The Martial Arts Teacher - a new book

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Re: The Martial Arts Teacher - a new book

Postby Bhassler on Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:20 am

chimerical tortoise wrote:
Bhassler wrote:Awareness Through Movement - Moshe Feldenkrais
Drills - Rory Miller
Intervention - Dan John

All of the above could be read with an eye towards process, rather than specifics.


I really liked Meditations on Violence for a sensible framework on what motivates people to learn martial arts. I haven't read Drills yet... so pardon the ignorance but what do you mean by 'process rather than specifics'?


It means you don't have to do Rory's drills, or agree with Rory's take on things-- what's important is that he has a series of drills that are all designed for specific purposes and fit together to take students through a progression of self-learning that has a consistent outcome. Look at the structure of what he's doing and the underlying logic, and then determine if there's anything useful for you, or if you can use the structure to inspire your own drills.

For Awareness Through Movement, the lessons, etc in the book are great, and folks should do them, but also look at the structure. Again, it's an insight into how to direct folks towards self-learning.

Dan John's stuff is focused towards strength training, but once again he has a very clear and effective thought process, and includes a lot of tools for thinking about measures and assessments.

I haven't picked up RobP's book, yet, but expect it will be thought provoking, and based on the great stuff Rob's posted here over the years, have no hesitation recommending it to anyone. I'm also looking forward to BruceP's book, when it eventually comes out.

I read the previews on Amazon of Jonathon's book, and at least the early chapters had more to do with the cultural artifacts of running a school where folks have hierarchical expectations and attachments around Asian martial arts than around any actual teaching (that's not a criticism-- for many people, those artifacts are a big part of the experience). I think Dr. Fish was working on some books about martial arts, and I suspect that those would prove eye-opening to folks who are interested in the culture and traditions associated with CMA before it became westernized and/or commercialized. That's pure speculation on my part, and may require reading between the lines-- but Dr. Fish has made no secret of the fact that much of what's commonly portrayed with regards to old school training is patently false.
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Re: The Martial Arts Teacher - a new book

Postby chimerical tortoise on Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:42 am

Thank you Chris for sharing.

He is excellent at taking young people from white to black belt and on to elite athletic standard.


Traditional arts don't seem to fare well without this grading/competitive litmus, that is a pretty quantifiable measure of 'good coach'.

he would make the training highly individualised to the people around him. We would be training in the park and every person would be doing something different and specific to them. There were a number of people around him that had excellent skill and often they were excellent at different things. A testiment to his individualisation of the process.


What a brilliant description, Alex's students are very lucky to have him.

A few years ago I would say that this describes a 'good teacher' but I'm realising now there can be a bit of a difference...

I think by definition the best 'coaches' in the Traditional arts are not the ones people will have heard of. They are not the focus nor are their personal skills, although they may be skilled, it is their students that often get the limelight.


re: the limelight, not all that glitters is gold... I'm just increasingly grateful to have met the few teachers I've met so far. They have all focused on making me a better person, not just going through with empty motions of teaching.

Would you say that you are coaching (rather than teaching) these days?
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Re: The Martial Arts Teacher - a new book

Postby chimerical tortoise on Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:48 am

Hi Bhassler,

It means you don't have to do Rory's drills, or agree with Rory's take on things-- what's important is that he has a series of drills that are all designed for specific purposes and fit together to take students through a progression of self-learning that has a consistent outcome. Look at the structure of what he's doing and the underlying logic, and then determine if there's anything useful for you, or if you can use the structure to inspire your own drills.


It sounds good. Thanks for recommending Drills and Feldenkrais (so far I find his writing style and reasoning exquisite). Dan John sounds interesting as well. Do you teach?

I haven't picked up RobP's book, yet, but expect it will be thought provoking, and based on the great stuff Rob's posted here over the years, have no hesitation recommending it to anyone. I'm also looking forward to BruceP's book, when it eventually comes out.


