why

marlon

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The best of my learning in the last few years has come from students asking, why. Sure it has been great having my teacher challenge my fitness and coordination and the combinations challenging my abilities, but the deepest and best learning has come from the students and thier "whys" Of course this in no way sets aside the mind staggering information from Doc and his SL4 perspective. So, what has anyone esle learned ffrom the student "whys"?

Respectfully,
Marlon
 

MJS

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The best of my learning in the last few years has come from students asking, why. Sure it has been great having my teacher challenge my fitness and coordination and the combinations challenging my abilities, but the deepest and best learning has come from the students and thier "whys" Of course this in no way sets aside the mind staggering information from Doc and his SL4 perspective. So, what has anyone esle learned ffrom the student "whys"?

Respectfully,
Marlon

I love it when people ask me why, because it keeps me on my toes. :) Just when you think that you have all the answers, someone will ask a question that will leave you scratching your head. :) Its made me really look at the technique, form, etc. and do my best to figure the answer for them. Of course, there've been a few times when I couldn't come up with the answer on my own, so I had to seek out someone else, then of course, providing the person with the answer to their question.
 

seninoniwashi

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I love asking my teachers why :ultracool I've had a few instructors who actually get upset when they're asked why, as if their authority on the subject is being challenged. The reality of it is, in my case I really just want to know why. That's how I learn best.
 

JesterX

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"Why" and "What if..." are indeed very important to ask...

I believe that learning the moves are only a fraction of the technique, the rest should be "Why"s and "what if"s...

It seems that the "Technique vs. Strength" thread Here will show the importance of the "Why's" and "What if's"
 
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Doc

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The only two questions my students may not ask are "Why? and "What if?" They have come to learn the important fundamental question they must always ask that will improve their skills is "How?" The other two questions are slowly answered over time when the answers will ultimately make sense to them.

If more students asked their teachers "How?" instead of "What if or Why?" they would be much better at what they do. Teachers can always find a philosophical reason for "Why's and What ifs," that may or may not prove themselves correct, but "How's" require knowledge and are subject to being tested and disproved if the teacher is incorrect.

The scrutiny of the "How" is a better standard for those learning physical skills. If you cannot "Do," "why or what if" is irrelevant. What is the goal? To know why, or to learn how? Which do you need the most, and no, you can't have it both ways. One will retard the other.

It is the reason you learn "How" first and slowly overtime "Why's" present themselves. Warrior first, than warrior/scholar, than scholar/warrior, and finally scholar. Knowledge does not make you a scholar in the arts. It is the combination of experience coupled with slowly expanding knowledge bolstered by your experience. No wonder graduates think they know everything. After all, they read all the books.

I know, I know. I'm always screwing up the party. Guess that's why I'm not invited much. Reality is a *****!

"Let time be your measurement to skill and knowledge." - Ed Parker
(Notice skill comes first)

"Skills first, knowledge and wisdom later." - Dr. Ron Chap矇l
 

Matt

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The only two questions my students may not ask are "Why? and "What if?" They have come to learn the important fundamental question they must always ask that will improve their skills is "How?" The other two questions are slowly answered over time when the answers will ultimately make sense to them.

If more students asked their teachers "How?" instead of "What if or Why?" they would be much better at what they do. Teachers can always find a philosophical reason for "Why's and What ifs," that may or may not prove themselves correct, but "How's" require knowledge and are subject to being tested and disproved if the teacher is incorrect.

The scrutiny of the "How" is a better standard for those learning physical skills. If you cannot "Do," "why or what if" is irrelevant. What is the goal? To know why, or to learn how? Which do you need the most, and no, you can't have it both ways. One will retard the other.

It is the reason you learn "How" first and slowly overtime "Why's" present themselves. Warrior first, than warrior/scholar, than scholar/warrior, and finally scholar. Knowledge does not make you a scholar in the arts. It is the combination of experience coupled with slowly expanding knowledge bolstered by your experience. No wonder graduates think they know everything. After all, they read all the books.

I know, I know. I'm always screwing up the party. Guess that's why I'm not invited much. Reality is a *****!

"Let time be your measurement to skill and knowledge." - Ed Parker
(Notice skill comes first)

"Skills first, knowledge and wisdom later." - Dr. Ron Chap矇l

I disagree - as long as the students are asking 'why' from the biomechanical standpoint, I feel it is an important question. By the time they are advanced, however, they should know the biomechanics.
 

Doc

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I disagree - as long as the students are asking 'why' from the biomechanical standpoint, I feel it is an important question. By the time they are advanced, however, they should know the biomechanics.

"Why" am I not surprised?

