The Art Of Learning – Martial Journal

The art of learning

In previous articles, I’ve discussed several reasons why martial arts training may appeal to someone. There are almost as many reasons as people train! However, one of the biggest driving forces is undoubtedly the motivation to learn. In my professional environment, I hear this again and again: people are motivated by learning, by calling for improvement in a way that they can measure and measure, and many times, when jobs no longer offer learning opportunities, workers are demotivated. in a way that a better title or financial reward does not fix. For many, learning is a fundamental driving force in life. And that is basic human experience.

Many years ago, knowledge of myself struck me. That has changed the way I invest time in new endeavors. While others have contented themselves with having many “hobbies” and practicing many things: sports, martial arts, music, etc. I have realized that I am not “happy” when I have many activities in which I can stretch but choose Get one or two things that need to be deeply developed and ‘be good at them’. Psychology calls it ‘mastery’, although it does not necessarily mean ‘mastery’ as the average martial artist would understand. It means that we are motivated by constantly improving in something. Instead of – at least for those of us with this trait – we know a little of many things. Of course, there are those rare exceptions that can practice MANY things and be good at them. I assure everyone here, I’m not one of them! 🙂

I remember that moment in my life when I realized that, in a physical and practical sense, I didn’t have real time to do everything I wanted and be great at all. Even though the thought made me sick, it didn’t bother me at all. It made me feel real and mature. I sacrificed something (“improving my guitar playing”) in the name of something else, a greater passion (“improving and improving my martial arts”). Don’t get me wrong – a lot of the martial artists I know play the guitar and they’re good at it. What I mean is for ME, and given my life, the amount of time I spend working makes no sense to pursue more passions because it wouldn’t make me happy, period. And I’m proud to have decided and used this energy for tireless and consistent training over the years. It makes me feel real and happy. By the way, if my professional life is less demanding in the future and there is more ‘time’, there would be nothing wrong with taking the guitar back in my hand 🙂

Now, for me, this phenomenon of gaining a tremendous amount of satisfaction from the act of learning has other, even greater consequences. Let’s think for a moment about the role of a martial arts teacher.

In this article, I have described that a martial arts teacher is not an infallible ‘Master’, but rather someone with experience and knowledge to help us improve. In other words, help us learn.

Martial arts do not act as an object that we can pass on. Not a “key” or something we can simply give to someone else. No one can really teach you martial arts, because martial arts are a very complex process of integrating your body and mind with a set of principles that will help you acquire a new set of skills. Subtle and subtle, more often than not, when we look at it honestly, but still real and measurable. If martial arts cannot be passed on, what do martial arts teachers do?

Think of martial arts as a process of integration. I like to say that there are two factors in learning martial arts, and it’s very similar to what happens when we learn a new language (albeit with physical mechanics “as a whole” instead of the subtle and extremely complex motor skills associated with vocal art). chords and sound generation – but the integration of thought process and body movement is not so dissimilar). Learning martial arts requires repetition and feedback. And by that I mean a LOT of repetitions. As stated in this vlog, the archetype of hard to improve training that is so often used in martial arts fiction – such as Karate Kid training – is actually very real, except for its scope. It takes years and years of dedicated practice to see progress, provided we have the right level of feedback and also an honest way to measure progress (vs. living in a fantasy bubble).

And so I come to the heart of the matter. For most of us in modern life, and in fact for most people in history, the amount of practice you can put into meeting your teacher two or three times a week and, at best, always training for a few hours, is simply not enough to achieve even a tiny fraction of the “transformation” we imagine this practice will lead us to. At best, let’s say you train 1 × 1 with your teacher three times a week, 2 hours each time. That’s 6 hours of 1 × 1 tactile and vocal feedback from your teacher per week. That’s 312 hours a year. Even assuming we don’t subscribe to Malcom Gladwell’s rule of 10,000 hours literally (although there is no doubt that the principle behind his book Outliers plays a role in learning and improving in something), 312 hours is not enough for many thousands hours. we have to be really good at martial arts. And let’s face it, I doubt most people who read this actually train, with direct teacher feedback, 312 hours a year. Most people spend two hours a week on this, only part of it with a teacher or with really valuable tactile and vocal feedback and with a few breaks during the year. Much less than 312 hours a year.

But there is good news. In fact, I have great news for all martial arts enthusiasts. It does not matter. The extent needed for true learning is that the fact I have just outlined is not really what will determine whether you will be truly and measurably good at anything. Training with your teacher is simply not enough. Anyone who has really improved in martial arts has done so because he has the fire to train and train, and a passion for it. So what does such a person do? Train constantly, train solo, train with friends, train with friends inside and outside your system. Train, exchange, experiment, play! As with a child, real learning comes through play.

Rory Miller is an author and well-known thought leader in the world of martial arts and self-defense. However, while it is undeniable, he is an extremely interesting author, in terms of the true content of martial arts, what is by far his most amazing feature to him is his deep understanding of how people learn. Learn ANYTHING, not just martial arts. We learn through play when we are children. This basically translates into our adult repetition and experimentation and feedback.

In martial arts, you need a passion for training, playing and experimenting. But the problem is that as we learn and develop, we need feedback to ‘correct’ ourselves and not learn bad habits and do things in a way that really works and really helps us evolve towards our goals. The need to combine feedback and experience is what is tricky here. And here comes the Teacher, Sifu, Sensei, Sabom. A real teacher teaches you only one thing, to learn. Or rather learn to learn.

Of all the gifts I received from my teacher George Lee, by far the greatest is the feeling of “feedback” I have learned to give to myself. Of course, this does not mean that he is infallible and will always be “ongoing work”, but he is there. Knowing that in order to really learn, I have to train with others, experiment with friends and ‘students’ and so on. The solution is to develop the art of giving feedback. The teacher’s gift is actually greater than the martial arts teaching itself. Learning to learn allows us to go our own way and continue to develop ourselves, no matter the lifetime!

This system, taught to me by my teacher, changed my life. It lives in me. I am not a “master”, but an enthusiast who likes to learn and constantly trains to improve. But in the process, this gift leads me to “feel” when something is “right” in our system according to our principles. I can practice lessons “solo” and I can train lessons and lessons with a friend, because in a way my teacher now lives in me, who gives me a sense of what is right and what needs correction because of how I “feel” when something is doing well according to our principles. Then, of course, I return to him and ask questions, and he is constantly fine-tuning this sense.

My teacher once told me that all he can pass is a ‘suggestion’, which I then have to use to learn and improve. At first it was an intellectual concept for me. But then, step by step and very slowly and gradually, it became a living being in me. The voice of comparing something I can do, or someone I can do, with countless hours dealing with my teacher, the “feeling.” And know how to constantly improve it to keep improving.

It’s like having a math teacher when you’re younger to help you ‘click’ with math teaching so it’s real for you. You’ll move on and learn from other instructors, books, online courses, seminars, etc. But you’ll always go back to the one teacher who gave you the plan – and the lack of that is why so many people don’t love math, ever they did not have a teacher to help make understanding mathematics real in the material world!

So the greatest gift of a teacher, I present in my humble opinion, a gift that will last us for the rest of our lives, the art of feedback, honest and raw. Or, in other words, the art of learning to learn.

And it is a precious gift that we can use to keep growing and learning and evolving. And as I said at the beginning of this article, for many of us, learning is what it’s worth.

To learn more about this and other martial arts and life topics, you can view my vlog and podcast as well as these martial journal articles: Five Ways to Maximize Your Martial Arts Potential by Andrey Harkins and What Taekwondo Taught Me in 40 years of The Age Excuse by Kristy Hitchens!

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