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Thread: Self Training, a public service announcement

  1. >I have been studying various websites, and books, to directly answer you question.>

    I don't mean to seem hostile, but that doesn't answer my question. What I had initially asked was whether or not you had read the recent biography of Musashi by Kenji Tokitsu, which presents a strong case that he was trained by his father. You still haven't answered that. Then I asked a broader question, which was "where are you getting your opinions from?" The answer "various websites and books" is far too vague for me to figure out whether or not you have anything to back up your opinions- but it gives the impression that you don't. If you want to argue a point and expect your argument to be taken seriously, you should be prepared to name your sources. That's a normal part of debate.
    So, as far as this debate goes, all I can say is that you should read the book by Tokitsu, because it presents a strong argument.
    "Am fear a thug buaidh air fhein, thug e buaidh air namhaid."

  2. #102
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    Originally posted by sam j.w. III
    I have been studying various websites, and books, to directly answer you question.
    Who wrote the books? What are the titles?

    Any links to the websites??
    I like swords.

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    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

  3. #103
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    No, I haven't been fortunate enough to read the new biography. I have been reading everything I can find on the subject as far as the net goes. I have recently also been studying "Secrets of the Samurai", and Musashi's writings as well.
    My apologies for not printing and entire bibliography, especially for the web. The content on the web is considerable, therefore I don't take the time to document every source to use as a reference for every discussion I get into. However, I will revisit some of those sites and shall make note of them so you will know whereof I speak.
    Spoon Boy : Do not try and bend the spoon...that's impossible. Instead
    only try to realize the truth...
    Neo : What truth?
    Spoon Boy : There is no spoon.
    Neo : There is no spoon?
    Spoon Boy : Then you will see, it is not the spoon that bends, it is
    only yourself.

  4. #104
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    Oh and to address your question as to "where I am getting my opinions from", I am formulating them based on the information I have been gathering from the various sites, and books I have read, including Musashi.
    The good thing about opinions is that everyone is entitled to have them, being created equal and all.
    Spoon Boy : Do not try and bend the spoon...that's impossible. Instead
    only try to realize the truth...
    Neo : What truth?
    Spoon Boy : There is no spoon.
    Neo : There is no spoon?
    Spoon Boy : Then you will see, it is not the spoon that bends, it is
    only yourself.

  5. >The good thing about opinions is that everyone is entitled to have them, being created equal and all.>

    People are created equal. Opinions aren't. When you state an opinion, and you can't back it up with anything, then your opinion is not going to be treated equally. That's why sources are asked for and given in serious discussions.
    "Am fear a thug buaidh air fhein, thug e buaidh air namhaid."

  6. #106
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    Originally posted by sam j.w. III
    No, I haven't been fortunate enough to read the new biography. I have been reading everything I can find on the subject as far as the net goes. I have recently also been studying "Secrets of the Samurai", and Musashi's writings as well.
    My apologies for not printing and entire bibliography, especially for the web. The content on the web is considerable, therefore I don't take the time to document every source to use as a reference for every discussion I get into. However, I will revisit some of those sites and shall make note of them so you will know whereof I speak.
    As for "Secrets of the Samurai," you might want to look at this thread: http://forums.swordforum.com/showthr...threadid=37593

    Not asking for a bibliography, this thread was put in place to help quell the many many "I've been training on my own and I am the greatest" that we had. You still see them, but even YOU study under someone, and you can't say you'd be any better off on your own, can you?

    If you can't add anything else to the thread on the lines of the pros and cons of self training, I don't see why this needs to be discussed in this thread.
    I like swords.

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    If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top.

    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

  7. #107
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    Now I never said that it was better to train by yourself. After all, in most cases "a self made man has a fool for a maker".
    I would much rather study from a master than try and figure out on my own something, seeing as I am not a martial genius.
    I would never think, because I was self taught, that I was better than anyone else. My point is that there are some who are capable of being self taught masters, and that there is some value in self training.
    Spoon Boy : Do not try and bend the spoon...that's impossible. Instead
    only try to realize the truth...
    Neo : What truth?
    Spoon Boy : There is no spoon.
    Neo : There is no spoon?
    Spoon Boy : Then you will see, it is not the spoon that bends, it is
    only yourself.

