does this DVD work&#8221;, although it appears if some people have taken that as my point. If I should have stuck to a more predictable script, I apologize for my error.

    I don&#8217;t get this response.
    Are you saying that it may not better than nothing or that there are not lots of other alternatives that should be explored? Or is it some odd way to agree with me yet somehow look like you are disagreeing?

    And thank you for the wonderful videos &#8211; I&#8217;ll study them all closely and report back later; (Y&#8217;all may wish much later if it makes you feel better).
     
  18. Toast_in_the_Machine

    Toast_in_the_Machine Yellow Belt

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    Ok first pass at the videos (kick only).

    In the first one, Hatsumi Sensei aims his kick at the back of the knee, which, for me, seems the appropriate place for this technique. Tanemura Sensei seems to have the major mistake in that he takes an extra step (crossover) and kicks with the incorrect foot. (Incorrect in this case as defined as the one I would not want to emulate – it would take to long.) In the third video the kick seems to miss either the knee or the pills, both of which would be better than the back of the leg.

    Hatsumi Sensei keeps a much broader stance for the shift to the side as does the person in the third video where he brings both feet together as part of the shift to the side. As I said, Tanemura Sensei takes an extra cross over step, but he also holds his leg in a chamber position after kicking which I would think is not the advised technique and that there is an expectation of a follow up technique (he may be holding the chamber in case of that, but still I would expect a return to ready.)

    Hatsumi Sensei keeps his weight down, whereas the third person comes up from his low position. Tanemura Sensei doesn’t start as low, but also doesn’t come up from it. Again, Hasumi Sensei seems the person to emulate with the third person being the one I would most likely end up looking like so I would need to be aware to try to prevent doing that.

    The two Senseis seem to kick with their toe, whereas the third person seems to be kicking from the instep. If this technique is truly to strike the back of the knee, I would expect to use the toe (especially with some kind of point toe shoe on).

    Lastly Hatsumi Sensei’s chamber is much higher than the other videos. This would be the one I would want to do. The person in the third video did a “better” chamber on one of his kicks, but on the black and white slow mo technique he did not bring his knee up as high.

    One other thing is on the kick is that the assistant for Hatsumi Sensei does strike the opening a little later than the other ones (he has the assistant who seems trying too hard to make his master look good.) Could just be that it this was done unconsciously to make technique easier to see, but it would make me doubt a little the effectiveness of being able to see and strike the back of the knee effectively if the person was trained to quickly re-chamber their kick.

    This is just looking at these three, not knowing anything about this technique or the designs of the style. So how am I doing? Should I keep on guessing for the hand technique?
     
  19. frank raud

    frank raud Master Black Belt

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  20. Toast_in_the_Machine

    Toast_in_the_Machine Yellow Belt

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    My martial arts background is crap. I haven&#8217;t ever gotten into a fight, and I&#8217;m not even a good internet bully as I tend to undercut myself with self-deprecating comments that people tend to take seriously. As the &#8220;new guy&#8221; I expect that you would want to know what kind of authority I possess, which is fair enough and is true in any sort of field where lack of expertise can get one seriously injured. However, I would hope that you would judge my comments regardless of who made them.
    This is where my comment in my first post
    &#8220;Without an obligations either to others &#8230; the training will soon fall off.&#8221; answers these question. I have not done it, of course. This leads to the answer to the last question:
    The relevance to the OP was not that they should get a DVD and try to learn from that, it is that, and again I&#8217;ll quote my first post:
    &#8220;provide a phenomenal learning capability that was previously unavailable. To suggest that this tool is a poor substitute is to underestimate the value of this new media.&#8221;

    Perhaps it is the &#8220;poor substitute&#8221; comment that raised some confusion. So allow me to explain. If I came in here and said &#8220;don&#8217;t learn how to use a knife, it is a poor substitute for a gun&#8221; I would expect, rightly so, that many people would jump in and say that, a knife has different uses than a gun and that given many situations (say eating dinner), a knife is much better than a gun. A gun is a tool, a knife is a tool, video is a tool (some even say I am a tool). Just because video isn&#8217;t a tool like an instructor is a tool, doesn&#8217;t mean it doesn&#8217;t have power or capabilities.

    Since I have gone back and explained myself, can you please answer my question:

    Why should a beginner not watch videos of their style? If it is good that they watch some videos &#8211; then how much is too much?
     

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