How to be Self-taught?

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Tez3

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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.


He has had a lot of good advice, which he asked for having come here first, and has in return given some quite rude and abusive answers to people who have been only kind to him. Then as you say he seems to think he has won some sort of victory over those same people who have only given their help and knowledge freely and with the best intentions.
I think he has come here to troll, nothing he has said has convinced me otherwise.
 

Tez3

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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

rudeness.jpg
 

Orange Lightning

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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. :(

Dude, I get what you're saying, but these kinds of comments are really only digging yourself into a hole.
I think it would help to just be more specific with your questions. This whole self teaching is a bad idea thing doesn't need to be anyone's focus. For whatever reason, the focus became whether or not self teaching is viable as a learning method instead of advice for solo training, which even people that go to schools do. I think it had to do with what was being debated and the terminology that was used to debate it (self teaching instead of solo training), but I'm digressing.

For example, how to make an improvised heavybag? How to improve kicking precision and control? Shadowboxing advice? Iron palm training do's and don'ts?
You can just google workouts that are specific to your needs. If you want the community's take on it, just make a thread out of it. Weight lifting for bo staff? Calisthenics or weight lifting? What kind of weight lifting should I be doing?

Less debating the merits of self teaching and how you're going to stick to it despite everyone saying you shouldn't (which I can totally respect), then agitating people. You just won't get the information you want this way.
 

MJS

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Hi Folks,

I've decided I want to take on martial arts as a learning project. I'm not looking to be a tournament level martial artist; and I do not feel that self-defense is a major concern - I live in a very safe, rural, community. So the idea of studying martial arts is purely for educational purposes. Now, I have several dvds from Contemporary Fighting Arts and I have a Body Opponent Bag. With the BoB I've been working on razing, knee strikes, and kicks for about 25 minutes a day; I intend to do some shadow boxing once the snow melts (I live in Vermont). I would like to find a training partner to spar and wrestle with but will tackle that when the time comes. So my question is, how might I continue to develop a solo training method?

IMO, your time would be better spent training under a teacher, rather than trying to figure things out via dvd. I've said it before, I'll say it a million more times....nothing can replace a live teacher. People make the excuse of no schools around, no schools that teach what they want, etc. There are alternatives, however, it takes dedication to actually follow through with those other options.
 

Steve

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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.
I wish you the best. if you think about it, drop in from time to time and let us know how it's going.
 

Steve

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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.
So, your behavior is his fault?
 

Danny T

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So, your behavior is his fault?
??? Excuse me.???
My behavior as to asking for more information while giving him a bit of knowledge as to how much more there is to understand for what modest martial art skill he is wanting? Is that the behavior you are referring to. Or is it that I know he really doesn't want a serious discussion?
 

Steve

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??? Excuse me.???
My behavior as to asking for more information while giving him a bit of knowledge as to how much more there is to understand for what modest martial art skill he is wanting? Is that the behavior you are referring to. Or is it that I know he really doesn't want a serious discussion?
I appreciate the constructive comments you've made in the thread. If you genuinely have more questions, please feel free to send me a PM. :)
 

Kung Fu Wang

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I do have a background in Tae Kwon Do and wrestling - I'm not starting from scratch.
If you have

- finished your college education, you should be able to learn from papers and books.
- a solid MA foundation from any system, you should be able to teach MA skill to yourself.

Many MA guys when they moved to a new place, could not find a MA teacher, and quit their training. They should just use whatever that they have learned in the past and expanded (self-taught) from there.

Will you be able to learn something from this clip if you have a solid MA foundation?

 
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Danny T

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I appreciate the constructive comments you've made in the thread. If you genuinely have more questions, please feel free to send me a PM. :)
This is interesting.
Why a Private Message?
What I have written/stated has been public, my behavior has been public, that you feel my behavior is unsatisfactory is also public. So why a Private Message?
 

Chris Parker

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Hmm… I'm going to suggest getting a drink, maybe something to snack on, and ensuring you're comfortable before launching on this…

Okay, ready? Cool.

Unfortunately your recommendation to learn a martial art and the strategies and tactics that go with that martial arts system is not what I am looking for.

Except that's precisely what you stated you're wanting. You wanted help in understanding how to learn martial arts without an instructor (teaching yourself) so that you could write an article about learning martial arts by yourself… all without understanding what "learning martial arts" actually means.

One more time, there is no such single thing as "martial arts". There is no single method. There is no universal approach. Each art is individual and unique… which means that you can do some kind of semi-combative-inspired movements, but that in no way equates to learning martial arts, the same way that learning half a dozen words doesn't equate to learning a language. Especially if those half dozen words are from different languages themselves.

