Training vs Experience

James Bond Movie

Another area of discussion is ‘Training vs Experience’.  People argue over which one is better.  You see this a lot when people are debating characters fighting each other.  Many think training always wins against experience alone while others go in the opposite direction.  Let’s go forward taking these two alone with no combination.

Now, those who think training beats experience work off a logical belief.  If a person has been trained then they know what they are doing.  They have benefited from the experience and lessons of others instead of figuring stuff out on their own.  They have practiced the basics and even advanced concepts before entering their adventure.  A personal example would be Luke Callindor from Legends of Windemere.  He starts with only training under his belt and makes pretty good progress unless he faces someone who has both.

Of course, a character with only training runs into problems.  They make mistakes because they don’t know any better.  Training can’t prepare you for everything because the unknown can strike at any moment.  So, a person with only training may come up against an experienced person who knows how to get around their tactics.  They may have less flexibility and can’t adapt because they are locked into what they have learned.  Even if they are told to expect the unexpected, they won’t know what to do until the are facing the problem.  An easier way to explain this is that their deeper instincts haven’t been honed even though their body knowns the moves.

On the other side of the field, you have those who were never trained, but have grown through experience.  People think these characters would lose easily because they’ve gathered a hodgepodge of skills and moves.  With no stable foundation, they may have simply developed a style out of whatever has worked.  This can make them fairly unpredictable and constantly looking for alterations.  If something seems like it will work, they might just try it, especially if it’s close to a known move.  They are fairly good at adapting on the fly too because they’ve been growing in the face of the unknown since the beginning.

The downside here is that they might be too sloppy and unaware of their weak points, which a trained fighter can take advantage of.  A character like this might believe that being aggressive and on the offensive is the best way to go because it’s always worked for them.  They won’t have much in the way of defensive moves other than a high endurance and pain threshold.  While they can come at a trained enemy in a way that isn’t expected or easily handled, they could very well lose after their enemy has regained some of their composure.  Experience without training doesn’t mean the character is even fully aware of what they are doing when fighting, so they could not be working to their full potential.  This means, they can steadily fall behind a trained character as the adventure continues unless they take time to learn.

As you can see, there are general pros and cons to each one.  People have their preferences and examples to prove they are right.  The truth, in my opinion, is that a character should aim to be combination.  Whether they start trained or with experience, they should take from the other side in order to shore up their weaknesses.  This makes them well-rounded and opens a variety of paths for them to take with their skills.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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13 Responses to Training vs Experience

  1. L. Marie says:

    Great analysis of the pros and cons! Having both is great. I can’t help thinking about learning to drive a car. You get training and experience at the same time. The continued experience of driving a car develops instincts you can’t really get through training alone. But the training is great for the rules of the road. I also think about “Tighten” in Megamind. He was given super powers by accident. Still, Megamind took the time to train him in supervillainy. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with your conclusion on a combination of training and experience seems to be the right way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You could have a lot of fun with somebody who had some training, or whose training was cut short somehow, having to learn more as they go. Also could have a rival character who scoffs at their lack of training, but then gets comeuppance.


    • I’ve read stories with untrained protagonist vs trained rival. I used to like them until I saw a flaw. The protagonist usually ends up training to get as strong as the rival. It isn’t always traditional methods, but they still become trained on top of experience. Their rival does too, but ends up being weaker without much explanation. Too many authors rely on the ‘special talent’ thing like with Naruto.

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      • In Naturo, I wonder if they creators hoped to turn it into a card game, like Yu-Gi-Oh, so they built in all those different clans and special hereditary abilities.


      • The thing with Naruto is that the initial theme of hard work being enough to compensate for not being special fell by the wayside pretty quickly. The character who embodies that is Rock Lee and he lost more than he won. Naruto got special training multiple times, has a demon fox in him, and is the 4th Hokage’s son. That’s a lot of special. As far as the clans and such, I think they were just going for the ninja clan mythos.

        Funny thing about Yugioh is that they never intended to make the card game. He’s called the ‘King of Games’ because he was originally supposed to be good at all games. After a storyline with the cards, he’d move on to another one. The problem was that people loved the card game and system so much that the creator couldn’t go to another concept.

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  4. Seems like a reasonable look at this topic. A character with both under his belt poses a problem for the author. Our heroes are supposed to have failures and suffer setbacks. Getting to the point where they can succeed is really the story. Someone with training and experience might not provide that many opportunities.


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