Learning much higher ranked forms...

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by _Simon_, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Good points and yes there is a continuum on which this issue can lie. However, I will never encourage someone to learn from a video. I just do not believe in it.
     
  2. _Simon_

    _Simon_ 2nd Black Belt

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    Very true, thanks for mentioning. Yeah I am for sure aware of the differences in how styles differ in foundation and structure. It would be detrimental to try something without any sort of background into the way the style operates. The forms I'd be interested in learning aren't too far a departure from what I'm used to and trained in. It would be silly for me to train a Wing Chin form coming from a karate foundation. Would be fun to try though XD but something that may not be fruitful.

    And again, I'm certainly not professing any master status in anything to say that I have the authority to be able to train anything, and also not using kata as hitches or medals to put on my 'kata knowledge' post. That is what I would train them for, to enhance my skill and knowledge.
     
  3. _Simon_

    _Simon_ 2nd Black Belt

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    Hehe true, whilst one can jump and spin etc it makes sense to learn those when you are physically capable XD

    Yeah that's it, it would be a great practice in order to extend my understanding and perspective. Along with it being exciting to learn something new that keeps one engaged and interrested. Of course not optimal learning just from descriptions and videos, but as a training tool rather than getting this kata absolutely 100% perfect.


    That's how it makes sense to me, as it isn't really much of a departure. Going to learn a completely different type of form from a different style altogether would interesting hehe.
     
  4. _Simon_

    _Simon_ 2nd Black Belt

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    Absolutely, and that's totally fair enough. Same here, I think it lacks something important to learn just from videos. I guess I see it in a way that whatever my instructor has instilled within me still comes out to guide me while I train, and it's like that knowledge kicks in to help guide the process. Sounds a bit airy fairy haha, but moreso like the experience can guide one in learning, and you sort of learn to trust yourself more.

    The principles are instilled in me, and there are times when I feel like I can trust those. Sort of like in sparring, sometimes you just have to go out and spar to learn some things, and no matter what sort of instruction you get, certain things just can't be taught unless through experience. There's a certain trust that can be tapped into. And of course I say this as a generality and not absolute. You really do need guidance and a foundation. I do think it seems more of a grey issue rather than black and white.
     
  5. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Well a word of caution at least: don’t fall into the trap of acquiring more material than you have time to practice in a reasonable and realistic way.

    I’ve done that, and training can become a burden and you can burn out from it. When I became focused and threw away all the extra stuff I had acquired, it was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders.

    Sometimes you just do not need all that additional stuff. But I guess we all need to follow our own path to that realization.
     
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  6. _Simon_

    _Simon_ 2nd Black Belt

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    Appreciate that Flying Crane, and something I will remember for sure. Yeah I'm done with trying to do too much and burning out, this seems definitely born from a real willingness to learn. Great point and much respected :)
     
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  7. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I’m pretty sure we’re a lot closer to each other’s thinking in reality than can be conveyed on a forum. I agree with everything you’re saying in principle. I have the same feelings, but I’m just offering exceptions to my rules due to the OP’s specific circumstances.

    One other circumstance to keep in mind is that the OP isn’t training at a dojo at the moment. Or if he is, he is in the trial period and hasn’t made a commitment to the system yet. When he does, all bets are off IMO and diligently train what you’re taught IMO.

    Being “in between” systems gives some time to explore things you’d personally like to explore. If it’s something similar to what he’s been taught, have fun with it. There’s plenty of time to get serious when you’ve committed to learning a specific curriculum/system.

    Had his situation been different, I’d be far more hesitant to voice what I’ve said here.

    While I’d love to learn the alternative form of the kata I linked to earlier, I’ve got far higher priorities. I’m testing for 2nd kyu in two weeks. There’s several things I could easily improve on far more of I used the time working on them instead of learning a an alternative way of doing a kata I already know. After that test and pretty much every subsequent test, I’ll feel the same way. I highly doubt I’ll be bored enough or good enough with my required material to feel like teaching myself something outside my system is the best use of my free time. Cross-training under an actual teacher at the appropriate time is a different matter though.
     
