Art vs. Teacher
This question came to me on another thread, and I as wondering what you guy thought.
What do you think is more important, style or teacher and why?
Personally I would rather have a great teacher in a bad style than the other way around. I'll get heavily into reasons later. ;)
No, no. You have to give reasons for your argument otherwise you'll be deemed a booj apologist. Kidding.
But seriously reasons: list them.
If someone who is bad at teaching tries to show me how to do something correctly I'm at least part of the way there. I may be able to figure it out myself or have someone else help me get the rest of it. If I have a good teacher showing me how to do something incorrectly he will succeed in bringing me all the way to failure.
A good style is one with a functional training method, so having an effective teacher is part of having a good style. If you say "the style is bad but the teacher is good" that begs the question: What is it the teacher's good at?
Both are important. Same answer as if someone asked me "wich one is the most important: the art or the practicionner?". Both are important.
Well, here we go. I've experienced all sides of this argument. Bad teacher, bad style, good teacher, bad style, good teacher, good style, bad teacher, good style.
Bad teacher bad style was the worst.
Good teacher good style was the best.
I actually won competitions with a bad teacher in a good style. I am an extra diligent student, and went out side of class for resources, including other classmates.
Good teacher, bad style is something I wouldn't use, ever. I liked the guy personally, but I wouldn't ever, ever, ever, use that style for anything. Ever.
Okay, I'm showered and ready for the day.
What I mean by a good or bad style or a good or bad teacher has to do with whether or not they give you the things you need to improve as an artist (or competitor, fighter, big fluffy teddybear with knuckles of pure iron, whatever you chose to call yourself.)
I don't get into arguments about whether this style or that style can beat another because as far back as I can recollect no written technique has ever jumped off it's page and started jumping around. Styles don't fight eachother, people do.
I would even go so far as to say there is no such thing as a good or bad style. (throw things while I duck)
So yes it would be safe to assume that I believe the style you study doesn't actually matter. I actually believe they are all the same. :) What matters is what you can or are able to do with the material you are given considering the skills and abilities you already have. So here is why I think that the teacher IS important.
First, let me clarify by saying that I would prefer no teacher to a bad one. I would rather get together with a couple freinds and figure this stuff out on our own. If I couldn't do that, I'd go beat up a tree. If I couldn't find a tree I'd plant one and let it grow healthy and strong and then I would beat it up. If no tree would grow I'd try to make some new friends. If people still didn't like me (very likely) then I'd study all of the kata I could by myself as much as possible in thin air. After all of these options were exhausted I might (might) go study under a bad teacher.
The bad teacher is going to teach me bad things. I would rather the responsibility if I learn something wrong be my own. A good teacher will help you find your weaknesses and eliminate them (and a good student does the same for the teacher in a slightly different way.) So I would rather learn from a great teacher who teaches from a faulty system because isf they will be able to point out where those faults lie.
I think it boils down to a bad teacher giving you answers, a good teacher giving you questions, and a great one giving you the ability to find the questions yourself.
I'm not worried about whether or not my teacher could kick my ass, I'm concerned with whether or not he can help me keep my own ass from getting kicked.
So wait, what the hell does style mean again? I kept trying to read your post, but I couldn't stop re-reading "big fluffy teddy bear with knuckles of pure iron".
Also, all styles are equal? Even if I made a style that consists of blocking punches with my face, and kicks with my crotch?
It depends, does the style also give you information on hardening your face and crotch against strikes? Also ask yourself if you enjoy the idea of getting stuck in the face or crotch a lot? Finally is spending time with this stuff going to help you survive a confrontation? If you can honestly answer yes to these questions then it sounds like a great style for you to learn. Unfortunately I don't like getting punched or kicked, so I wouldn't study it. ;)
I would also say that the worst kind of teacher is one who would say "this is the way it is, don't question me."