Take two individuals who are both learning to play the guitar. Person A takes one lesson once a week, and does nothing with the guitar the rest of the time. Person B takes a lesson, and then also spends 10-15 minutes everyday playing around on the guitar, going over what they learned in the lesson and experimenting on their own. Now putting aside individual differences, which person do you think is going to make better progress and develop their guitar-playing skills faster? The answer is obvious. The same is true with regard to martial art training. Class training combined with personal training will give you much better results than class training by itself.
While taking classes will supply you with the foundations you need and provide many benefits, it is when you start to practice on your own that the real insights occur. In class, you follow the teacher’s instructions and move at the pace the teacher sets for you. And this is as it should be.
When you are training on your own (or with as training partner), you move at your own pace, listening to your body and learning to focus your mind as you practice your movements, techniques, etc., This will allow you to feel, observe, and be present with all your senses, which in turn will develop your intuition about how to train.
People who do not practice on their own will often simply try to fit their bodies and actions into the teacher’s instructions as if they were following orders and are mainly concerned about whether or not they are doing something “right.”
People who practice on their own, on the other hand, are inquisitive about what they are learning and experiment with what they learned in class by asking themselves questions such as, “How does this feel to me?” -- “What effect is the technique or action I am practicing having on me?” -- “What effect is it having on my training partner?”
Sometimes it is difficult for people who are used to taking classes to begin practicing on their own as well. The following three things can help you in this:
1) create an training attitude of “playful seriousness” and acceptance
2) approach your practice with a sense of curiosity rather than self-judgment or
3) be creative and spontaneous
To truly understand JKD and develop your skills and capacities to their highest level, in addition to training either in a group class or one-on-one with and instructor, you have to do your own homework.