  8. #108
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    Gentlemen, PLEASE!!!!
    Most of us our 'down-to-earth' 21st C folks who just like swords (or other 'cold steel' weapons), yet used in a SAFE way.
    I think I've stated this before, 'it takes two to tango, but (at least) three to train swords'. It's very simple, beginners and slightly more advanced fighters are always in the 'care' of a training officer. Yet, there comes a time, when your 'on your own'. This especially applies to training officers; who'll teach them?
    In our training group we've found, that both very advanced fighters and training officers (there's not much difference between the both) can still learn from the (unbiased) observer, monitoring their bouts. This surely helps understanding the medieval masters. Or trying to reconstruct the 'non-described' dark age and viking style of swordfighting.

    Regards, Roel
    Ships will sink, cattle die, but the names of the great warriors shall live forever.

  9. #109
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    Originally posted by sam j.w. III
    My point is that there are some who are capable of being self taught masters, and that there is some value in self training.
    But, in this day and age, where its rather illegal to kill people with swords, how do you find out if your self-taught-jitsu works or not?? The fact of the matter is: you can't.
    Last edited by Jeff Ellis; 03-03-2006 at 05:52 PM.
    I like swords.

    ______________________________
    SCHOLA GLADIATORIA
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    If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top.

    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

  10. #110
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    Originally posted by sam j.w. III
    The point I am getting at is that at some point, every martial art we have arose, from someone who was self taught.
    Don't be so quick to discourage people from studying by themselves. It is often this solo study that forms the foundation of something great.
    This is not a justification for modern self training. As Mr. Ellis has just alluded to, every traditional Japanese art was developed in the crucible of real combat and warfare. On top of that, new arts were almost never developed by previously un-trained men who one day just decided to pick up a sword and figure out what it could do. They were almost always already highly skilled practitioners of an existing style, who felt they could improve by doing something different.

    There's a HUGE difference between an expert swordsman from ancient Japan drawing on his wealth of knowledge to "try out" new/modified techniques and some present-day guy in his backyard with little-no experience cutting pool noodles and soda bottles. The first one might actually develop a viable new style of swordsmanship if his techniques allow him to survive. At best, the second is learning how to cut static, non-traditional targets w/ their sword.

    If you want to cut things in your backyard, noone's going to be able to stop you. Please just realise you're doing something that is inherently dangerous and take the necessary precautions. Do not flatter yourself into thinking you're creating your own modern "martial art"; you're not the second coming of Musashi, sorry. I guess that sounds harsh, but really....
    -Paul Keller

  11. #111
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    If everyone can forget my previos posts on this thread, I have a point to make too. Back when self-teaching actually DID create new, improved styles, things were a lot different.
    A. Swordsmen were a part of people's daily lives. People then could look at fights and think "That would be more effective if...".
    B. Self-teachers could actually get in duels pretty easily to test out the effectiveness of their new styles. Most often now, the self- taught could only just imagine how things would go, at best, or not have NEARLY enough fights against actual experienced swordsmen to find out how their style would work.

  12. #112
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    Not one to beat a dead horse...

    Originally posted by sam j.w. III
    Now I never said that it was better to train by yourself. After all, in most cases "a self made man has a fool for a maker".
    I would much rather study from a master than try and figure out on my own something, seeing as I am not a martial genius.
    I would never think, because I was self taught, that I was better than anyone else. My point is that there are some who are capable of being self taught masters, and that there is some value in self training.
    I saw this last quote after reading a few pages' worth of posts; I can say this on the matter: you cannot "teach" yourself techniques that you have never seen/heard/witnessed before. I don't mean your Kung Fu theatre Saturday mornings or that latest action flick you just saw where the lead swung a sword with amazing aplomb and awesome results. Hollywood and movies in general tend to glamorize the sword art- making it into something it most definitely was not. Think about it- swords weren't built to clash with another sword- that's where armoe and shields came into play. No, swords were built to deal death and they did their jobs well. Unfortunately, the sword is no longer the primary weapon of choice. Would that it still was; a sword is an instrument of skill and finesse; not so crude or random as a pistol/handgun- I stole portions of a line from Star Wars to make that point. So where does that leave the 21st C. aspiring swordsman, then? Hopefully, in the hands of a trained master!