I'll put it this way. I've trained in, and continue to practice, some five different distinct Japanese swordsmanship systems, and have exposure to another half dozen or so, as well as having a fair (outsider) understanding of maybe a dozen more… but none of them are the same. They all have different contexts, situations, tactics, postures, footwork, cutting mechanics, even grips and specific weapons themselves. I mean, sure, they're all using a Japanese sword… but there are variations even within that. There is no simple, generic "sword" art… and, considering the far wider possibilities for moving the body, how can you think there's a single method of "unarmed hand to hand martial arts" either?

I work for a living and devote the rest of my time to reading, writing, and playing chess.

Yes, and I work full time, teach a few nights a week, train at home, play a number of musical instruments, read, watch movies, have a social life, and more.

Again… you're just not that special.

What I wanted was some guidance to incorporate some basic hand to hand combat principles into my modest amount of training.

The biggest problem is that you didn't know what you were actually asking. You have an idea, an image, of what you thought you were after, but the simple, cold, hard reality is that it doesn't match up with the way things actually work.

I mean… you just want some basic hand-to-hand combat principles? Okay… always strike with the palm turned down, hitting with the first two knuckles. But when you punch, always punch with the fist vertical, and impact with the bottom three knuckles. Blocking is a vital skill, but, as we all know, there isn't any blocking in martial arts. You should work on offensive, forward moving footwork. Being evasive is the key. Always take the initiative first, but let the opponent make the first move. Move in and control the opponent with grabs, locks and throws while maintaining distance and employing kicks for range and power.

Which of these is right? That will depend on your chosen art. There is no single set of principles for "martial arts", even by paring it down to "hand to hand".

But to most of you who responded (and you Tez3 in particular) this seems to be insulting.

Then you've missed the meaning of the responses. We're not insulted (well… we weren't at the beginning…), but we were pointing out the issues with your approach.

This is very much to my dismay; any boxing coach could give me advice on how to train for a fight. Any chess coach could give me extensive advice on how to study the game independently.

No, a boxing coach can give you advice on training boxing for a fight, and a chess coach will give you advice on playing chess. Ask the same boxing coach about joint locks, knife defence, staff use etc, and you'll get a very different form of advice, at a very different level… at the same time, the chess coach won't really be the person to ask about poker strategy, or even checkers, or backgammon… or basketball.

Get the difference? A boxing coach won't give you kicking tips. He'll give you boxing tips. In other words, a specific methodology pertaining to a specific system and approach. Not general "martial arts skills". That doesn't exist.

But many of you have called into question my logic in comparing chess (or writing) to martial arts as if there were no overlap in their practices.

You've missed the point entirely. The difference is in the learning of them, not the practice.

But my bet is that you probably don't even know who Josh Waitzkin; he happened to have been a national chess champion several times in his youth; he then went on to share the title of world champion in pushing hands and very much attributed his success the study habits he picked up from learning chess.

Honestly, who cares who Josh Waitzkin is? In this conversation, he's thoroughly irrelevant. Sure, you can get a lot of benefit from chess and it's many lessons… no-one has argued that (no-one even suggested there was an argument to be had). So I'm not sure you're following what you're being told here…

For a little while, you all had me convinced that learning martial arts is in someway different than learning anything else. But now I'm a little less sure. My uncertainty lies in that there is a consensus among all of you that martial arts are unique. And that studying "a martial art" takes greater dedication than study of any other disciplines - and that is just plain foolish.

The only person here who has spoken about discipline or dedication in this regard has been you… so, again, you're getting in the way of even listening to what you're being told. That said, yeah, martial arts are fairly unlike other areas of study… they are learnt by doing, and they are learnt by having an example impart the specific methodologies to you, in a rather specific way. They're not just physical, and they're not just intellectual… and those two aspects still don't make up the whole story either.

Realistically, what a martial art is teaching you is a specific approach to problem solving in a physical (combative) environment. If you simply look at them as an intellectual set of ideas, you won't be able to process fast enough to actually apply them. And, if you just look at them as physical methods, you'll miss the actual lessons that are being imparted. And if you miss the rest, then there's nothing much of value there in the first place.

To those of you who encouraged me to find a teacher - thank you. But to those who somehow missed the point that I was a beginning martial artist looking for no more than a hint at what I should do to begin a practice which would incorporate sound discipline and proper tactics, and attempted nothing more than a lashing, that's too bad.

Discipline is entirely on you… and proper tactics are specific to the system you're attempting to learn. Without learning a specific system, how can you have proper tactics?

Look, we get that you're a beginner in this… you have to realise that, in a large number of cases, you have decades of experience explaining things to you here. We know what's needed, and we know what's going to have little benefit. And the first thing to do is to refine down exactly what you're doing… "basic martial arts" really isn't anything at all.

