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Thread: The mirror is your best instructor

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    nelson is offline
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    Default The mirror is your best instructor

    Dear Kenpo brothers and sisters:

    My son has recently begun training in a dance studio/dojo that has a wall of full length mirrors. While working some of my Kenpo forms last night I remembered what my former Kenpo instructor the late Michael Sanders used to say. "The mirror is your best instructor." To which I would reply, "And it's a lot better looking too!" I would usually get a scowl from Mike for that remark. As the years have gone by I have found this statement to be very true.

    I'm sure that some may take offense and get worked up that I'm slamming GM's living or dead by this statement. Common sense should imply that it is still neccesary to have someone teach you a form or technique. After that it's up the individual MA to take it from there.

    Have any of you heard this expression?

    Nelson Kari

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    Default Re: The mirror is your best instructor

    A mirror may be helpful but far from the "best instructor". I feel that an uke is a better instructor (even with no words spoken) than a mirror.

    I also believe that a blind-fold, closing your eyes, or even turning out the lights while training would be more beneficial to training than a mirror. This way you learn to "feel" the techniques and forms and not just try to look good.

    My .02
    The above is just my opinion.

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    Default Re: The mirror is your best instructor

    How about "The mirrors don't lie"? I can't tell you how many times I looked at myself in the mirror and went "ooh, where did that come from?", or "nice posture jackass".

    We have a lot of mirrors, as you can see. Sometimes, it's not such a good thing.



    Be careful what you say, some may take it the wrong way.

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    Default Re: The mirror is your best instructor

    I really like the look of your school

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    Default Re: The mirror is your best instructor

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidCC View Post
    I really like the look of your school
    Yeah, they definately have a sweet set up!

    I think the phrase arises from you being able to better critique yourself when you can gain a "3rd person" perspective from seeing what you are doing in the mirrror. Marital Arts teach self-discipline in many ways, one is encouraging the student to be "self-correcting."

    That being said, since the advent of video, you can really critique yourself! You can pause, rewind, view in slow-motion, etc.... I know Amy has voiced her opinion on this several times as a great way to see areas that need improvement and most of us know her skills are pretty tight! (sucking up to the EM never hurts lol) Anyway, I've become better by doing the same as well. There's simply some things you can't see from a 1st person perspective and others can't adequately communicate from theirs.

    Mirrors and video are just another "tool" to aid you on your road to self improvement.
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: The mirror is your best instructor

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_Crippler View Post
    Yeah, they definately have a sweet set up!

    I think the phrase arises from you being able to better critique yourself when you can gain a "3rd person" perspective from seeing what you are doing in the mirrror. Marital Arts teach self-discipline in many ways, one is encouraging the student to be "self-correcting."

    That being said, since the advent of video, you can really critique yourself! You can pause, rewind, view in slow-motion, etc.... I know Amy has voiced her opinion on this several times as a great way to see areas that need improvement and most of us know her skills are pretty tight! (sucking up to the EM never hurts lol) Anyway, I've become better by doing the same as well. There's simply some things you can't see from a 1st person perspective and others can't adequately communicate from theirs.

    Mirrors and video are just another "tool" to aid you on your road to self improvement.

    "Daugherty, look at yourself in the mirror", is a comment I hear often from my teacher, usually accompanied with a mild tone of exasperation.

    Mirrors are probably one of, if not the best teaching aid a school can have.
    Be careful what you say, some may take it the wrong way.

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    Default Re: The mirror is your best instructor

    mirrors and video cameras!

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    Default Re: The mirror is your best instructor

    Having a mirror or a video camera is just as important to me as having a good instructor. I look at this, and many other aspects of life, as the difference between seeing things from the inside, versus from the outside.

    For example, if you are in a negative relationship, or have an opinion that may not be correct, or even if you are driving a car, sometimes you are not able to fully see everything around you clearly. Because you are the one on the "inside"... in that relationship, in that car, whatever... sometimes your ability to see certain things is obscured. It often takes someone or something on the "outside", who can view your situation and see what you can't see, to show you where the mistakes and troubles are. This can be a trusted friend who wants you to have a better relationship, or the side view mirror of your car.

    In martial arts, our instructors and fellow kenpoists should be the people on the outside, helping us to perfect our technique. But at the same time, a mirror or even a video camera is a way of putting OURSELVES on the outside, so that we can have a wider vision of what we are doing.

    I believe this is why some members of this site will post video of themselves doing a form or executing a certain technique, so that the rest of us (who are on the outside) can critique and point out ways to make those techniques better. And vice versa, maybe that video can show someone else what they could not see in their own technique.
    "Your kung fu's no good..."
    *Warrior, Scholar*

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    Default Re: The mirror is your best instructor

    I remember a few years ago when I began Kenpo and Instructors would say look at your posture or look at your stance, I didn't get it then but I do now. We have no mirrors where we train, that said maybe I would've "seen" what they were talking about sooner.

    Edit: Oh and by the way Nice Studio!

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    Default Re: The mirror is your best instructor

    Quote Originally Posted by NickName99 View Post
    mirrors and video cameras!