    You can read every book there is on the art of the sword and still come away as wet-behind-the-ears as you started. Without any basis to draw from, it would be like teaching yourself algebra when all you've ever done was learn how to count to ten. True, you will be more informed when it comes to terminology and maybe even some of the movements however- with no one to guide you, how do you know you're doing it right? The answer is, you don't. This should not take away your apparent joy at cutting non-trad. targets in your backyard- if its fun for you, by all means, do it- but always practice safety. Can't stress that enough.

    I came across a website (tsafa is the user's handle I think) where he swings a number of swords at a "tire-pell" - sounds funny at first but there's rhyme and reason to it; it works for him and that's all that really matters.

    All that to say: Do you. Just don't be surprised if your knowledge regarding the sword art is questioned repeatedly; especially since you're "self-taught". Good luck, friend- and be safe about it.
    "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes" - It is foolish to fear that which you cannot avoid.

  13. #113
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    Ok, I wasn't going to post anything else here, but since some of you don't seem to be able to read, I will reiterate;

    I do not beleive that self training is the way to go! In fact I have paid good money for training, and will continue to do so,
    BECAUSE I think self training can be, bad.
    I only stated that it is not an absolute that a person who has taught themselves, is necessarily bad or wrong. There are "savants" out there who have NEVER learned to read music, and don't know anything about playing a piano. Yet they are as good, sometimes better, than those who have spent 50 years studying.
    Granted, this is a RARE situation, but to make such a foolish statement as to say that all who teach themselves, know nothing, and wouldn't be able to ably defend themselves is just plain wrong. There are exceptions to EVERY rule.
    I work my butt off to see that my son has a proper training in the MAs. , and my wife, and myself as well. But it is sheer arrogance, and stupidity, to say that there is NO ONE capable of teaching themselves, with out the benefit of a sensei. Otherwise, there would be NO MA's because there were no teachers to teach the first martial artists their respective arts!
    Spoon Boy : Do not try and bend the spoon...that's impossible. Instead
    only try to realize the truth...
    Neo : What truth?
    Spoon Boy : There is no spoon.
    Neo : There is no spoon?
    Spoon Boy : Then you will see, it is not the spoon that bends, it is
    only yourself.

  14. #114
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    Originally posted by sam j.w. III
    Ok, I wasn't going to post anything else here, but since some of you don't seem to be able to read, I will reiterate;

    I do not beleive that self training is the way to go! In fact I have paid good money for training, and will continue to do so,
    BECAUSE I think self training can be, bad.
    I only stated that it is not an absolute that a person who has taught themselves, is necessarily bad or wrong. There are "savants" out there who have NEVER learned to read music, and don't know anything about playing a piano. Yet they are as good, sometimes better, than those who have spent 50 years studying.
    Sam, that's nothing like learning to fight... someone who has never been in a fight, has never had any training to fight, nor has ever seen a fight, will not be able to fight as well as someone who has....

    music and fighting are two different things...
    I like swords.

    ______________________________
    SCHOLA GLADIATORIA
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    If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top.

    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

  15. #115
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    I agree that there are exceptions to every rule but as stated previously, there is a distinct difference between fighting and music. Savants are amazing, aren't they? A number of astounding deeds have they accomplished- not once have I heard tell of one who could fight better than anyone who was trained by a master. If you have, please present it here. Training isn't just to convey knowledge but also to instill the martial sense- the arts are of little use to someone if they aren't trained in how to use it. It's not JUST the katas and movements, its mindset, focus and concentration- the ability, desire and knowledge to improve one's self on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. There are certain things that can only be taught, not divined by reading or watching; even if they got every move right, they would still be vulnerable. Do you know why? Because the trained individual will not only have received structured lessons (structure facilitates learning), but also the opportunities to practice with others at his/her skill level and the all-important sparring sessions that allow them to practice their techniques in a 'real' setting to understand what it feels like to strike your target and be struck; as opposed to reading and posing, guessing at accuracy. That's all.
    Last edited by Julius D.; 03-22-2006 at 05:47 PM.
    "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes" - It is foolish to fear that which you cannot avoid.

