It Must Work...My Teacher Said It Would!

MJS

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Reading threads on this forum as well as others, I often find comments similar to the title of this thread. People are spending time and money, they're dedicating themselves to an art and to a teacher, to learn what they hope, is an effective martial art. So of course, its only natural for these people to defend it, tooth and nail, if someone from outside their art, says anything negative.

Now, of course, there's nothing wrong with defending your art, however, I'm amazed at how blind some can be, to not understand the concept that everyone is different, and just because 10 people can make tech. A work, does not mean that the 11th person will be able to.

Wouldn't it be much better to test out the theory for yourself to see if it works for you, instead of assuming that it will? I find it interesting that I always hear people talk about the success of others, but never themselves.

So, why is it that people get fooled into thinking that what works for one, will work for all?
 

bluekey88

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Wouldn't it be much better to test out the theory for yourself to see if it works for you, instead of assuming that it will? I find it interesting that I always hear people talk about the success of others, but never themselves.

So, why is it that people get fooled into thinking that what works for one, will work for all?

This is a very good point. I think we are all naturally egocentric. Most, while capable of differentiating between self and other...tend to think about things from our own perspective and not put as much effort at getting outside that perspective. SO, if my expereince says a particualr technique works...then it must work for all. It generally takes some sort of revelatory experience to get beyond that.

Conversely, there is also the idea that some technqiues work for most...and an individual cannot do said technqiue because they are not doing it correctly. This leads to the idea that x art sucks because I can't do it.

This is best described in an Aikido story I know. A person is talking with on eof the high level teachers in Aikido (I do not remember who). This person said to this sensei that Aikido did not work. When aksed why he thought that, the person wen ton to say that it didn;t work becuase he'd tried to make it work and failed. The Sensei smiled and said in effect "YOUR Aikido doesn't work...mine works just fine."

Two sides of the same coin as it were.

Peace,
Erik
 

stickarts

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"Social proof" is used by many and not just in martial arts. When confused about something it can be easy to see others doing something and reason if lots of others are doing it then it must be right. If I have seen a technique work enough times by myself and others, that does give me reason to believe that there is validity to the technique, but that does not mean that it will work the exact same way for everyone. Different things work for different people at different times.
 

Flying Crane

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well on the other hand, the statement isn't automatically wrong either. My teacher has had the opportunity to use it for real, he said it works, I haven't had the need to use it yet to defend myself and I am still learning how to use it effectively, so in the meantime I have little choice but to trust my teacher's experience and instruction. I do not have nearly the same level of street experience that my teacher has. He spent time in the army during Vietnam, followed by a career in law enforcement which included undercover work. He has had tremendous opportunity to use his stuff for real. I have not. Why would I doubt him, just because I lack the experience?

We do not get the luxury of running out into the street and testing all of our techinques for full effectiveness on real people. That's a good way to land ourselves in prison. So we train in a simulated environment in the dojo, and we try to be as realistic as possible. But we can never truly duplicate real self defense in the dojo. So to some degree, we have little other choice but to trust our teachers.

It's certainly possible that certain techs that my teacher can use very effectively, I will never be able to use as well, or even at all. But he cannot be blamed for teaching me what works well for him. That just makes sense. Of course a teacher is going to attempt to pass on to his students the stuff that he finds really useful. But it's also true that the student needs to develop the skill to use the techs himself, or else recognize that certain things just don't work so well for him, or at least he hasn't yet developed the skill to use it. But in the meantime, "it must work, my teacher said it would" isn't automatically a sign of foolish blind devotion.
 

Nolerama

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On one side, if I were in a fight, I'd rather be up against someone who fought with belief in his teacher at the forefront, than actual athleticism or skill.

A gym buddy reminded me the other day (after complaining about an apparent training plateau in my boxing/getting hit a lot) that you have to adapt to all styles for your own skills to be effective, and that kind of thinking should always be available.

