Thursday, April 27, 2006

Go Your Own Way

When a new student commences training, all (s)he can do is copy the instructor and the sempai (senior students). While "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" holds true, imitation is all one can really do as a novice studying the martial arts. Seeing the moves of a kata for the first time makes little or no sense to the initiate. Through the alchemy of training, the practitioner matures and changes. And so then, the style is suited to fit the disposition and natural tendencies particular to the student. "Absorb what is useful, reject what is not" is the main tenet behind Bruce Lee's famous school of Jeet Kune Do. The artist is more important than the art.

Although the master-disciple relationship is pronounced in the East, the student's needs and talents are generally kept in abeyance. Carl Jung coined the term individuation to convey the idea that not only do we have a special purpose here, but a unique way of expressing it. The kohai (beginner) learns his art by rote. But to become unto oneself, all of our lessons and experiences have to be researched and adapted to our personal direction. The founders of every martial arts system were great innovators who questioned their received knowledge. The advent of a style, or any new way of doing something, is the flowering of an idea whose time has come.

Labels: , , ,


Blogger FrogMan said...

Great post, as always. It is true that, as you grow in your art, you get to learn the purpose of things, moves, techniques, and as you grow and learn, you have to adapt them somehow to your own style.

I really enjoy reading your Martial Views and will be back for more so keep posting :)

Steve aka FrogMan

8:07 AM  
Blogger John Vesia said...

Thanks Steve. Styles are meant to serve the individual, not the other way around. Tradition shouldn't mean stagnation.

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to take this post as a sign that my knife hand is a new innovation, as you suggested previously.

Great post!

12:02 AM  
Blogger Dr. Augustus Dayafter said...

Good post. As a begining student, I understand the imitation part. My sensei is teaching me Kushanku, and all I have really been able to do is mimic his movements. Now, after several weeks of sparring, I can understand some of the kata's applications and it is great!

3:26 PM  
Blogger Mathieu said...

We had a clinic with canada's Chito-ryu technical director.

If there's one sentence that I'll remember until I die, it's this one :

Understand that we are all different. That learning techniques is good, but focus on your strengh. Work on your weaknesses, focus on your strengh. If, during an altercation, your fists are the first thing that come to your mind, use them!
If it's your legs, use them!

Sensei Tyserre talks about it too. It's really important to adapt karate to your body. But as you mentionned, Mudanshas can only copy. :)

So, I'm still copying. Not, about that Seisan kata...

7:45 AM  
Blogger Mir said...

You need to make your martial art your own... that is the goal of every martial artist. However, you need to begin with the same building blocks as all the other artists who started learning how to perform. Either way, we will come full circle back to the basics because that is the most efficient way of moving our body.. unless people find a way to sprout another arm or leg.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Miss Chris said...

Thanks for the advice and I'm definitely thinking the same way. I've taken the week off from exercise, both karate and weights. I'm feeling a difference already. The old me would be back in class and/or the gym but I've learned to take it slow and just be patient. I'll probably say goodbye to the leg press machine and try something else instead.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's going on lately with these deleted comments? Are you getting some trolls? I've had a few myself lately. If that's the case, the trolls are just cowards trying to make themselves feel good about themselves by saying something to someone who could kick their you-know-what in person. Internet=courage. So appropriate for the post you wrote. . .

11:41 PM  

<< Home