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Thread: Training Solo

  1. #1
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    Default Training Solo

    I am looking for a little advice on getting started with training. I am in St. Louis and though we have a Bujinkan Dojo I am not able to attend their classes due to my work and school schedule. I wanted to get started with training on my own and then try to join the dojo once I get my bachelors degree and I have more free time on my hands. Right now I am pretty limited with time as I usually leave my house around 7 a.m. and come back home around 9 p.m. This pretty much forces me to train solo. I was wondering if getting started with a home-study course such as Master Von Donk's would be a good idea or not. Keep in mind, I would be training solo with nobody to spar with a majority of the time. Any info would be appreciated.
    Amir Kurtovic

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    Self training isn't a very good idea and many people are going to agree with me as well. You should always wait until you can learn under an actual teacher. In the meantime I'd spend the money for videos for books. Not to learn how to do "Ninjutsu" from the books but to learn about the art as much as you can. Doing video training will just develope bad habits because you won't have a sensei to tell you what you're doing wrong. It might look right to you but it may not actually be right. So right now either wait or buy something educational. Cheers
    Mathew Donegan

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    Thanks. I was kind of thinking the same thing seeing as how in the Bujikan most of the techniques seem to be too complex and subtle to pratice alone. I still train my punching and kicking every day along with cardio and weight training. I think what I need to do is just walk into a bar and punch the biggest guy there to see where my waza skills are at
    Amir Kurtovic

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    Default wait

    To be honest with the time you have available and lack of training partner, I'd suggest watching training dvds/videos and reading books rather than home study.

    Maybe try fitting in one lesson every few weeks or once a month, homestudy can be a supplement but never a good option against a local Dojo.

    It has its uses for long distance, ie students who are seperated by long distances from their nearest Dojo.

    But if you do have a local dojo, infrequent visits seems like your best option maybe a couple of hours at the weekend. Even if they don't do weekend classes I expect a few of the students there would not mind meeting up.

    Best to ask, see what they can do.

    :-)
    'Saru mo ki kara ochiru.' is a Japanese kotowaza or proverb. 'Even monkeys fall from trees.' or essentially 'Nobody's perfect'


    Gary Brewer

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    You're welcome. I'm glad to be of help. Good luck and I hope everything works out for you.
    Mathew Donegan

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    Default Sort of an open ended question...

    What I'd recommend is reviewing what you already know. Let me put it like this, I've seen people who train in a dojo 3 - 5 times a week for hours and they still suck. Then I've seen people who make it to the dojo once a month and their taijutsu is spectacular. The reasoning I have come to realize is in how the person trains themselves. I've been training for 12 years now and the last five have been mainly solo due to occupational reasons in the military. I get back to the dojo maybe 3 - 5 times a year and still see improvements. I also see where I lack. Solo training offers you this...a sense of honesty in how bad or good you really are and how to improve. In the dojo I've noticed if someone isn't good at a certain technique they usually do as little of it as possible because of criticism or time limitations in instruction, etc. Training solo allows you to work on one technique for literally hours on end if need be. Now that being said, I'm also a nidan with a shidoshi-ho so I know what to look for. I can honestly look in the mirror and go "Wow, I suck at that." because I've seen it done properly, I know how it is supposed to be instructed and my body just isn't moving like it should. If you are inexperienced (which when I started training I did a lot of solo then too) I'd recommend getting private instruction on JUST THE KIHON HAPPO. Maybe a few hours once a month on one or two of the techniques. Then so on until you get them all. Spend the next 3 or 4 years while you're getting your degree just going over those. Get them down to where you can perform them near flawlessly at any given time, under any terrain, in any type of clothing, etc. Once you learn kihon (not mimic like a robot but learn it) then every other technique will fall into place. What solo training will not allow you to work on is timing, distancing, targeting, etc....all of which is vital to randori (free form striking/grappling). I know because I see mine declining when I return to the dojo. In my opinion though (and I'm still new in this game and don't know much) that stuff can be picked up in a few years and if your basics are solid then you won't have to worry about them when you start working with another body. The other body will just fall into place. Hope that makes sense. If not, then throw it away, believe me no one knows the truth. I just know what has worked and continues to work for me. If you need a kihon happo dvd, check out Bud Malmstrom's (I'm partial because he's my friend and teacher) but great cd/dvd and at least you can watch it and know how it should look when you look in the mirror.

    Good luck and ninpo ikkan.

    Dave Clifford
    Nidan
    Atlanta Bujinkan Dojo (yes it still exists)

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    Excelent post and I completely agree with Dave. Videos are very good for reviewing what you already know. Just don't expect to learn everything off the DVD. You'll just develope bad habits as I said earlier. DVDs aren't a complete waste, however. They're very good as training supplements. Once you find a good dojo you can use them as a review. Just don't expect to learn the entire art off the DVDs. Cheers and happy training.
    Mathew Donegan

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    Hi All,

    This my first post here so I'd like say hello to everyone.

    I have a similar problem in that Work/studies & Family etc. as well I live some distance away from any good Dojos training was difficult. Learn from books or Vids just won't work and Solo training really is not enough at least if you are only starting to learn martial art. So I have found that training when I can in the Dojo and finding one or two of the senior students that I can train with outside of the Dojo (I love training outdoors anyway most schools don't do enough of it in my opinion) has helped.

    That said I did stop almost all training after I got married for 3years and I am only getting back into it now and luckily enough one of those senior students is now teach quite close too me. Also any training is better then none so if there is another school that is open at time you can train then take it up it will help in the long run.

