Jake Steinmann over on the Honest Philosophy Blog made a post with his thoughts to a post by Rory Miller. Three being the magic number I decided to add where I think I am.
The posting consider the stages of a martial artists and how they may evolve as a martial artist. Miller describes people in the martial arts as going through three possible stages, novice, collector, and stripper. The novice is the one where all martial artists start, we learn the moves,we learn the katas, and earn rank. After this some people will continue to the collector stage. Here the person is learning new techniques, going to seminars, expanding their toolkit, etc. Then after this fewer will go to the stripper stage. These are the collectors that have discovered, often through a bad scenario, they know too much stuff to grab at any one time so they start to strip their tool bag down. This is a brief overview of Miller’s post and I suggest you read his entire post to get a better idea of what he is talking about.
For me, I started in Taekwon-Do a little over 20 years ago while living in California. I went to classes, and even a few seminars. I was in the beginning of a collector stage. Then I ended up moving to Maine and searched around for a TKD school, in a style I wanted to do, and couldn’t find one. I did find one school, tried it, didn’t care for the direction the school took compared to my old one. Thus ended my martial arts career in TKD with the rank of blue belt.
Several years down the road my son started karate at Pelletier’s Karate. I took him to classes, watched what was happening, thought about joining, but had no real desire to just do katas. Then the head instructor (and my current sensei) Rich Pelletier announced that they were going to start some sparring and grappling classes for adults. For some reason this caught my attention. Not because I wanted to be the next MMA star but because I could see a real practical use now, fighting especially fighting to protect myself. So I enrolled.
Needless to say sparring and grappling was not for everyone and soon it would just be one or two of us for those classes and they ended up being canceled. However I had started to learn about Tony Blauer and his S.P.E.A.R. system from my instructor (he is a certified S.P.E.A.R. instructor) and this started my in the collection of the teachings of Tony Blauer.
Currently I see myself as a collector, although a specialized one. I look for seminars to attend but all focused around self-defense/reality based combat. In class when items are being explained I examine them with an eye towards self-defense. Some people may consider this being a stripper, but I don’t think I’ve learned enough to actually examine my own tool kit and start tossing things out. Just because a move is presented as being for self-defense doesn’t mean it is a good move. I’ll continue stadying and learning and perhaps one day I’ll make it to the stripper stage.