Can you teach yourself this stuff?
I'm a relatively intelligent person. For most of my adult life I cultivated the 'left side' of my brain, I studied accountancy to degree level and for 20 years I've worked a job where I essentially judge the financial conduct of individuals and decide if and what censure they deserve. I examine what might be grey situations and break them down into a granular level until they become black and white.
When I started wing chun I applied this type of thinking to my training. I sought to understand everything, just like about 99.9% of the people in Sheffield and Hong Kong I trained with. But Chu Shong Tin was different, he was very clever but somehow he had managed to remove that type of analytical thinking block and as a consequence changed the way he moved. A great pity to me is that although he was able to change himself, his teaching method usually fell back to the old way of thinking/describing and his students were nearly all unable to make the great leap to something different.
When I started to train as an Alexander Technique teacher, again I tried to apply my analytical mind. But with the help of kind teachers I was shown thousands of times how my gauges of measurement were wrong, that I had incorrect kinaesthetic sense, that my mind was wondering off trying to solve problems that would be easily sorted if I got out of the way. I had to literally give up and see everything different.
The process of change took several years before it was embedded (say my first 1000 hours of instruction as well as application in daily life). But of course when I came to try to show my friends and students how I achieved the change, I would at first fall back to my old way of thinking/describing as I did not have the tools to teach it. That has only become established in the last two years by learning to not only embody it in myself, but also do that whilst working with someone else. That is higher level skill and something that is rare in the martial arts to have a practitioner who can also teach.
So the topic of the blog is can you teach yourself this stuff? You can guess my answer.
Lets say that what I wrote above represents three stages. First the logical left brain thinking which most of us use and misuse. The second stage is the long process of transition to a means-by approach, and the third is not only having those skills but being able to teach. In my opinion you would have to be a genius to get to level two on your own without significant tactile help from someone.
So, the person who wants to teach them self, to use the internet as a how to guide, is going to be using stage one of thinking. But somehow they are imagining that they can use stage three to teach them stage two. But of course you need stage two to have the skill to teach at stage three, so how could they bridge that gap? Its a virtually impossible leap to make.
If people are telling you that you can teach yourself, that you are already the stage three master capable of self programming, they are very much deluded and still at an embryonic level of thinking. I may be an idiot, but at least I know I'm an idiot.
Find a teacher who can do what they say. Find a teacher who has students who can also do what the teacher can do. Find a teacher who embodies what they say and cares about their students. Don't waste time watching and analysing videos on youtube because you are embedding the wrong thinking, unless you have already had a seismic shift already. Internet sifus may be well meaning, but they just embed fantasy ideas which, for CST lineage, detract from the legacy which CST left. Why don't they open a real club? Start with one student. Its hard enough finding time to write this without making endless videos.
If you want to swim in the sea, go to the beach. Sitting in the bath watching your mobile phone won't ever be the same, even if you have a rubber duck.
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