The complexity of "biomechanical why's" detract from learning the "how." The voluminous nature of the information, in conjunction with the complexity of the answers would preclude getting anything physically done. Most don't understand that because they themselves do not have the knowledge, so they see it as a "simple" answer to a "simple" question. It is not, nor has it ever been except for the proliferated and "dumbed down arts." Kinda like a child asking "why" the universe is so big. A simple answer won't give knowledge, only distract from it.

Where performance is paramount, you focus on achieving performance objectives first. In sports for example, coaches coach function. They don't stand around explaining every little thing, they want you to demonstrate performance. Experience will expose some of the why's, and will tell me when you're ready for a "why" or two.

The bulk of my students are extremely well educated, including several physicians. Even they don't ask me "why." They are looking for the "how" because they know as educated people the "why" will come as they gain experience.

Teachers who are always explaining "why's," and exploring myriad "what if" possibilities are intellectualizing a physical activity, and like most information novices within a physical discipline, they are enamored by the sound of their own voice, and it makes them appear "smart." Ed Parker called in "Hypothetical Kenpo."

If you really want to impress students, share with them "how," and watch them appreciate the effectiveness of their own ability now learned, and they won't care so much about "why." That's what happens in my lecture/seminars. They start out with "why" and when someone really actually for real teaches them something that they can see and feel works right now, they forget "why" and want to do it again because they know they are learning something.

This whole "why" thing is a western perspective, not found in the original teaching of the arts for a reason. No time - if your goal is to learn physically "how."

But, if you are teaching something non-physical, it's a different story, but I'm not. I believe in saving their butt from injury first, they'll understand why it saved their *** later, or study somewhere else. Isn't that right Bode?

I had a high ranking 2nd generation Parker Lineage Black Belt visit me recently. He said that he needed to have his why's answered or he could not learn. I told him that is what the commercial system has taught you, but it is not true, but I agreed anyway. We spent two hours together. I wanted to show him "how," and every time he would stop me and we would go into "Why." When we were through, he was flabbergasted with information that he never knew existed. When I got ready to leave I asked if he learned a lot. He said "well, yes, sorta." I asked him if he could apply anything I told him. He paused and said, "No, I'm having trouble processing just the why." My point exactly.

Teachers that don't have much to offer physically beyond perspiration warm-ups and calisthenics, talk a lot. I try to improve my students, and do what is in their best interest, even if they don't like it.

"This is Kenpo Self-Defense gentlemen, not math. Mistakes don't just give you the wrong answer, they hurt." - Dr. Ron Chap矇l


Take a lap.
 

JesterX

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I really fail to see how can someone adapt himself to a real life situation with constant changing parameters without knowing how the techniques work.

I believe that mechanical reflexes are great, but quite limited to pre-determined parameters.

In real life, assailants won't attack with an overhead knife attack with the arm straightened.

(Here is a funny video with Jim Carey about this)

I believe that in a real life threatening situation, you'll have to think about the actual parameters of the moment.

If you know how to do the technique perfectly and your opponent doesn't react like you are used to in the dojo, you're as good as dead.

For instance: your reflexes might be conditioned that your opponent will bend forward if you punch his solar plexus. You learned it that way. You practiced it a thousand times, but chances are good that a real opponent won't act the same as your friendly practicing partner.

So, that's why I think that "what if's" are most important.

I tend to see Kempo as a tree of possibilities that unravels before you. Many moves might give many outcomes, it's a fact. You just have to know how to react in that particular branch of the possibility tree. And that involves a lot of "what if's", "why's" but also "how's"

A side note for senseis out there: there is nothing wrong about saying "I'm not quite sure, let's experiment" to your students. It's not a lack of knowledge, it's only humility.
 

Doc

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I really fail to see how can someone adapt himself to a real life situation with constant changing parameters without knowing how the techniques work.

I believe that mechanical reflexes are great, but quite limited to pre-determined parameters.

In real life, assailants won't attack with an overhead knife attack with the arm straightened.

(Here is a funny video with Jim Carey about this)

I believe that in a real life threatening situation, you'll have to think about the actual parameters of the moment.

If you know how to do the technique perfectly and your opponent doesn't react like you are used to in the dojo, you're as good as dead.

For instance: your reflexes might be conditioned that your opponent will bend forward if you punch his solar plexus. You learned it that way. You practiced it a thousand times, but chances are good that a real opponent won't act the same as your friendly practicing partner.

So, that's why I think that "what if's" are most important.

I tend to see Kempo as a tree of possibilities that unravels before you. Many moves might give many outcomes, it's a fact. You just have to know how to react in that particular branch of the possibility tree. And that involves a lot of "what if's", "why's" but also "how's"

A side note for senseis out there: there is nothing wrong about saying "I'm not quite sure, let's experiment" to your students. It's not a lack of knowledge, it's only humility.
You opinion is typical sir of those who reside technically where you are. I have a little bit of experience training people for real world experiences, and retain a good percentage of students who have physical confrontations as a matter of course in their profession, as do I.