  16. #116
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    Greetings.
    I have lurked around here for some while, and finally registered. This is the most knowledgable group I have seen anywhere on the internet. From metallurgy and history, to the identification of fake antiques(my favorite, since I plan on collecting someday soon), to test cutting, to the martial arts of swordsmanship of all cultures there is a great amount of expertise among the forum members.

    I see that there hasnt been a post on this thread for a month, but I have some "newbie" questions that speak directly to the issues that came up in the last few posts.

    First, my background....I am a lifelong martial artist. The great portion of my training has been Chinese internal martial arts. I have practiced Jian and Dao in the context of Tai Chi, Hsing-I, Bagua, and some Shaolin sword work. The lineages that I draw from did not place a great deal of emphasis on sword work, the bit that was there was of good quality.....ie the differences in cutting style between Jian and Dao, and the basic mechanics needed to implement them, and I try to maintain my Jian forms to a certain standard level. And from a totally different tangent...I also love submission grappling, and MMA format sparring, and I try to get a bit of mat time in every month. I am experienced in free fighting and sparring both in that format, and my IMA schools were very committed to a level of competence in fighting.

    With the groundwork laid by all of this, I would have the following goals:
    -I am very interested in learning the sword in the context of sparring with wasters and blunteds. From the internet, I have been studying the manuscripts of the Renaissance masters and am quite impressed....I would really like to develop this avenue.

    -I still like Jian and Dao, and would like to learn these in more fluid combat environment.

    -I want to get into collecting, and I would eventually like to be able to save for a 4 figure antique(western or chinese), but my knowledge level is not where it needs to be to identify all fakes.

    -I dont care much for cutting, my interests lie mostly in technical accomplishment, leading to sparring competence, and collecting.

    So my questions are:
    Collecting:
    What books would be the best choices for me as an introduction to historical arms for collecting and identifying true antiques(Jian/Dao, and Western)

    and the big one:
    The last few posts have had some disagreement over whether or not one can self-train, but I am really looking for a good base of drills to do with wooden weapons, just to get a feel for the movement and dynamics. Ive found some people in ARMA type groups within a day's drive of me, so I do plan on working with people a few times year. Ive done martial arts for a long time, and every few years, I change focus, just to stay interested, and Ive always been intrigued with swords, and how to use them. What groups are the best to follow online? What print resources are the best in terms of the nuts and bolts mechanics of putting these things together. Again, I have a background in the Chinese weapons, and would like to learn those in a more true-to-life usage , and the western weapons as well. What should my first steps be, keeping in mind that I am mostly going to be working alone.

    Thanks for your patience with my rambling.

  17. #117
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    Hi, folks... I'm totally new to SFI, signed up a couple of days ago and have been reading posts to kill time until my account was fully activated.

    Unlike other distinguished members here, I have no martial arts background, I have no style, and I have no experience weilding big, sharp weapons at all, aside from beefy hunting knives... Which explains as well as anything why I've descended on this beginner's forum.

    I was raised on a ranch in Texas, where pretty much everyone became proficient in weapons handling, regardless of age or gender. And not only in the area of firearms although that's a considerable part of my experience but also in archery and a few other arcane forms of hunting (blowgun, stone-bow, boomerang, and crossbow).

    So, you could fairly say that the vast majority of my experience with weaponry is ammunition-intensive the absence of a ready and steady supply of ammo renders virtually all of my experience useless, and this has been a troubling source of concern for me for decades.

    To me, in my imagination, the sword has always seemed the ideal weapon, a self-contained deterrent/defensive/offensive tool that will serve for as long as you have the strength to lift it and the skill to use it; and I have admired and envied from afar those few souls who have kept swords and sword techniques alive up to the present.

    Yes, I've read a few books on Medieval swords, Western and Eastern swords and techniques and so forth; but I realize immediately that immersing oneself in information-gathering on this subject can be a two dimensional obsession, light-years removed from practical application. Like the difference between reading sex-education textbooks and actually engaging in sex. Two entirely different worlds.