I'd expect nothing less from good Systema... and skipping in the woods ;D
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Re: The Martial Arts Teacher - a new book

Postby chimerical tortoise on Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:52 am

I read the previews on Amazon of Jonathon's book, and at least the early chapters had more to do with the cultural artifacts of running a school where folks have hierarchical expectations and attachments around Asian martial arts than around any actual teaching (that's not a criticism-- for many people, those artifacts are a big part of the experience). I think Dr. Fish was working on some books about martial arts, and I suspect that those would prove eye-opening to folks who are interested in the culture and traditions associated with CMA before it became westernized and/or commercialized. That's pure speculation on my part, and may require reading between the lines-- but Dr. Fish has made no secret of the fact that much of what's commonly portrayed with regards to old school training is patently false.


There are certainly plenty of expectations and attachments around Asian martial arts that may not be as useful as they are supposed to be, I think we can all say that much. I also don't really think that what is commonly portrayed as tradition is necessarily true - certainly the CMAs I've been exposed to did not have nearly as much cultural baggage as what appears to be quite normal at large.

Thanks Jonathon for generously putting out a fair amount of the book on Amazon Preview... enough to get some idea of what might be in the book. I didn't think it's personally for me but at second thought also shouldn't have been so harsh for what looks to have taken a lot of effort.
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Re: The Martial Arts Teacher - a new book

Postby middleway on Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:50 am

Would you say that you are coaching (rather than teaching) these days?


Absolutely mate. I am currently responsible for developing and coaching the competition team at Gracie Barra Gloucester and we have consistant success in some of the most competitive grappling tournements in the UK. Next year we are aiming to have athletes at euros, Adcc trials and some of the worlds events. And getting people ready falls 100% on my shoulders, in this regard i am absolutely a coach.

For my work away from grappling i mainly teach combat sports athletes, but still retain a few 'traditional' martial artists who i coach from Karate Dan grades to Tai Chi teachers, Almost all of them are also teachers of their own schools or clubs. Again the approach is highly individualised and not 'art' specific. This is where the MartialBody idea came from and i am constantly trying to refine how i teach people in line with their goals. I am about to embark on some lengthy (6 years) higher education in coaching and sports science as this is such an interesting field for me, even though it is not relevant to my day job.

There is an assumption (especially with certain members of this board), that how people approach martial arts is the same now as it was 10 years ago. However, I can honestly say that my approach to the subject of both martial arts and especially coaching, is largely opposite to the views you would have seen me posting on the old Emptyflower etc. That is something I am very proud of.

All the best with your training :)
Last edited by middleway on Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Martial Arts Teacher - a new book

Postby chimerical tortoise on Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:09 pm

Thanks, it's certainly very interesting to hear what you've been up to - sounds fantastic to say the least.

There is an assumption (especially with certain members of this board), that how people approach martial arts is the same now as it was 10 years ago. However, I can honestly say that my approach to the subject of both martial arts and especially coaching, is largely opposite to the views you would have seen me posting on the old Emptyflower etc. That is something I am very proud of.


I'd expect nothing less - if nothing has changed in ten years then maybe something is wrong! From what I've read of your posts over the years I will say however that you're still consistently polite and logical... regardless of the change in views. That is something I respect immensely about you.

Good luck with the training and coaching, looking forward to hearing of more successes from your coaching too!
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Re: The Martial Arts Teacher - a new book

Postby middleway on Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:45 am

I'd expect nothing less - if nothing has changed in ten years then maybe something is wrong! From what I've read of your posts over the years I will say however that you're still consistently polite and logical... regardless of the change in views. That is something I respect immensely about you.

Good luck with the training and coaching, looking forward to hearing of more successes from your coaching too!


Thank you mate. All the best with your training etc too :)
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Re: The Martial Arts Teacher - a new book

Postby BruceP on Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:10 am

chimerical tortoise wrote:
I'd expect nothing less - if nothing has changed in ten years then maybe something is wrong!


I don't think that's necessarily true.
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