    I actually prefer video cameras to mirrors since you often have to stop what you are doing to look in the mirror, where as on video you can see your self in action and have a record of your mistakes and then you can tape yourself to see your improvements so that you can get better.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: The mirror is your best instructor

    I just hate how he is always making me do things the opposite of him.
    "You can't account for everything, but you should account for the reasonably probable. Unfortunately for the unknowledgeable, those never ending 'what if's' will choke your thought process to death with useless information." - Doc

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    Talking Re: The mirror is your best instructor

    My Sifu tells us that "The mirror is one of the best teaching tools" (Sifu DangeRuss). I think your best instructor is the student that asks the questions. The more they ask the more you have to think.
    "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else, YOU are the one who gets burned."
    Buddha.

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    Talking Re: The mirror is your best instructor

    Quote Originally Posted by HKphooey View Post
    I just hate how he is always making me do things the opposite of him.
    funny
    "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else, YOU are the one who gets burned."
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    Thumbs up Re: The mirror is your best instructor

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Broad View Post
    I actually prefer video cameras to mirrors since you often have to stop what you are doing to look in the mirror, where as on video you can see your self in action and have a record of your mistakes and then you can tape yourself to see your improvements so that you can get better.
    yes Mr. Broad I also prefer the V-camera over the mirrors
    "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else, YOU are the one who gets burned."
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    Default Re: The mirror is your best instructor

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    Dear Kenpo brothers and sisters:

    My son has recently begun training in a dance studio/dojo that has a wall of full length mirrors. While working some of my Kenpo forms last night I remembered what my former Kenpo instructor the late Michael Sanders used to say. "The mirror is your best instructor." To which I would reply, "And it's a lot better looking too!" I would usually get a scowl from Mike for that remark. As the years have gone by I have found this statement to be very true.

    I'm sure that some may take offense and get worked up that I'm slamming GM's living or dead by this statement. Common sense should imply that it is still neccesary to have someone teach you a form or technique. After that it's up the individual MA to take it from there.

    Have any of you heard this expression?

    Nelson Kari
    Mirrors don't instruct.
    They do however give instant feedback and help you to self correct.
    My old instructor used to say that you knew when a student was starting to "Get it" when they didn't need external correction when they messed up... they'd just recognize the error and make the correction themselves. Well....the mirror is EXCELLENT for that. If you've been a GOOD student of your instructor(s) and seniors you've watched....lets say...long form 3 HUNDREDS of times from folks who Know HOW it should be performed. Well...then when you observe your own execution of it in the mirror...you can self correct immediately; making you just that much closer to being one of the few who "Get it".

    get it?

    Your Brother
    John
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    Default Re: The mirror is your best instructor

    Quote Originally Posted by jdinca View Post

    NICE DOJO!!!!!!!!!
    Very nice oriental ambience.
    (Did I spell that right? Don't even know if I can say it right.)
    Very nice oriental feel.
    (there...that's better)

    Your Brother
    John
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    Default Re: The mirror is your best instructor

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Broad View Post
    I actually prefer video cameras to mirrors since you often have to stop what you are doing to look in the mirror, where as on video you can see your self in action and have a record of your mistakes and then you can tape yourself to see your improvements so that you can get better.
    Yes and no

    The camera is useful, but it's not Automatic.
    I disagree that one needs to stop at all to check themselves in the mirror.
    I do it while in motion, but not fast motion. It's great for checking form and such.

    also: If you think about it, both the camera and mirror provide '3rd person perspective'. don't know why I've never considered that before.
    hmmm.....

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    Default Re: The mirror is your best instructor

    Mirrors are just as dangerous as they are helplfull. If they become a crutch then the student will want for a mirror at tournament. Just as you can tell a student is locked in the memorization phase of a form because he stares at the floor the whole form, a student can get lost without his or her mirror to visualy lock on to. Both the internalization of staring at the floor and the visualisation of looking at the mirror are steps along the way but you can get stuck.
    Sean

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    Default Re: The mirror is your best instructor

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother John View Post
    NICE DOJO!!!!!!!!!
    Very nice oriental ambience.
    (Did I spell that right? Don't even know if I can say it right.)
    Very nice oriental feel.
    (there...that's better)

    Your Brother
    John
    Yes, you spelled ambience correctly.

    What's interesting is the school is a completely different place depending on what time you're there. I teach mornings where I have a dedicated group of about 10 adults who are very consistent. The setting is also more sedate and focused because typically, we're the only people on the mat. In the evenings, there can be three classes, a number of private lessons going on, basically, students and teachers everywhere!

    The best time is Sunday mornings when I get off work. I have the entire place to myself.

    They guy in the mirror was making me look very bad in my lesson today...
    Be careful what you say, some may take it the wrong way.

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    Default A mirror is one of your best instructors

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    My son has recently begun training in a dance studio/dojo that has a wall of full length mirrors. While working some of my Kenpo forms last night I remembered what my former Kenpo instructor the late Michael Sanders used to say. "The mirror is your best instructor."
    Yes, and I'm pretty sure Mike was refering to AFTER you've learned what the skill is supposed to look like so when you do the Waza (on a target always!) the mirror will let you know if you are following the correct image in you mind the way you should be.

    Mirror training is great "if" done in conjunction with live training and a real expert.

    Dr. John M. La Tourrette

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