Monday, December 22, 2014
How to be a Productive Student
When learning a particular skill set, it's usually necessary to be shown the individual pieces of that skill slowly (at least in the beginning of the learning process). When attempting to reproduce that motion, a greatly reduced speed of execution is necessary. To do so otherwise, amounts to having a “sink or swim” attitude about the instructional process. It would appear to be that this is the very attitude being put forth for the learning, and the instruction of Tuite (regardless of who's version one is attempting to learn).
Oyata repeatedly emphasized that tuite should be practiced slowly. Despite that fact, the vast majority of practitioner's attempt to perform tuite motions with speed during their practice of it. Most often (from my own experience) this comes from a lack of ability to do so otherwise (and/or achieve any positive results without doing so).
When I first began my studies with Oyata's method of Tuite, it was commonly being done with speed (and power). This was not a mandate presented by Oyata (himself), but was being promoted by (supposed) “students” of Oyata (or at least by “seminar attendee's”).
Once I began working with Oyata (himself), the preferred (ie. “his”) manner of tuite practice, was to do so slowly and incrementally. This meant that you would take (any) particular Tuite application, and divide it into “pieces”. Each piece would then be studied, understood and then practiced. Once that piece could be performed correctly, you would work on the “next” piece. This continued until the entire technique was (actually) understood (which is reminiscent of his “kata” training method). When the (basic) application of the technique was understood, potential weaknesses would be identified, and the prevention of those flaws from being exploited would be practiced.
This was a fairly long (involved) process. There are numerous factors that could cause/create certain weaknesses in an applications ability to create the desired results. This could involve a great amount of time (per technique), and there are numerous variables that could be included in determining those factors as well.
Numerous systems have attempted to alleviate their student's concerns (regarding those factors) when having them attempt to utilize the (sophomoric) “10 Principles” that are being peddled by numerous groups. The problem with that list, is that it doesn't address the “main” problem (that the student hasn't learned the required individual segments of how/why the technique will or won't work). It attempts to make “additions” to something that isn't understood by the student to begin with.
The most commonly (recommended) “corrections” (by these individual's) are to go faster, and/or more powerfully. Neither of which address the (real) problem, nor are they relevant to the techniques ability to work (as desired). I have to blame that belief on the fact that the majority of “instructors” are male. Males are (commonly) raised to believe that strength and/or speed are the answers, or they are the means to accomplishing the desired result (to most anything). This is not an accurate belief, especially in regards to the application of Oyata's style of Tuite.
One of our students recently attended a seminar that included a “Tuite learning/practice session”. That student was amazed (or horrified, depending on your perspective) at what was being emphasized/believed as being “correct” by the majority of the participants that were practicing the shown applications. These were not (all) “new” students, but included numerous Yudansha as well, who were (supposedly) “experienced” with the application of these types of techniques. That student now understands why we have stated that the majority of tuite practitioner's/styles haven't attempted to understand the techniques (meaning how/why those techniques do/don't work, or what results should be expected from their application).
It would seem that the “Training” aspect of attending a seminar, doesn't necessarily always include the concept of “Mutual Understanding” for what was shown (much less individual understanding). But to be fair, the majority of the individual's attending that seminar had little to no experience with the application of Tuite. The attendee's were instructed to apply the shown motions slowly, but the majority were unable to understand how that concept would or even could work. Students (regardless of their experience level) too often focus on the “results” that are/aren't achieved when applying the shown technique (as opposed to understanding how the technique should be applied to achieve the desired results).
It's also become “popular” for the (designated) “uke” to counter the other students training motions(?) before either of them actually understands the practiced technique. Because of this all too common trend, students (both uke and tori) are more often beginning to speed-up their training motions (thereby nullifying any of the “training/research” that could have been achieved through the original form of the exercise). Those students who don't understand why the motions should be performed slowly, are the one's who are in greatest need of that (slow) training.
“Training” is initially (only) for the familiarization of specific motions and reactions that are intended to produce (equally) specific responses to specific actions made by an aggressor.
(Commonly) Once those motions are learned and understood, the practiced motions are then expanded upon, to understand the possible variables to/from the initially practiced motion.
The (recent?) "Live" (practice) myth is based upon an individual's imagination. Nothing about this practice is similar to a physical confrontation, nor is it an applicable training method when initially learning a (new) technique. This tendency, along with the “Learning to take a hit” mantra are bogus beliefs as well. Wearing a full complement of protective equipment is the modern equivalent to signing a waiver. Neither actually prevent injury or teach (sic) someone to "take" a strike, but they pacify the unknowing. The only “hit” that will matter, is going to be the one you never see coming.
Students should remember that "class/practice" time, is for understanding the instructed motions. Only once that is accomplished, can practical "use" be worked on.