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  8. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    I think there are 2 different issues, and various posters have hit on both of them.

    The first is "looking ahead" in your own (or closely related) systems, working on material that's from a bit deeper into the curriculum than you're working on. This has good and bad parts. Sometimes, jumping ahead can help you understand material you're working on now; it may illuminate a principle or technique that you might have been having trouble with. I've often found, for example, that working the long stick helps students understand how both their hands work together -- even if that student isn't really quite at the stage to introduce the weapon. And it can give a frustrated student a glimpse of "bigger things to come..." But that's also the first problem... it can frustrate a student who really can't do the techniques because they haven't trained long enough to have the coordination or fundamentals integrated into their bodies to do the form. Another risk is that a student may pick up the advanced form well, and get distracted or focus too much on it too soon in their training... leading them to neglect important earlier pieces.

    The other issue is looking outside your system, learning form from other styles. Honestly, if it's done for fun and to get a taste of something different -- I don't see any major downsides, assuming you don't get hurt or get too caught up in the "new" thing. Say a karate student decided to pick up a few djurus (I hope I spelled that right) from some form of silat... Cool, they're getting a taste and learning some pieces that might even be useful. But learning them from videos or posters (maybe I'm dating myself...) means you may well miss some crucial pieces or transitional elements... so there's a frustration problem that might crop up again. And you still have the concern of focusing too much on the wrong stuff...
     
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  9. _Simon_

    _Simon_ 2nd Black Belt

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    Thanks jks9199, that's exactly it, and a really good summary :). I'll certainly be smart about it regardless (well aim to) :)
     
  10. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I can only really speak to my forms. As long as someone has already actually learned (not mastered, just learned) the forms preceding it, I'm okay with them learning forms ahead of their rank...as long as they'll get enough practice on the ones that matter for what we're working on now. I've never had a student who wanted to put in the time to learn ahead in forms. Most don't practice their forms much outside class, so they aren't ready for the new form until they get near the next rank, anyway.

    To put that in context, my forms are different in how they work together. There's one pattern of movement - based on the Classical techniques in the Classical kata. All other kata are based on that movement, and substitute different techniques (single stick, double stick, staff) in place of the Classicals. So learning a new form is actually pretty easy. The interference would be someone wanting to learn the double-stick kata while they're still learning the single-stick. They are similar enough that would definitely confuse their learning.
     
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  11. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    As I was reading other posts (something I didn't do before replying - no sense sullying my mind with new information!), I had another thought that fits something you mention here.

    We all have our own motivations. And those matter. Some people are driven by new learning - an intellectual curiosity, if you will (Spranger/Allport's "theoretical" motivator). This doesn't always make sense to folks who don't share this motivation. Sometimes you just want to learn something, because you want to learn it. It's not because it's a new and shiny object to possess (metaphorically, of course). It's not because it's beyond your rank or station. It's because...new learning! That sounds like it might be what's going on here. Something I've learned about "high theoreticals" is that they also incorporate learning more widely than other folks. So, it's entirely possible you'll find intellectual benefit in this.

    From a MA standpoint, it will probably cause some (minor?) confusion along the way for you and might make learning some forms (and correcting those you learned early) more difficult. On the whole, though, it's unlikely to be a real problem.

    So, if that first paragraph seems to describe your motivation here, I'd say go for it. It's not the most effective nor efficient way to learn them, but it might be a good use of your internal motivation.
     
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  12. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    My thought is that it depends what they intend to do with it. I might try to learn a kata from a video, knowing I'll never get it "right". So, I wouldn't try to get it their way. I'd apply principles I already know and understand to each movement, essentially making a Gerry-fu form of the kata, using the closest possible motions to the kata in question. There can be a lot of good learning in that pursuit, since the kata is really only providing a set of movements to work on existing principles.
     
  13. _Simon_

    _Simon_ 2nd Black Belt

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    Yep, bang on! Haha that's exactly it, thanks for that Gerry :).

