You can't learn martial arts from books

Brian King

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Deaf Smith wrote:
“I did not learn computer programming from just books (graduated from college for that one.) But, I'm an ASP.NET progerammer now (among other things) at were I work. How did I learn it? Books! I've never had a class in it. I use Microsoft Visual Web Developer and I got a 'how to learn ASP.NET in 24 hours (more like days guys, not hours!!) And simply did a large project for my company once I played around with it for a while.”

Thread has been interesting thanks for starting it. I wonder if you could have learned to be an ASP.NET programmer (I have no idea what that is LOL) just reading the book without having a computer to use the knowledge/practice on? Congratulations on being able to complete the large project for your company with your new tools, that is cool!

Books and videos are a great way of supplementing and exploring the learning echoing many good posts above, of getting new ideas and exposure to new thoughts, but in my opinion until you put into practice the new knowledge it is cheap, not fully understood and easily forgotten.

Warmest Regards
Brian King
 

MJS

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Hello, You can learn alot from books.....just that actual learning is alot better most times!

If books were worthless in training? ....than there would be very few books around.

N0 one can give you all the information...many times reading about it is one of the better ways to get more detail information.

About muscles, breathing, physcial body, meridiam points,etc.. books and pictures? ....are worth alot in any field of training!

DO NOT under estimate the power of books and pictures!

Books will give you one form of learning.....reading about runnning is NOT the same as actual running? ....know the difference!

Any one saw my running book? ....um ran away!

Everyone should form there own martial arts library!

Aloha.....can you read this? ...ah? you are learning!

I don't think anyone, or at least myself, is disputing the use of books, dvd, etc., but as a reference tool only, not as a sole learning tool. I don't care who wrote the book or put out the dvd, one thing they can't do is show the fine points of the material.
 

MJS

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Chuck Sullivan, with whom I share a last name, and who was one of Ed Parker's students, along with another of Ed's students who's name I don't recall, do offer such courses in Kenpo.

They send you a vid, you learn the material, you video yourself performing the moves required by their test, send back said vid, it is evaluated (by what sort of standards I have no idea), and you either pass or fail.

If I had absolutely no dojo to train at for over a hundred miles, I might consider such a correspondence course. That would be an absolute last resort. I would also seek the closest place outside of that distance which teaches the style to travel to, perhaps two to four times a year, to train in person and to receive first hand feedback.

Otherwise, I am not a big fan of correspondence courses in the martial arts. I suppose that if the student is already an experienced martial artist and the vids are simply putting together techniques that he or she is already familiar with into a specific style, then it would be alright. But for a rank beginner with no idea what he or she is looking at, I'd say that such a course would be the absolute last resort.

Daniel

Yes, there are alot of these types of programs. I'm interested in hearing what others have to think of this method of training. IMO, its a bit better than learning from a vid. with no feedback, but even when you mail the tape back, are they going to correct anything that may have been performed incorrectly? And if they do, is the student going to understand a) what they're saying and b) be able to correct it just by what is said on the tape?
 

kaizasosei

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i agree that one can learn much from books provided one is already fairly experienced. however, the techniques are best internalized if practiced and repeated with a partner until they become second nature. with techniques, i believe what is really important is to match techniques with the specific situation at hand.
if the techniques are merely looked at and understood, that may not be enough recall them at the right time and to use them effectively. one has to be aware of all the techniques available, then one has to instinctively or strategically use the ones that are most effective. often, this can only be learned through real experience or at least realistic sparring.
i do believe that with enough visualization, one can learn a technique, but i think it is better to practice it on a live partner.

right now, i am looking into getting some books on armlocks/leglocks and wrestling techniques and strategies for my mma training and sparring.

i believe, i have enough striking and movement techniques as it is, combinations are alright too, but what is lacking i think are floor strategies and powerful locks and submission moves against alert partners, in training, often without the luxury of being able to strike. also, what is important is to have lots of good setups for every technique and to be able to apply them in various situations.



j
 

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Hello, The question is? can or we can't learn martial arts from books?

It seems most of us agree? ....we "CAN" learn from books...in addition to our reqular training.

So the answer is YES! ....WE can learn from books...BUT NOT as a sole source....just using books as a piece of the pie..or a part of the whole training.

Therefore books are useful tools......
-----------------------------------------------------------------------the opposite side is? Can you learn just from READING BOOKS on martial arts....and become a skill fighter?

If you had no martial arts training and read? ...pokeing someone eyes...biting are two techniques that is useful in an attack?

Is reading this useful info? and does one need training to learn to poke the eyes and bit the person?

IT tooks me years to chew gum? .....read about it!

Aloha
 
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Deaf Smith

Deaf Smith

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Deaf Smith wrote:


Thread has been interesting thanks for starting it. I wonder if you could have learned to be an ASP.NET programmer (I have no idea what that is LOL) just reading the book without having a computer to use the knowledge/practice on?

Actually Brian, the book had a CD rom with it with the whole Microsoft Visual Web Developer and a SQL DB on it. You just loaded it all on your PC (which I did not only at work but on this home PC). Just go chapter by chapter and try out the test projects at the end of each chapter.

I then made an ASP.NET project computing 'Relative Stopping Power" (old Jeff Cooper stuff) and Chuck Taylors short form. Use buttons, drop down list, text boxes and even a short SQL DB.

