How to be Self-taught?

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K-man

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In my independent study I found out that boxers get up to jumping rope for over 15 minutes at a time. I will not bother with that either. It just doesn't serve my purposes. I'm only looking for moderate skill and ability; your all trying to persuade me into being a serious student of the martial arts. It's just not going to happen. If that was what I had in mind I would not have thought to be self-taught in the first place. Duh!
I reckon it was said best in the first Karate Kid movie.

Miyagi: Now, ready?

Daniel: Yeah, I guess so.

Miyagi: [sighs] Daniel-san, must talk.

[they both kneel]

Miyagi: Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later

[makes squish gesture]

Miyagi: get squish just like grape. Here, karate, same thing. Either you karate do "yes" or karate do "no." You karate do "guess so,"

[makes squish gesture]

Miyagi: just like grape. Understand?

Daniel: Yeah, I understand.

Miyagi: Now, ready?

Daniel: Yeah, I'm ready.

Either you learn a martial art or you don't. If you try to be somewhere in the middle, <squish> just like the grape!
 

Orange Lightning

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I can practice razing against my BoB and achieve at least moderate competency in footwork from shadow boxing. These are methods of training I already figured on before I approached all of you with my question on how to be self-taught martial arts. Now, that I have gleamed sooooo much wisdom from the likes of yourselves, I still think that practicing razing, doing a little shadow boxing, and wrestling with friends will suffice for what I want to get out of my training. They say that when the only tool you have is a hammer - all challenges that lay ahead will look as if being a nail. All of you have expressed just such a soundness in addressing my inquiry. You have suggested that I have a teacher. But none of you were able to express anything beyond just that; unfortunately, you are all seemingly ill equipped to offer advice on martial arts.

I think I can give what they're saying a little context. I have experienced the pitfalls of self training myself.
The essential problem is that you have very little feedback for what you're doing. Especially if you're just starting, it's difficult to know what you might be doing wrong or how you could improve. It's almost impossible to know what is going to be effective at that point. You have no measurement of how fast or powerful or effective you are at anything because you don't have much to compare it to besides videos. Without sparring, even if you are indeed very strong and fast at what you do, it's still all just theory.
THAT SAID, you can still learn to strike. You can still learn to kick and punch harder, faster, better, etc. You will still get in better shape, and you will definitely be better than you were before. It will take a lot longer to learn everything, but purely from a technically standpoint, if you invest enough time in training and research, it can be done....for striking.
To put it black and white, you CAN learn how to punch and kick in all different ways, learn to slip, move quickly, and grasp the technical understanding of how to defend. I don't see it being possible to learn effective grappling, or get good at defense. You can strengthen the muscles that do these jobs, but get no better at applying them.

Now....can you hurt yourself if you don't know what you're doing? YES. Even experienced people hurt themselves sometimes. But when you're starting, it's really easy. Striking with the wrong part of your body is particularly easy, even if you know better. Elbowing with your funny bone instead of your elbow, hitting your pinky knuckle, etc. Problems with fist alignment and limb overextension are common too. Punching full force with bad alignment can seriously injure you.
I'm not saying this to deter you from doing it though. I would just recommend taking it slowly with anything you're new to. Learning to do a particular punch? Do some shadowboxing first. Watch some people do it on youtube. Practice on something soft first.
I must say though, injury is a part of martial arts. It's going to happen sooner or later. Knowledge and understanding will help avoid most of them, but accidents will still happen. Most of them you will recover from, but some of them will really suck and could be debilitating. This is why I would strongly suggest researching moves and drills before implementing them.

I would also recommend putting a higher value on drills than free form training. Free form training of any sort (heavybag, shadowboxing, etc.) can help you learn the skill and smooth you out, but getting good at a particular thing requires drilling. Free form just doesn't have a high enough resistance to improve your strength. I learned this the hard way. By drilling... I just mean make your training specialized. Work on something specific. It can even be as broad as "just kicking".

If you don't have anything else, I would certainly recommend self training. It's definitely better than nothing. But I must stress to TAKE IT SLOWLY with new material and to understand that their are holes in your education. Take any opportunity you can to ask questions from people who have experience. With self training, it can take a really long time to realize something you're doing wrong. Feel free to experiment. Being a stickler to form in this scenario can actually get you stuck doing something wrong. Let good form be a result of good training. If you beat on a heavybag for long enough, you WILL know the difference between a punch with good form and punch with bad form. It could definitely be learned faster in a school though. Kicking is.....harder. It's more complicated. There's just a lot more than can go wrong. But the only way around this is training.
What's you're email address? I can talk to you about whatever you might want help with.
 