I'm not here to stroke your egos and tell you all how great your feedback is regardless of if it is filled with dissension. I'm realizing now that an interest in martial arts may be misguided if then I'd be associated with the likes of yourselves.

And we're not here to stroke yours… although you certainly seem happy enough to do that for yourself. Again, though, you're allowing your own biases, based in the fact that you came in here with an idea of what you wanted, but no real understanding of what you were asking about, to colour the way you think you're being addressed. I'd suggest taking a step back to see what you're actually being told.

In the future I'll know that teaching myself hand to hand combat techniques and principles will not make me a martial artist. And, instead, a street fighter; that sounds rather cool. Peace.

No, not learning a martial art means you're not a martial artist. You're also not a street fighter either, as, well, you have no interest in fighting, street or otherwise. You're just a guy playing at what he thinks are fighting techniques in his backyard… which is really nothing.

What will I need luck for? All I'm doing is a little training on a BoB.

Training what on a BOB, though? Just throwing random strikes, without any real basis, structure, intent, or similar isn't much of any real training… it's like thinking you're going to get fit and strong by occasionally doing a push up every once in a while, rather than having a guided program set up by a professional who knows how to get your body to work properly.

I just want to leave this conversation with a few words of insight.

This'll be good…

Miyamoto says that strategy is the craft of the warrior but when I asked all of you how to better understand strategy from martial arts training I got nothing.

Son, you're going to try to explain Musashi to me? Seriously?

Here's a little insight for you, then.

Musashi Miyamoto Shinmen Fujiwara no Genshin wrote his various articles, including the famous Gorin no Sho, not for a general martial populace, but specifically for the practitioners of his own art. In other words, when he's talking about strategy, he's talking about his personal arts' strategy, not strategy in general. He's speaking specifically about the strategy inherent in the Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu… and saying that the application and study of his strategies is the craft of a warrior in his tutelage. To be clear here, the Gorin no Sho itself was written for one particular student… one who had the physical techniques down incredibly well, but was lacking in his understanding of the underlying strategy and tactical methodology. The Gorin no Sho was written directly to impart those aspects to that student… and, as a result, was really a fairly personal communique from a teacher to a student. It wasn't meant to be taken as general advice for all warriors… in fact, that kinda goes against the ideals of the book itself.

The only people for whom the book has real meaning, in it's intended spirit, are the members and practitioners of Musashi's system itself… those who study the Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu. And you might be surprised at just how many members here have experience and exposure to that system in various levels.

But, if you want to know why you got "nothing" (you didn't, of course… but you are unable to recognise what you actually got), it's that strategy is not a single thing… it's highly contextually dependant. Strategy for what martial art? For what context? Without an answer to that, there can be no answer to a request for guidance on your part.

Miyamoto also says that a true warrior has a taste for writing equal to his taste for swordsmanship. But when I posed to all of you that I thought that martial arts would be a natural extension with in my studies, you said that writing practice has no relevance to martial arts study.

Actually, no, he doesn't. Musashi spoke about not restricting your study to simply methods of violence, encouraging his students to also be aware of, and to gain skill in, a variety of other arts… and when it came to "writing", that wasn't really what he meant either. You have to realise that "writing" at the time meant shodo… Japanese calligraphy… which has a number of connections to swordsmanship, from the idea of the no uchi, to a great precision over the use of the tip of your implement, a confidence in the movement, and so on. He really wasn't saying anything about writing articles for online blogs.

So may I suggest that all of you go out and buy The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin. This is a book that follows Josh as he achieves greatness as a child in chess and how he applies that learning to his study of Tai Chi. Maybe you all will broaden your understanding of martial arts study in the process. And then in the future, when a newcomer to the martial arts poses a question with sincere hopes to learn something, you will not feel obligated to insult their intelligence with narrow minded, hollow, advice.

There are prodigies in the world… and Josh sounds like he was likely one of them. Of course, none of this is relevant to you (you're not special or unique in any way), your situation, the sheer scope of the lack of your understanding in this area.

In the future, should you venture onto an area that you are so woefully unaware of, you might want to keep your mind open to actually learning, rather than maintaining your own narrow minded perceptions… and your intelligence has nothing to do with any of that.

I'm not trying to be world champ either. I just wanted to get a sense of training methodology which all of you failed to offer.

The thing is, that's thoroughly irrelevant as well. You've harped on a few times about how you aren't interested in winning tournaments (honestly, so what? Neither am I… or a number of others here), self defence (again, fine), but just want to teach yourself martial arts… as you're not interested in these areas, the training doesn't have to be particularly high level.

Thing is, that's completely irrelevant.

