I was asked this EXCELLENT question the other day by one of the members of our training group. It is an important point to understand if you are new to the martial arts, and if understood will cut down your learning curve in the ‘arts.
You begin your martial arts training and are shown a technique to learn and practice. Naturally you go out to the internet or perhaps some books to find out more about it, and you start seeing LOTS of different ways of doing it.
Which one is “correct”?
AND of the martial arts are about perfection, how can there by so many different ways of doing a single technique?
The first question, naturally, is: is the technique you are watching on youtube being done correctly by the person demonstrating it? Do they even know what they are talking about, and are they allowed to transmit the lesson so openly?
Let’s assume YES.
There could be quite a few reasons why something is done differently and in that moment it is “correct”. Understanding the in-the-moment, and the pulse of what is happening is the entire foundation of the martial arts.
Imagine you are called up to demonstrate a technique to the class.
What is the current experience level of the class? If they are all new students or only training a few years perhaps you show the basic (kihon) version of the technique. If they are more advanced, and advanced version. Perhaps it is a large group training, and a part of the technique is very dangerous to take ukemi from- it would be best to leave that part out given the dynamics of the large room.
Another example might be something that you as the viewer are not even aware of.
Often a teacher, in an effort to help take the student to the next level, might try to isolate a certain skill or experience in a technique. I have been told many times to do a certain technique a certain way until I’m told otherwise, in an effort to teach me and reinforce a certain lesson.
Now I’m called up to demonstrate that technique- which version do I do?
I follow what my teacher has told me to train in and execute, that is what I show, and that is what the viewer will see.
There are also MANY points before and after a technique that one does not see on video as that is only a moment in time.
Those are just a few reasons for the differences in the same technique, before we even start exploring variations, henka, and ura waza.
That is also why one can’t learn the martial arts from a video or book instruction.