I am a Self-Taught MA Expert

Hudson69

Brown Belt
Joined
Nov 28, 2008
Messages
415
Reaction score
19
Location
Utah
I agree with most of Chris Parker's statement. Someone can grow up learning to fight or just be good at it but that does not make them, per se, a martial artist in the formal sense.

There are also some people out there who can probably self teach themselves a martial art if given access to the materials as well as the required mechanics of a system.

The first one is pretty easy to do, especially if you grow up in a rough neighborhood or you have a lot of older brothers...

My .02 only
 

Omar B

Senior Master
Joined
Nov 6, 2007
Messages
3,687
Reaction score
85
Location
Queens, NY. Fort Lauderdale, FL
Daniel, your story was great. Reminded me of a story from when I was a teen.

I started at a new high school and I met this dude Tony (who is still my best friend to this day). He and I both played guitar so we got along, but most evenings after school I would go to Karate. So one say he tells me about this kid Chris in his building who knows karate too. Now bear in mind that Tony's in a wheelchair, so one MA is pretty much the same as any other, punching, kicking and spinning.

I eventually met Chris one day at Tony's and I ask him what style he studied. He tells me he taught himself, I didn't think much of it at the time. But he was a huge Dragonball and MA movie fan. After leaving Tony's place and walking to the bus this kid shows up again spoiling for a fight because "You think you're better than me because you go to karate school!"

So he launches himself into the air in what looked like a skinning back kick (or what he interprets as one from movies) which I simply blocked and he slams to the ground like a sack of bricks. He picks himself up and starts punching at my face and upper body, I block with every block hurting him more and more. So he starts moving his upper body while leaving his feet planted in the same spot, kinda like a snake (I think I've seen that in MA movies before). So there he is wasting energy throwing his torso left and right, making weird noises and vocalizations. So I kicked him in the knee and he fell to the ground unable to move.

In all the years I've known Tony and he's lived in that building, the kid still has trash to talk about me. About how I only know how to block, how I only kicked once and didn't show any "skill" as he puts it. He also still has crap to say abotu me paying to learn karate, Tony tells me he still goes out into the apartment courtyard every day jumping, spinning, throwing those wild kicks with no technique to this very day.
 

WC_lun

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 7, 2010
Messages
2,760
Reaction score
82
Location
Kansas City MO
I'm just going to throw a couple of things out there to think about a person teaching themselves. Serious study of fighting in order to fight, whether it is striking, grappling, weapons, sporting or self defense takes actually doing it. That means at the minimum at least one training partner that is willing to go toe to toe with you. If you don't have that, you are practicing theory of a martial fantasy.

Yes, a person can work to increase thier physical attributes and physical attributes are helpful. However, if your martial art depends upon physical attributes to be successful, then a student would be better served to just take up a membership in a decent gym. There is a lot more to real martial arts than physical ability. That "lot more" is what makes it really difficult for the novice to correctly pick up anything by themselves.

If a martial art school claims to teach self defense, but the students cannot defend themselves against the average trouble maker, the school should quit making the claim of self defense. It isn't. There may be equally valid reason to train there, such as excercise, comraderie, or sports. So when I hear the talk about non-trained fighters beating trained fighters, I think that either the non-trained fighter is an exceptionally talented fighter, or the trained fighter is poorly trained...or both. Honestly, I have never seen a self-trained person who is not poorly trained. Thier training is based upon thier fantasy, not reality.
 

bribrius

Green Belt
Joined
Sep 10, 2010
Messages
166
Reaction score
1
I'm just going to throw a couple of things out there to think about a person teaching themselves. Serious study of fighting in order to fight, whether it is striking, grappling, weapons, sporting or self defense takes actually doing it. That means at the minimum at least one training partner that is willing to go toe to toe with you. you are being too nice. i would say multiple training partners.If you don't have that, you are practicing theory of a martial fantasy. Agree. There probably are some out there...........but the sparring makes it more fun i dont get it...

