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Thread: training alone

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    jayf is offline
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    Default training alone

    A friend and I purchased the IKCA videos intending to work out together. Both of our chaotic schedules led to our only getting together a couple of times. He moved to a different state and let me keep the videos. I do not have a training partner. My wife works at night, so I try to keep my evenings free so we can spend some time together. My schedule during the day is often chaotic for a number of reasons. I will make time to train, but cannot predict when that will be from day to day. I would imagine that would make finding a regular training partner a challenge.

    My plan is to make one of the dummies and work through the video program. My primary question is: Do you think I can learn the system using just the dummy for at least most of my training? A few secondary questions: Do you know of anyone else who has been successful and done most of their training by themselves? Do any of you have any suggestions for how I might accomplish studying by myself?

    I'm sure that having a training partner or attending a class would be better in a lot of ways. However, as I said earlier, my wife works at night (actually, she works from midnight until around 5 am every morning). I have a 10 year-old son who is very active in Cub Scouts. My priority is to keep my martial arts training from interfering with my time with my family as much as possible. This is why I want to learn Kenpo through studying the IKCA videos by myself. I hope it is possible to do so.

    Let me end by giving you just a bit of my martial arts background. I studied Isshinryu Karate in high school. I studied Taekwondo for about a year until I sustained a shoulder injury (my son was also studying at the same school and lost interest at just about the same time I got injured). I studied Jeet Kune Do for about six months with a friend whose teacher was a direct student of Bruce Lee. Had some financial issues and was unable to continue. I have studied T'ai Chi for about two years and plan to continue to practice T'ai Chi at home. I've wanted to study the martial arts since I was a kid watching Kung Fu. I'm now 42 years old and am interested in studying that martial arts as a way to get in shape and because I believe knowing how to defend yourself is generally a good thing.

    Thanks for reading this. I would appreciate any suggestions or comments anyone would like to share with me.

    Thanks!
    Jay Frasier

    P.S. I also posted the above message on the Chinese Kenpo Technical Forum.

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    Drew is offline
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    Default Re: training alone

    My belief is 'yes' you can do a lot without a body, but eventually you need a live body. This is the only way you can properly ensure you have the level of accuracy, control, and skill you believe you have. And most importantly, only a training partner can give you feedback and create stress.

    By feedback, I mean offering that 2nd person point of view and telling you if you did enough to survive the initial assault. You can't be sure you negated the grab unless you are aggressively grabbed. Plus, without a partner, it is often hard to visualize the 2nd person POV because you've never been in that position. By stress, I mean someone throwing 'hot attacks' at you, which raises the pucker factor. Most people need someone to create that external stress to ensure that when the move is actually performed you don't freeze or stutter.

    Offer to teach/share someone and you will mostly likely find someone to lay your hands on. Two is even better.

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    Florian Lang is offline
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    Default Re: training alone

    The best advice I can give you is this: if you can't make it to a class, or get private lessons to fit your schedule, don't do kenpo. If you learn without a qualified instructor, you will ingrain loads of mistakes in your movements, which can take YEARS of proper training to undo. Trust me, I tried the distance learning thing. It's a horrible idea. Much better to wait.

    In addition, martial arts training is useless in a fight unless you have some alive training with a partner. That means sparring with opponents who are at or above your level on a regular basis. So, even if you learn the moves and become proficient in performing them, you'll still just be "going through the motions", as it will be utterly useless for self-defense. Performing a technique on a dummy/bag and on an opponent who is actively resisting and trying to counter you are worlds apart. Being able to do the former proficiently will not give you the ability to pull off the latter.

    So, in short, go to a school. If you can't, then wait until you can.

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    jayf is offline
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    Default Re: training alone

    Hi! Thank you so much for your comments.

    I'm wondering which distance learning "thing" you tried. Perhaps different distance learning programs would lead to different results.

    Also, I hope I don't come across as argumentative or anything like that, but I wonder if one of the things you said is universally true for everyone. You said that distance learning is a horrible idea. Perhaps it is a horrible idea for some people and not-a-horrible idea for others.

    For example, I've heard people say that you cannot learn martial arts from a book. However, I know someone who writes martial arts books. There are people who have learned to perform wrist locks very well from reading his books and practicing (though, admitedly, they did have practice partners to lock on). I met someone who learned to wrist lock from his book and, trust me, they knew what they were doing!

    While wrist locking is not a complete martial art, it is a facet of the martial arts. And, it can be learned from reading a book and practicing. It really can. I've met someone who has done it.

