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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:15 am    Post subject: Why and What of techniques; learning to understand them... Reply with quote

I'm reading George Kirby's book Jujitsu, Basic Techniques of The Gentle Art, and there is a passage I read in the section titled A Philosophy of Jujitsu that caught my attention.

Kirby basically says that if a student learns Jujitsu as solely a means of self-defense, then that is all the student will learn. But if the student chooses to learn it as an "art" form, the student can gain much more. Kirby says learning as an art form, the student why the techniques are done, and what makes them work. He goes on to say that rather than "just learning" techniques, the student can learn to "understand" them.

Now, for most of you that have posted here for long enough to know my take on things, you probably realize why this passage got my attention. To me, self-defense is the first line of what a Martial Art is supposed to by. If you aren't learning self-defense, then you are really just exercising. I also take a bit of an issue with the idea that if you only learn self-defense, then you aren't learning a Martial Art. This idea bugs me as well.

My question is this: how is it that if I spend lots of time drilling a technique in the realm of self-defense scenarios over and over again, analyzing how it works in response to different scenarios, attacks, angles, etc, how is it that I am NOT learning the "what" and "why" of the techniques? How is it that I am also not going to gain as much "understanding" by learning the self-defense aspects of techniques?

And this isn't just a question in regards to Jujitsu; it carries over to any Martial Arts techniques. So, I'm curious as to the outlook of others here as well.

I anxiously await your thoughts!
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Last edited by bushido_man96 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MasterPain
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with you, but I can see the other side as well. Which is the entire issue, people not seeing the other side.
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JusticeZero
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's the difference between breaking down the principles of movement and leverage in the techniques, versus just learning some techniques by rote, i'd think - but it looks like the moralizing got in the way of the message.
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Zaine
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Styles: Shorin Ryu, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Mantis, Schola Saint George (Fiorian sword fighting)

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with you Bushido. I started to take martial arts because I was getting beat up and I needed to be able to successfully defend myself. I took it as self defense and through that understood it as an art and whereas I came to view my doing Karate as an art my primary goal was always to further my knowledge of self defense.

I think the author of this book either fails to see this or is trying to sound enlightened and quotable about Martial Arts. It seems to me that he doesn't quite know how to philosophically break apart Martial Arts quite yet.
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sensei8
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Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Why and What of techniques; learning to understand them. Reply with quote

bushido_man96 wrote:
I'm reading George Kirby's book Jujitsu, Basic Techniques of The Gentle Art, and there is a passage I read in the section titled [u]A Philosophy of Jujitsu[/b] that caught my attention.

Kirby basically says that if a student learns Jujitsu as solely a means of self-defense, then that is all the student will learn. But if the student chooses to learn it as an "art" form, the student can gain much more. Kirby says learning as an art form, the student why the techniques are done, and what makes them work. He goes on to say that rather than "just learning" techniques, the student can learn to "understand" them.

Now, for most of you that have posted here for long enough to know my take on things, you probably realize why this passage got my attention. To me, self-defense is the first line of what a Martial Art is supposed to by. If you aren't learning self-defense, then you are really just exercising. I also take a bit of an issue with the idea that if you only learn self-defense, then you aren't learning a Martial Art. This idea bugs me as well.

My question is this: how is it that if I spend lots of time drilling a technique in the realm of self-defense scenarios over and over again, analyzing how it works in response to different scenarios, attacks, angles, etc, how is it that I am NOT learning the "what" and "why" of the techniques? How is it that I am also not going to gain as much "understanding" by learning the self-defense aspects of techniques?

And this isn't just a question in regards to Jujitsu; it carries over to any Martial Arts techniques. So, I'm curious as to the outlook of others here as well.

I anxiously await your thoughts!

Great topic Brian...great questions!!

Many here won't like some and/or all of my answers, but anyhow, I'll speak to your questions.

The summation to why is to the summation of because. This, imho, can be speaking to how one is taught across the board within the MA, and specifically within their style of the MA. Why am I doing this? Because of this/these said specific reason(s), and they must be in concert.

For a karateka, Bunkai/Oyo Bunkai, when taught properly, and to be taught any/every aspect of Bunkai, the Sensei must understand every aspect of Bunkai, as well as having the importance about them when teaching Bunkai to all rank levels within the Sensei's charge. When Bunkai is taught properly by ones Sensei; discoveries are found within the multitude of applications providing that one's earnest to their quest of knowledge/understanding of said technique(s).