Next time you surf the web look to see if the link has a .aspx at the end of it. If so, it's using ASP.NET for what you are looking at.

Deaf
 

Sukerkin

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I think what Brian was saying, DS, was exactly that i.e. that without trying it out in a practical manner on a computer, the book alone would not be sufficient.

I don't reckon anyone would argue against that.

It does seem that there is an odd reverse-logic that goes on in some peoples heads when it comes to 'book learning' martial arts. Ask most individuals if they thought someone could become a competent dentist just from reading books and I don't reckon there would be many positive answers.
 
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morph4me

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I agree that books and vid's are great supplements, provide you know how to learn from them and have a foundation in whatever it is that you're trying to learn. What I pick up most of the time from books is not technique, but insights that allow me to think of the technique in a different way, or a different application of the techniques that I already have a foundation in. There is just too much going on at the same time, and no way to convey that accurately in writing, to learn a martial art solely by reading a book, and too many subtleties to learn by watching videos.
 

Xue Sheng

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Have no mathematics back ground? Then here try this book and see if you can learn calculus

Now look at it this way, take Algebra and Precalc and then see if you can learn calculus.

If you have a strong background in Martial Arts a book can be a wonderful training tool that is great for supplementing your training. But if you have no back ground in Martial Arts I do not suggest starting here or here and thinking you will understand much at all
 

exile

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If you have a strong background in Martial Arts a book can be a wonderful training tool that is great for supplementing your training. But if you have no back ground in Martial Arts I do not suggest starting here or here and thinking you will understand much at all

Good point, XS. The books that made the greatest impression on me in the MAs were the ones I mentioned earlier. But If I hadn't had a fair amount of experience with both basic techs and forms already, I don't think I would have had the vaguest notion of what Rick Clark, or IA or Bill Burgar were going on about when I first encountered their books. Books can help guide your thinking about what you're doing, but first you have have do some doing before you can take advantage of that guidance.
 

kidswarrior

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What I pick up most of the time from books is not technique, but insights that allow me to think of the technique in a different way, or a different application of the techniques that I already have a foundation in.
This is exactly my experience, too. Not to say what categorically will or won't work for everyone....Dictating what the whole martial arts world should do is above my pay grade. :D
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Yes, there are alot of these types of programs. I'm interested in hearing what others have to think of this method of training. IMO, its a bit better than learning from a vid. with no feedback, but even when you mail the tape back, are they going to correct anything that may have been performed incorrectly? And if they do, is the student going to understand a) what they're saying and b) be able to correct it just by what is said on the tape?
One would hope that they would attempt to offer correction and suggestion. Whether or not the student can understand and make the correction in his or her own training is another issue. Having a place to go to for a status check at least a couple of times a year can help, but I'd think that one would really need a solid background in martial arts to be able to take advantage of such a correspondence course.

At least with DVD's, it costs less to mail it back.:p

Daniel
 

Xue Sheng

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Good point, XS. The books that made the greatest impression on me in the MAs were the ones I mentioned earlier. But If I hadn't had a fair amount of experience with both basic techs and forms already, I don't think I would have had the vaguest notion of what Rick Clark, or IA or Bill Burgar were going on about when I first encountered their books. Books can help guide your thinking about what you're doing, but first you have have do some doing before you can take advantage of that guidance.

Agreed

I bought Hsing Yi Quan by Liang Shouyu about 15 years ago when I was first studying it with my first sifu and it did not do much for me. I bought Xing Yi Nei Gong which is from Tim Cartmel and Dan Miller about 8 or 9 years ago, I think, and it is a "VERY" good book but I gained little from it at the time. Since then I have trained more Qigong, more Taija and trained (more) Xingyiquan with my second sifu and I have gained a hell of a lot from Xing Yi Nei Gong that I just simply missed the first time around. And right now I am devouring Xingyi books and getting a whole lot more from them now than I did or would have 9 or 15 years ago.
 

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Obviously, as many have stated above, books and videos can be valuable supplementary material. There have been, however, inumerable times in my growth as a martial artist that a book or video would not have provided the necessary input or feedback to advance in the manner I have.

Books and videos cannot...
... look at your technique and critique with a trained eye. Many people think they are doing a technique or form correctly until an experienced instructor points out the details.

... provide a example of how the technique feels when it is applied. I'll never forget the first time I felt a real elbow strike (thankfully not full force) from a visiting Sigung. Until then, I didn't appreciate the differences in the possible subtleties of the strike. I will also never forget the first time I felt the emptying of a technique by my Sifu -- something I continue to strive towards and reference.

... provide feedback on how you technique was executed, what you did right and what you did wrong

All in all, there are some things that can only be corrected by a trained and experienced observer. Also, there are some concepts/techniques/etc. that can only be fully appreciated by feeling what they are like when performed by a highly skilled individual. Without these things, one's growth as a martial artist is at best diminished and at worst wrong.

Having said that, as I stated above, books and videos can be excellent resources which can complement and augment student's development, serving as reference and perhaps exploring theory in greater detail than time allows in the training hall. Also, books allow access to other teachers' ideas to flesh out the primary instruction, hopefully providing sources for discussion and deeper appreciation for the variety present in any style/system.
 
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