What is it with you people and "formal instruction"?

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SwordSoulSteve

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This argument seems to be getting quite off topic, doesn't it.....
 
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SwordSoulSteve

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One cannot achieve full combat potential unless they use a style created by and for themself. Using someone elses combat style is ludicrousy because it was originally meant to be used by its original creator who may have died thousands of years ago.
Furthermore, the best way to learn in combat is through experience. An instructor, of any level of ability, will not teach you as much as you could learn in actual combat. One may ask how a person can safely and effectively reach a point where they are ready for actual combat, but one never is. Those with innate talent go a long way and learn quickly, exposing themselves to opponents that use many different types of styles, so they become adaptable. And then they feel the need to pass on what they've learned, even though they cannot accurately describe it or explain it themselves. That is the problem.
On a side note, there have been many occasions in which well trained martial artists have been beaten by real-world and street wise fighters.
 

Shu2jack

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Out of curosity, why do you choose not to have formal instruction? It could cut the amount of time you need to "get good" by someone simply showing you how to hold your weapon, the most efficent way to strike, foot movents, etc. instead of trying to learn it while getting your butt kicked. (Or you could be kicking butt against nobodies, think your doing it right, then come to think your losses are due to the other guy just being really good instead of the fact that your technique is just sloppy. I have seen people try to unknowingly practice the wrong way harder in order to get better.)

Anyway, if you choose to forgo any formal instruction, more power to ya. I am just curious as to why you wouldn't want any.
 

Andrew Green

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SwordSoulSteve said:
One cannot achieve full combat potential unless they use a style created by and for themself.
Yup, which is what a good coach will help you do. Saving you a lot of time and having a outside set of eyes to watch what you are doing.

A training group without a coach can achieve this to some extent, and you can get quite good. But not as good, and not as fast as if you had a good coach.
 

Blindside

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Steve,

I don't have anything personal against you or what you are doing, I just don't believe in it. I used to do the LARP thing in college, swinging around boffer swords, polearms, and the like. I spent 5 years at it meeting weekly. I was good at it, I won alot of fights, cripes, 12 years after leaving I still have a rep in that group. At that time the group had been going for 10+ years, with a solid group of guys that liked to fight. Self-taught swordsmen, sound familiar? We had fencers and kendo guys drop in and play with us, we learned from them, and made up our own stuff. I did learn valuable material, timing, zoning, and re-inventing defanging the snake, though we didnt call it that.

Eventually I left and got into martial arts, and I ran into some serious players there. I sparred fencers, escrimadors, and batto/kenjutsu players, and a theme emerged, against most well-trained guys, I fared poorly. Mind you, these were well trained guys who sparred regularly, a lot of iaido folks I ran into knew how to grasp a sword, but not much else.

Ive had two years of escrima/kali instruction, seminars with top-rep Japanese, Filipino, and European swordsmen, and I do regular hard-contact stickfighting. I consider myself a novice with a sword in my hand.

Ive been in your shoes, I understand your perspective, I just dont agree with it.

Lamont
 

Ceicei

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SwordSoulSteve,

Do you have a videoclip of yourself using the sword? I think many of us would be interested.

- Ceicei
 

Flatlander

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SwordSoulSteve said:
If it makes it any easier, for you, BlindSide, One could give every able person in a crowded room a sword, and simply fight them to the death to learn the basics. If one should say that this would not be a manner by which to learn the basics, then one has no concept of what the basics are.
Were one to undertake this method of experiential learning, one would realize a significant likelihood of dying or becoming critically injured, as would the others in the room.

So, to repeat the question upthread, why have you chosen to go the route of self-study?
 

bignick

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SwordSoulSteve said:
By the same token that you may consider me an amateur for not learning from an expert, I may consider you an amateur for not learning for yourself.
No, I'd consider you an amature because the short length of your training and apparent refusal to accept help from those that have studied your area of interest for decades.
 

pesilat

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SwordSoulSteve said:
I hate to sound so condescending, but it seems to me that those with "formal instruction" do not hesitate to condescend those without it. You are not automatically more knowledgable, more skilled, or more fit to teach others than me just because you learned from someone else. Get over it.

I'm going to touch on some stuff others have mentioned but here's my take.

As has been pointed out, there's only so much one person can develop. By training in an established system you have someone to guide you around potential pitfalls which can save you a lot of time in your development.

Martial arts should never be about learning to fight like someone else. An MA instructor is a guide but s/he can't walk the path for the student. The student has to find his/her own way through the journey. Everyone is self-taught. They have to be to get anywhere because no two people are exactly alike.

