Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Can you learn martial arts or self defense without a teacher? Answer = No.

I'm not sure where the idea of "self-taught" skills originated. I'm sure it's something that's rooted deep in history and it would be a mistake to assume the origins of the concept started in modern times. In art history there are examples of naieve painters, ones with no formal training, who became recognized for their contributions to art; some that come to mind are Grandma Moses and Edward Hicks.

I believe the naieve, or folk, painters make a valuable contribution to the field of fine arts.  However, I don't think it's reasonable to generalize the concept of self-taught art over into the Martial Arts field.  A Martial Art is a complex physical skill that is ultimately rooted in combat.  In painting the consequence of poor applied performance is lack of recognition and negative criticism; failure doesn't involve immediate negative physical consequences.

In the Martial Arts if one pursues a self-taught program of training and then tries to apply their skills in a "real world" arena the consequences are immediate and physical.  The consequence of failure in the applications of martial arts skill includes serious injury and/or death.

Unlike other fields of study in the humanities there are no prime examples of self-taught martial artists that are recognized for their contributions to the field.  Many people will mistakenly point to Bruce Lee as an example of a self-taught martial artist.  That would be a mistake since Bruce Lee was classically trained in Wing Chun kung fu during his early years in Hong Kong.  Even when he studied in the United States he sought skilled martial artists to train with and develop his skill sets that later were labeled as Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do.  Just because Bruce Lee dictated the direction of his own training and study, that does not mean he was self-taught.  He learned from other martial artists, such as Ed Parker and Gene LeBell.

Bruce Lee's philosophy "style of no style" has been hijacked and misrepresented to justify the reasoning behind self-teaching modes in the martial arts.  One need only truly examine the life and work of Bruce Lee to understand nothing about the man advocates for self-taught training programs.

If one truly is motivated to learn a Martial Art and has invested a lot of time into teaching themselves then I encourage them to seek out a relationship with a senior or master level martial artist.  Once you establish a good working relationship ask them if you can test out your self-taught skills under a controlled enviornment.  I am positive you will find self-taught skills insufficient to be competetive or reliable in application.  A refusal or fear of testing ones own skills against others is a definite sign one understands deep down they aren't up to the task.

I stand by the position that one cannot learn a martial art without the physical presence and guidance of a teacher; videos and books do not count as "a teacher".

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Youtube Channel; Goes together like a horse and carriage.

(click link to visit my channel)
I've recently overhauled my Youtube channel and am now using it as a complimentary site to this Blog.  In the future I'll be adding video blog entries to supplement some of the written material contained in this format.

I go through the Youtube video content and select videos I feel have value in their presentation of some aspect of the martial arts.  Some playlists feature the highest quality visual examples of the style they represent.  Some playlists are for entertainment purposes only.  As I develop and refine my Youtube channel it will provide a reference resource for those who are just beginning to explore their interest in the Martial Arts.  One of the greatest challenges facing a novice to the martial arts during their search to find a school and style in which to train.  Such a novice, or even relatively new student, to the Martial Arts cannot accurately discern the difference between a high quality display of martial arts and a flashy show (with no underlying quality) designed to impress the uninitiated and attract customers.

The process of researching, questioning, and exploring the Martial Arts can be overwhelming and very time consuming for some one new to the field without any guidance.  Since, in pursuit of my own interests and education, I spend hundreds of man hours researching and exploring all types of Martial Arts I feel it would be a valuable service to share the fruits of my labor to be used by those who may need it.

The material I select is based on my experience and my own personal opinions.  However, one should consider that my experience and opinions are based on a lifetime of dedicated exploration of the Martial Arts supported by training and experience in various styles.  Using my material as a starting point is better than trying to muck through it all alone.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Chattanooga Martial Arts: Body Martial Arts; sample videos

Videos taken from the Body Martial Arts youtube channel.

Chattanooga Martial Arts: Chattanooga Fight Factory; video samples

Found this on Youtube searching "Chattanooga Fight Factory".

Chattanooga Martial Arts: Blaylock's International Martial Arts and Boxing; video samples

These videos were found on Youtube using the search terms "Chattanooga Martial Arts"

Chattanooga Martial Arts: Dojo Chattanooga; video samples

Video samples from the school Dojo Chattanooga taken from owner Trevor Haines Youtube channel.

Chattanooga Martial Arts: United Karate Studios; video samples

There are a few schools in the Chattanooga area that are part of the United Karate Studios organization. These are a few videos found on Youtube using the search "United Karate Studios".