This thread's main topic portrays someone who's unwilling to open up their minds; and the saddest part about it is the look on that person's face when he realizes that his untested, untried, tech just doesn't work for some reason.

Panic sets in. Initiative and ferocity are lost. So sad. I think instructors should train what's practical, and go over which techs are of a higher percentage than others, etc. But most importantly, instructors should let the student prove to himself that a particular tech is functional by sparring or progressive resistance.
 

Koshou911

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I have no doubt that when people say this that they speak the truth and that EVERY technique does work but some of the time. The problem is that not everyone is the same which includes executor of the technique and the receiver. This is why my senseis always talk about having a toolbox of techniques that is ready to deal with every situation.

My senseis have often shown me modified versions of a technique (what they call the fat guy method LOL) that is easier for me to execute. On the other hand when I am the receiver he has shown other students in the class variations of "gooseneck" and Sankyo locks in order to make me tap since I have flexible wrists (due to a year of being twisted like a pretzel :lol2:


Everything does work, just not all the time
 

hkfuie

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When I hear this, I assume the speaker is beginner/intermediate. It's like a developmental phase in a martial artist. IMO people go through these phases where they hold these beliefs. Then they train some more, learn some more and don't say that anymore.
 

jarrod

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this sentiment is one of the reasons i'm always advocating sport fighting as a component of self-defense training. combat sports do not contain all of teh deadlies, but it will leave you no question of what works & what doesn't.

jf
 

seasoned

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Reading threads on this forum as well as others, I often find comments similar to the title of this thread. People are spending time and money, they're dedicating themselves to an art and to a teacher, to learn what they hope, is an effective martial art. So of course, its only natural for these people to defend it, tooth and nail, if someone from outside their art, says anything negative.

Now, of course, there's nothing wrong with defending your art, however, I'm amazed at how blind some can be, to not understand the concept that everyone is different, and just because 10 people can make tech. A work, does not mean that the 11th person will be able to.

Wouldn't it be much better to test out the theory for yourself to see if it works for you, instead of assuming that it will? I find it interesting that I always hear people talk about the success of others, but never themselves.

So, why is it that people get fooled into thinking that what works for one, will work for all?

It probably comes with, age and experience. If we are talking strikes as well as grappling, then there is always a flow. The beginner will try a technique and get mentally stuck on it. If it doesnt work, they will stay with it, trying to make it work, at the expense of losing. Where as, the more experienced person will flow with a variety of techniques. On the same hand, in discussions where 2 or more people are talking and sharing, and claming that their input is more valuable then someone elses, this is also a lack of experience, and also a mental sticking point. On my DoJo wall was a saying that was there for many years, and it went like this. He who knows does not speak, he who speaks does not know. The saying has to do with talking out of turn or bragging. All arts have value, just like all fire arms have value. My instructor always said that the best technique is the one that hits you. You can have the best art, the fastest hands, the highest kicks, and the best take downs, but if you get hit by an untrained brawler, with a round house punch from left field, your going down. Never let ego do your talking.
 

SFC JeffJ

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My opinion is this: You learn a bunch of techniques so you can find what works for you. You still gotta practice the others though `cause when you teach you want your students to have the same breadth of knowledge to explore.
 

terryl965

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My opinion is this: You learn a bunch of techniques so you can find what works for you. You still gotta practice the others though `cause when you teach you want your students to have the same breadth of knowledge to explore.

I agree Jeff
 

KELLYG

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I have been shown lots of self defense techniques. Some techniques have been modified by my self or with Masters input to be more effective for my body type size and frame.

I practice all of them but have some basics that I would use in the real world. Some are put on the back shelf for what ever reason. Knowledge of the lesser effective techniques are necessary to understand in case they are used against you. The more you learn, the more that you can shift thru to make your own core defenses and obtain a general knowledge of body mechanics and such.