Yes, a person can work to increase thier physical attributes and physical attributes are helpful. However, if your martial art depends upon physical attributes to be successful, then a student would be better served to just take up a membership in a decent gym. There is a lot more to real martial arts than physical ability. That "lot more" is what makes it really difficult for the novice to correctly pick up anything by themselves.

If a martial art school claims to teach self defense, but the students cannot defend themselves against the average trouble maker, the school should quit making the claim of self defense. agree again. It isn't. There may be equally valid reason to train there, such as excercise, comraderie, or sports. So when I hear the talk about non-trained fighters beating trained fighters, I think that either the non-trained fighter is an exceptionally talented fighter, or the trained fighter is poorly trained...or both. Honestly, I have never seen a self-trained person who is not poorly trained. Thier training is based upon thier fantasy, not reality.

I have seen someone with mostly self training/self taught. No fantasy though. They fight on weekends for money. Think i mentioned him in another thread....

I have sparred with him multiple times. Hard hitter, limited technique but enough to kick your head off and can hold his own on the mat. But mostly it is his mentality that pushes him. I actually think he enjoys fighting a little too much. I wouldn't under estimate him. Another i knew is a life long bouncer. The ones that wear the full contact and tap out shirts and smile at the thought of breaking someone in half. Big, big guy. Self trained mma ufc style. Another was a bar brawler but had some minimal training. Heard of him taking out three guys before. He fought for real. Been in jail a few times as well for it, lengthy record of assaults. Last time ten years inside but there were other offenses included other than assault (he sold drugs and i think someone overdosed, plus trafficking). He took someone with years of training and knocked them through the front window of a bar from the street. I never sparred with him. You dont spar with someone like that you put a choke chain on them and call them a pitbull. He found jesus now and is a christian so doesn't fight at all. Good thing because more than once he put someone in the hospital with serious enough damage to put him in court for jail and paying medical bills. He is also about fourty now and, well we all get older and settle down.

I know another is a third degree black belt. (could be higher by now) who beat up a couple cops....lots of assaults here on the police record too.

How would he fair against the rest? The second two would kick his ***. The last pretty quick. Probably destroy him. The first, oddly enough i dont think would. Have another friend that was in ma school for years. i dont know the belt rank but after twenty years it must be something. He is a good fighter, no doubt. Better than about anyone else i have seen. But the guy i mentioned who put someone through the window, yeah, he would kick his *** too. Probably beat the others though. Hard telling without matching them up...

Only reason i am even attempting the other side of this argument at all....

technique? eh... some. some ma amongst all of them. And still, not all self taught. All have instruction just some very little. complete self taught i dont know anyone...... But some of the baddest people i have known didn't get lots of belts..... And none you could call a expert so i guess i fail in my defense. Fighters yes, expert, no. If it is a matter of how much instruction formally, well i have taken down people with much more instruction and rank than myself. would come out third in my list above. Which means i freely admit there is people i know with less instruction than myself that could beat me. Achieving ranks is about learning your art. Not necessarily about using it. And some tactics can be learned that are amazingly effective outside of what your art is. Point is i know some people that are self taught to a extent and compare in my mind from history, knowing them and sparring with them. what else could you answer this question on that is practical? But that isn't expert, as has already been mentioned in the thread. We aren't speaking of fighters, but experts. The validity of being a expert and not judging your merit on your ability to fight and defend.
 
Last edited:

ap Oweyn

Purple Belt
Joined
Jun 30, 2005
Messages
398
Reaction score
32
Location
Alexandria, VA
I think one of the big advantages to more formal training is context. And context can be applied in a lot of senses. One of my coworkers found out I practiced martial arts and remarked that I must be pretty tough. It kinda surprised me because I don't view myself that way. And still don't. What I explained to her was that I have two basic groups of friends: 1) The nerd contingent and 2) the fighters. Frankly, I'm much more of a nerd than a fighter (though I'm a bit of both, I suppose).