It doesn't matter how you want to apply the training, if at all, if you're wanting to train martial arts, you have to actually train it. Otherwise, your argument is the same as saying you want to teach yourself classical French cooking, but it doesn't matter if you don't learn how to use an oven, and only make toast, as you don't want to open a restaurant… it's pointless… if you're not learning to cook, you're not learning to cook. Same here… if you're not learning martial arts, you're not learning martial arts. As a result, trying to learn them by yourself to write an article about learning them by yourself, when you can't and aren't actually learning them at all, means that the entire construct is a failure before you even start.

It was said early on in this debate that the amount of knowledge offered in this thread is staggering. But I am a beginner martial artist. And while I'll readily admit I learned not to be self-taught from all of you. Finding a teacher is the only advice any of you had. That's not saying much. I feel I've walked away from this debate with a clear and decisive victory over people who are supposedly knowledgeable martial artists. Hoorah!

Son, you have had no victory at all. You have failed to understand even what you were asking yourself, let alone the answers (and reasons for them) that you have received. Believe me, the amount of knowledge shown in this thread is minuscule compared with what you could gain from the membership here… but if you can't follow the most basic, essential piece of advice in the first place, why would be go beyond it?

If I fail at martial arts will I never be able to teach someone how to study martial arts? And if I failed in this way how would that make me any different than you?

You're still missing the point.

If you can't learn a martial art, you can't write about how you can learn martial arts. And, as far as your last line, you do realise that you're actually conversing with a number of instructors at this point, yeah? The big difference is that our students actually come to us to learn the specific arts we teach… so we have a base framework to start from. You haven't even gotten that… which is why we can't give you anything that you think we should.

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.

Of course, that might get you some modicum of skill (such as it is) in "razing"… but again, you're far from doing anything to do with martial arts at that point.

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.

Suffice for what, though? For your stated aim of writing an article about how to teach yourself something you don't know and can't teach yourself?

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.

We suggested you need a teacher because you need a teacher. You need to learn from someone who already knows what you're wanting to learn… and, if that's martial arts, it needs to be a specific martial art. One more time, there is no generic "martial arts" skill or methodology… so until you define exactly what martial art methodology you're wanting to focus on, getting an instructor is the essential first step. Until you do that, there is no further to go.

Believe me, son, I can offer advice, insight, and more on a far wider range of martial arts than you're even aware exist… but you don't have anywhere near the base to have the first clue what I'd be saying.

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.

Yeah… again, you're really not in a place to offer Musashi as a go-to…

No. I was thinking of just crudely going about developing a little rhythm and elusiveness. I'll more or less attempt a means of staying in shape while developing a modest amount of skill. Thanks.

Which is all quite different to your original stated aim and intent.

But here… if you want to stay in shape, go to the gym. If you want to develop a modest amount of skill, first figure out what you want to develop the skill in ("martial arts" doesn't mean much)… then we can look at expanding from there. But really, odds are nothing we put down will make much sense without you having some basic understanding.

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!

Er… do you know why boxers spend so much time with the rope?

This is part of the issue… you're dismissing things without understanding the reasons for them. Again, I suggest you take a step back, and recognise that the advice you're getting is from many years of experience, and isn't given flippantly.

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.

It's not that you won't be a serious martial artist, you simply won't be a martial artist at all.

Here's the thing. You can be completely dedicated to this routine… highly disciplined in your attention to it… focused on everything you're doing. But, if there's no actual base to it, no underlying set of philosophies (combative and otherwise), no unifying principles, no tactical consistency, and no martial art to it, then you very simply won't be a martial artist at all… no matter how serious you are being about it.

So the question would be what exactly is this guy an instructor of? And are you going to be learning that art, or just playing around?

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

Sure… but you'll also never learn martial arts… you'll have a small grasp on a limited physical skill set, which might or might not be thoroughly flawed from the outset… and, of course, should you find yourself in a situation where you do need, or want to call on it… well… grape.

Maybe I should just work on having a stance like that of a mountain.

Do you know what that means? Or how it's achieved? When it's good, and when it's not advised? How it works within the tactical methods of a particular art? Which arts have such concepts? And which will tell you it's a really, really bad idea? Or why?

Can you see how having a single idea or concept, without the surrounding context, leads to absolutely nothing?

I'm not doing any of this. When I say modest skills I mean balance, speed, timing and power.

None of those are skills… they're attributes. And they will have different levels of focus and importance, based on the art you're studying… as well as having very different interpretations. Take timing for example… each art will have it's own sense of timing… it's not just one thing.

Remember I'm just looking for martial arts to compliment my intellectual pursuits.

Then you've missed the point.

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.

You don't. But you do have to be a student of martial arts to be a student of martial arts. Kinda basic to the whole thing, really… and something that's been said since the first page.

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.