My instructor can tell me what works for him but that doesn't mean that it'll work for me. However, my instructor, with his background, experience, and what he's learned from his instructor and the system can look at me and how I move and say, "You know, this may work better for you than that."

Person A is self-taught and has been at it for 10 years. Person B has been training with an instructor for 10 years. What they train in is very similar - i.e.: they both specialize in grappling or sword or whatever. I can guarantee that Person B will have a deeper understanding and a firmer grasp of the knowledge and will probably be able to take Person A in a fight - but maybe not. "On any given Sunday ..." But the odds will definitely be in his favor because while Person A spent time fumbling around trying to get over hurdles he encountered, Person B swept past those hurdles because his instructor was able to prepare him for them in advance or maybe even show him a path around those hurdles all together.

So while we each hike our own individual path, the hiker with a guide is likely to make more progress down his path in a shorter amount of time than the guy who goes it alone and has to trial-and-error his way through every mistake in the book.

Look at it like a road race through Manhattan. It's such a long race that no one can ever really finish. But there are checkpoints along the way. When the time is up, the guy who's hit the most checkpoints will "win" (even though, in MA, the time is up when you die and there is no "winning" because you're really just competing with yourself to see how far you can get before you die). Who do you think is going to hit the most checkpoints and get the farthest through the course? The guy who has a navigator with a map and compass or the guy who just has a car and gumption? My money'd be on the guy with the navigator.

Mike
 

Han-Mi

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SwordSoulSteve said:
As far as I'm concerned, however, these issues are not the point. I merely wish to point out that a self educated martialist/artist CAN be just as good in these points(fitness to teach and such) as one who has a master or is educated somehow, as many believe that formal instruction is the ONLY way to become skilled with with a sword and not kill yourself in the process or be turned into an example in some way of why one should have learned from an expert.

Sure, and I could jump out of a plane without a paracute and not die. It just isn't likely. Anything is possible, I think that it is definately in question more because there is no way to confirm the training. anyway, not saying it isn't possible, just that fewer self taught anythings are good than are bad:uhyeah:
 

bignick

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Let me say that there is nothing wrong with being a self made man. Some of the greatest people in the history of the world were self-educated and self-taught....

The difference is they were wise enough to learn from others when they had the oppurtunity...
 
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Hyaku

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Well maybe I can answer a little with my connection with the ryu.

taking into account nearly 400 years of study both Mushashi's waza and all he wrote in Japanese. The ryu's general opininion is, "There was no one before Musashi, thee will be no one after him. We 'as a group' can only stamp on the floor, sweat and study in the hope that we can get a step nearer to Musashi.

His techniques were of his own making but he didnt actually "practice" on his own. Like we do today he went to a dojo worked and taught others based on the skills he had aquired form his father and others. but most of all its philosophy that counts in the application of these techniques. he tells us what he did but does not suggest we should try to teach ourselves. for that we would like him need a very strong foundation of weapon and unarmed arts to begin with.

The ryu like anyone else works as a group. You cant do his waza on your own. You need a partner preferabley one of more experience. After practice I go home and in my own dojo work with a mirror and a lot of creative visualization then go back again to group practice or in my case mostly to a man to man practice with the present Soke.

Like it or not thats the way it is. I cant see Nippon Budokan would be asking a self taught swordsman to perform a demonstration. More like call for men in white coats would be in order.

Musashi is about "Feelings". What you feel from an opponent even in a sixth sense. How you deal with it. There is a very specific methology behind it. The 92 year old 10th Soke still considers himself to be deep within that learning process. For someone to come along and say, "No matter I can do it myself could hardly be taken seriously.

Nothing condescending about it. Just pure and simple fact. Musashi is a will and a love of learning to practice in the hope that Musashi's spirit is watching us in the Dojo as we work 'in pairs'.
 

The Kai

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SwordSoulSteve
Please teach yourself how to box then maybe we can talk

Or teach yourself how to SkyDive
Good Luck
Good Riddence
 

Rich Parsons

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SwordSoulSteve said:
One cannot achieve full combat potential unless they use a style created by and for themself. Using someone elses combat style is ludicrousy because it was originally meant to be used by its original creator who may have died thousands of years ago.
Furthermore, the best way to learn in combat is through experience. An instructor, of any level of ability, will not teach you as much as you could learn in actual combat. One may ask how a person can safely and effectively reach a point where they are ready for actual combat, but one never is. Those with innate talent go a long way and learn quickly, exposing themselves to opponents that use many different types of styles, so they become adaptable. And then they feel the need to pass on what they've learned, even though they cannot accurately describe it or explain it themselves. That is the problem.
On a side note, there have been many occasions in which well trained martial artists have been beaten by real-world and street wise fighters.


