Martial sacrilege (part 2)

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Finlay, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. Finlay

    Finlay Green Belt

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    It is widely believed that you can’t learn martial arts from a book or DVD. This doesn’t stop teachers, some well-known, from producing books and DVDs year in year out in order to study their style.

    Also with the invention of Youtube there are all manner of instructional video clips available these days.

    So, is there a way or a time that you can study from video or books? How much back ground knowledge do you need?

    How much can one learn from a DVD?

    Is there a difference between seeing someone perform a technique in a sparring match/fight and you watching then practicing to watching an instructional video?

    What form would you like instructional videos to take?
     
  2. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Speaking as one of those teachers who has written books, I'll say flat out that they were never intended as stand alone products. They're intended to be used as a supplement to a qualified instructor.
    Can you learn from books and videos? Maybe. But not as quickly or as reliably as from a real instructor. And there is a very good chance that you won't learn things properly. There are an awful lot of details in the body mechanics that just cannot really be taught or corrected any way other than in person.
     
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  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'll start with books. You can learn philosophy and get discussion of some principles from them. It is possible to learn a new technique from them, but only if you already comprehend the principles, and usually only if it is similar to something you already understand. For instance, I can learn some of the throws in Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere, because the movements make sense through the lens of what I already know. Some don't make sense, because they draw on principles that I either don't practice or that are expressed very differently from how I know them.

    Videos are similar, but since we can see the movement, they stretch the bounds of what is learnable. I can learn entirely new material from videos, so long as the principles are something I know. There's a lot in BJJ or Judo I can pick up from videos. I probably can't learn a spinning kick from one. And they are better for paired work, IMO, than solo work, because of the feedback element in paired work.

    In both cases, the main obstacle is our own understanding. If we think we understand a point, but do not, we will mis-learn the information. This risk is highest with books and text learning, and lowest with direct interaction between a good instructor and an engaged student.

    So, could I learn an art from either? No. Could I learn all the techniques from an art from either? Maybe, and more doubtfully with a book.
     
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  4. Zombocalypse

    Zombocalypse Green Belt

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    Martial Arts can't be learned from a DVD because DVDs don't hit back. In order to learn Martial Arts, you need a resisting opponent. Martial Arts are about learning how to deal with physical conflict. And how can you learn how to deal with physical conflict if you don't encounter others who'd have a physical conflict with you? I'm not saying you should pick fights, but you should be challenged. Sparring is indispensable.

    You can maybe learn a technique from an instructional video, but that's as far as it goes. Just because you can execute a perfect spinning back kick from home doesn't mean you can pull it off in a real fight.
     
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  5. frank raud

    frank raud Master Black Belt

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    Books and DVDs, (VHS for us old folks) are supplements to learning. I have approximately 700 judo and jiu jitsu books, I hope I have learned something from reading and studying them. But what I have gleaned from them is filtered through having experience in those arts. I can understand and replicate many throws or locks because I've done similar throws or locks. I can't learn Kung fu from a book, I have no realistic frame of reference.
     
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  6. MA_Student

    MA_Student Black Belt

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    If you already know martial arts videos and books can help but you can't learn from scratch from them
     
  7. Zombocalypse

    Zombocalypse Green Belt

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    Really? I can throw a perfect karate punch after seeing it on youtube. There were pointers that I had to learn and I learned them just fine.
     
  8. MA_Student

    MA_Student Black Belt

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    Good for you
     
  9. Zombocalypse

    Zombocalypse Green Belt

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    Thank you.
     
  10. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Senior Master

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    I've said it before and I'll say it again:

    Sufficiently advanced Duning-Kruger effect is indistinguishable from trolling and vice-versa.
     
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  11. Balrog

    Balrog Master Black Belt

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    I suppose one can learn from DVDs. However, they would be missing the feedback that a live instructor would give and that is priceless. DVDs, I think, should be supplements to help jog memory, not direct learning tools.
     
  12. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    "I tell you, you'll forget. I show you, you'll remember. You 'do it', you'll understand."
    Books are like telling, pictures help but video is the showing. What is missing is the doing it; with knowledgeable others who can and will give you immediate constructive feedback so you don't develop bad habits or don't do it completely wrong.
     
  13. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    And you know it is "perfect" how?
     
  14. Zombocalypse

    Zombocalypse Green Belt

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    Instinct.
     
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  15. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    And now the trolling becomes distinguishable from Dunning-Kruger.
     
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  16. Finlay

    Finlay Green Belt

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    Can you post a link to the video that you mentioned. I would be interesting for the discussion to have an example
     
  17. Zombocalypse

    Zombocalypse Green Belt

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    Good idea.

     
  18. jobo

    jobo Senior Master

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    i think the premise is wrong, you can learn nearly anything from a DVD, a motor skill can be gained by observation, imitation and then practise, the failure point is no feed back loop to correct you if your imitation is flawed.

    that's not to say that instruction in the first person isn't preferable, just that DVD learning isn't impossible to at least some extent, i found one of the vids posted on here on kicking techneque extremely useful

    what is very difficult is learning with out a partner or at least a punch bag
     
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  19. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    You pointed out the issue - it's not whether we can learn from DVD, but whether we can tell if we mis-learn. So, can you learn a technique from DVD? Maybe, and you won't know if you didn't unless there's some appropriate feedback. And even if you manage to make it work, that doesn't guarantee it's correct. A punch that seems to work might actually have a flaw you can't tell, because it's just robbing power from the punch. Everything could feel fine and look fine to you, but that one flaw (tension, for instance) you don't see makes the difference. Grappling has some of the same issues. If you miss a key part, you might create a nearly-right throw or takedown that's easier to counter.
     
  20. Saheim

    Saheim Orange Belt

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    If I'm understanding your original post, you'e not so much asking whether or not someone can learn MA from video but rather pointing out the possible ethical dilemma of someone producing one while KNOWING you can't. Do I understand you, correctly?
     

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