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Monday, July 06, 2009

Seeing is believing ?

This is a training video with 2 others. I saw what I looked like 'doing boxing' type moves. For a few years now I have been told 'chin down'. I thought I had this idea down by 2005, but it crept back up. Here in this video it creeps up when I try and deliver upper-cuts. OK I am aiming to deliver uppercuts for my friends defences, but if he counters, my chin is on a plate.
You can hear Granmaster K telling me chin down. I have heard this a hundred times. BUT now I see it.

Yuk. I look a poor sight. I disgrace myself.

So what ? This shows the value of video and the idea of seeing is believing. Think of how people put bias on 'eye witnesses'; 'Doubting Thomas' came to believe only when he saw; and the statement 'I will believe it when I see it'. Well this video is massive and got me thinking about video too in general.

Its not totally true that seeing is believing is it. We see lots of adverts on TV and don't believe them ...because we have critical skills. Watching and seeing are interpretive acts. We are matching things up in our heads to what we see.

The issue is these skills can be sharpened.
When it comes to watching martial arts instructionals, we can arrest these skills - excessive reverence can be a cause. Master X or so and so's student does this - it MUST be true. It’s a trap.

Worth thinking about too is how old is this material ? Has the practitioner moved on and changed or modified their techniques ? Maybe they have had a Pauline conversion and renounced their style all together since that video was made as there were flaws in their approach !?

Do you have another instructional that has this same type of material - if so then contrast the techniques. Get a friend in to watch with you to help contrast the moves. Take time to tooth pick their differences. Maybe the practitioner isn't verbalising something that they need to that your friend sees ?

Remember to look at the feet - even in hand techniques. The feet show weight distribution for example or how to move the upper body. They are tied often to the hands. If the camera cuts-off the feet then maybe you have to search down the tape or DVD for an example or find another example elsewhere.

Keep a log of what videos you have seen or own. This will act as an index to look up this or that move. It shows you too how far you have moved in your 'journey'.

Search for reviews on your instructions before or even after you buy them. These can be useful in verifying the value of what you have
. The BJJ community is very vibrant in reviewing instructionals that come out in its domain. There is something very different about BJJ / Vale Tudo knowledge and its socially shared nature. I wonder if its something to do with the physical proximity of training mano-a-mano that creates this ?!

Write notes to accompany your DVDs. These could be stick-men that break down a move. The pause function and A-B repeat is excellent for this [If you have never used the latter - THAT is your homework ok!]. Give your notes to your friends - it could be questions like I don’t get move @ 22 mins in - can you work out what this means ? Or do you trust that arm-lock @ 52 mins ? It could be an index of moves in writing.
After a few viewings the details will melt away or go 'fuzzy'.

Watch the video once and let it gloss over you - this is 'looking'. Then once you have a 'mental map' of what is there focus on a portion to train on that day. And a new portion another day. This creates 'seeing'.

Write reviews. This verbalises your thoughts and forces you to evaluate what you have seen. Evaluation is a high level cognitive skill. Practice it. It goes beyond mimicry or description.

Treat your DVDs with care. Avoid scratching them and implore your ruffian friends not to scratch them when you lend them. If they do get scratched, then there are some remedies like tooth paste being wiped into the scratch.