Well, a few years of street fighting and such, and then I started to train. I survived the being a punk phase, and then moved into a being a bouncer phase. During the bouncer pahse I had no, to some training, to a few years of good training. At each step I was always capable of learning more, even though I had survived all my encounters previously.

Encounters included:

1) One on One
2) Me gainst many
3) A few(us) against many(them)
4) Blunt weapons - against me
5) Edged weapons - against me
6) Flexible weapons - against me
7) Using the environment as a weapon - against me and my use of
8) The use of vehicles as weapons - parking lot manuevers, higher speeds, and high speed. Both against me and as a weapon.
9) Firearms - against me
10) . . . (* Anything I forgot to mention, such as rolling through a window. *)

I consider myself ok to pretty good in what I train in. I also consider myself very lucky to have survived, all of the stuff I have seen and done.

I see the great reasons for taking stuff live, and I do, but I also respect that training helps you. I also respect that the guy on the street with training or no training, it does not matter, can touch me or hit me or hurt me, for I might be off in timing, or off balance, or having a bad day, or just plain not paying attention, or, ..., .

I just think, if you ahve no one to train you, then work it your self, but do not throw away what you could learn from others, just because of having a closed mind, against traditional systems or teachings.
 

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SwordSoulSteve said:
I hate to sound so condescending, but it seems to me that those with "formal instruction" do not hesitate to condescend those without it. You are not automatically more knowledgable, more skilled, or more fit to teach others than me just because you learned from someone else. Get over it.
Curious position, because your posts here are nothing if not condescending.

Formal training can consist of the culmination of the training of all people before the instructor - that's what lineage is supposed to be all about. And while no system is perfect and politics abound, there is still much to be said for formal training just as there is for practice and self-discovery.

What "feels right" might not be proper technique and the way technique becomes proper is the tried and true foundations of many centuries and many battles and many wars.

And to say you can learn basic stick fighting in a backyard for 30 minutes says much for your attitude. Curious - is the reason you don't have an instructor because you've been turned away?

So ... what you're really doing is coming up with your own ideas and not really knowing if they are viable fighting techniques or not, and you plan (in five years or more) to spread this culmination of your experimentation to others as a viable fighting system.

Will you call yourself Soke?
 

Grenadier

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My two cents:

There are some exceptionally talented people that can "self-train" themselves to the point of decent proficiency, but when you're dealing with weaponry, is it really that good of an idea to try this without proper supervision?

Swords, and yes, even bokken, are potentially dangerous items, of course. If you're going to learn how to use one, then it only makes sense to learn from those who already have some knowledge on the subject.

Training from a decent instructor will show proper handling of the sword / bokken, and reduce the amount of time needed to find out how to use such an object. It's not as simple as watching a movie and trying to assimilate such techniques, since most of what we see in Hollyweird is rather... odd.

Furthermore, when you train with a decent instructor, you'll get a chance to practice with another human being. No amount of self-imagination can replace performing drills and sparring with a real, live, opponent!

Everyone makes mistakes, and to learn from your own mistakes AND the mistakes of others, is the wise thing to do. If you can learn from the mistakes of others, then that's going to save you a lot of bruises, cuts, or God forbid, loss of extremities / limbs.
 
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MisterMike

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A few good points here so far.

I think the differences arise when someone tries to pass off their swordwork study as traditional when in fact they have had little or no training in it.

Everyone here could probably agree that placing a sword in the hands of a beginner who just has natural ability will shatter the ego of someone training officially for 10+ years.

I liked the example of Xtreme Sports athletes. Most of these guys have the natural ability to learn something physical quickly and take it to levels many of us cannot. Give one of them a sword and I think in a short time you would see better results than someone with no talent in a formal school. I'm being general here, so I hope you get my point.

So, if it makes you happy, pick up a sword and go train. Practice what you feel you need to practice. Even if there is a MJER school down the street. Just do what you like and don't feel the need to test yourself against anyone else.

Same for those who train under a teacher. You should at least be happy that there is someone else out there who likes to pick up a blade and get some work done - and not have the need to cut down their skills.
 

The Kai

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Is'nt there some rather infamous clips on the Net of StarWarzKid self training?
 
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