Training vs Education

The word training is derived from the old French word “trainer” meaning to drag and cause growth in the desired manner. Training can be defined as the modification of behavior through experience. The transfer of skills and knowledge from those who have them to those who do not or bringing about of a significant improvement in performance as a result of instruction, practice and experience.

Training can mean the process of providing for and making available to a student. It’s planning, preparing a coordinated program, course, curriculum, subject, system or routine of instruction, in a scientific, professional, technical, strategic manner that will improve an individuals performance and assist in achieving performance goals. Training can also mean to work to improve our fitness and technical performance.

So There are many different areas we consider when thinking of the term training and it’s application to us. Today I want to focus in on the idea of Training vs Education.

We should distinguish training from education. There is always a lot of controversy surrounding this and many people do not understand the difference. Some people are more education driven while others are more training driven. In my previous role as one of the nation’s leading Integration Engineers for the former Nortel Networks Inc. I had to play the role of both educator and trainer. Likewise in my role as a teacher I have to balance both roles.

Training is vocational in nature and is application and skill development oriented. Education on the other hand is more general with a wider scope. One could think of education as far transfer and training as near transfer. In education principle is the main emphasizes whereas in training application is the emphasizes. Education focuses on building our minds knowledge database and training focuses on building our usable skills. For the most part education is content driven i.e. reading, learning theory and communicating ideals.

It’s the difference between ‘know how‘ and ‘know why‘. It’s the difference between being trained to use footwork and being educated on the science of footwork. Clearly both are necessary, so this is not intended to put down the Know-How or the Know-Why.

Another way to view it is that the purpose of training is intended to hopefully gain specific skills. To build the proper neural pathways and education is undertaken in hopes of furthering our individual knowledge and developing our martial intellect. We are first educated in a specific area then we train it. Or we train it then become educated as we become ready to understand. I usually break this training process down even further into Focused Practice (Myelin building), conditioning training and application training. But that is beyond the scope of this post.

In the old days training was practiced through guilds. Students would become an apprentice to a master and worked under their master in order to learn their craft. Education has its origins in the medieval university system. Education and training is required in a balanced manner.

For example we need to be educated on the basic structure of the on-guard, then we need to train it to master that specific skill. Anyone who has trained long enough knows that if this most basic step is not mastered a student will be pledged with performance problems. We can’t build proper footwork without a proper on-guard. We can’t build proper distance control without proper footwork. We can’t build proper positioning control without understanding of powerline, nor can we apply it if any of the previous kinetic chains are broke, i.e. footwork, on-guard, distance control.

And the ‘kinetic chain‘ of martial application continues, be it timing applications, rhythm, tempo, accuracy, precision, etc… This includes understanding and proper application of both sport-specific and general athletic movement skills. If a link in the chain is broken everything above will suffer. How do we know what to train? Well that is where education comes in.

To finish off this thought on training vs education I want to use an analogy as an off-shot of the teach a man to fish vs give a man a fish quote.

Education would be learning about fish; including their habitats, types, what nutrients each one has, types of fishing rods, lures, strings, how to cast and similar skills needed to catch the fish. Training would be learning how to apply these to actually catch a fish .

Or in the case of our furry friend, education would teach us the theories and techniques required to build the rocket. Training would teach us how to survive the ride.



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