    I definitely have that, it's such a drive to want to learn it, and it's a big motivational thing. And because I legitimately want to learn it, I think it will make learning it that much more effective (willingness being key). That being said I think it can definitely get confusing if the enthusiasiam isn't kept a bit under wraps and not let loose, that would result in just moving from thing to thing and trying to assimilate too much all at once!

    But that's great to see that's what it is :). And like you say in your next post it may be a matter of incorporating movements and principles I'm comfortable with in order to better learn and understand it.
     
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  14. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    in that case, honestly, I think you would be better off just creating your own, from your own material.

    I know your current system does not contain kata in the sense we are discussing here. Have you trained in a system in the past, that used kata as a training method? If you simply have zero experience with it then I can understand why you might think of this as realistic. It just isn’t. To use it that way assumes the absolute lowest movement mimicry. Legitimate kata have subtlety in the movement that just would be meaningless as simple movement mimicry. I cannot see a benefit to it.
     
  15. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    In a way, that's what I'd be doing. I'm just short-cutting the process by using a video that exists. I might choose it because I like the way it looks, or because I think the movements would be a good challenge, or because it simply looks like stuff that fits really easily in NGA. Where I get the pattern from (my head or a video) isn't as important as how I work on it and what principles I apply.
     
  16. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I forgot to reply to the second sentence.

    I had only passing exposure to traditional forms along the way. I created a set of forms for my curriculum. I've actually done the thing I mention (using NGA principles to "recreate" a kata). I agree that the only use of the kata, itself, is movement mimicry. That's kind of my point. I don't think it's necessary to try to recreate the original intent and subtleties - I'm able to apply principles I know that work with those movements and transitions and introduce subtleties myself. I don't need to (in this exercise) learn new principles from the kata - I'm using the kata to explore the principles I already know. I think that's much of what kata are meant for (to explore the principles). I'm just using the kata to explore a different art.

    Is that a misuse of the kata? Against its original intent, possibly. For that user? Not at all.
     
  17. Reedone816

    Reedone816 Blue Belt

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    Great discussion, as someone who had learned a style with kata-esque and now learning in style with less kata, i just feel that the most important thing is understanding, without it, it just merely a fitness exercise.
    It is very important to know the correct form in accordance of our build and condition, and for that we need instructor guidance.

    Sent from my BV8000Pro using Tapatalk
     
  18. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    See, I don’t think you are shortcutting the process. You would be taking what is, to you, obscure movement and trying to assign meaning to it based on a different set of education and skills. Based on your statement of what you might do with it, I can’t see how simply developing your own kata, with your own material, would not be a better approach.

    Of course some of the movement in a kata can be reasonably straight forward, but other stuff is pretty un-obvious if you don’t have the proper instruction for it.

    And I still hold that understanding the fundamentals upon which the kata is built, is critical in getting benefit from the practice. That is another thing you would likely be missing.
     
  19. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I don’t know why I forgot about this... I’ve been meaning to learn a kata from video for quite some time now, but never got around to it. The “Quart of Blood Technique.”

    I want to be able to make a quart of blood drop out of someone’s body after hitting him with all of that. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
     
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  20. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Well, if I look at a kata that (as viewed) appears to be mostly about strikes (say, from Shotokan Karate, since their strikes are very close to NGA). Now I can replicate those movements using the closest NGA movements. I don't have to come up with a string of movements to work with - someone else already has. Mind you, the information I'm using if I do that isn't much different than if you suggested I use "straight punch, pivot left to low block, front kick, pivot and step right to high cross block..." It's a superficial read either way. So, why use an existing list? Because I'm almost certain to run into a transition I don't like and wouldn't have thought to put in. A different challenge than stringing together bits I consciously choose to work on (either because I like them or because I suck at them).

    This is actually not difficult to do (it is actually a shortcut). It's what I did when developing the single-stick, double-stick, and staff kata I use. I took the movement pattern from my Classical kata and simply fit new techniques to the same movements, as closely as possible.
     

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