Is there really anything you can't teach yourself?

DoubleZ711

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As far as martial arts go, is there really anything you can't learn on your own (alone in the sense that you don't have a proper instructor, not that you don't have a sparring partner) besides things like how to do a proper horse stance and silly things like that?

When I think about it, it just seems to me like most martial arts in general mainly teach people improve their reflexes, reaction time, and coordination, which are all things one can do if they use their common sense when training. Things like joint-locks and grappling techniques to me seem like they could be self-taught from either watching videos of others, reading a martial arts guide, or even just coming up with stuff on your own, provided you have a partner you can try your ideas on.

I guess theoretically it is possible, as that is how people come up with new styles of martial arts, but what do you think?
 

terryl965

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You can learn anything by yourself the thing is do you really know what you have tought yourself, if it will really work without proper instruction. You see a tech is more than a movement but a sense of feeling one can only truely get with the proper instruction.
 

redantstyle

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sure, you can reinvent the wheel.

not sure you will get very far down the road, though.

and somethings you just wont figure out unless your a genius.
 

Flying Crane

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Hey guys,

How's the weather in your neck of the woods? It's pretty sunny and downright balmy here in good old San Francisco. Just checking in, wondering how y'all are gettin on. Things going well? alrighty then.

*chirp, chirp, chirp*
 

Bill Mattocks

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I don't think I could learn much more than the basic moves of my style of karate. Without bunkai and good sensei to teach it, nope, nothing, nada.

I can clearly see that being at the dojo and receiving instruction in person cannot be beat - period.

My 2 cents.
 

Thesemindz

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As far as martial arts go, is there really anything you can't learn on your own (alone in the sense that you don't have a proper instructor, not that you don't have a sparring partner) besides things like how to do a proper horse stance and silly things like that?

When I think about it, it just seems to me like most martial arts in general mainly teach people improve their reflexes, reaction time, and coordination, which are all things one can do if they use their common sense when training. Things like joint-locks and grappling techniques to me seem like they could be self-taught from either watching videos of others, reading a martial arts guide, or even just coming up with stuff on your own, provided you have a partner you can try your ideas on.

I guess theoretically it is possible, as that is how people come up with new styles of martial arts, but what do you think?

Yes. You can't learn martial arts from reading books, or watching videos. If you've spent years learning from an instructor, you can pick up a few things from other forms of media by understanding how they work in relation to what you've already learned, but especially at the beginner stage you will get nothing of value from "self educating."

It just doesn't work that way. Do you see a lot of olympic swimmers who are self taught? How about professional baseball players? How about professional dancers? You need a knowledgable educator there, on the scene, to move your body and reveal to you the subtleties in what you are learning. In physical activities, variances of fractions of an inch can be the difference between safe and unsafe practice, or effective and ineffective application, and you can't learn that from any book or video.

You want to learn martial arts. Here's what you need to do.

1. Figure out why. Competition? Trophies? Self defense? Fighting? Health and Fitness? Spiritual growth? An affinity for asian culture?

2. Find some schools locally that meet that need. This is much more important than style. You need a school that can cater to your interests. You won't stick with "the world's greatest martial art" if your needs aren't being met.

3. Find an instructor who has something of value to offer and knows how to communicate that. You have to have both. Some people are great martial artists who can't teach worth a lick. Some people are great teachers who don't know anything of value about martial arts. You want someone who has both. That doesn't mean they have to be the best performer of martial arts in the world. They don't necessarily have to be able to do a 720 degree tornado kick to know how, and to be able to teach you how.

4. Show up, listen up, and keep up. You won't get anywhere without going to class regularly. Listen to your instructors, you're paying them for a reason. Practice at home. They can tell who does and who doesn't. Ultimately, they get paid either way, but you only grow if you put in the time and effort. Getting good at martial arts isn't easy. It's a slog. Often times it's boring, and repetitive, and exhausting. But it's also exciting, and energizing, and mind expanding. I don't know a single black belt who would trade his experiences in the arts back for the time and money he invested to gain his belt.

It's that simple, and that complex. You've been posting a lot on this board. I can tell you're looking for something. Until you know what that thing is, you won't find it. Once you do, you can narrow your search.

But don't waste time sitting at home playing Mortal Kombat and thinking you're learning karate. It doesn't work like that. Find an expert, pay the price, practice, and you'll see the results you want.


-Rob
 

arnisador

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As far as martial arts go, is there really anything you can't learn on your own

Yes. Some of this stuff took several lifetimes to be developed.