I fear, based on your own experience level in your profile, that your thoughts of training are purely hypothetical, with little to no real work experience.

As an adult, if you are, you must find the teaching situation that best fits your needs, and then hope that you are correct. For me, it is not hypothetical. My students (some) go out and come back with a real world experience to every class session for examination and dissection under extreme scrutiny. I hope you don't have to find out whether you're correct or not.

Your best bet is to rely on those that you choose to train you. Unfortunately, in todays market, trainers are in business to give you want you want, not what you need. In the military in basic, they tell you exactly what to do, and how to do it. You do not ask questions. The trainers have real world experience and are doing what they know will save your life. Nobody likes boot camp, until after they are out. Then they all come back and thank their DI's for preparing them for reality, even though they didn't like it.

Only in the business of modern martial arts teaching when you don't know jack, can you go to someone for serious training, and then tell them how you want to be trained.
 

JesterX

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You opinion is typical sir of those who reside technically where you are. I have a little bit of experience training people for real world experiences, and retain a good percentage of students who have physical confrontations as a matter of course in their profession, as do I.

I fear, based on your own experience level in your profile, that your thoughts of training are purely hypothetical, with little to no real work experience.

As an adult, if you are, you must find the teaching situation that best fits your needs, and then hope that you are correct. For me, it is not hypothetical. My students (some) go out and come back with a real world experience to every class session for examination and dissection under extreme scrutiny. I hope you don't have to find out whether you're correct or not.

Your best bet is to rely on those that you choose to train you. Unfortunately, in todays market, trainers are in business to give you want you want, not what you need. In the military in basic, they tell you exactly what to do, and how to do it. You do not ask questions. The trainers have real world experience and are doing what they know will save your life. Nobody likes boot camp, until after they are out. Then they all come back and thank their DI's for preparing them for reality, even though they didn't like it.

Only in the business of modern martial arts teaching when you don't know jack, can you go to someone for serious training, and then tell them how you want to be trained.

Maybe that my opinion has something to do with my line of work also. Investigations, analysis, questioning and understanding how things work is part of my life in general. Nobody is the same, nobody learns the same way.

That said, I would never be able to learn from a teacher who basically tells me: "Just do it, don't ask questions", I would never be able to have any faith in him/her.

You're right about the way that modern martial arts are taught. But it's only normal. The teacher is also an employee of the student.
 

Danjo

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Maybe that my opinion has something to do with my line of work also. Investigations, analysis, questioning and understanding how things work is part of my life in general. Nobody is the same, nobody learns the same way.

That said, I would never be able to learn from a teacher who basically tells me: "Just do it, don't ask questions", I would never be able to have any faith in him/her.

You're right about the way that modern martial arts are taught. But it's only normal. The teacher is also an employee of the student.

Hmmmm.... I would disagree. One could construct an argument to say that one's teacher or professor was one's employee, but that would really be stretching the definition IMO. Do you pay them to teach you what they know, or to teach you in a certain way?

When you employ a driving instructor, do you require him to teach you "why" the car turns over when you turn the key? Do you need to know "Why" the wheels on the car turn when you turn the steering wheel? Or do you need to know "How" to do it in such a way as to make you a good driver?

The driving instructor may well know why the engine starts, but it's simply something you have no need to know in order to learn how to drive a car. Plus, it would take you two years to learn all of the basic auto mechanics needed to completely understand a car's workings (based on the average time it takes to earn a certification at a community college). Do you really want to take that long to learn how to drive a car effectively merely because you can't stand not knowing why everything works first?

Not only are you unlikely to want to take that long to learn to drive, you are even more unlikely to find a driving instructor that would put up with such a need. Who needs the money that badly?
 

Kenpodoc

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I used to ask "why" all the time. but as I've learned more I realize that Doc is correct and the real question is "how?." the one other caveat I would add is before you ask, "how" it is important to make sure that the teachers technique works. You don't want to learn How from someone who is ineffective no matter how pretty their movement may be. If it is effective, the why's should become more clear after you learn the "hows."

Now what Doc didn't mention is that he slips in the why's continually in his teaching. unfortunately, i've found that I'm concentrating so hard on the how that I remember very little of the why during the few classes I've had with him.

Jeff
 

JesterX

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Hmmmm.... I would disagree. One could construct an argument to say that one's teacher or professor was one's employee, but that would really be stretching the definition IMO. Do you pay them to teach you what they know, or to teach you in a certain way?

