Friday, May 3, 2013

Objective issues

Not exactly newsflash when noting that many people in martial arts tend to stress the importance of the tools while disregarding the objective. In some instances, it is understandable, since many of the inherent and once glaringly clear goals of training in a martial art have grown more or less obscure by now… You know, the changing social and technological circumstances and all.

However, as an instructor I find it surprising to this day that even when doing a drill in which the objective was rather precisely specified, some of the students will stop and try to restart the drill just because their own approach failed, i.e. the procedure they “figured out” should lead to the completion. The same goes for their own imagined unsuccessful endings. Eg. a couple weeks back I gave the set of instructions that revolved about crashing the distance against the knife wielding attacker control him, and one of the students would just stop the drill upon receiving a slash or a stab with the trainer.

Of course, it lead me immediately to questioning my instructions. Namely, I often deliberately give just the basic outline, for the purpose of students coming up with their own solutions to the problem, while hopefully adhering to the outlined principles. Be as it may, everybody else in that particular class got it right, so it comes down to the personal paradigm of perception.

Speaking of perception, one thing that is also quite spread, and not only in the martial arts, is that the practitioners will often try to imitate the designated exercise, rather than actually do it. In other words, from their standpoint it is important that they immediately look like they’re doing something, more so than looking awkward for a while before actually doing the damn thing properly. Ah, image over substance…my favorite pet peeve.

And everybody want to be original...

In conclusion: while I am acutely aware of the fact that different people train for different motives and desires, it seems that regardless of those differences, too many of them have something in common – they would like someone else (presumably the instructor) to somehow do all the hard work for them, and then they should just somehow end up being the “desired product”. Sorry folks, it does not work that way! Yes, the instructors have a strong obligation to do their best in making the training process as smooth for you as possible. That is, of course, if you’re paying for your training. However, YOU have the responsibility of actually honoring their effort and your own time and money by doing the work!

Not when it comes to training, pal.