Recently in the past few weeks, people have asked why I think martial arts schools are behind the times. Why I referred to the school I used to attend as crap in mybio.
Bruce Lee said it best: "Learn the principle, abide by the principle, and dissolve the principle. In short, enter a mold without being caged in it. Obey the principle without being bound by it."
In earning my kinesiology degree, I learned something about human movement that not only undermined years of martial arts practice, but destroyed the basis of most martial art foundations.
Most schools teach by practicing patterns of movement. There's nothing wrong with this, but eventually people need to move past this mode of learning.
I remember learning how to write, doing lessons in workbooks. One of them required me to follow dotted lines for each of the letters of the alphabet. Once we graduated from that simple lesson, our class moved to copying simple sentences my teacher wrote on the blackboard. Then she wrote simple paragraphs that we copied into our notebooks. The paragraphs we copied got longer. As we moved up the elementary school echelon, we were taught the structures of the three paragraph essay, then the five paragraph essay. We were given subjects to write about and we wrote. And so on and so forth.
Now, imagine teenagers in high school, or students in college being given homework, copying dotted letters of the alphabet. That is what you have in the traditional martial arts school.
Have you seen old English calligraphy? All those swirls, extra lines, and decorations? How inefficient would that be in everyday writing? A lot of that is in traditional martial arts, as well.
In our particular school, we always made fun of Tae Kwan Do students. They limited themselves to kicking, and when sparring they didn't allow striking to the head. But one thing they did a lot was sparring. Sparring is the key to truly learning anything.
Kinesiology taught me that people need to be in dynamic environments if they are to perform in dynamic environments. If I taught you a martial arts technique to deal with a right punch, and I drilled that technique over and over again, all you would've learned was the technique. What you wouldn't know how to do is react to the right punch. To do that, you can't be told that a right punch is coming. And sparring gives you that opportunity.
Yes, learn the technique. Yes, practice the technique. Then forget it.
The above quote by Bruce states exactly how I live my life.
When I first attempted my first three novels, I had no idea what I was doing. Then my best friend suggested many sources that spoke on the structure and techniques of fiction writing. I read them, attended seminars and learned so much. But those lessons didn't sink in until I sat down and wrote. By the end of my many revisions and writing myepisodes,I had to go back and do one last revision/rewrite. I'd changed so much as a writer that I had to do a line by line examination of my manuscript.
I didn't want to at first. I knew it would take a long time. But once I dug in, I became more intimately engrossed with my story. And something happened that was unexpected. I fell in love with my story again.
I also realized that I'd broken some rules of writing. I didn't do it on purpose. That's just the way the story needed to be told.
Bruce Lee said: "Using no way as way, having no limitation as limitation." That has definitely worked out for him.