Sure… but none of them are making up the rules as they go, none of them are inventing new pieces because they don't get how the existing ones work, none of them are playing on grass with a racquet, and calling it chess… to play chess, you have to learn chess, and then play it. To train in a martial art, you have to actually, you know, train in a martial art.

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.

Which is still not learning martial arts.

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.

Sparring in what, though? How do you determine the context and construct? Are there rules? Is there a restricted technical approach? Is it purely striking, or grappling, or both? Are weapons involved, or not? Any protective equipment? Timed rounds, or random? How do you know if you're doing well or not (that's not as easy as you may believe), or improving (same)?

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.

No, we're saying that if you want to learn martial arts, you have to actually, well, learn martial arts.

There is no reason why I can't ascribe to a moderate amount of martial arts training and still find it rewarding. Period.

Sure, you can get rewards from your plan… but our point has been that your stated intent (to learn martial arts by yourself) is not something that you'll get. Period.

All of you have convinced me that I need a teacher. I have conceded it.

Actually, no, you haven't. You've said you're going to have someone give you pointers… that's really not the same thing. It's like saying that you want to learn another language, we're telling you to pick one (say, French… or Japanese… or Swahili), you argued against the idea, and said that it didn't matter if you weren't fluent, as you weren't going overseas… then you're "conceding" that you will ask someone to give you a couple of words in German, as that'll help.

Nope. Either learn martial arts or don't. And to learn, get an instructor. And actually attend classes.

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.

Eh, I'm not a fan of sparring, so I didn't say anything of the kind… but realistically, the first thing is to have a sense of what you're trying to apply… without something as a base, you really don't have anything to test. Again, if you're not learning martial arts, you're not learning martial arts… so sparring isn't really part of this at all.

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.

Again, no, you have to take martial arts to get something out of them.

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. :(

Perhaps if you actually took on board what you're being told, we wouldn't have to keep repeating it. As far as losing respect, frankly son, you don't have the first clue what would qualify here.
 

Steve

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This is interesting.
Why a Private Message?
What I have written/stated has been public, my behavior has been public, that you feel my behavior is unsatisfactory is also public. So why a Private Message?
Because this isn't the right place for the discussion, Danny. As I said before, if you really think this is interesting, shoot me a PM. :)
 

Steve

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Just to sum up, the OP emphasized that he is looking for casual training to develop some moderate skills. He seems to agree with us that a teacher will be necessary. He acknowledges that he will need training partners.

We all know, including the OP, that he's going to have limited success without a qualified mentor/instructor.

What's left to discuss? Where's the dead horse emoticon? The last 5+ pages seem to be about beating this guy up with what he has since acknowledged were unrealistic ideas about training. I just can't wrap my brain around exchanges that amount to, "I have already conceded this point." "No, you haven't."

My recommendation is that we consider our points well made and let it go. :)
 
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marvelous65

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Hmm… I'm going to suggest getting a drink, maybe something to snack on, and ensuring you're comfortable before launching on this…

Okay, ready? Cool.



Except that's precisely what you stated you're wanting. You wanted help in understanding how to learn martial arts without an instructor (teaching yourself) so that you could write an article about learning martial arts by yourself… all without understanding what "learning martial arts" actually means.

One more time, there is no such single thing as "martial arts". There is no single method. There is no universal approach. Each art is individual and unique… which means that you can do some kind of semi-combative-inspired movements, but that in no way equates to learning martial arts, the same way that learning half a dozen words doesn't equate to learning a language. Especially if those half dozen words are from different languages themselves.

I'll put it this way. I've trained in, and continue to practice, some five different distinct Japanese swordsmanship systems, and have exposure to another half dozen or so, as well as having a fair (outsider) understanding of maybe a dozen more… but none of them are the same. They all have different contexts, situations, tactics, postures, footwork, cutting mechanics, even grips and specific weapons themselves. I mean, sure, they're all using a Japanese sword… but there are variations even within that. There is no simple, generic "sword" art… and, considering the far wider possibilities for moving the body, how can you think there's a single method of "unarmed hand to hand martial arts" either?



Yes, and I work full time, teach a few nights a week, train at home, play a number of musical instruments, read, watch movies, have a social life, and more.

Again… you're just not that special.



The biggest problem is that you didn't know what you were actually asking. You have an idea, an image, of what you thought you were after, but the simple, cold, hard reality is that it doesn't match up with the way things actually work.

I mean… you just want some basic hand-to-hand combat principles? Okay… always strike with the palm turned down, hitting with the first two knuckles. But when you punch, always punch with the fist vertical, and impact with the bottom three knuckles. Blocking is a vital skill, but, as we all know, there isn't any blocking in martial arts. You should work on offensive, forward moving footwork. Being evasive is the key. Always take the initiative first, but let the opponent make the first move. Move in and control the opponent with grabs, locks and throws while maintaining distance and employing kicks for range and power.