    And that's why I'm currently fishing about for an instructor no, not a sex instructor. I've already got one of those, 'til death do us part. Seriously, it's not easy finding a teacher of sword technique out in the boonies of North Carolina, with the nearest metropolitan area some 40 miles distant. They don't exactly teach it at the YMCA around here.

    Until such time as I locate Yoda, I'd like to pursue a regimen of physical conditioning, if such a thing exists, to prepare my body for the rigors of instruction. This, at least, is something that I can do on my own. Are there any recommended physical routines that I should consider? Weight-lifting? Jogging? Isometrics?

    CM
    Adventure is just a romantic word for trouble.
    Sam Clemens

  18. #118
    The forum has a search function in the upper right hand corner. A search for 'exercise' limited to the WMA forum (which you may want to read- very informative down there) turned up many threads, but I'm afraid there are a lot of irrelavent ones. More specific terms tended to come up empty. There are, however, several threads on the topic in there with a wide variety of approaches advocated.

  19. #119
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    Well, you got one thing right most of it seems irrelevant. I have to dig through a mountain of opinionated gibberish for a simple reply to a simple question.

    CM
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    Last edited by Charles Austin Miller; 05-07-2006 at 02:27 PM.
    Adventure is just a romantic word for trouble.
    Sam Clemens

  20. #120
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    I just wanted to clarify my previous statement: "I have to dig through a mountain of opinionated gibberish..." This wasn't directed specifically at SFI member posts. Rather, this entire area of interest (i.e. swords, swordmaking, sword technique) seems to be much more opinionated and passionate than I ever anticipated, all across the Internet.

    As for the shot of King Arthur and the Black Knight, I just thought it was cute.


    CM
    Adventure is just a romantic word for trouble.
    Sam Clemens

  21. #121
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    Originally posted by Charles Austin Miller
    I just wanted to clarify my previous statement: "I have to dig through a mountain of opinionated gibberish..." This wasn't directed specifically at SFI member posts. Rather, this entire area of interest (i.e. swords, swordmaking, sword technique) seems to be much more opinionated and passionate than I ever anticipated, all across the Internet.
    You need to dig through this then and find what you are looking for
    I like swords.

    ______________________________
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    If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top.

    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

  22. #122
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    Originally posted by Charles Austin Miller
    no, not a sex instructor. I've already got one of those, 'til death do us part.
    Its good you got an instructor. The general consensus of this thread is that having in instructor is very necessary in order to learn to do it right

  23. #123
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    a shoe a grasshoper and a cup.......you figure it out

    you should be carfull if your self taught because self taught people tend to be more accident prone. remember you have to be self motivated to be self taught.

    p.s.I had a great instructor and i still train ........just thought i would say that
    "and the good thing about these practice katana's...."

  24. #124
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    Hey everyone dont know if this thread is still active but what the hay im rory and yes im self teaching myself witch is not one of the easyest things to do im stuck useing .... >.> one hip high stick uumm a 8 pound head high one im useing to get stronger and more balenced in my swings and thats about it if anyone tho knows a way to get a cheap hopefuly free wood katana please tell hope ta hear someone

    Rory Nurnberg ^-^
    Rory M. R. Nurnberg

  25. #125
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    Originally posted by Rory Nurnberg
    Hey everyone dont know if this thread is still active but what the hay im rory and yes im self teaching myself witch is not one of the easyest things to do im stuck useing .... >.> one hip high stick uumm a 8 pound head high one im useing to get stronger and more balenced in my swings and thats about it if anyone tho knows a way to get a cheap hopefuly free wood katana please tell hope ta hear someone

    Rory Nurnberg ^-^
    A cheap bokken or bokkuto: 10 to 15 dollars.

    A good insturctor: priceless.
    I like swords.

    ______________________________
    SCHOLA GLADIATORIA
    ______________________________

    If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top.

    "Integrity, justice, courage, and action - without these, a person is of no consequence." - Don Nelson

    learn the way to preserve rather than destroy.
    avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill.
    for all life is precious, not one can be replaced.

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