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marvelous65

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I reckon it was said best in the first Karate Kid movie.

Miyagi: Now, ready?

Daniel: Yeah, I guess so.

Miyagi: [sighs] Daniel-san, must talk.

[they both kneel]

Miyagi: Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later

[makes squish gesture]

Miyagi: get squish just like grape. Here, karate, same thing. Either you karate do "yes" or karate do "no." You karate do "guess so,"

[makes squish gesture]

Miyagi: just like grape. Understand?

Daniel: Yeah, I understand.

Miyagi: Now, ready?

Daniel: Yeah, I'm ready.

Either you learn a martial art or you don't. If you try to be somewhere in the middle, <squish> just like the grape!

Ok...so here's what I'm thinking. I'm going to stick by razing to cover having a training methodology. And I'm going to work with an instructor who has already agreed to helping me out. I took a fencing class with him already (see I'm not totally opposed to instruction). Then I'm going to develop modest skills from shadow boxing and practicing kicks and knee strikes on my BoB. I'll will then compliment this practice with kettlebell training and pull-ups. I know I won't be a serious martial artist but I think it will compliment my intellectual pursuits well.
 
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marvelous65

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I think I can give what they're saying a little context. I have experienced the pitfalls of self training myself.
The essential problem is that you have very little feedback for what you're doing. Especially if you're just starting, it's difficult to know what you might be doing wrong or how you could improve. It's almost impossible to know what is going to be effective at that point. You have no measurement of how fast or powerful or effective you are at anything because you don't have much to compare it to besides videos. Without sparring, even if you are indeed very strong and fast at what you do, it's still all just theory.
THAT SAID, you can still learn to strike. You can still learn to kick and punch harder, faster, better, etc. You will still get in better shape, and you will definitely be better than you were before. It will take a lot longer to learn everything, but purely from a technically standpoint, if you invest enough time in training and research, it can be done....for striking.
To put it black and white, you CAN learn how to punch and kick in all different ways, learn to slip, move quickly, and grasp the technical understanding of how to defend. I don't see it being possible to learn effective grappling, or get good at defense. You can strengthen the muscles that do these jobs, but get no better at applying them.

Now....can you hurt yourself if you don't know what you're doing? YES. Even experienced people hurt themselves sometimes. But when you're starting, it's really easy. Striking with the wrong part of your body is particularly easy, even if you know better. Elbowing with your funny bone instead of your elbow, hitting your pinky knuckle, etc. Problems with fist alignment and limb overextension are common too. Punching full force with bad alignment can seriously injure you.
I'm not saying this to deter you from doing it though. I would just recommend taking it slowly with anything you're new to. Learning to do a particular punch? Do some shadowboxing first. Watch some people do it on youtube. Practice on something soft first.
I must say though, injury is a part of martial arts. It's going to happen sooner or later. Knowledge and understanding will help avoid most of them, but accidents will still happen. Most of them you will recover from, but some of them will really suck and could be debilitating. This is why I would strongly suggest researching moves and drills before implementing them.

I would also recommend putting a higher value on drills than free form training. Free form training of any sort (heavybag, shadowboxing, etc.) can help you learn the skill and smooth you out, but getting good at a particular thing requires drilling. Free form just doesn't have a high enough resistance to improve your strength. I learned this the hard way. By drilling... I just mean make your training specialized. Work on something specific. It can even be as broad as "just kicking".

If you don't have anything else, I would certainly recommend self training. It's definitely better than nothing. But I must stress to TAKE IT SLOWLY with new material and to understand that their are holes in your education. Take any opportunity you can to ask questions from people who have experience. With self training, it can take a really long time to realize something you're doing wrong. Feel free to experiment. Being a stickler to form in this scenario can actually get you stuck doing something wrong. Let good form be a result of good training. If you beat on a heavybag for long enough, you WILL know the difference between a punch with good form and punch with bad form. It could definitely be learned faster in a school though. Kicking is.....harder. It's more complicated. There's just a lot more than can go wrong. But the only way around this is training.
What's you're email address? I can talk to you about whatever you might want help with.
 
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marvelous65

marvelous65

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I reckon it was said best in the first Karate Kid movie.

Miyagi: Now, ready?

Daniel: Yeah, I guess so.

