October 12, 2014
I still have notebooks filled with notes and drawing. At the Karate College seminars I was known as "the guy who takes the notes". Renzo Gracie joked with me that he wanted my notes for his next book.
I am a very serious student. I spent a great deal of time and money on my training. I invested in myself. I traveled to America to train with the best, and I took notes.
I did not own a video camera. That was beyond my means.
I took photographs and mostly I drew pictures. As did Bruce Lee before me I became quick with the pen. Only problem was when I came home.
Even with my local instructor, Itay Gil, I encountered the same problem again and again.
During the class it all seemed to make sense. But then when I came home I could not remember exactly how it went. So I started drawing pictures as soon as there was a break. Often the minute class ended I took out my notebook and drew the technique as best as I could remember it.
But the problem was I came home and could not figure out what I drew. Was that a foot or an arm?
Does that limb belong to the attacker of defender?
It was not clear and I was confused.
OK, no problem, wait until next lesson. But next lesson came and Itay decided to teach something else. Sometimes weeks would go by before this technique came up again, and I never missed a lesson.
As a result I never mastered the technique. And all I could refer to was some strange sketch on a napkin or a piece of paper.
Moshe with the gang at the old dojo. We trained hard and seriously.
In Person or Distance?
Sometimes people feel that the only way to learn is to have a teacher close by, a teacher you can train with on a regular basis. I have found that this is not always true.
Some of my best students live in foreign countries.
Today we have the internet, videos and DVDs. These are a huge advantage.
You are in class, but you can't exactly see what the instructor is doing. Perhaps the more advanced students have taken the better spots. Perhaps you are at a bad angle. Perhaps you are embarrassed to ask for him to explain it again. Perhaps you are paired with a partner who is impatient with you or going too fast.
No problem. Just go home, turn on the video or DVD and watch the technique. Slow it down, watch it as many times as you need. I know that on our DVDs we film it again and again, from every angle, with all possible variations. Really you have the instructor at home with you, or at work, on the train or bus, whenever you want!
The DVD is a hugely important innovation. It must not be overlooked.
But you do need more!
On Line Program - With our on line program we try to answer all your needs. Some programs are automated. A machine sends out a video clip once per week. With us each video clip is sent out by me personally and every member can send in his or her questions.
If you did not understand the clip, OK, we will explain it to you or film it again with emphasis on the part you did not get. You want a different angle, we shall film it for you.
Thus with the on-line program I truly become your personal teacher. You can send in video clips of yourself for evaluation. You can show me what part does not make sense for you, or what part is challenging. This is more than you can expect from most local instructors.
DVDs - The DVD takes us to the next level. We have more time on our hands. We go slower and explain each technique in greater detail and with greater depth. Our DVDs have been praised as among the best in the industry.
Do not deprive yourselves of these DVDs.
In Person Training - I certainly advocate making every effort to train with me, the head instructor, and other qualified IKI instructors in person whenever possible.
I strongly encourage you to host me for seminar, attend seminars in your region and join us for Tour and Train. Of course these are extremely beneficial.
However, not being with me year-round does not mean that you cannot master the techniques. As great as it is to live near your teacher on a full time basis, it is not essential. Better to have a great teacher far away than a substandard one who is conveniently located nearby.
Do not choose an instructor based on convenience. Chose a style and an instructor based on quality!