Nov 25, 2010

Martial Arts Training - 10 Things That You Can't Get From Solo Training

Are you frustrated with the lack of a good teacher or martial arts school where you live? Are tired of running into those who only want to focus on sport martial arts, or who focus on kids programs?

Are you trying to learn Ninjutsu - the art of the Ninja, but can't find anything more than groups limited to teaching Budo-taijutsu - the armed and unarmed self defense method.

Well, I feel your pain. It seems that, if you want to just learn some martial arts moves, you can go just about anywhere. But, if you're looking for more - if you're looking for strategy, or the life lessons that give meaning and purpose to your self defense skills, then the reality is that options are few and far in between.

The lack of good quality teachers, or the presence of a school nearby - regardless of whether we're talking about my own art of Ninjutsu, or any system of real-world self defense - has forced more than a few well-intentioned students to attempt to learn martial arts and self defense on their own. I know, because that's the road that I took!

But, before we go running out to jump into whatever actual training topics we might find being described in books or found on the countless YouTube clips available, I want to take just a minute to make sure that you are clear about what you "CANNOT" get from solo training - even if you, or others that you've spoken to, think otherwise.

No matter how hard you try, the truth is that, there are just certain things that you cannot get from trying to make sense out of this very deep topic called martial arts - on your own. Well, almost.

That is, unless your idea of martial arts training is just learning the step-by-step "forms" or kata that many systems are founded on. But, if your focus is on real-world self protection and/or personal development training... cannot do this entirely on your own.

Here is a list of things to consider that cannot be done "on your own," in a solo-training fashion. In fact, teacher or no teacher, if your focus is on real-world self protection, some of these things simply cannot be learned or developed without the help of a few "sympathetic" training partners - people who want to help and to see you do well.

Skills, insights, proficiency development, and training benefits that you typically cannot get from training entirely on your own:

1) Real-time, direct feedback from your teacher

2) Interaction, support, and feedback from fellow students - both peers and seniors

3) A "sense of belonging" to the tradition, lineage, and past masters of the art

4) New perspectives from those who have been in situations that you have not

5) Motivation during tough times, or while trying to learn challenging techniques

6) Accountability to someone other than yourself to insure that you are actually practicing and doing what you need to be doing

7) Shorter lapses in contact time with your teacher and seniors - less of a chance to practice incorrectly and waste time with having to re-learn correctly

8) A feeling of connection and knowing that "you are not alone"

9) Answers when you need them

10) Actually being a part of the lineage - an unbroken chain of teacher to student

I know how negative this list makes the solo training experience sound, but you should know what you are up against and what is real when choosing this Path to Mastery. And, while these are all concerns that you should be aware of - regardless of whether you will have to personally deal with each and every one of them - the internet offers the opportunity to be a long distance student and STILL get regular, ongoing, and often "real-time" feedback from your teacher. If you search, and know what you're looking for, you will be able to find an online ninja training, or other martial arts program that will provide many, if not all, of the missing benefits that I listed above.

So, again, the question is...


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