Assuming you're in Atlanta (the name suggests...), get yourself over to the Atlanta History Center and join the Alex Bealer chapter of blacksmiths. They meet at the Tully Smith house. Well, the shop is out front. Watching and participating is the second best way to flatten that learning curve! The fastest and best is to take a few blacksmithing classes.
Edit: Looks like they now meet all over central Georgia, and you just missed the last meeting. You MUST go to the October meeting, it's at Stephan Fowler's shop. He is an accomplished bladesmith and friend of mine. http://www.alexbealer.org/plug.php?e=events&m=details&id=136