    My 2cents

    James Devine
    Thank You

    James Devine

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by saru1968
    To be honest with the time you have available and lack of training partner, I'd suggest watching training dvds/videos and reading books rather than home study.

    Maybe try fitting in one lesson every few weeks or once a month, homestudy can be a supplement but never a good option against a local Dojo.

    It has its uses for long distance, ie students who are seperated by long distances from their nearest Dojo.

    But if you do have a local dojo, infrequent visits seems like your best option maybe a couple of hours at the weekend. Even if they don't do weekend classes I expect a few of the students there would not mind meeting up.

    Best to ask, see what they can do.

    :-)

    I agree with this completely. Especially when you are just beginning, training time in the dojo with a teacher and some senpai over you is invaluable.

    Practice at home when you can't make it out to the dojo but only practice what you've been taught. When it comes to memorizing kata and such, I've always been a fan of taking notes when possible. Practice out of your notebook until the techniques are committed to memory. When you get back to the dojo, have people check to make sure you've not developed any bad habits in the meantime and then take on the next couple of techniques.
    Cheers,
    Drew Sutton
    Jissen Kobudo Jinenkan

  10. #10
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    Training alone is difficult, but books and DVDs do help. You can't really learn new techniques, but they make good training supplements for techniques you want to refresh. Of course, there are things in books you wouldn't ever pick up in class, mostly about lineage and history. Shoto Tanemura sensei's book Ninpo Secrets is a good example, it's practically a bible of the history of ninpo, etc. Training solo is a good time to focus on what you know, and add in lots of conditioning and drills.

  11. #11
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    Training alone is not really possible.

    You would be your own teacher and the fact that you need to learn shows that you are not the best teacher for yourself.

    Go to a class whenever you can, you need to do this because otherwise you will start to introduce errors into what you are practicing unless your progress is constantly reviewed by people of superior ability.

    The alternative is to learn what you can from books and DVDs and then put yourself in dangerous places and situations where people 'invite' you to test yourself until you know what works, if you live to tell the tale at all.

    I know which I prefer!

    I'm not being negative or patronising, but it all depends upon what you want from the art. You could probably learn to mimic everything that is available in video form on the planet but would you know how to perform the techniques against different shapes, sizes and numbers of people as you would from frequent practice with 'different shapes, sizes and numbers of people'?

    If you really need to practice alone more often than not, concentrate on the underlying stuff such as flexibility and body conditioning, rolling, breakfalling and hitting things with different body weapons, all of which will help when you do get to train in the dojo and which most of us who do train regularly probably neglect if we are honest.

    You can also familiarise yourself with sticks and other weapons.

    Whatever you do, if you do continue to train from DVDs etc, make sure that your brain and body do not 'fix' anything as 'learnt' or 'mastered'. Try to think of all your training as works in progress to ensure that such 'progress' does happen.
    Adam C R Hurley -
    I know nothing - Manuel, Fawlty Towers.

  12. #12
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    About 70% of my training is with my self if not more.Just going to class is not enough for me.Try to get a partner, and get a mentor for the both of you.Even if you see a teacher once every 3 months just do your home work.

  13. #13
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    Waiting until you've got your degree to start training seriously is a good idea. In the meantime consider doing supplimental training as well as a fair bit of reading on Ninpo, etc. to give yourself a solid foundation when you do get to training.

    Seriously look into diet and nurtitional information as well. Dr. Andrew Weil's _Eating Well for Optimal Health_ is a good starting. This might seem a bit odd but this simple area of learning is something that often eludes practiioners to their detriment as they age. Diet was one of the first points that Takamatsu Soke stressed and that Dr. Hatsumi stressed early on in his opening up the traditions of Ninpo to the world.

    In terms of physical conditioning yoga, skipping rope, balance related training are all good ideas. If you can find some decent material on Feldenkrais Methods consider giving that a go (Moti Native recently put out a DVD on the topic). Some basic endurance training, such as one and two mile runs and wind sprints might be worth your efforts if you have the time.

    In terms of reading the recent hardcovers by Dr. Hatsumi are excellent references. Similarly Mr. Tanemura's works are worth your time. Getting some background info on Japanese Budo and Bujutsu, such as Donn Draeger's excellent works on the subject, might be worthy our time as well.

    Most of the DVD reference materials put out as "distance training" aren't really that good for that however they can make decent suppliments to your reading to get an idea of what taijutsu movement look like. Dr. Hatsumi's ryuha videos are good at giving something of a taste of what the different approaches to taijutsu feel like. Mr. Manaka's "Kyu and Shodan" DVD for the Jinenkan is a good basics reference. I have not seen the kyu videos for that MR. Tanemura has released for the Genbukan however having read his Taijutsu book I'm sure they are worth viewing. I haven't seen Steven Hayes' Taijutsu Kihon video but chances are it is decent as a visual reference. I have only seen portions of Mr. von Donk's video series and while I can see some value in it I wouldn't be too inclinded to recommend it as a primary source.

    At this point focus mainly on working on your diet, flexibility and conditioning will contribute more to the quality of your life and the eventual quality of your training then any "Distance learning" approach will.

    Good luck with thatever you choose to do.
    Patrick F. Brady

  14. #14
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    keep it simple.Small steps building a little at a time.Get a stick.

  15. #15
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    Default training in st. louis

    college is good. what is your goal in college?

    ninpo taijutsu training is good; what is your goal?

    to learn attend a seminar hosted by angie smith and their group.
    learn the basic eight

    study at home all you want.
    _______________
    john gautreaux

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