Which of these is right? That will depend on your chosen art. There is no single set of principles for "martial arts", even by paring it down to "hand to hand".



Then you've missed the meaning of the responses. We're not insulted (well… we weren't at the beginning…), but we were pointing out the issues with your approach.



No, a boxing coach can give you advice on training boxing for a fight, and a chess coach will give you advice on playing chess. Ask the same boxing coach about joint locks, knife defence, staff use etc, and you'll get a very different form of advice, at a very different level… at the same time, the chess coach won't really be the person to ask about poker strategy, or even checkers, or backgammon… or basketball.

Get the difference? A boxing coach won't give you kicking tips. He'll give you boxing tips. In other words, a specific methodology pertaining to a specific system and approach. Not general "martial arts skills". That doesn't exist.



You've missed the point entirely. The difference is in the learning of them, not the practice.



Honestly, who cares who Josh Waitzkin is? In this conversation, he's thoroughly irrelevant. Sure, you can get a lot of benefit from chess and it's many lessons… no-one has argued that (no-one even suggested there was an argument to be had). So I'm not sure you're following what you're being told here…



The only person here who has spoken about discipline or dedication in this regard has been you… so, again, you're getting in the way of even listening to what you're being told. That said, yeah, martial arts are fairly unlike other areas of study… they are learnt by doing, and they are learnt by having an example impart the specific methodologies to you, in a rather specific way. They're not just physical, and they're not just intellectual… and those two aspects still don't make up the whole story either.

Realistically, what a martial art is teaching you is a specific approach to problem solving in a physical (combative) environment. If you simply look at them as an intellectual set of ideas, you won't be able to process fast enough to actually apply them. And, if you just look at them as physical methods, you'll miss the actual lessons that are being imparted. And if you miss the rest, then there's nothing much of value there in the first place.



Discipline is entirely on you… and proper tactics are specific to the system you're attempting to learn. Without learning a specific system, how can you have proper tactics?

Look, we get that you're a beginner in this… you have to realise that, in a large number of cases, you have decades of experience explaining things to you here. We know what's needed, and we know what's going to have little benefit. And the first thing to do is to refine down exactly what you're doing… "basic martial arts" really isn't anything at all.



And we're not here to stroke yours… although you certainly seem happy enough to do that for yourself. Again, though, you're allowing your own biases, based in the fact that you came in here with an idea of what you wanted, but no real understanding of what you were asking about, to colour the way you think you're being addressed. I'd suggest taking a step back to see what you're actually being told.



No, not learning a martial art means you're not a martial artist. You're also not a street fighter either, as, well, you have no interest in fighting, street or otherwise. You're just a guy playing at what he thinks are fighting techniques in his backyard… which is really nothing.



Training what on a BOB, though? Just throwing random strikes, without any real basis, structure, intent, or similar isn't much of any real training… it's like thinking you're going to get fit and strong by occasionally doing a push up every once in a while, rather than having a guided program set up by a professional who knows how to get your body to work properly.



This'll be good…



Son, you're going to try to explain Musashi to me? Seriously?

Here's a little insight for you, then.

Musashi Miyamoto Shinmen Fujiwara no Genshin wrote his various articles, including the famous Gorin no Sho, not for a general martial populace, but specifically for the practitioners of his own art. In other words, when he's talking about strategy, he's talking about his personal arts' strategy, not strategy in general. He's speaking specifically about the strategy inherent in the Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu… and saying that the application and study of his strategies is the craft of a warrior in his tutelage. To be clear here, the Gorin no Sho itself was written for one particular student… one who had the physical techniques down incredibly well, but was lacking in his understanding of the underlying strategy and tactical methodology. The Gorin no Sho was written directly to impart those aspects to that student… and, as a result, was really a fairly personal communique from a teacher to a student. It wasn't meant to be taken as general advice for all warriors… in fact, that kinda goes against the ideals of the book itself.

The only people for whom the book has real meaning, in it's intended spirit, are the members and practitioners of Musashi's system itself… those who study the Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu. And you might be surprised at just how many members here have experience and exposure to that system in various levels.

But, if you want to know why you got "nothing" (you didn't, of course… but you are unable to recognise what you actually got), it's that strategy is not a single thing… it's highly contextually dependant. Strategy for what martial art? For what context? Without an answer to that, there can be no answer to a request for guidance on your part.



