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You Should Always Have a Teacher

June 11, 2011

I’ve been training for over 40 years now. I still have several teachers, and am always trying to learn from anyone I train with. If you train long enough there may come a time when you have to travel great distances to train with the teachers you need.  If you have the teacher you need living close to you, you are lucky indeed.

I train different systems with the various teachers. While most of my teachers have learned, and teach multiple systems from multiple teachers, I want to focus on learning what each does best. The insights and understanding of each teachers core system, will be evident in all other systems they teach anyway.

I look at learning from different teachers in a similar manner to learning different systems. They each have their strengths, and perhaps weaknesses. Often times I find that each teacher teaches the same principles but, with a different interpretation and training method. The same can be true of systems as well. Sometimes it helps to have different perspectives, so that you can more clearly understand what is being taught. It can help and accelerate learning as you peel back the layers of the onion.

I would however caution you that you can try to learn too many things at once. So you must be careful not to try to learn too many systems, or have too many teachers at the same time. If you do you could end up with a confused mess, and make very little progress. In my opinion you only need one teacher at a time but, could possibly benefit from having two or possibly three. That is as long as what they teach isn’t in conflict. Over a course of a lifetime you could certainly have many more teachers.

Another reason to always have a teacher is to keep you on the right path in your development. It is easy to get off on tangents when off on your own. While you can certainly continue to learn and grow on your own, it is also possible to misunderstand something and go down the wrong path. The longer you are on your own the more you may change things. Your memory of things may also change over time. You can fool yourself into thinking you have a deep understanding of principles, concepts, or a system but, truly only have a surface level understanding. Worse than that if your understanding of a core principle etc. becomes increasingly flawed over time, it can have a ripple effect in all you do.

Having the right teacher can help you progress much further then you will ever be able to get on your own. While I’ve  specifically been talking about martial arts here, the same is true of all paths we take in life.

Mike Murphy


Categories: Concepts & Principles
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