A friend of mine once asked if I wouldn't mind him watching me print. This was back when printing involved arcane devices such as enlargers, safelights, chemicals, and trays. When he saw me focus by placing my grain magnifier on the easel, he felt compelled to recommend that I insert a sheet of exposed enlarging paper first, so that I would be focusing on the actual image plane.
It seems my friend had read in a magazine article somewhere that this was the right way to do it and was quite surprised I didn't know. He offered this recommendation despite the fact that I was using a glass negative carrier to prevent the negative from "popping" due to heat from the enlarging lamp, and that my prints are almost infallibly sharp, which was one of the reasons he wanted to watch me print in the first place. In other words, my friend had confused knowledge and information with skill. He thought that knowing the right way to do something (or thinking he knew) was the same as being able to do it.
In this respect he was a lot like guys I would spar with at various martial arts schools. They "knew" their style was superior to mine and that my style had serious flaws because this was what their teacher and fellow students had told them. You can imagine their frustration and discomfort when they discovered that what seemed so true and obvious in theory didn't always work so well in practice. In this case, it's not that what they knew was wrong, it was that they lacked the skill to pull it off.
I chose this as the topic of today's post for two reasons: First, because I make my living as an instructional designer. I train people how to do things. My goal is to do more than simply share knowledge; it's to provide opportunities to practice; to unlearn old skills and habits and learn new ones. The second reason is that photography forums and blog comments (Shutterfinger comments excepted) are full of strong opinions from people who claim to have a lot knowledge yet offer little evidence of any actual skill. In my world, knowledge and skill are both wonderful things to have. Combine them and you become a force to be recconed with; someone who often appears to be amazingly lucky.