    Anyway, I appreciate your thoughts. If I take your advice, then I probably will not be able to study Kenpo until I'm around 50. I guess I could just do some regular exercising at home. Maybe I should find out where my wife put her Tae Bo videos. :-)

    Jay

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    Default Re: training alone

    With all due respect to Mr. Lang and his experience with distance learning, I disagree. Of course a face-to-face instructor is always the first, best option (provided they are qualified), but sometimes they're not available (or qualified). You don't have to give up on Kenpo.

    Is the IKCA program doable? Yes. Is it easy? No. The challenges you mentioned are significant. To excel with this program you do need to set aside time consistently to workout, evaluate, rework, etc. and stick to it. Bottom line, it is a more difficult scenario. You may find that right now that time is not available. That's a decision you have to make for yourself. Perhaps things will settle out for you over time and a proper training schedule will be possible in the future. Most of all, DO NOT attempt the program half-heartedly. You will get little out of it and it will be a waste of time.

    PM me if you like, I'll see how I can help.

    Respects,
    Bill Parsons
    Triangle Kenpo Institute
    www.trianglekenpo.com

    "I know Kenpo!" "Cool... do you know how to use it?"

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    jayf is offline
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    Default Re: training alone

    Hi Drew! Thank you for your encouraging and thoughtful comments. At age 42, I'm not sure if I want to wait until I can attend a school or find a training partner in my small town who will work out at the drop of a hat to begin the process of learning Kenpo. I was hoping that I would be able to begin the learning process and proceed fairly successfully until other issues in my life changed. Florian Lang's post leads me to wonder if this is a good idea or not. I'm not sure what to do right now.

    Thanks again for replying to my post.

    Jay F.

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    jayf is offline
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    Default Re: training alone

    Hi Mr. Parsons! Thank you so much for your comments!

    You know, I do have time to train. My "problem" is that I do not have the same period of time "free" each day. I teach at a community college. My teaching hours are set. However, my daily schedule changes from week to week based upon whatever other meetings I have and that sort of thing. So, one day I may be able to set aside 5-6 am to train. The next day I may be able to train from 10-11:30 am. Because I also sometimes help my wife with her job, my schedule is fairly unpredictable.

    My issue has less to do with time and more to do with not having a training partner.

    I do not plan to pursue the training program half-heartedly. I will pursue it whole-heartedly, albeitly by myself and at different times throughout the week.

    Thanks again for your positive comments and for your offer to PM you! I'll most likely take you up on your offer!

    Jay F.

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    Default Re: training alone

    If you work at a community college ... put up some flyers in the school ....

    I'm certain there are students in the school, who quite probably have the same time off as you do, who have martial arts experience, and would live to find some mat time.

    A word or two to the Administration, and you can probably get some time blocked off in one of the common areas .. and get a club started.

    I, too, am of the opinion that you should have a skilled instructor on hand. I do not think the tapes are sufficient, alone.

    But, it sounds to me like you are in a better position than most, to get a club started, and have lots of workout partners.

    Where are you located?

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    jayf is offline
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    Default Re: training alone

    I live near Eugene, Oregon. My colleague who bought the IKCA videos with me (who then moved) was also an instructor at the college. We looked into finding space for us to work-out together. Believe it or not, the college did not want us performing any type of martial arts on campus unless we got liability insurance of some type or were part of an official class. There is a class in Shotokan Karate at the college, but it does not fit my schedule.

    Frankly, I'm more interested in learning Kenpo than Shotokan anyway.

    I really appreciate the idea of putting up flyers at the college. I will check on the possibility of beginning a club. I'm not sure if that would get around the insurance/liability issue that my friend and I faced originally.

    Unfortunately, if I do start a club, there is the distinct probability I won't be able to attend all of the meetings. :-)

    Thanks again for all of your ideas!

    Jay

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    Default Re: training alone

    Why kenpo? Well, beside that you already own the tapes, is there some particular reason why you have chosen this art?

    If you live near Eugene, you live near a decent concentration of martial artists. Find one of them to give you private lessons on a weekly basis, on your schedule. It will be pricey, but you are a hundred times better off with a hands on instructor. Then, if your schedule permits it, pay a drop in fee for a group class with that same instructor. Seems pretty simple to me.

    Lamont
    Pekiti Tirsia Kali and Kenpo Karate
    www.blackbirdmartialarts.com

    “He, who will not reason, is a bigot; he, who cannot, is a fool; and he, who dares not, is a slave.”
    ~William Drummond

    "This person is as dangerous as an IED."

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    jayf is offline
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    Default Re: training alone

    Simple? Yes. Likely to fit within my budget? Probably not.

