I guess you can say I'm searching for thing to support my argument. Thing is he blows all the Bias against "non-Asian" CMAers apart. He trained in China, Competed in hard/full contact, learned forms, learned about chi, he is about as classical, traditional, or whatever you want to deem him and he still says everything a sport fighter would say.
Students learn about alignment and basic movement skills from the first day of class. They also start some non-cooperative sparring drills within the first week or two of training. Some students (with a little background) start sparring in a limited format the first or second class.
You could practice forms for a million years and you will never know if you are doing them with any degree of proficiency until you try to use the skills in sparring. The very idea of forms is to develop the attributes useful to fighting. How can you test the degree of development obtained from forms training? By fighting (or sparring realistically). Otherwise, you are only dancing.
Think about how you acquired any other physical/athletic skill. How did you learn to ride a bike? Did you practice the "bike riding form" without a bike for several years to perfect your "form" before you ever sat on a bike, or did your dad give you some pointers and then let you try and ride? You fall down, you learn from the error, and you try again. In a short amount of time, you can ride. You cannot correct your performance until you actually try and perform. Without realistic practice (which includes making mistakes) you will have nothing to base your training on.
The idea that you need to master "forms" before you can begin to actually practice a specific sport or skill would be considered ridiculous in any other physical endeavor (except "martial arts"). Imagine people who really need to know how to fight, soldiers for example. If you used the "perfect forms first" model of training, boot camp would last 30 years instead of three months.
If I hear a teacher forbidding live practice (realistic, non-cooperative practice and contact sparring) until the student has trained for months or years, my first thought is the teacher doesn't know how to fight himself, or he doesn't know how to teach others how to fight, or, he is simply marketing (dribbling out information as slow as possible to keep students on the hook).
All fighters practice conditioning. For example, stance keeping (Zhan Zhuang) IS isometrics. Tensing your muscles inappropriately makes you stiffer, not exercising.
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Our theory is that you learn forms and solo drills in the academy, but you practice them at home. There is no need to pay a teacher to watch you practice forms once you know them. So when you come to class, most of the time is spent on drilling or sparring with a partner.
My classes are broken down basically into one third of the time doing forms or conditioning, one third on technique practice and drills with a partner and one third sparring.
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Alot depends on the individual student, but, in general, sparring is introduced to beginners in rather specific and limited formats. I agree that having a new student glove up and spar full contact with few rules usually isn't the best training method (although you can learn alot about yourself in such situations).
If you reduce the variables to a limited area of focus, students will be able to concentrate on developing specific skills in a non-cooperative format, without feeling undue pressure. Making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process. The teachers job is to provide feedback, and present corrective methods of practice afterward (most often in a less stressful, more structured environment) so the student can work to correct flaws and improve performance. The more proficient a student becomes, the freer the practice can be.
It is impossible to correct a student that is never given the opportunity to make mistakes.