I was researching topics for this blog and came across an article on wikiHow.com titled “How to Teach Yourself Martial Arts”. I forced myself to read through the entire article and confirmed that my original thought of “What are people thinking?!?” was absolutely correct. It’s a mixture of obvious tips combined with methods taken from Hollywood movies. My personal favorite (sarcasm there) was step number 3 “Find a Tree. Harden your bones by wrapping a cloth over your skin and attacking the tree. Repeated striking upon a tree will build your bones back stronger so when you block or strike a real person, you won’t get hurt (at least as bad).”
Articles like this are irresponsible and a good example of the misinformation available on the internet. I have read legitimate sources of training that involve striking hard surfaces and the science behind how it can harden the bones. However, telling someone to go out and train like that without it being systematic and guided by someone who’s experienced in that training method is a recipe for disaster for the person attempting to train. Some of the other steps that this particular article suggests could be valid for someone who is currently studying a martial art under a qualified trainer, but without the guidance of an instructor the steps are at the lowest level meaningless and dangerous at the highest level.
There is absolutely no substitution for seeking out qualified training in your chosen art from a qualified instructor. The beginning of the articlesays “Learning a martial art is a great experience, but dojos can be very expensive. Read this article and find out how to teach yourself for little to no money.” I don’t think that the author has factored medical expenses, quality of training or liability into their cost efficiency equation.
Check the article out and let us know what you think about it.