September 20, 2009

Can any of the popular styles be EFFECTIVELY self taught using books and/or videos?  If so, do you recommend one or two that lend itself to being self taught?  Thank you.

It depends on if you have experience or not in martial arts.  If the answer is no, then I do not believe there is any way to effectively learn a style without an instructor.  Their are too many nuances and specifics that have to be mastered at the basic level that only an instructor critiquing your technique would be able to fix and address.  I’ve learned a lot from books and videos in the last ten years or so in my training, but fellow martial artist with less time in the arts have had trouble learning and grasping the techniques from the same videos; the reason is that they lack the same fundamentals.

If you have had training in the past, then it becomes possible, although not recommended.  Generally, it still has to be a style that you are close to in previous training.  For example, 10 years in a kicking art such as Tae Kwon Do might allow a student to view some videos on Shotokan Karate and learn quite a bit, but a video on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for that same student would be nearly worthless.  Additionally, I see a significant drop in effectiveness based on length of time training.  If you have trained for five years in a similar art, you could probably learn about a year or so of material effectively in another art without an instructor.  In contrast, with fifteen years experience, I would think you could attain a skill level equal to about 6 or 7 years without much difficulty.

Found the above here.

And I couldn’t agree more with the answer.

Without good rudiments, sometimes self-teaching is self-defeating ….. and the only way to attain good fundamentals is to have a someone with experience “holding your hands” and guiding you through the initial phases.

Here the old CKF saying is so pertinent; “Learning KF is uncomplicated but correcting bad KF is almost impossible”.

The other old CKF saying also comes to mind; “An expert only need to wave his hands and you’ll see his KF”.

Of course, no one can stop you from studying something totally unacquainted through books and videos … after all this is age of instant coffee and DIY everything….

But there are certain things that you just got to pay your dues to cut your teeth to get that “chop” and CKF is definitely one of those.

That or wave your hands and reveal how flimsy you really are……

Here’s is something that I am totally sure I’ll never “master” through books/videos …. No matter how many I’ve got.

Baji and their special way of exploding jin …. Now I really need someone to teach me…

I was talking to some Hakka masters who are also in the business of “stomping and exploding” and they all shook their heads when I showed them some of my Baji videos.

Different animal they all said and one of them even commented that you got to start really young to get those fully co-ordinated feet to hands power with Baji kind of stamping.

And again here I know there are some who will disagree with my point of view …..

As long as I “appear” to do it right, who cares?

Well, if appearance is all you care about, then you’re right.

We have a saying in Fukkien that goes something like “Ho Kwah Bo Ho Jiak”.

Translated it means “Good to look at but taste lousy” !

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