Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Dealing with differences

A major issue, that seems to always disturb karateka (practitioners of karate-do), is `the differences between the teachings of prominent instructors’. `Instructor A’ might say a technique “must be done this way”; yet, `Instructor B’ will emphatically claim that “Instructor A’s way is totally incorrect”. People always ask me, “What should I do when this happens?” So I thought I’d share my approach to this “problem” with you today.
My solution is very simple… Firstly, when you train in someone else’s class, or a seminar, do your techniques `their way’ during the session (this is my personal rule)… After the class, note the variations. Whether you like these variations or not, test them out (technically and in application i.e. in oyo-kumite, jiyu-kumite, on the makiwara, etcetera). Last, but not least, record them in a `training diary’ of some sort. In this way, positive or negative, you will still benefit from the experience via a different perspective/understanding.
Secondly, don’t get frustrated when `a different way of doing things confuses you’ or severely `tests your physical coordination’. Rather, embrace the challenge, and try to adapt to the variations as quickly as possible (during the class/as you learn them). Certainly, such occasions present an opportunity to test your ‘physical adaptability’ and `smarts’ in general. Despite that, I am not necessarily meaning that you `take on’ these variations…
 Conclusive comments: A word of advice… Be careful what you graft into your karate-do, especially when it comes to your kihon; moreover, physically question and test everything you learn. Most of all “Learn by doing”: as opposed to thinking too much. With diligent practice of traditional Japanese Budo Karate, personal inquisition, and the right tuition, the answers will come.
© André Bertel. Aso-shi. Kumamoto-ken, Japan (2014).

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