Forms without supervision/feedback

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Anarax, Jan 24, 2021.

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  1. Anarax

    Anarax 3rd Black Belt

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    Hello all,

    I want to know your opinion on the different methods of form training. Over the years I've seen mainly two methods.

    1) Instructor carefully supervises the students doing the form(s) and makes corrections/gives feedback.

    2) Instructor tells the students to do forms and doesn't supervise nor provide any feedback to the students.

    Personally I find the first approach to be more engaging and helps the student develop.

    Do you find one method better than the other? If so, why?
     
  2. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    It's going to depend on the age of the students and the size of the class. The problem with #1 is an instructor can essentially get in their own way. This is an issue I have at my school. We typically do the forms together as a group, with the instructor leading the form. We rarely get any time for the kids to practice the form on their own. They learn all the moves and can do them, but sometimes on test day, we figure out who is just following along and who has actually memorized them.

    In the adult classes, we usually give time to practice on their own. We'll give them time to practice, but we'll check in on different groups, and they can always ask for help if they need it.

    I think students need a balance of structure and autonomy to really grow.
     
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  3. Rat

    Rat Master Black Belt

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    Those seem like 2 abolsutes, and the answer lies in the middle. if you are just learning its best to watch intently, if they have gone through that and can do it reliably then just glance overs for things they know already. Like with any skill really, if you are teaching somone you baby them first, then slowly grow more and more hands off.



    Actually just looked into it more, the second point isnt even teaching. You need somone to supervise due to health and safety concerns, so i am presuming you mean they know this form and dont need to be watched and they can self correct thmselves as a group or only need glances over. Thats fair if you are no longer learning it, but if you are learning it, thats not teaching somone it at all.

    The two points dont seem to be that comprable as one is the beggining of the teaching cycle the other end.
     
  4. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Teach them the gross motor movement.
    Then leave them alone until they've got the basics down.
    Start giving them a couple three things to work on to fine tune things.
    Leave them alone again.
    Repeat.
     
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  5. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Black Belt

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    Dirty Dog has a reasonable approach. But Anarax has framed the question as absolutes.

    Obviously, #2 is not engaging, since the instructor isn't engaging the students. (Seems kind of self-evident.) Why have the students do forms if the instructor does not provide feedback - busy work? Perhaps he sees no value in forms, or does not understand their importance and is just going thru the motions to get thru the curriculum. Here we have a case of the blind leading the blind.

    I would not even call this a "method of forms training." It's more like a method of non-training and does the student no good. Even an advanced student doing self-exploration on a form will eventually need some feedback if he hopes to further his understanding of application and improve his execution.
     
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  6. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

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    What we've found works well is, when students are first learning a form, for the instructor to lead the group by demonstrating each move and saying it loud. "Turn to the left and low block with your left arm. Now front kick, land in a front stance, and double punch." Then, when the students are more confident, you can watch them and give them reminders and feedback. Then, when they're even more confident and testing time is near, have them practice it by themselves without any help.
     
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  7. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    There are 3 stages of form training.

    1. Learning stage - you copy what your teacher is doing.
    2. Polishing stage - your teacher helps you to remove defects.
    3. Art stage - you develop your own flavor.

    Stage 1 and 2 can be achieved in school. Stage 3 can only be achieved from you have seen that someone who can add art into the form better than you can.
     
  8. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    well they will learn nothing particularly useful either way, so it really doesnt matter beyond personal pteferance
     
  9. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    It depends what you’re trying to use the form for (and who the students are).

    If there’s something specific you want students to get from forms (or any other drill), you’ll need to supervise their practice until they reach a point where they can pursue that end on their own. If you just want students to explore movement and know the basic routine of the form (for you to refer to elsewhere), then some students could make that kind of progress on their own with simple forms.

    Even with the second scenario, you’d have to make sure the students are not learning something counterproductive (like too much tension).
     
  10. dvcochran

    dvcochran Grandmaster

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    Agree. Somewhere in there it has to be a healthy dose of the person doing it on their own.
    That said, I do not subscribe to the old saying "practice makes perfect". "Perfect practice makes perfect". But you have to start somewhere and everyone needs help along the way.123
     

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