We’ve looked at Learning Styles and Teaching Styles up to this point and defined what it is to learn and even the difference between learning and skill to some extent—excluding the topics of training and practice.
Rather than move on too quickly, I want to chat very briefly about the terms training and practice. Often they are used interchangeably but I think they are actually slightly different.
From my perspective practice can come on a spectrum of levels where an individual is redundantly repeating a method or aspect of training. Training then, is where you start to put the thing you are learning into some kind of context to explore it and see where it or you might break. The whole process then is to build a foundation, then train it in context to add to the foundation, and embed it in your muscle memory via repetitive practice. Having done that well enough and long enough you might be said to have attained a high level of skill in something.
I know that’s a long way of getting to it, but it’s important that we are understanding what we are actually talking about in this context. Having said all of this what must be understood is that, as outlined on day one, instruction is only one facet of learning, the other facets are study and experience—essentially, practice, and training.
We can start to see based on Learning Styles and Teaching Styles that some will connect more naturally than others. When you are talking about learning within self-defense or any other topic, it is still a scale of visual, aural, reading/writing, and kinesthetic learning based entirely on the innate preferences of the student. However, I postulate that the vast majority of students within combative schools are likely kinesthetic learners. Of course, not exclusively, but predominately. It only makes sense since the vast majority of the industry is so entirely focused on the physical aspects and use that as a gateway to the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual being of a student.
But it doesn’t end there in my opinion, I’d also go so far as to postulate that the vast majority of teachers are Demonstrator/Coach and Delegator/Group style instructors by innate preference, which correlates quite well to the kinesthetic learners that are studying with them since the focus is generally more hands on and provides quick physical feedback.
This is neither bad or good nor anything but an observation based on reflection of all of my teachers, myself, and the people that I have taught over the years. It’s not scientific by any stretch, but does stand up to at least a certain amount of logical scrutiny. And honestly, for every line in the sand that is drawn about something, there always seems to be another line drawn that is in complete opposition so you can find other information out there.
None-the-less, for today I think we leave it right here or this blog will get quite long.