Saturday, March 15, 2008

"Study From The Comfort of Your Home!"

In the introduction to CAAW, the reader will come across the following:

" In these pages will be formulated a system of defense and attack with the cane which is simple, effective and easily understood, which may be acquired without the necessity of an instructor. A full comprehension of the system alone will be of use, and such practice as can be given to it will greatly increase its value."

That "without the necessity of an instructor" clause was the inspiration for the title of this post, which pops up in the marketing of instructional materials in diverse fields from time to time. Perhaps "Cane for Dummies" might be more current, whatever the case, the idea is that one can learn something , or teach themselves a subject, without recourse to a teacher, instructor or expert. Many approach such claims with healthy skepticism, which is well founded, as most of the time the things being studied are hard enough to learn with the benefit of an instructor.

Then from S&B:

"A military system of fencing should be simple, effective, and quickly and easily learned. Its transmission should be possible without a fencing master, and its principles so simple and correct that even one not greatly skilled can teach others to become skillful."

I don't need a fencing master?
More from S&B: "This system is based on what may be called a natural or instinctive method, and the expansions which would most naturally follow from experience and observation. "

Experience and observation, you mean learn through experience and observation?


From this general description of the proposed system the following manual and explanations will be readily comprehended and mastered by even those who have given no great attention to swordsmanship. "

I don't need to be an expert before I can work on my own?

But what if I start doing something that isn't "in the sytem"?:

The fact should be recognized from the start that the work is of an individual nature and that the perfection of the individual is the object desired. Correct understanding and execution should be the aim rather than entire uniformity and the reduction of the matter to a mere form of drill."