Actually, no, he doesn't. Musashi spoke about not restricting your study to simply methods of violence, encouraging his students to also be aware of, and to gain skill in, a variety of other arts… and when it came to "writing", that wasn't really what he meant either. You have to realise that "writing" at the time meant shodo… Japanese calligraphy… which has a number of connections to swordsmanship, from the idea of the no uchi, to a great precision over the use of the tip of your implement, a confidence in the movement, and so on. He really wasn't saying anything about writing articles for online blogs.



There are prodigies in the world… and Josh sounds like he was likely one of them. Of course, none of this is relevant to you (you're not special or unique in any way), your situation, the sheer scope of the lack of your understanding in this area.

In the future, should you venture onto an area that you are so woefully unaware of, you might want to keep your mind open to actually learning, rather than maintaining your own narrow minded perceptions… and your intelligence has nothing to do with any of that.



The thing is, that's thoroughly irrelevant as well. You've harped on a few times about how you aren't interested in winning tournaments (honestly, so what? Neither am I… or a number of others here), self defence (again, fine), but just want to teach yourself martial arts… as you're not interested in these areas, the training doesn't have to be particularly high level.

Thing is, that's completely irrelevant.

It doesn't matter how you want to apply the training, if at all, if you're wanting to train martial arts, you have to actually train it. Otherwise, your argument is the same as saying you want to teach yourself classical French cooking, but it doesn't matter if you don't learn how to use an oven, and only make toast, as you don't want to open a restaurant… it's pointless… if you're not learning to cook, you're not learning to cook. Same here… if you're not learning martial arts, you're not learning martial arts. As a result, trying to learn them by yourself to write an article about learning them by yourself, when you can't and aren't actually learning them at all, means that the entire construct is a failure before you even start.



Son, you have had no victory at all. You have failed to understand even what you were asking yourself, let alone the answers (and reasons for them) that you have received. Believe me, the amount of knowledge shown in this thread is minuscule compared with what you could gain from the membership here… but if you can't follow the most basic, essential piece of advice in the first place, why would be go beyond it?



You're still missing the point.

If you can't learn a martial art, you can't write about how you can learn martial arts. And, as far as your last line, you do realise that you're actually conversing with a number of instructors at this point, yeah? The big difference is that our students actually come to us to learn the specific arts we teach… so we have a base framework to start from. You haven't even gotten that… which is why we can't give you anything that you think we should.



Of course, that might get you some modicum of skill (such as it is) in "razing"… but again, you're far from doing anything to do with martial arts at that point.



Suffice for what, though? For your stated aim of writing an article about how to teach yourself something you don't know and can't teach yourself?



We suggested you need a teacher because you need a teacher. You need to learn from someone who already knows what you're wanting to learn… and, if that's martial arts, it needs to be a specific martial art. One more time, there is no generic "martial arts" skill or methodology… so until you define exactly what martial art methodology you're wanting to focus on, getting an instructor is the essential first step. Until you do that, there is no further to go.

Believe me, son, I can offer advice, insight, and more on a far wider range of martial arts than you're even aware exist… but you don't have anywhere near the base to have the first clue what I'd be saying.



Yeah… again, you're really not in a place to offer Musashi as a go-to…



Which is all quite different to your original stated aim and intent.

But here… if you want to stay in shape, go to the gym. If you want to develop a modest amount of skill, first figure out what you want to develop the skill in ("martial arts" doesn't mean much)… then we can look at expanding from there. But really, odds are nothing we put down will make much sense without you having some basic understanding.



Er… do you know why boxers spend so much time with the rope?

This is part of the issue… you're dismissing things without understanding the reasons for them. Again, I suggest you take a step back, and recognise that the advice you're getting is from many years of experience, and isn't given flippantly.



It's not that you won't be a serious martial artist, you simply won't be a martial artist at all.

Here's the thing. You can be completely dedicated to this routine… highly disciplined in your attention to it… focused on everything you're doing. But, if there's no actual base to it, no underlying set of philosophies (combative and otherwise), no unifying principles, no tactical consistency, and no martial art to it, then you very simply won't be a martial artist at all… no matter how serious you are being about it.

So the question would be what exactly is this guy an instructor of? And are you going to be learning that art, or just playing around?



Sure… but you'll also never learn martial arts… you'll have a small grasp on a limited physical skill set, which might or might not be thoroughly flawed from the outset… and, of course, should you find yourself in a situation where you do need, or want to call on it… well… grape.



Do you know what that means? Or how it's achieved? When it's good, and when it's not advised? How it works within the tactical methods of a particular art? Which arts have such concepts? And which will tell you it's a really, really bad idea? Or why?

Can you see how having a single idea or concept, without the surrounding context, leads to absolutely nothing?



None of those are skills… they're attributes. And they will have different levels of focus and importance, based on the art you're studying… as well as having very different interpretations. Take timing for example… each art will have it's own sense of timing… it's not just one thing.