Now, amongst my nerdy friends, I'm pretty tough. But compared with the fighters (guys who trained daily and, in some cases, twice a day), I'm nothing. That's context. Were I not surrounded by trained fighters, I could go around thinking I'm better, tougher, and more skilled than--in truth--I am. But being constantly exposed to people like that, I know precisely where I stand. Somewhere in the back.

Another sense in which context matters: Say I taught myself to play chess. Easy enough to read the books, learn the rules, and play chess against the people I know. And, having learned how they play (assuming they were any real good in the first place), I might start feeling like I had a pretty good handle on this chess thing. But being in a larger pool of players, I would quickly have to face the fact that I'm a middling chess player at best. (This is an analogy, by the way. In real life, I'm the worst chess player since Albert Sucksatchess.)

Martial arts are sort of unique among fields of study because you seek to become an expert in something that you're simultaneously working very hard to avoid. We have this unattainable "ideal" state in which we could handily cope with multiple armed attackers on "the street." Where most of us are really only approximating that, to one degree or another, via competition, simulations, training drills, etc.

Because we're necessarily and consistently removed from the thing we're supposedly working toward, we're only ever triangulating the truth, seldom landing directly on it. And the potential for self-deception goes up rapidly when we start to operate in a vacuum. Teachers and a steady stream of training partners help prevent that kind of tunnel vision by giving us more points of reference. I thought I was a pretty strong kicker until I came across the muay thai fighter who sent a 75-lb. heavy bag horizontal in the air every time he kicked it. If I were just training myself at that time, I wouldn't have seen that guy and realized just how very far I still have to go.


Stuart
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
269
Location
Olney, Maryland
One other observation about formal training is that guys and gals who want to do more than just punch and throw basic front kicks generally are not the ones who claim to be self taught MA-ists.

Its the guys and gals that want to be Jackie Chan or Jet Li. The problem with self training is that some of those techniques, if performed incorrectly over a long period of time can cause injury. So while the incorrect technique may work in a fight, it may also cause joint issues later on.

Thus correct is not always simply about fightworthiness.

Daniel
 

AlanE

Yellow Belt
Joined
Feb 8, 2010
Messages
46
Reaction score
3
Location
Alaska
I think one of the big advantages to more formal training is context. ...
Martial arts are sort of unique among fields of study because you seek to become an expert in something that you're simultaneously working very hard to avoid...
Because we're necessarily and consistently removed from the thing we're supposedly working toward, we're only ever triangulating the truth, seldom landing directly on it. And the potential for self-deception goes up rapidly when we start to operate in a vacuum. Teachers and a steady stream of training partners help prevent that kind of tunnel vision by giving us more points of reference.

Stuart
Many good points!
We create our world. If we are to be happy, we create. We create something that can be compared and put in context, and we're further ahead than if we use eventual comparisons to demotivate. <- I doubt that makes sense, but to me it does!

I seldom mention MA involvement in many introductions that my job presents because I'm not "training with you my two evenings in Korea," my life doesn't completely revolve around MA, and I'm very happy and appreciative of the spectrum of involvement and skill that exists.

Jenna, please forgive me if I missed this same reply in 5 pages: We all must train in isolation. Even in a crowd we're alone in our effort. We benefit from sparring and tips and training and guidance, and at the end of the day our advancement is what we do and think about in our non-dojo days just as much. Like integrity - when no one is looking. Like our diets, making them healthy so we can be available as grandparents that are involved - not too involved! - and a source of joy for the whole family.

Since so much of our true success is how we spend our time alone, you can be very viable as an athlete who knows herself, but probably not highly competitive within disciplines.

Regarding chess (!), Stuart: I learned from books and could solve very deep problems when alone lying on my stomach as a kid. In competition I had success, advanced, then got involved in speed chess. I was trounced by 2 players routinely. Those 2 good friends had seen so much in a few years - more games played per hour in speed chess than slow chess - they were light-years ahead of me in intuition. It took me about 3 years to catch up to them in speed. My deep thinking and intuition were then close, and it took immersion in competition for this to happen.