If you can't kill anybody, you and your training partner aren't going to get swordsmanship exactly right.
 

AoCAdam

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I feel that you can learn the basics of everything. To really understand the fundamentals and technique you should go to a professional.
 

Flying Crane

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I feel that you can learn the basics of everything.

I can't speak for others, but as far as the stuff that I practice, absolutely not. Not even the basics. at best, you could sort of mimick it, but it would be a hollow shell and useless.
 

just2kicku

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No, you can't learn from a book or a video. It can be a great training tool, but there needs to be live interaction with an instructor to correct the little things. If you have no experience in any MA's you'll have no idea what you're doing or how you're supposed to be doing it.

Besides that, you need to feel what it's like to get hit and to hit someone.
 

astrobiologist

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Having a good teacher is important. It excelerates your education and makes it possible to advance beyond just the basics.

However, you could theoretically learn quite a bit just by practising on your own. How? Go to a bar, punch some dude in the face, kick his butt, remember later how you did it. Repeat the process over and again as much as possible. Eventually, you'll be a master... or you'll have successfully gotten your butt whipped over and over.
 

Thesemindz

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Having a good teacher is important. It excelerates your education and makes it possible to advance beyond just the basics.

However, you could theoretically learn quite a bit just by practising on your own. How? Go to a bar, punch some dude in the face, kick his butt, remember later how you did it. Repeat the process over and again as much as possible. Eventually, you'll be a master... or you'll have successfully gotten your butt whipped over and over.

I suppose this is true, after all, it somewhat mimics the methods which originally created what we now think of as "martial arts."

That being said, this really would be reinventing the wheel. With your face. And without the help of anyone else.

We have to remember that the original combat arts were devolped as the result of shared experiential knowledge amongst professional combatants. Soldiers who survived on the battlefield would share their war stories and teach each other the techniques that had worked for them. Over time, the best of those techniques would be passed on to the next generation of soldiers, and codified in the process.

One lone guy walking into bars and punching people in the face probably wouldn't live long enough to codify his practice into anything worth passing on. Which is probably best for all of us anyway, because who wants to learn from an asshat like that?


-Rob
 

Flying Crane

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You learn better and will go further when you stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before you.

get a teacher.

quit looking for the quick-fix or the instant gratification.

Stop fooling yourself.
 

matt.m

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There is absolutely no way what so ever that you could possibly learn judo or hapkido from a book or video. There is no way possible.
 

MJS

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As far as martial arts go, is there really anything you can't learn on your own (alone in the sense that you don't have a proper instructor, not that you don't have a sparring partner) besides things like how to do a proper horse stance and silly things like that?

When I think about it, it just seems to me like most martial arts in general mainly teach people improve their reflexes, reaction time, and coordination, which are all things one can do if they use their common sense when training. Things like joint-locks and grappling techniques to me seem like they could be self-taught from either watching videos of others, reading a martial arts guide, or even just coming up with stuff on your own, provided you have a partner you can try your ideas on.

I guess theoretically it is possible, as that is how people come up with new styles of martial arts, but what do you think?

I think that you can learn anything, however, as its been said, depending on how you go about learning it, will determine how well you can perform, apply, teach, etc. said material. I mean, I can pick up a video and copy what they're doing, but do I really have it? Do I really know the ins and outs of what Im doing?

Now you mention joint locks and grappling. I'm sorry, but IMHO, those are 2 things that without proper instruction, will be pretty hard to really get the fine points.

Think about it....if it was really that easy to learn from a tape, people could save themselves quite a bit of cash. Just buy the tape, train at home, and all the schools will close up. IMO, it doesnt work that way.
 

searcher

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Sure you could teach yourself SOMETHING, but how much time do you have? all of the techniques we have today came from someone. I think that, if you are going to truly try to learn something, you are going to have some major bumps and bruises.





And risk permenant bodily harm in the process.
 
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You could probably pick up some basics and having a partner and good material will help. I'm a big believer that the human body can only move efficiently in a particular number of ways. So maybe if you're really athletic (a gymnast, pro-footballer etc) it'll be a lot easier and you could learn beyond basics. In the end though having a good instructor will maximize your effort / gains ratio. Also when you start training for advanced techniques, you're not going to get anywhere unless you're a martial arts genius and have 16 hours a day for the next ten years. Then yeah, I guess you could be successfully self taught. Of course, whether or not you'd also have the ability to teach your techniques to the next generation (as someone who has a good instructor role-model) is another thing all together.
 
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