The idea that every technique that is taught to you will work for you everytime is silly and will get you hurt or killed.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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There are no absolutes and nothing can work all the time.
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So we must train and train some more and perfect what we do. Blind faith in an individual should not be part of the equation and instead we must train and figure some of it out for ourselves. That being said having someone qualified to guide you along is priceless.
icon14.gif
 

wushuguy

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I think each martial art has a variety of techniques, however each individual person is different and will fight differently. So it's only when we practice and use what works for our body type and personal preference that we can make certain techniques work.
It's always good to take what works well for you but still be aware of other techniques in the art. As we gain experience, those techniques that we previously didn't use might become our favorite techniques later.

lol, Jut thinking the most common "technique" i've seen is just swinging arms wildly in the opponent's general direction... hoping to get a lucky shot.
 

geezer

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There are no absolutes and nothing can work all the time.
icon6.gif
So we must train and train some more and perfect what we do. Blind faith in an individual should not be part of the equation and instead we must train and figure some of it out for ourselves. That being said having someone qualified to guide you along is priceless.
icon14.gif

That remark about "blind faith" really gets to the core of the matter. I don't know about you guys, but I've seen a lot of cool looking techniques taught by really well respected masters that would not work for most of us.

These masters are people of great skill with imposing personalities, demonstrating on compliant students of vastly inferior ability. It's not unlike me messing around with my ten-year-old son. Except my ten-year-old will tell me if he thinks I'm wrong!!! So, if you can't perform a technique effectively and reliably against a non-compliant opponent of equal or greater skill, size and power, either you need more practice, or, just maybe, it's not such a great technique.
 

Josh Oakley

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I've had three separate instructors who never met tell me there's no such thing is a bad technique, only bad application. Sometimes is that ugly kick is the one that saves your life. The more I learn, the more true that seems.
 

jks9199

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"It must work... my teacher said so."

If you've got a solid system, and a good teacher whom you trust... then if the teacher says a technique will work, and it doesn't, the error must lie on your end.

Did you do what your teacher did -- or something "close enough?" When something hasn't worked, I've stopped, and gone so far as to literally measure the length of my step. If I didn't follow directions exactly -- then there's no wonder the results weren't what I was told to expect. Lots of students have a tendency to do what they think they saw, or what they think the teacher meant -- NOT what the teacher said or did.

Did you understand the situation or application? If you're doing the right thing, at the wrong time... it's not going to work the right way. Again, this is a common failure point for students.-- especially slightly advanced beginners. They find something that worked once, and keep trying to use it for everything. Not surprisingly, it doesn't work if the application is wrong.

Did you understand the principle, and not the rote movements? Sometimes, a teacher demonstrates something in several different ways because the underlying PRINCIPLE is what's important, not the rote movement. But a lot of students don't really understand the principle, and fall back on improper selection of techniques then don't understand why they don't work.

But there's another point that's worth considering... You can't blindly accept whatever someone says! Remember, everything I said prior to this started with 3 assumptions: a good system, good teachers, and faithful students. The assumption at that point was the failure was in the student. Take one of the first two criteria out of the equation... and maybe it didn't work for you because it didn't really work for your teacher! Lots of defenses against weapons are solidly embedded in fantasy land. So are lots of the "fighting techniques" that some teachers rely upon. They'll work -- if the intended victim doesn't have the temerity to actually punch the teacher or resist the lock. Think no-touch knockout land... only not so obvious. Lots of us (and, yes, I've been guilty of it myself!) convince ourselves that what works in the comfy confines of the training hall, with no real pressure will work the same way in "the real deal."
 

akash

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the title of this thread. People are spending time and money, they're dedicating themselves to an art and to a teacher, to learn what they hope, is an effective martial art. So of course, its only natural for these people to defend it, tooth and nail, if someone from outside their art, says anything negative.

Now, of course, there's nothing wrong with defending your art, however, I'm amazed at how blind some can be, to not understand the concept that everyone is different, and just because 10 people can make tech. A work, does not mean
 
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