Jenna, fair competition brings out our best, while solo training perfects our habits. We're at our physical peak a short time in our lives and it's fun (usually related to competition)! We can be at our best - often (may or may not involve competition). Good habits last our lifetime.

Constant competition can be a downer without sufficient alone time. Many a high school 'nerd' is now without physical problems at age 40, while HS and college athletes point to their bum knees and say they wish they had done it differently. They had to be surrounded by others, or later on attendance/participation became a sign of their 'character' (with some peer pressure).

Whether solo training (the more important of the two, IMO) meets up with competition, or invites assistance, is entirely up to you. You answer only to yourself. Solo training is the best value there is if you are training consistently on your schedule. You could hardly do more for yourself. However, training a MA form vs. training your movement, strength, and reflexes, are different. My personal opinion is to train athleticism with bread & butter MA moves learned the first years of training, rather than total martial skills set. I know this lacks 'realism.' I hear the same argument as a personal trainer, and my motto I tell clients is the goal of exercise is to be able to exercise tomorrow. Isn't the goal of MA also longevity? Overall fitness supports longevity. Yes, an event could occur where you are attacked by a better-trained fighter and he/she prevails...

I like training on my schedule, then coaching soccer & other sports, afternoons for a full season permitting. My personal training is done with client's mobility in mind. After awhile, for self-defense purposes, who really doesn't know how to stomp a knee? How often can the mind really train in that? Like Stuart said, we train more often in things we won't do. It's ironic. How viable is any of our training? Police yes, they use their training often. Those who compete, yes, more so - even in self-defense the set-up and speed is an asset. Bravery, getting used to taking and dishing, yes. Follow thru, yes. Chin tucked, yes. Being told lighten up, yes. Humility may be the most important skill of all.

On my travel schedule I can train stationary striking alone, and I can't train wrestling (I was always a striker anyways). It's something and clearly not competitive. It's peaceful and consistent and to me, fun. It keeps my mind and body fit. I'm everyone's first call to help them move furniture, for some reason. Am I a martial artist when no longer attending class? I'll always consider myself a MA, and not say I'm one - I'm not really giving back to the MA community, am I? I still have people I spar with, however, we are limited by our familiar circle and also our growing older and slower together. It's a fact.

I'm not sure why you asked Jenna, but I hope I gave you some more perspective.

Take care,
Alan
 

Bruno@MT

Senior Master
Joined
Feb 24, 2009
Messages
3,399
Reaction score
74
I actually disagree, but its not worth a debate! You'll write this very well written long post explaining your position, and my eyes will glaze over by the third paragraph and I just won't care anymore.....:)

Sigh...You or I, and include anyone who has practiced swords for more then 10 years can pick up a schools techniques in no time flat. We just can. We also have the background and understanding of the mechanics to be able to pick up/figure out the nuances of almost any sword school, perhaps not perfectly, but we'll figure it out. There are no secrets.

Oh well off to swing swords!!

Yes, you can. But I think Chris' point is that you won't be able to reconstruct the underlying concepts. And in a way, that part will determine how a MAist will fight, not which techniques he will use. It is less about techniques, and more about how and when they will be used, to what end.
 

Bruno@MT

Senior Master
Joined
Feb 24, 2009
Messages
3,399
Reaction score
74
As for the original topic: no I don't think you can be a self taught martial artist, unless what you are doing is a) effective and b) you took the time to codify it enough that whatever you are doing is identifiable.

Most MA founders in history had previous training before founding their own system. There are only so many ways to have basics, and reinventing them is silly if you can take some basics 'off the shelf' so to speak. Even people who are self taught develop a consistent set of basics if they have any actual success at applying their art.

And I believe that some people have an innate talent for violence and fighting. Bas Rutten was not a result of his training. His training merely enhanced and brought out his abilities to the point where noone could take him on. I've known people with only the most rudimentary training who could easily beat guys with experience, simply because they could dish it out as much as they could take a beating and go on.

