You can't learn Bujinkan from video

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by The Unholy, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. Hayseed

    Hayseed Thread Killer

    I think you having almost zero experience in the subject matter is reason enough for pretty much everyone here as to why they don't want to listen to you. It's not gonna change anytime soon.

    BTW: Why do I get the feeling that you just stopped by here to mark your territory in "Don's thread"?
  2. Kuroshinobi

    Kuroshinobi Banned Banned

    That's because you were practicing.
    The more you do it.... the more polished you become at it.
    And to be honest.. are you saying that if you don't do something exactly as your teacher... ex. Ganseki nage. That it's no longer a bujinkan technique?
    Because I guarantee you when it comes down to performing it on a live opponent... It won't look the same.
    You'll just be following the basic principles.
    If I don't use the correct grip for an americana... is it no longer an americana?
    Still looks like an ude garami to me.

    If there's a specific way to do something that the teacher wants... he can let you know in the video.
    All the way down to the grip to where you need to place your hips to the footwork.

    I remember when my uncle was teaching me to punch and kick.
    Sure he had to go over things I was doing wrong. But that's because he didn't point it out(with emphasis) when he first was demonstrating UNTIL he saw me doing it wrong. And if he DID and I missed it, I cannot REWIND exactly what he showed me.
    Not only that videos can be rewatched again and again.
    It's the same with taking online college courses(Which have been successful)
    And if college courses can be taught online/video. Then i'm pretty sure martial arts can as well.

    Sure it's not as good as having the teacher right next to you.
    But you can learn just fine through videos/books.(which is what I said). As long as you have live practice with someone.
    Because to be honest I rather have someone who learned from books and has done live sparring sessions and rounds with other martial artist. Rather than someone who learned from an instructor that only showed them elongated demonstrations.
  3. Kuroshinobi

    Kuroshinobi Banned Banned

    I came here because Don mentioned my name earlier in the thread.

    When someone mentions my name ONE time I am summoned.

    I'm not like the candyman, where you would have to say his name 3 times before he is summoned.

    So you're not looking for facts?
    but lies followed with experience?
  4. ginshun

    ginshun Valued Member

    I don't think that anybody can become proficient in any martial art based on videos and books alone.

    Thats not to say that they are not a good resource for both the beginner and the experienced.
  5. Kuroshinobi

    Kuroshinobi Banned Banned

    There's a lot of amazing self taught people out there.

    Most people just agree with getting an instructor to teach you the basic body movements. Which is harder to demonstrate over video.
    But to say it cannot be demonstrated over video is a lie.
    It just takes a very good instructor that knows how to demonstrate over a video. Who knows how to go over every specific detail in a way that people can get it.
    And then it also takes a very dedicated person to keep himself motivated TO learn it the correct way.
  6. Kagete

    Kagete Banned Banned

    I.e. a person that doesn't exist.
  7. ginshun

    ginshun Valued Member

    People who have never trained with an instructor ever?

    Maybe your experiences differ from mine, but I have yet to meet anybody who claims to be completely self taught, who is worth a damn.

    I think that it is possible for dedicated people to train mostly on their own, but go to a school once in a while, to meet and test with a live instructor, to become pretty proficient. This type of person I have met.
  8. Nick Mandilas

    Nick Mandilas Resistance is an option..

    not at all Don, go right ahead.
  9. campsinger

    campsinger Valued Member

    Can things be learned from video or books? Yes, intellectual things can. Yes, some physical activities can, such as blacksmithing and carpentry. Somethings are much more difficult if not actually impossible to learn. Take for example Bob Ross. Who hasn't watched him put a "happy little tree right over here," and tried to emulate it and got something even a ferrel dog wouldn't think of relieving itself on. Something that is artistic in nature can only be demonstrated or discussed on video. Think of them as infomertials: this is what is possible.

    Before you get your knickers in a bunch in that I referred to the Bujinkan as artistic in nature, all martial arts are artistic in nature to some degree; some more than others. Remember the issues Daniel-san had learning karate from a book and Mr. Miagi's understated reaction? Gross motor movement is possible to learn from video, but fine motor movement is not, let alone how/when /where to shift balance, manipulate distance/angles and how if you place a strike here it is uncomfortable, but if you tilt your hand put it here your uke wants to puke. You can explain it and demonstrate it, but that's not good enough. Hell, being present in class and having your teacher do it to you oftentimes isn't enough.