Then you've missed the point.



You don't. But you do have to be a student of martial arts to be a student of martial arts. Kinda basic to the whole thing, really… and something that's been said since the first page.



Sure… but none of them are making up the rules as they go, none of them are inventing new pieces because they don't get how the existing ones work, none of them are playing on grass with a racquet, and calling it chess… to play chess, you have to learn chess, and then play it. To train in a martial art, you have to actually, you know, train in a martial art.



Which is still not learning martial arts.



Sparring in what, though? How do you determine the context and construct? Are there rules? Is there a restricted technical approach? Is it purely striking, or grappling, or both? Are weapons involved, or not? Any protective equipment? Timed rounds, or random? How do you know if you're doing well or not (that's not as easy as you may believe), or improving (same)?



No, we're saying that if you want to learn martial arts, you have to actually, well, learn martial arts.



Sure, you can get rewards from your plan… but our point has been that your stated intent (to learn martial arts by yourself) is not something that you'll get. Period.



Actually, no, you haven't. You've said you're going to have someone give you pointers… that's really not the same thing. It's like saying that you want to learn another language, we're telling you to pick one (say, French… or Japanese… or Swahili), you argued against the idea, and said that it didn't matter if you weren't fluent, as you weren't going overseas… then you're "conceding" that you will ask someone to give you a couple of words in German, as that'll help.

Nope. Either learn martial arts or don't. And to learn, get an instructor. And actually attend classes.



Eh, I'm not a fan of sparring, so I didn't say anything of the kind… but realistically, the first thing is to have a sense of what you're trying to apply… without something as a base, you really don't have anything to test. Again, if you're not learning martial arts, you're not learning martial arts… so sparring isn't really part of this at all.



Again, no, you have to take martial arts to get something out of them.



Perhaps if you actually took on board what you're being told, we wouldn't have to keep repeating it. As far as losing respect, frankly son, you don't have the first clue what would qualify here.

You're stupid!
 

jks9199

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Reading through some the replies here, I had a thought...

The OP didn't really teach himself chess. He learned chess by reading a book. Probably several, designed to teach and offer insights to someone trying to understand chess. To truly teach himself chess, he'd have had to simply start moving pieces at random until he hit on the proper movements and eventually began to succeed. I guess doing so would be possible... though exceedingly unlikely.

I've said in other threads that it's NOT impossible to learn martial arts from a book or video. Just that it's going to be very difficult, and that there are only a handful of people who can really be successful that way.

But if all he's interested in is moving around, beating on BOB, and telling himself he's doing "martial arts"... Well, I guess he'll succeed. For whatever it may be worth.
 
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marvelous65

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Reading through some the replies here, I had a thought...

The OP didn't really teach himself chess. He learned chess by reading a book. Probably several, designed to teach and offer insights to someone trying to understand chess. To truly teach himself chess, he'd have had to simply start moving pieces at random until he hit on the proper movements and eventually began to succeed. I guess doing so would be possible... though exceedingly unlikely.

I've said in other threads that it's NOT impossible to learn martial arts from a book or video. Just that it's going to be very difficult, and that there are only a handful of people who can really be successful that way.

But if all he's interested in is moving around, beating on BOB, and telling himself he's doing "martial arts"... Well, I guess he'll succeed. For whatever it may be worth.

To say I didn't teach myself chess because I didn't go about it blindly is nothing more than ignorant. Yes, I read chess books. I read Twenty of them and I took an online course and went to chess clubs regularly. I also rode my ten speed bicycle 50 miles to and from a chess gathering in a blizzard. I had nothing on my hands but fingerless bike gloves. Can you say you've dedicated yourself to martial arts to such an extent? Or do you just go to a nice comfortable dojo regularly for lessons?
 

jks9199

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To say I didn't teach myself chess because I didn't go about it blindly is nothing more than ignorant. Yes, I read chess books. I read Twenty of them and I took an online course and went to chess clubs regularly. I also rode my ten speed bicycle 50 miles to and from a chess gathering in a blizzard. I had nothing on my hands but fingerless bike gloves. Can you say you've dedicated yourself to martial arts to such an extent? Or do you just go to a nice comfortable dojo regularly for lessons?
H'mm.... Something seems to have struck a nerve. Maybe you need to think about how your goals for learning martial arts might feel to people who have literally dedicated decades of their lives, made choices to stay near a teacher or travel hours for training, and made other sacrifices for their training might respond...

As to training in a nice comfortable dojo? Yeah, you really don't know what you're talking about there. That's where I'll leave that; you can find the information to expand on it if you look around the site.

(And if you rode through a blizzard with fingerless gloves, you made a dumb choice. Winter Bicycle Gloves )
 
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