Traditional instruction was perpetrated by a bloodline inheritance or by a non-genetically related one. It was usually attributed to divine guidance, which gave its founder a sudden insight during his years of arduous practice. Students learned through insight and hard practice, rather than through rational teaching. Learning was through imitation. Supposedly, imitation is "body-learning" rather than "mind-learning" and thus lasts longer.
However, what is lacking in the imitation learning style are those things which are needed for a combatively effective fighting art:
- It is is slow
- It requires the student to constantly re-learn techniques which were falsely imitated initially.
- Although it increases the powers of observation, it reduces the powers of analysis. The student perfects his or her own technique but cannot analyze what is wrong with someone else’s even though he or she may recognize the flaw.
- The practical purposes of patterns are gradually lost and, if retained, cannot be modified to take into account a different opponent, nor can they be changed to make them more effective.
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