    Many arts have something like omote gyaku in their densho. But each has it's own way of doing it that makes it (more-or-less) unique to that art. For example, if you read books about and watch video on the Bujinkan's omote gyaku, and those are your only resources, you may think you are doing a Bujinkan omote gyaku, but for all you really know you might be doing an Aikido kote gaeshi.

    All that being said, the majority opinion of the Bujinkan members of this forum is that learning Bujinkan waza and kata strictly from video and/or books is not possible. Using them for ideas, possibilities to explore, and memory refreshers is fine. But using them in place of a teacher.... no. If the majority of Shotokan Karate members in their forum said you couldn't learn Shotokan from books and videos, I'd believe them also.

    If someone wants to think that they can.... well, they can try and fail, though they will think they succeeded in their own mind. Continuing to argue about this subject reminds me of a horribly politically incorrect statement saying of a very good friend of mine: "It's like competing in the Special Olympics... when it's all over, you really haven't won anything and you've only esstablished the fact that you're retarded." Horribly non PC, but still accurate.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2010
  10. Nick Mandilas

    Nick Mandilas Resistance is an option..

    Sorry man, but you didn't pay attention to what I said. Yes, you and your training partner can learn a technique (and for arguments sake we will use a simple round kick as an example) but with both of you having little no experience, there's no way to know if you are really doing it right. (are you pivoting correctly? are you turning you hips enough, what part of your foot is landing on the target. Where is your foot landing? Is your timing correct etc etc)

    Many years ago, I was at a party listening to two very experienced martial artists discuss wether a person with no martial arts training could invent their own martial art. And for it to be an EFFECTIVE martial art.

    it was a a conversation that turned silly in the end and a lot of jokes were made through it, which is why I remember it still, but one of them said yes it was possible, but he believed that it would need to be from a person with a high level of logic and must have had some kind of fight experience....What interested me was the comment the other guy made, he said "yep but it would take 10 years for the man to finally structure what he has developed, 10 years to perfect it as best he can, then ten years of watching his students perform it to revise it due to flaws...then add 3 generations of students evolving it and then you right where we are what's the point? Others have done that for you already!"

    And thats what I want to point out...In this discussion, wether someone can make a new art or not is just a side note to a thought and not here to derail the conversation...why I included it in this post is because it hilights that, in the past, others have gone to all the trouble to learn, perfect and evolve a martial art to the point where GOOD students, who later become GOOD teachers are keenly aware of all the subtle movements, postions etc of a technique and what is needed to perform it correctly/effectively. they slowly pass this on to the students around them who then assist in passing it on to newcomers that come in to learn.

    When you grab a video or a book and think that you can just mimic what is seen with you equaly inexperienced training are missing all that knowledge. Your partner cannot assist you because he knows no more than you, where as in a dojo you will have different people of diferent levels of skill helping you out...and as a side benifit, you are also learning to interact with people of different builds, heights, weights, strengths and fighting styles... all things you need to become a good all-round martial artist.

    Ace of Clubs mentioned a test earlier but I think it is too complex. I have an easier one for you.

    Go get a DVD instructional video from a martial art that you have NEVER done before - say sambo. and train with a friend (who also has never done it before) as often as you can for 16 weeks (4 months). Then head down to your local Sambo gym and ask if you can have a roll with a guy of equal build that has only been doing it for around the same amount of time.

    You don't need to come back and tell me the outcome, I already know the answer.
  11. The Unholy

    The Unholy Banned Banned


    Kusoshinobi, you obviously came into this thread to get in some digs at me and I suspect you will just reject anything I try to say. But you should listen to what rubber tanto and everyone else has written.
  12. The Unholy

    The Unholy Banned Banned

    I so wish I had thought of that example when I wrote the blog. :cool:

    Isn't that the truth. Unless you are there to see just how important having these little pieces pointed out is, it is like trying to describe sex to a virgin.

    I like your point about fine motor skills. I might put it another way, even though you can't see the differences does not mean they are not there, nor are they not important.

