A recent Time article called Why Floundering is Good I read suggests that trying to figure out something on your own produces better results than having guidance from the beginning. The article is written in the context of intellectual learning, but I do think there are some takeaways for people learning or teaching martial arts or other physical skills, even if some adjustments need to be made for practicality and safety.
Obviously you don’t want to let students practise martial arts techniques in a way that is unsafe to themselves or their partners. They may learn from the injury, but at the cost of their well-being and the ability to train, which is not a worthwhile trade-off. Once certain foundations are laid, however, and students are able to do the techniques safely, it’s a good idea to give them “puzzles” to work out once in a while so they better understand the when to use what they’ve learned effectively. (more…)