    I just looked at the balance in my checkbook. Definitely not.

    There are actually a few reasons why I'd like to study Kenpo. I'm an Elvis fan. My oldest son is studying Kenpo in Portland. I've been impressed with Kenpo's practical, street-oriented approach since I first became aware of it. I really liked Jeff Speakman's "The Perfect Weapon." I'm an Elvis fan.

    Jay

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    slomokenpo is offline
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    Default Re: training alone

    Jay,
    I'd suggest posting on this and other kenpo forums looking for a training partner in your area. You maybe surprised, there could be several quality kenpoist (or other martial artists also interested in kenpo) in your area that you could atleast get some occasional training with to not only supplement your video training, but also answer any questions or help with problems your having with the material. It can't hurt to ask!
    Duke

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    bureau13 is offline
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    Default Re: training alone

    Jay,

    I'm in a similar situation as you, and I decided to give the IKCA orange belt DVD a try. It seems to be done about as well as you can do an instructional DVD for use without an instructor. So far I've just been going through it alone, however I have been fortunate in that I have found someone here at work who is interested in getting together and training this stuff periodically, and I've even found some experts on this board who have offered to do some private instruction, which I hope to take them up on once I've become familiar with the basics and my schedule settles down a bit.

    I think that if you want to learn the material badly enough, you will find a way to make it work. I know that's what I'm counting on!

    jds
    "'The eyes are the groin of the head."

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    Default Re: training alone

    What I started out doing was driving in once per week and paying a drop in fee. I got the first video to suppliment my training and would go in and let the instructor "fine tune" my techniques. Luckily, I found another guy who was interested in learning and now we take turns driving and can make it twice each week. That helps to mitigate some of the cost.

    I was considering a distance learning program but, after having been training for a few months, I can honesly say that I'd never have gotten the quality instruction (that I'm blessed to get) from a video series, even with a training partner. All of my previous experience just didn't come close to the relatively intense cerebral content of this art. That is only my opninion but, having an instructor drill you on the principals and ideas of motion is invaluable.

    Good luck
    ~Bill Richardson

    Rudeness is the frustrated attempt of a small mind to communicate.

    Forgive everyone everything

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    jayf is offline
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    Default Re: training alone

    Hi Slomokenpo,

    I think that's a great idea! Will do!

    Thanks!

    Jay

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    jayf is offline
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    Default Re: training alone

    Hi JDS,

    Thanks for your encouraging message! It sounds like we are counting on the same thing! While I think it may be quite challenging to make it work, I'm hopeful that it can.

    I hope the person at your work turns into a great training partner. The private lesson idea sounds really good too.

    There is an EPAK school in my area. The adult classes are in the evenings, which is why I am not going to attend their school (at least, not at this time in my life). Maybe I can work out something with them for an occasional private lesson.

    Good luck with your training. I've begun going through the Orange Belt video as well.

    By the way, I have the video tapes instead of the DVDs. I sat down and made a list of the stuff on the Orange Belt video and the times that the different things start. Would you be interested in my sending you that? I'd be happy to if you'd want to see it.

    Jay

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    Calico Kid is offline
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    Default Re: training alone

    Jay,
    You have had a lot of useful comment's for your question and i can only add that IMHO you need a live instructor, however, you have prior MA experience so you could train on the tapes and do a drop in to get evaluated by a qualified instructor. Good luck in your journey.

    CK

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    Default Re: training alone

    One of the good things about DVDs (and fortunately they took advantage of this when they converted them from the tapes) is that you can have chapters. So strikes, kicks, techniques, etc are all separate chapters you can go directly to. Marking the times of the various sections is a great idea for the tapes, but its more or less done for you on the DVDs.

    jds

    Quote Originally Posted by jayf View Post
    Hi JDS,

    ...

    Good luck with your training. I've begun going through the Orange Belt video as well.

    By the way, I have the video tapes instead of the DVDs. I sat down and made a list of the stuff on the Orange Belt video and the times that the different things start. Would you be interested in my sending you that? I'd be happy to if you'd want to see it.

    Jay
    "'The eyes are the groin of the head."

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    jayf is offline
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    Default Re: training alone

    I didn't know if you had the DVDs or the videos. DVDs are better; videos were cheaper!

    Jay

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    Kenpo Gary is offline
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    Default Re: training alone

    My opinion is that a live body confirms that you learned the material properly, it also helps with timing and reacting.

    Kenpo Gary
    "The heart of the Kenpo System has always been practical-effective- Self Defense Techniques." Al Tracy

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