    I have a student who did Toshindo and self taught himself for a while and he has a lot of bad habits he has to break coming into Bujinkan. Fortunately he is very enthusiastic and loves it when I correct him. He is just not able to see the things like how to shift weight and how to generate power that serve as a base for things like oni kudaki. Getting him to see them and then use them as part of the technique is one of the biggest problems I face. It is not the times that he steps with the wrong foot that is the problem, since he can catch that. It is times like when he shifts his hips forward, stops them and only then the hand extends in a strike that has only the arm muscles behind it.

    Well said. If everyone who had more experience than I in something said I was wrong, I would have to be pretty egotistical to think that their opinions based on their greater experience was less worthy than mine.
  13. Hayseed

    Hayseed Thread Killer

    Hey Ron, Good to see you! How're the rugrats(I say rugrats but they're probably in junior high by now.:))

    I can personally attest to video learning being a bad idea. I used to have to travel out of state for instruction, in between training trips to keep myself excited and practicing, I watched all the vids on the net, bought Jack Hoban's "Art of the Ninja", got a couple Hayes' home study course vids from a friend, watched a few of the Van Donk home study vids, and nearly all of Soke's vids.

    There are so many things you can't see, even when in the dojo and it happens right in front of you, even when it happens to you the important specifics are difficult to discern. At the dojo I trained at most recently, the senior student and I were working through some things and since I can take ukemi well enough, there's a little room for free play. Even though everything I was doing "Looked good/correct" it didn't really work right and he even said, "You watch alot of videos, don't you."

    Yes you can learn very basic things from videos, but for most everything else, it has to be experienced.

    Kuroshinobi, didn't you say that your uncle trained at a TSD dojo? Hmm...
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2010
  14. noname

    noname Valued Member


    I think that one could learn (not "master") everything from videos if the "teacher" (let's just say it's Hatsumi-soke) was making a concerted effort to "teach" everything.
  15. Ace of Clubs

    Ace of Clubs Banned Banned

    Actually i know exactly what you are saying Hayseed.

    Sometimes i meet BBT practitioners who look 'right' technically but when the techniques are done they just don't 'feel' right or work as they should.

    Interesting phenomenon hmmm...
  16. stephenk

    stephenk Valued Member

    I find that the people usually referred to as 'kata collectors' are like this. When I train with them I feel a 'disconnectedness' between us.

    I'm used to training with people who value this connection (tsunagari), so when it's missing it feels like there's a huge gaping hole. This hole is space/time that someone can use to move against you.

    This can't be taught on a video. You have to feel the difference before you can know that there even is a difference.
  17. Nick Mandilas

    Nick Mandilas Resistance is an option..

    That's a good point you make. I also note that with some people, you can feel by the way they strike and block wether they have a true understanding of what is going to be needed (both physically and mentally) in a real fight or if they are in for a big shock.
  18. Kagete

    Kagete Banned Banned

    Ever since I first stepped on the wooden flooring of my first dojo back in early 1995, not *ONCE* have I ever encountered any one person who in any way resembled what is sometimes referred to as a "kata collector".
    I've encountered fundamentalist Christians, mentally retarded practitioners, sociopaths, street fighters, alcoholics, osteoporosis patients, diabetics, tourists, empire builders, demagogues, whistle blowers, hypocrites, sadists, masochists, illusionists, emos, bodybuilders, police officers, skaters, straight A students, teetotallers, bouncers, professional poker players, journalists, traceurs, rank whores, cineasts, con artists, war veterans, and maybe the occasional note-taker in the vicinity of Umesato. But I have NEVER met or seen any kata collectors, i.e. people who were only interested in amassing a large amount of techniques for the sake of it.
  19. Kurtka Jerker

    Kurtka Jerker Valued Member

    Wow. I could pick a random school in this area and easily have plenty to choose from. The thing is, they don't realize that's all they're doing. They think they're gathering a bunch of tricks to "use" on someone. They can't fight at all, but they know a lot of techniques, and they're eager to show them off. When it comes to actually applying them in motion though, they're helpless, because they don't understand that you don't just "use" one of your tricks or techniques on the opponent. Even the most textbook technique has to be fitted to the instant it happens.
  20. stephenk

    stephenk Valued Member


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