Miyagi: [sighs] Daniel-san, must talk.

[they both kneel]

Miyagi: Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later

[makes squish gesture]

Miyagi: get squish just like grape. Here, karate, same thing. Either you karate do "yes" or karate do "no." You karate do "guess so,"

[makes squish gesture]

Miyagi: just like grape. Understand?

Daniel: Yeah, I understand.

Miyagi: Now, ready?

Daniel: Yeah, I'm ready.

Either you learn a martial art or you don't. If you try to be somewhere in the middle, <squish> just like the grape!

No...I can dabble in martial arts all I want and never get crushed like a grape.
 

Orange Lightning

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Ok...so here's what I'm thinking. I'm going to stick by razing to cover having a training methodology. And I'm going to work with an instructor who has already agreed to helping me out. I took a fencing class with him already (see I'm not totally opposed to instruction). Then I'm going to develop modest skills from shadow boxing and practicing kicks and knee strikes on my BoB. I'll will then compliment this practice with kettlebell training and pull-ups. I know I won't be a serious martial artist but I think it will compliment my intellectual pursuits well.

That's fine. You definitely don't need to be a hardass or anything. Modest training will develop modest skills. :)
Why just kicks and knees on the bob?

There is one thing that is pretty important. You have to have things you can hit. Without something you can hit really hard, you won't know what it feels like to land a solid blow. It's kind of hard to explain.
When I was little and I was just starting in staff stuff, I didn't have any targets to hit hard. When I got my first heavybag (a military canvas bag filled with jeans and whatnot) I was confident I could hit it hard and well without trouble. For the most part, my quick and flashy technique didn't have any power, and got caught up whenever I was in close quarters. Many of my moves didn't work at all because the bag stops the staff and wouldn't all me to just push through it like I had a lightsaber.
The moral was that you need to know how to connect blows, and what that feels like, before you try getting advanced. If you don't know what it feels like to punch correctly (which you can learn from pounding on things) then you'll probably be doing a lot of bad punching with all your shadowboxing. They might feel crisp, but lack leverage or power. You don't necessarily want to be punching super hard when you're shadowboxing, but.....this is hard to explain in just text You get what I mean right?
 

Danny T

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Ok...so here's what I'm thinking. I'm going to stick by razing to cover having a training methodology. And I'm going to work with an instructor who has already agreed to helping me out. I took a fencing class with him already (see I'm not totally opposed to instruction). Then I'm going to develop modest skills from shadow boxing and practicing kicks and knee strikes on my BoB. I'll will then compliment this practice with kettlebell training and pull-ups. I know I won't be a serious martial artist but I think it will compliment my intellectual pursuits well.
May I inquire as to what type of kicks you plan on developing?
And what kind of kneeing? What will your footwork be for both the kicks and knees. Will you be lifting your heel off the ground or having it planted? Will you be pivoting the supporting foot or stepping on the kick?
When punching will you be using a vertical fist, a diagonal fist, a horizontal fist. Will you also be doing hammer fist and back fists. Will the punches be a whipping back fist or a pre-cantered fist. Will you be doing circular punching, dropping punches, dropping step punching, rotating body punching etc. All of these are Basic Fundamental things within the different ways to strike. What modest skills are you working to develop?
Gloved hands, wrapped hands, or bare knuckled? All are different and how one strikes with them is a basic.
Kettlebell training for strength, cardio, bodybuilding or flexibility? All are different.
 

Spinedoc

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Musashi's vastly superior skill with a sword should not deter you from applying the principles of study he purported. Learn strategy. Make yourself a writer. And, yes, you could even lead life traveling the countryside, many practitioners of the other arts do. Why is there such an emphasis among martial artists for competition? Fighting is not everything.


That's sweet. When did I say anything about competition. The martial arts I study do not have competition, nor am I remotely interested in it.
 

Steve

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Maybe I should just work on having a stance like that of a mountain.
I wish you the best of luck. I really do. Just consider that if you want to be able to play tennis, you need people to play tennis with. You need partners who will help you develop the timing and allow you to cultivate the technique.

Even in chess, you need an opponent. While you might have the advantage of being able to play against a computer, you still need some resistance in order to improve. On your own, you'll only get so far.

If that's what you want, great. Have fun. But, you asked a question and seem unhappy with the answer you received. There's a disconnect here that you are reacting to, whether you want to acknowledge it or not.
 