However, I do think that most untrained people are full of it and have just watched too much tv. Most, but no all.
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
269
Location
Olney, Maryland
self taught martial arts expert sounds like an oxymoron to me.
Agreed. Most who claim to be self taught and throw their videos up on Youtube are simply deluded individuals who want to show off how cool they are, and little more.

The supposedly self taught individuals who display what looks like years of training probably had years of training and simply are unwilling to to give credit to those who taught them. That presents a different issue: why do that? The obvious answer is ego, though I am open to there being other reasons.

Daniel
 

Blade96

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 17, 2010
Messages
2,042
Reaction score
38
Location
Newfoundland, Canada
It has that ring about it, doesn't it? ;)

Yep.

Agreed. Most who claim to be self taught and throw their videos up on Youtube are simply deluded individuals who want to show off how cool they are, and little more.

The supposedly self taught individuals who display what looks like years of training probably had years of training and simply are unwilling to to give credit to those who taught them. That presents a different issue: why do that? The obvious answer is ego, though I am open to there being other reasons.

Daniel

You guys would have a field day with the supposedly 20 something year old 'martial artist' who is 'self taught' and who claimed to create his own arts on this other MA forum I post on. Check him out on youtube. He calls himself wushurichard. I kid you not.
 

Chris Parker

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
6,202
Reaction score
1,022
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Ha, thanks, Blade, but I think MAP seems to enjoy having him all of their own.... his support of Choson Ninja (Greg Park) is rather interesting, though....
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
269
Location
Olney, Maryland
Yep.

You guys would have a field day with the supposedly 20 something year old 'martial artist' who is 'self taught' and who claimed to create his own arts on this other MA forum I post on. Check him out on youtube. He calls himself wushurichard. I kid you not.
Well, in his case, I suppose he can call himself 'expert' in whatever art he has created by virtue of being the creator. In terms of knowing what his art contains, its history and its philosophies, I suppose he really is the expert.

The question then becomes whether or not his art contains recognizable techniques found in other arts. Can he do these techniques at an expert or even proficient level? If he cannot perform existing techniques at an expert level, or even demonstrate expert understanding of them, then what format he has assembled them into is irrelevent: he is no expert, founder or no.

Daniel
 

Chris Parker

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
6,202
Reaction score
1,022
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Er, I've seen his videos, Daniel, and, uh, the answer is no. Many times over, no. No, his "technique" is far from expert, it's far from realistic, it's far from practical, it's far from passable, it's far from any sense of reality, really.

Really, jump over there and find him. Tell you what, here's a link to one of his threads about one of his latest "creations", and I'll let you make up your own mind...

http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=96260

Just don't say we didn't warn you.....
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
269
Location
Olney, Maryland
Er, I've seen his videos, Daniel, and, uh, the answer is no. Many times over, no. No, his "technique" is far from expert, it's far from realistic, it's far from practical, it's far from passable, it's far from any sense of reality, really.

Really, jump over there and find him. Tell you what, here's a link to one of his threads about one of his latest "creations", and I'll let you make up your own mind...

http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=96260

Just don't say we didn't warn you.....
My question was actually rhetorical and meant more broadly, but I was pretty sure that what you state above was the case :)

For entertainment, I may check it out, however.:D

Daniel
 

ETinCYQX

Master Black Belt
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
1,313
Reaction score
19
Location
Gander
Er, I've seen his videos, Daniel, and, uh, the answer is no. Many times over, no. No, his "technique" is far from expert, it's far from realistic, it's far from practical, it's far from passable, it's far from any sense of reality, really.

Really, jump over there and find him. Tell you what, here's a link to one of his threads about one of his latest "creations", and I'll let you make up your own mind...

http://www.martialartsplanet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=96260

Just don't say we didn't warn you.....

I haven't even watched the videos and I cannot stop laughing. Thanks for the link.

The guy "Killa Gorilla" has a priceless sense of humour as well.
 

Latest Discussions

Top