Perspective in martial arts, karate, self protection and self defence.
Picture a standard six-sided dice.
No doubt you have handled or seen one before. You know that it will be numbered with Arabic or Roman numerals or dots, a different number on each face. If you are particularly familiar with dice you might know that 1 and 6, 2 and 5, 3 and 4 are on opposite faces.
Has it ever occurred to you that you know this because you have viewed or handled the dice from multiple perspectives?
If you place a six-sided dice on a surface, without moving either it or yourself, the most you can see at any one time is the top and two sides: three faces, only a half of the whole.
The nearer you get to the dice the more detail you can see, but when really looking closely you inevitably end up seeing only one face.
To see all of the dice you either have to exchange information with others who have different perspectives, or you have to take those different perspectives yourself. One might say that to understand it you have to throw it many times, or at least observe the process, perhaps learn from those who seem to be able to skew the odds by feeling the indentation of the dice with their fingertips or by using loaded dice.
I am not really talking about dice.
The same could be said for almost every facet of knowledge and experience. Taking multiple perspectives yourself and exchanging information with others leads to greater understanding, even if (to stretch the metaphor somewhat) some perspectives are skewed by cataracts or dirty glasses. That just means you need more sources of information.
Throughout my martial arts training I have read, watched, trained with and learned from instructors from multiple systems and backgrounds. Regardless of whether they were orientating what they did towards a particular competition format or to what they perceived to be appropriate self defence, they all had the common element that they were using the human body against another human. They had the same dice, just a slightly different perspective.
In similar vein, when it comes to how I teach and structure my syllabus I have not limited myself to solely following the example of my karate sensei but have taken on board lessons from my professional teaching qualification; my low and high ropes qualifications; the varied vocational instructor qualifications in self defence, conflict management, control and restraint; my first aid instructor qualifications; and the varied military instructor qualifications that I once held.
I continuously look to learn from other instructors and from disciplines beyond my own. I endeavour to share what I have learned with instructors and students through my books, seminars, videos and blog. I understand more from my interactions with them.
I do not imagine that I will ever reach the pinnacle of knowledge or best practice in my chosen field. The ever-growing sum of human knowledge continuously raises that peak. Rather I will actively pursue that through combining detailed study of my own perspective with information from others whose approaches either share the same view or take a different angle.
There is more than one side to the dice. If I want to focus on just a few, then to keep perspective I need the help of others with eyes that see differently to mine.