Danny T

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I think if you guys don't want to have an earnest discussion, you could choose to simply not post a response.
Attempted to have an earnest discussion. He stated of the discussion, " I feel I've walked away from this debate with a clear and decisive victory over people who are supposedly knowledgeable martial artists. Hoorah!"

He isn't interested in a discussion, he feels he is victorious so he was in a competition, a debate.
So now I'm have fun.
 
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marvelous65

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That's fine. You definitely don't need to be a hardass or anything. Modest training will develop modest skills. :)
Why just kicks and knees on the bob?

There is one thing that is pretty important. You have to have things you can hit. Without something you can hit really hard, you won't know what it feels like to land a solid blow. It's kind of hard to explain.
When I was little and I was just starting in staff stuff, I didn't have any targets to hit hard. When I got my first heavybag (a military canvas bag filled with jeans and whatnot) I was confident I could hit it hard and well without trouble. For the most part, my quick and flashy technique didn't have any power, and got caught up whenever I was in close quarters. Many of my moves didn't work at all because the bag stops the staff and wouldn't all me to just push through it like I had a lightsaber.
The moral was that you need to know how to connect blows, and what that feels like, before you try getting advanced. If you don't know what it feels like to punch correctly (which you can learn from pounding on things) then you'll probably be doing a lot of bad punching with all your shadowboxing. They might feel crisp, but lack leverage or power. You don't necessarily want to be punching super hard when you're shadowboxing, but.....this is hard to explain in just text You get what I mean right?

I haven't been boxing against my BoB much because it slides around and I have to keep putting back in place disrupting my flow. I've been training punch movements with wrist weights and kettlebells.
 
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marvelous65

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May I inquire as to what type of kicks you plan on developing?
And what kind of kneeing? What will your footwork be for both the kicks and knees. Will you be lifting your heel off the ground or having it planted? Will you be pivoting the supporting foot or stepping on the kick?
When punching will you be using a vertical fist, a diagonal fist, a horizontal fist. Will you also be doing hammer fist and back fists. Will the punches be a whipping back fist or a pre-cantered fist. Will you be doing circular punching, dropping punches, dropping step punching, rotating body punching etc. All of these are Basic Fundamental things within the different ways to strike. What modest skills are you working to develop?
Gloved hands, wrapped hands, or bare knuckled? All are different and how one strikes with them is a basic.
Kettlebell training for strength, cardio, bodybuilding or flexibility? All are different.

I'm not doing any of this. When I say modest skills I mean balance, speed, timing and power. Remember I'm just looking for martial arts to compliment my intellectual pursuits. But I've mentioned this before - I don't know why I have to be a serious student of the martial arts in order to be one at all. At the coffee shop where I play chess we have players of a wide range of ability. Some study some don't. The ones that don't don't win as often but we don't judge them as being less equipped to play the game than the rest of us. It's is too bad you can't view martial arts in a similar light.
 
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marvelous65

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I wish you the best of luck. I really do. Just consider that if you want to be able to play tennis, you need people to play tennis with. You need partners who will help you develop the timing and allow you to cultivate the technique.

Even in chess, you need an opponent. While you might have the advantage of being able to play against a computer, you still need some resistance in order to improve. On your own, you'll only get so far.

If that's what you want, great. Have fun. But, you asked a question and seem unhappy with the answer you received. There's a disconnect here that you are reacting to, whether you want to acknowledge it or not.


Maybe you came into this thread late and did not catch all the details. Early people told me a I needed a teacher and I eventually conceded this. I am going to have someone give me pointers on my training. And secondly, I fully intend on picking up a sparring partner once the snow melts and I have space to utilize for such a purpose. Every time I concede a point or explain that my ideas and wants do not contradict what all of you are prescribing you ignore this and just argue that I need to take martial arts more serious. There is no reason why I can't ascribe to a moderate amount of martial arts training and still find it rewarding. Period.
 
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marvelous65

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All of you have convinced me that I need a teacher. I have conceded it. You argue that I need to have others I spar to gain a sense of applicability to my learning. And that is something I never contested. Outside of that I have to take martial arts more seriously to get anything out of them - what basis do any of you have for continuing to post on this thread. Earlier in this thread, I thought I was just having some fun with debate against knowledgeable martial artists. I thought it important that I defend my stance that I needn't be a serious student of the martial arts. But now this argument is dragging on, and from my perspective, it seems, you all are continuing despite having progressively less and less ground to stand on. I'm starting to lose respect for all of you. :(
 
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