The REAL Concepts REPOST

Subject: Food for thought
From: Mike Gillette
Date: 23-Dec-00 | 12:10 PM
I have recently been checking out the many instructional video reviews that have been posted all over the internet. After doing so, I have had my attention re-focused on the issue of people teaching "concepts" rather than "techniques."
Dramatized examples:
"Instructor X is good, because he teaches concepts and not a bunch of techniques." "Instructor Y is unrealistic because he only teaches techniques." "Instructor Z is confusing because he TALKS about concepts but actually TEACHES techniques."
I may be in the minority, but I believe that concepts and techniques are not mutually exclusive. As an example, let's take a concept that the FMA crowd learns early on... "De-fanging the Snake." (Yes, I know that this is an old sword fighting tactic, but bear with me.)
Teacher: "Alright student, here comes my angle #8, now De-Fang the Snake."
Student: "I truly want to, but HOW?"
Teacher: "Using your triangle footwork, step to the outside of the weapon's trajectory, make sure your other hand is up for cover, perform an inverted inside sweep and then counterstrike with your angle #4."
(All of that sounded a helluva lot like a technique to me.)
My conclusion is that many people are falling into Instructor "Z's" category, and are simply using the "cool" terminology without undestanding how to actually present concepts as concepts.
I do not personally have a problem with teaching "techniques," but my feeling is that it is more about the context of your instruction than what type of semantic distinctions that you cloak it in. If I relate this to Jiu-Jitsu, I can say that my system has hundreds of techniques. (I think that once upon a time some guy figured if he had more techniques than another guy, he'd be the superior fighter. I would introduce that guy to Tank Abbot.)
Anyway, the idea of hundreds or even thousands of techniques is not only silly, it is also an inefficient teaching model. Confusing to students in class, dangerous to students on the street. (Information overload.)
There are only a few different ways to manipulate joints and in my mind, there are closer to about 35 techniques that exist in the system that I train in. And even among those core techniques everyone learns which ones are high percentage responses and which ones are better suited for "demos."
My conclusions are that a conceptual teaching model is an efficient vehicle for imparting skills and to develop an efficient response. But before a student dismisses the idea of learning "techniques" (don't get hung up on terminology, an elbow strike can be called a technique) that student needs to look at instructors that in some way have been labeled as "conceptual," Sonnon, Harris, Blauer, Maffei, Tripp, etc. Those bad-ass body mechanics are no accident. That's the result of mastering the basics.
Happy Holidays, Mike

Subject: RE: INFO
From: SSonnon
Date: 24-Dec-00 | 12:20 AM
Mike, can I have your permission to reprint this on the Forum? It is about the best damn post I've seen all year. My very best wishes to you and your family for Happy holidays, brother!

Subject: RE: INFO
Date: 24-Dec-00 | 02:44 AM

From: Mike Gillette
Date: 24-Dec-00 | 06:52 AM
You certainly may re-print it. And please give my best to all of the knuckle-draggers out there.
Happy holidays, Mike

Subject: RE: INFO
From: lawler
Date: 24-Dec-00 | 08:46 AM
It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. ALBERT EINSTEIN 1879-1955
Good ole' Albert , one of the world's greatest conceptual teachers .

Subject: RE: INFO
From: Tony Blauer
Date: 24-Dec-00 | 09:56 AM
Great post Mike, seems like only the 'conceptual' readers are posting though ...
Have a great holiday.

Subject: RE: INFO
From: tmorenz
Date: 24-Dec-00 | 11:56 AM
As a newcomer to this Q & A, the above post is a reason why I should be a reqular here. Outstanding material!!! Thank you for the contribution!

Subject: RE: INFO
From: jsteinmann
Date: 25-Dec-00 | 11:36 AM

Subject: RE: INFO
From: djl
Date: 25-Dec-00 | 03:03 PM
Mr. Gillette,
Too bad there isn't a universal Martial Artist "loud--speaker" or "I.V." we could plug that post into.
Happy Holidays to all, David Lep

From: Mike Gillette
Date: 25-Dec-00 | 03:10 PM
It is humbling and gratifying to receive such positive feedback. Tony and Scott earned my respect some time ago. They have elevated the level of discourse on and set the standard in terms of imparting valuble information.
Blessings to all of you this holiday season, Mike

Subject: RE: INFO
From: Horatius
Date: 27-Dec-00 | 11:24 AM
-Couldn't come up with anything eloquent (conceptual) so I reverted to the basics! :)
(Damn fine post, Mike!! But greater authorities than I have already said that!!!!)
SHALOM & Hokahey!! Kevin

Subject: RE: INFO
From: hal5150
Date: 27-Dec-00 | 12:29 PM
Great post again. This is the reason why I stop here second after the Mental Edge. By making us think, you are helping us to survive.

Subject: RE: INFO
From: SSonnon
Date: 29-Dec-00 | 04:23 PM
ttt read this again all!

Subject: RE: INFO
From: Sothy
Date: 30-Dec-00 | 05:14 PM
wow, I haven't come to this Q&A in a while, but Scott had the message to read: "The Commerce of Combatives", on the main board...and now this as bonus!
thanks again

Subject: RE: INFO
From: nowaydo
Date: 01-Jan-01 | 03:31 PM

Subject: RE: INFO
From: MTripp
Date: 01-Jan-01 | 03:33 PM
"Sonnon, Harris, Blauer, Maffei, Tripp, etc."
Wow...I really don't think I belong in that group!
I'm just a dumb ass wrestler who was too stupid to learn it any way but the way I'm showing others.
But thanks!


Thanks for reaching into the void and pulling this back out. My computer skills are no match for yours.


How 'bout we get together and I'll trade my meagerly computer skills for some knife & stick training! :)


Nice work.

Thank God for all the clever people.


Alas, I was focusing on the broader 'concept' of reposting as opposed to a specific reposting technique. :P

Thanks Dogbert, I was in a hurry.