Since I have been studying the martial arts (which is not long really), I have discovered a way of learning that suits me.
I am sure there is some psychologist that could explain why I like it, but that would seem much like Whitman getting disgusted at astronomers.
For me, I learn and retain best when I let go and let it be. I try not to let previous experience influence what I am being shown, but we all run things through the filters of experience. I do respect the person sharing that knowledge and do not blurt out, “Oh, that’s from X-Brand.”
I would have to say this comes from my initial way of learning in an art that was a bit of this and a bit of that. I have a strong foundation and am able to adjust on the fly to the variety and I believe I can do this because I am not trying to fit the square peg in the round hole, so to speak.
I am also influenced heavily by those I have trained with and still do. We are an eclectic bunch. The annual Gathering of the Tribes in Grand Rapids, MI, is a tossed salad of arts and yet there is an underlying theme through them all. We recognize the commonalities and explore the differences to better ourselves and those we train with when back at home.
Lately, a few people have posted a lot more of what they are doing back home and I am enjoying seeing the common threads in approach and mentality behind the moves.
Amo Guro Michael D. Blackgrave has posted a few videos and I really appreciate his intent and hope he can make it to the next gathering.
The Emperor of Mars has posted a lot of information over the years and I defy you not to learn something from them.
Guru Sean Stark has recently started to post a lot more online as well. If you study PSP, then you should gain some insights into the way the system comes together.
Even Steve Perry has opened a few eyes regarding proper ways to hold edged weapons.
I also feel that one’s personality helps to determine the best way for them to learn. This goes back to the way I learn insomuch as I prefer an organic, open, and fluid approach with a dash of humor thrown in for taste. I am sure there are those who would say this approach may lack the minutiae of an art and that certainly may be true. However, if someone showing me their art says my hand is a centimeter off from their ideal, they are seeking something other than my understanding of their knowledge and I tend to get turned off. Call it an authority complex or rampant individualism if you wish.
In the end, I want to feel good about myself. As my friend Terry says, “I don’t give a FUCK what I have to do, I am going home tonight.”