When you employ a driving instructor, do you require him to teach you "why" the car turns over when you turn the key? Do you need to know "Why" the wheels on the car turn when you turn the steering wheel? Or do you need to know "How" to do it in such a way as to make you a good driver?

The driving instructor may well know why the engine starts, but it's simply something you have no need to know in order to learn how to drive a car. Plus, it would take you two years to learn all of the basic auto mechanics needed to completely understand a car's workings (based on the average time it takes to earn a certification at a community college). Do you really want to take that long to learn how to drive a car effectively merely because you can't stand not knowing why everything works first?

Not only are you unlikely to want to take that long to learn to drive, you are even more unlikely to find a driving instructor that would put up with such a need. Who needs the money that badly?

You can however ask your driving instructor why he suggest you to change lane... or why he suggest to look at your mirror before executing a maneuver. Those are important informations.

If the driving teacher failed to answer me to those two questions, (or simply said: don't ask why, just do it), I would for sure change instructor!)

However, if he were a automobile mechanic teacher, asking him why the car starts would make sense.
 

JesterX

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I used to ask "why" all the time. but as I've learned more I realize that Doc is correct and the real question is "how?." the one other caveat I would add is before you ask, "how" it is important to make sure that the teachers technique works. You don't want to learn How from someone who is ineffective no matter how pretty their movement may be. If it is effective, the why's should become more clear after you learn the "hows."

Now what Doc didn't mention is that he slips in the why's continually in his teaching. unfortunately, i've found that I'm concentrating so hard on the how that I remember very little of the why during the few classes I've had with him.

Jeff

Can the reason be : because "why" doesn't make sense anymore? Because you already know why because of your experience or you asked the question when you were junior?
 

Danjo

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You can however ask your driving instructor why he suggest you to change lane... or why he suggest to look at your mirror before executing a maneuver. Those are important informations.

If the driving teacher failed to answer me to those two questions, (or simply said: don't ask why, just do it), I would for sure change instructor!)

However, if he were a automobile mechanic teacher, asking him why the car starts would make sense.

I don't think those questions would come up in your examples. It is axiomatic why you look before changing lanes. If you could not figure that out without asking, then you would have no business driving IMO. It would be like asking a Kenpo instructor why you should block a punch to your face. Also, I don't think you would ask the auto shop teacher why the car started. You know you're going to find that info out after a while when it is time for you to find that out. It's the nature of the class. Asking prematurely often causes more trouble than it's worth because you don't have the underlying basics that would allow you to understand that yet. It also insults the instructor by assuming that he doesn't know what he's doing. That he was either absent minded and forgot to tell you some crucial information or that he doesn't know.
 

Doc

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Maybe that my opinion has something to do with my line of work also. Investigations, analysis, questioning and understanding how things work is part of my life in general. Nobody is the same, nobody learns the same way.

That said, I would never be able to learn from a teacher who basically tells me: "Just do it, don't ask questions", I would never be able to have any faith in him/her.

You're right about the way that modern martial arts are taught. But it's only normal. The teacher is also an employee of the student.
And what you get is a teacher who wants the money more than he wants to teach you. You get what you pay for. The state of the arts today suggests that's exactly what's happening. Teachers, (they call themselves), who don't know much to begin with, and afraid to hurt their students feelings, equals lousy students who become lousy teachers themselves.
 

Danjo

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Can the reason be : because "why" doesn't make sense anymore? Because you already know why because of your experience or you asked the question when you were junior?

If a six-year-old asked me why 3x+1=10 meant that x=3, I would either have to give him an answer that was inadequate "that's just how algebra is Johnny", or I would have to teach him arithmetic first before I could explain it at all to him. He's simply not ready to understand "why". He doesn't have the underlying basics to understand the problem. All I can tell him at that stage is that it DOES equal 3, not why it equals 3. By the time he understands arithmetic well enough, he won't need to ask "why" because it'll be self evident.
 

Kenpodoc

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Can the reason be : because "why" doesn't make sense anymore? Because you already know why because of your experience or you asked the question when you were junior?
No. I don't always know why and when I think I do I often find that I'm wrong. why is unimportant in martial arts as a practitioner if you don't know how. By the time you know how the Why's usually sort themselves out. and as I said doc is costantly telling people "why." even when they don't ask.

Jeff
 

Doc

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No. I don't always know why and when I think I do I often find that I'm wrong. why is unimportant in martial arts as a practitioner if you don't know how. By the time you know how the Why's usually sort themselves out. and as I said doc is costantly telling people "why." even when they don't ask.

Jeff

Thank you sir, and you're correct. It is not that I don't explain "why," but which "why's" I choose to explain, and at the level I choose to explain appropriate for the student. But the "whys" are generated by me, not the student. I entertain all questions of "how," and gladly accept challenges to my view, and expect them.
 

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