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Using video in training

By Myoken Dojo, May 27 2015 12:39PM

Transferred from previous website

Originally posted on 21 may 2015

In my opinion using video is a great tool to help us develop our training. Having a teacher is important of course, because they give us new information, but many of us think that what we are doing is more correct than it actually is, and resent/resist/disbelieve the repeated criticism that what we are doing is not correct when we think we know that we’ve fixed “that bit”. Video doesn’t lie. (Nor, usually, does the teacher telling us what we’re actually doing, but with video we can see it for ourselves.) But how to interpret it?

If we’re too arrogant we will see only what is good and perhaps think the performance is great, missing the glaring errors that others can see. If we’re too pessimistic we will see the errors, not see the good points, miss our actual progress and feel worse for watching the evidence. Both of these views imply a perceived “perfect” performance against which we measure ourselves, for better or worse. Perfection doesn’t exist, there is only change, deepening understanding, new choices, improvement (hopefully) followed by further study, deeper understanding and so on. We cannot be perfect, nor is there a perfect example. Striving to improve is laudable of course, but it can become an obsession causing us to lose sight of who we are now, doing what we do now, the way we have so far learned to do it. If we can learn to accept this, then we can learn that our performance is neither great nor rubbish, it just is what it is.

I believe that video can only be useful if we try and discard both of these views and see ourselves naturally and without emotion. Simply, “this is what happened”. We can then more appropriately compare it with the mental picture we have of the person or people we wish to emulate, and simply ask “how is it different? What can I change to make it more similar to the model?”

For me, learning to do this has been the greatest advance I have made in Budo, and it has been very recent. Thanks to Kurogo Sensei (Jodo Hanshi), who stayed with us for a short while in February this year, I now have learned to just allow myself to be who and what I am. I have relapses, and still sometimes feel bad about what I do, but generally I am finding myself more accepting, this allows me to be more relaxed, as a result I can now better feel what I am doing, think less and produce a better performance.

Video is now my best teacher. It is neither kind nor harsh. It has no emotion, no agenda, it just reflects who I am.

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