A while back I was with a training partner, who like me, had trained around a lot, and traveled to seminars and training sessions with great masters. Not all of us live near the Inosanto Academy, or have top first generation masters ion our neighborhoods, but it’s a different world than 200 years ago, and travel for everyone is a lot easier. So we extend ourselves for the opportunities to learn from the best.
In some of my early Karate days, I had instructors secure enough to not discourage you from training with other teachers as well as themselves, while others didn’t want you to taint what they were teaching you with other “garbage.” I take the latter as a bit of selfishness and insecurity, but anyway…
Because you might not see a particular instructor for weeks, month or even years, a lot of us struggled to keep notes, during breaks in practice and sometimes even in the middle of learning a technique or concept. The training partner I mentioned at the beginning, told us he had 10 years worth of notes, organized, in one notebook! He is an excellent practitioner, runs a great training group, is well connected and continues to train with others.
I’ve also kept notes, but not as well. Napkins, tissue paper, scraps of note or typing paper someone spared me, assorted little notebooks, often with barely legible and illegible script or drawings has been part of my treasure house of learning. That way I could go back to my home school get a partner, and refine things till I got with that instructor next time. Consider how glad I was once when an instructor for a week gave us a binder of the material we were going to cover!
But personal language and vocabulary also come in to play. How you effectively communicate to yourself may be unique. When I describe something as 1-1-2 you may understand for yourself better as right-right-left, and then why complicate it more using foreign terms?
Which is why I encourage note taking. And I am taking notes now on what I teach and to whom. No pressure though, everyone is on their own level, timetable, and capacity structure, you are only looking for your personal best. I’m doing it so I can review that I don’t miss basic essentials for everyone.
Beyond that, I hope that all of you will excel and surpass me, then come teach me some more. Like I say, we have no tests, yet you are testing always!