What's your opinion? When do you think you "understand" your art?

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Little_Shoto

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I was thinking about this other day and decided to pose the question to all of you.

When do you think you "understand" your art? When did you realize that your art isn't just a series of movements that you do because your sensei told you to do it?

The reason why I started thinking about this is because a good friend of mine started training in shotokan, I've been doing it for a few months as well, with a brand new instructor. I talked to his instructor and his total Martial Arts experience is about 3.5 years.

I didn't say anything to him, out of respect ...and the fact that he's probably kick my behind!! :), but I don't think it's really possible to completely understand an art enough to pass that knowledge onto others.

What are your thoughts?

FYI: He is the sole instructor ...I would be more understanding if he was an assistant instructor.
 

tshadowchaser

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I can not say when I felt I understtod my art. The basic idea ,break and distroy, is not hard to understand, but the art itslef thats different.
I know that I was part of it, or it was a part of me when I tried to stop practiceing the first time and something was different in my life. Something was missing and I had to start practiceing again. Yes I tried to walk away from it more than once, but guess what, I'm still in it learning and teaching.
Shadow:asian:
 

Matt Stone

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The moment you think you have it, you have already lost it...

When you consider yourself a "saint," you are likely ineligible for the job.

If you think you are a "master," odds are you were never qualified to submit the application.

The moment you think you are getting it is the moment your teacher(s) should show you something new to remind you that you never will...

Gambarimasu.
 
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yilisifu

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Every time I think I'm beginning to understand one part of it, I get slapped back into reality and realize that I'm still just a beginner.
 
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RyuShiKan

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I am always confused...........and just when I think I have gotten a good grasp on something my teacher will throw me another "cookie" and it's back to square one.


My teacher said at 70+ years of age with more then 50 years of training under his belt he is only partially understanding his art and still learning.
 

tshadowchaser

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My teacher said at 70+ years of age with more then 50 years of training under his belt he is only partially understanding his art and still learning.

The gentelman has a true wisdom.
If only some of these instant grandmasters and mail order black belts had enough sence to realise what your instructor has, that being that we are students and always learning as long as we are in the arts.
Shadow:asian:
 
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Abbax8

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With 3.5 years in his art he is indeed new. However if he is the only teacher available, learn from him what you can. If he approaches teaching seriously, he will get better as he teaches. In addition, take advantage of seminars with more experianced teachers as you can. I began teaching as an assistant in judo at 13 yrs. old with only 1 year of training. 34 years later I continue to learn and will learn what I can from whoever has anything to teach, I don't care what color sash they wear. I'm listening!!!! The good I'll keep, the bad I'll ignore.

Peace
Dennis
 
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JDenz

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I think I understand my art. AM I good at it not as good as I like but I understand what the philosphy behind the art and I understand the goal of techs. DO I know everything hardley but I understand the goal so the steps to the goal come easier. BJ Penn got his BB FAST so anything is possable.
 
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chufeng

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Define "understand."

If you mean an intellectual understanding of the principles, then it is never-ending because as you understand one level, another more complicated one waits for you.

If you mean a KNOWLEDGE of your art, then the time it takes is much longer...

Never-ending multiplied by much longer equals NEVER.

Perhaps when you take your final breath, you will know.

:asian:
chufeng
 
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Nyoongar

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You begin to understand your art when you realise you understand very little at all.
 

Yari

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Originally posted by Nyoongar
You begin to understand your art when you realise you understand very little at all.


I was just about to write : never... when I read this.

This is good. Nice input Nyoongar

/Yari
 
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SRyuFighter

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I thought I understood my art. I was very confident then, I suddenly realized that I know nothing. No matter how much you do, no matter how much you understand, no matter how good you are at a kata. You can always improve and learn more. That is the essence of Martial Arts.
 
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Kiz Bell

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Personally, I believe that there are many levels of "understanding". A week before my first iaijutsu class I didn't even know what iaijutsu was, I couldn't even remember having heard the word before. A week after my first class I actually understood a lot more (on a superficial level) of what iai was about. After three years of hard training, I had a much deeper understanding of the physical forms of iai and their applications. After not being able to train in iai for a few years, and having just gone back to it, I feel I have a greater understanding of what this art means to me on a personal level, and to some extent on a more philosophical level. Do I fully understand my art? No. Will I ever? Very probably not, or if I'm a little more honest with myself, no.

Iaido, like other martial arts, is finally about life and death. When you learn a technique that has the potential to take a life, you cannot say you fully understand that technique on all it's levels unless you also fully understand what it means to take a life, and all the implications that involves. One cannot understand what it means to take a life, unless one understands life itself, in all it's totallity. The greatest philisophers and religious thinkers of the ages have struggled with the questions of life and death and their meanings, and have not even come close to an answer. So can one ever fully understand one's art? No.

Does all this mean I'm not gonna try? Heck no!
 
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TkdWarrior

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understanding as others already said is ongoing process but there's levels of it... something like when u r beginner u learn to block for defense as u grow older in art u learn to deflect then intercept, these are all the levels(physical) which u can see/feel at every appropriate time every understanding is rite... now when u now u can deflect u don't care to meet force with force blocks...simple as that...
-TkdWarrior-
 
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Arithon

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There is no reason to understand a martial art. They are simply tools for help you to understand how your body works against (or in conjunction with) another person(s).
 

Yari

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Originally posted by Arithon
There is no reason to understand a martial art. They are simply tools for help you to understand how your body works against (or in conjunction with) another person(s).

INteressting, elaborate please....

/Yari
 
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Arithon

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Lets just forget about styles, philosophy etc. etc. for a moment. Martial arts is about resolving physical conflict between yourself and another person/people in the most efficient way possible.
If someone attacts you, given their physical characteristics, momentum, relative position to you, etc., there is a pefect technique for this and only this situation that would resolve the situation. (ie beat the crap out of the other people)
But of course this cannot be taught in any class room. So instead we learn generic techniques: punches, kicks, throws etc.
But we can't apply these techniques exactly as they were taught because the opponent will be slightly/greatly different to our partners in class.
So as well as learning how to do a particular technique we have to learn about techniques in general. What are the general things that are the same no matter what the technique is. And on a more basic level we have to learn how to move better. How to use our bodies more efficiently.
This is very hard to do by yourself becuase your have little to no feed back. This is why we have to have training partners.
I belive a master is someone who can, given a fighting situation, spontaneously create a series of movements that will defeat his/her opponents.
Martial arts/techniques are the tools you use to learn about your body and mind. Nothing more.
 

Yari

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First you state that there is no reason to understand a martial art.

Then you call it a tool for understanding yourself.

I can follow both , but only upto a certain point. And that's because you base your thought on what is best.

Best is a personal opion. You can think that the greatest momentum is best, while another means that the more circular you are is best (and therefor not greatest in momentum). If there really was one thing that was best, dont you think all of us would be doing it.

So to find the best you cant look at the tool, but to the art. You cant call a weapon dangerous without looking at who's handling it and how, even if the weapon is very effektiv.

/yari
 
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Arithon

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Regardless of style I would define best as the most efficient, effortless and painless (and possibly quickest) method of resolving the situation. There would be more than one of these for any situation of course.
The techniques you use will be determined by the desired outcome. If you want to restrain a person you would use locks and holds. If you want to do something else you would use another method.
What are you saying with your last statement? Of course a weapon is only as dangerous as the person wielding it. And I'm saying that the arts are tools for learning and you say that you can't look at the tool but the art....
 
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