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Thread: Self Training, a public service announcement

  1. #151
    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Cody View Post
    I agree that it's important to have an instructor both for accuracy and safety but I also must say that, as a student of WMA I like the fact that I can read the source manuals themselves (the same ones that any instructor would be using). Now, i'm not saying that makes me as qualified by any means, as there is a lot of work that goes in to interpreting the works correctly. Of course, this is one thing that works both for and against JSA. With these arts that have a living tradition, going to a dojo and having an does seriously have to question as to what makes this person qualified to instruct. Who taught the person instructing them and so on...I'm sure it's not hard to find a reputable person who has received real training in a living JSA and there are ways to trace it back, but one certainly cannot figure that just because they found a dojo and a teacher that they're any better off if that person isn't qualified. I would seriously have to ask those questions and get those answers. On the other hand, I have, in my hands, the Rapier fencing manual of the master Salvatore Fabris.
    You are making the totally false assumption that the sum total of a JSA can be written down and "learned" just by reading it. At the absolute most, you MIGHT be able to learn what some static poses in the kata may look like, sort of. There is simply NO way to learn the body of knowledge encompassed in a JSA by reading. For centuries (that means hundreds of years -- HUNDREDS) JSA have been handed down teacher to student.
    JSA does not equal a bunch of drawing depicting some movements, nor does it even equal a series of moves repeatedly practiced. It is a philosophy of action, taught through the repetition of certain techniques and supported by a psychology, a way of thinking about self, others, and the world.
    Assuming one can learn JSA by perfectly mimicking the pictures and poses described in a book (or even a video) is delusional.
    And assuming that JSA is merely a set of nifty techniques and some kata is insulting.
    Documented techniques are quite useful and historically interesting. I use books, personal notes, and vids all the time, mainly to remember the particular progress of a kata forgotten; left foot or right, etc. But I have been taught the kata, and I continue to be taught the context of the kata, the theory behind the kata, the reason for the kata, etc.
    You make a valid point: many "sensei" out there are not qualified to teach. And sadly an unexperienced beginner really won't know the difference between a legit teacher and someone living out a well-developed rorurikenshi fantasy.
    Then again, finding a good teacher is hard. Learning a proper JSA is hard. Dedicating even a couple of hours a week or month is hard. There is no reason to expect it to be convenient nor easy. Do your homework, pay attention, and you may find a good, legit sensei. Or you may not, especially if you live in the middle of some country without a particularly strong JSA tradition. I live in the middle of Tokyo and I have a hard time finding decent sensei, so don't expect one to live around the block from you, where ever it is that you live.
    Yes, you CAN self train. Go right ahead. However, do not presume to be teaching yourself JSA. Whatever it is you are training in, it is NOT a proper Japanese Sword Art. JSA by definition can only be taught sensei to deshi.
    At best you are merely playing at samurai, at worst you are deluding yourself, and that is far worse then purposely misleading others. If you lie to yourself, who will tell you you're false?


    r e n
    ippo jitsu mugai
    kenkon toku ittei
    suimo honomitsu
    douchaku soku kosei

    kuroda renjosai yonekuni

    Mugairyu Iaihyodo, Meishiha

  2. #152
    Thank you very much for this reply, actually it turns out our sensei here in Ottawa was a student of Kim Taylor. We will likely be going that route once we are through our basic learning in Iaido, we will contact Kim Taylor to see about some Koryu training in NIR. (I strongly believe that the instructed route is far superior to self-taught, however at first I thought there was no alternative.)

  3. #153
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Paso Robles CA
    Awesome post ans for the most part its accurate. often times people that are self taught feel that it is just as good as if they were actually trained but it is definitely not the case. Now that being said i fall into the category of having to be self taught not because i want to be but simply because there is no trained instructor near my area. i do not consider myself to be good and i have always said even someone with only marginal training could beat me but i try nonetheless and i do my best to practice safely and other than a few broken fingers it has worked out and been a blast.

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