How is this application better than others that I've/you've tried/taught/learnt? Simple, imho, the application is effective across the board. Not just once in a while, but there must be a consistency that will shine so bright in your eyes that the application(s) speak for themselves to YOU!! You will know!

Working the techniques is much more paramount to a karateka than the movements that make up any said technique(s). Take any given technique(s): tear them down, analysis them, understand them, appreciate them, discard what is useless to YOU, and then slowly rebuild it/them so that you can effectively use them is a way(s) that you've never ever thought of before.

"I do not hit, it hits all by itself!"~Bruce Lee. Stellar words, but meaningless if technique(s) and the like aren't understood. To understand requires more than mastering just the movements that make up any said technique(s). Albeit, the movements are important, but that's only from its surface, if someone's not willing to delve deep and deeper into each and every technique(s), then learn something else besides the MA.




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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JusticeZero wrote:
It's the difference between breaking down the principles of movement and leverage in the techniques, versus just learning some techniques by rote, i'd think - but it looks like the moralizing got in the way of the message.


I understand the angle you're getting at here. But, just because I'm learning it as a self-defense tool, doesn't relegate it to learning it by rote. Self-defense, more than anything, requires a student to understand all the nuances of the technique in order for it to be applied effectively.

Zaine wrote:
I'm with you Bushido. I started to take martial arts because I was getting beat up and I needed to be able to successfully defend myself. I took it as self defense and through that understood it as an art and whereas I came to view my doing Karate as an art my primary goal was always to further my knowledge of self defense.

I think the author of this book either fails to see this or is trying to sound enlightened and quotable about Martial Arts. It seems to me that he doesn't quite know how to philosophically break apart Martial Arts quite yet.


The guy has years of experience, and I know he's one of the authorities on Jujitsu. He's got a section where he talks about the philosophy of Jujitsu and all this, the "higher enlightenment" spiel, so to speak, and the passage I mentioned is in that area. I think what irritates me the most is the way that is sounds almost condescending towards the idea of learning a Martial Art solely for self-defense purposes.
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sensei8
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brian,

You might recognize this quote...

Quote:
I'd say its kind of like prospecting. Dig up a little bit, examine the heck out of it for the tiniest bit of gold, sift it out, then dig up another shovel full.


You should. It's your quote. You were replying to me about "digging".

Most solid post I've ever seen my friend. It speaks in volumes to me.


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JusticeZero
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Joined: 02 Apr 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bushido_man96 wrote:
I understand the angle you're getting at here. But, just because I'm learning it as a self-defense tool, doesn't relegate it to learning it by rote. Self-defense, more than anything, requires a student to understand all the nuances of the technique in order for it to be applied effectively.
Sure, and i'm not disagreeing with you. That said, a lot of people start to see everything as being best applied one way, and vice versa. "When all you have is a hammer". This makes for a very useful hammer, but some things need a roundabout way of getting to them to some extent. I need to learn music, lyrics, history, anthropology, and physics to be good at what I do. They all tie together in ways. The person who just wants to be tough isn't going to care about these things - and will miss out on some things that are reflected in combat application as a result.
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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
Brian,

You might recognize this quote...

Quote:
I'd say its kind of like prospecting. Dig up a little bit, examine the heck out of it for the tiniest bit of gold, sift it out, then dig up another shovel full.


You should. It's your quote. You were replying to me about "digging".

Most solid post I've ever seen my friend. It speaks in volumes to me.



Oh yes, I remember it. And I do dig, constantly, to make my self-defense better.
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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JusticeZero wrote:
bushido_man96 wrote:
I understand the angle you're getting at here. But, just because I'm learning it as a self-defense tool, doesn't relegate it to learning it by rote. Self-defense, more than anything, requires a student to understand all the nuances of the technique in order for it to be applied effectively.
Sure, and i'm not disagreeing with you. That said, a lot of people start to see everything as being best applied one way, and vice versa. "When all you have is a hammer". This makes for a very useful hammer, but some things need a roundabout way of getting to them to some extent. I need to learn music, lyrics, history, anthropology, and physics to be good at what I do. They all tie together in ways. The person who just wants to be tough isn't going to care about these things - and will miss out on some things that are reflected in combat application as a result.


Things like history and all that are important. They are most important, though, to those that it interests most. However, in being a TKD practitioner, I've found that the history that is taught can be a bit suspect at times. I also agree that learning why something has been done a certain way for a time can be beneficial to understanding how something can be done now. I think that's all part of the learning process. I also think this all ties in with self-defense training, and that self-defense training isn't the mind-numbing, brutish road that many would view it as.
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