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sammywhip 09-02-2009 10:09 AM

Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
I feel like I'm thinking and plundering my way through a lot of techniques, and I would love some advice on how to let go of my thoughts and just flow through the technique. Thanks!

Sammy

crbateman 09-02-2009 10:18 AM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
It's the same way you get to Carnegie Hall... practice, practice, practice.

You will learn the components of the technique initially as a series of steps, but repetition will eventually let you think of the execution as a single compilation of motion.

After that, don't think... just do.

CarrieP 09-02-2009 10:45 AM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
I feel ya. My husband and I both train, and we both tend to overthink things.

Some things that help me:

Not talking on the mat. To talk, you must think, which distracts from learning and doing the technique. If I have a question, I try not to ask it right then. If I still remember the question at the end of class, I may ask it then.

Realizing when I am overthinking, and then taking a deep breath to clear my head, helps a lot, too.

Being patient with myself. I am still fairly new at this (~ 2 yrs) and so I know I'm still going to make a lot of mistakes. If I beat myself up about them, it doesn't help and takes my mind away from training.

Was at a wedding recently, and it was pointed out to me how seamlessly I did some of the line dancing involved. Now, I've been doing the hustle a lot longer than I've been doing aikido. But the dancing metaphor has been very helpful to me to try to smooth out my technique, get the right rhythm to certain techniques, and work on flow.

Ultimately, you learning how to work through your struggles, whatever they may be, is part of the "fun" of aikido. Aikido is one of those things that is both wonderfully exhilirating and maddenly frustrating, often at the same time.

Shadowfax 09-02-2009 12:09 PM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
Don't worry about it Sammy. I have the same problem.The longer I train the less of that there is. Sometimes I find that if I just slow way down and take a really deep slow breath it helps me quiet my mind a bit.

Another good thing to do is go outdoors someplace like to one of the parks and sit someplace really quiet and work on a still mind. Allow thoughts to come and go but don't focus on them. eventually you will find that they stop altogether but this takes some practice. Its something I often do on my morning trail rides. I sit on my horse and listen to the sounds around me, feel the wind and my horse underneath me and smell the air and just let my mind go totally quiet. Frick park is right near the Dojo and looks like it would be a great place to sit and meditate.

Once you know what that feels like in a qiiet setting you will know what to try to achieve in the dojo.;)

Janet Rosen 09-02-2009 02:03 PM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
It's like learning a foreign language. You can't speak at length right off the bat. You learn some words and some rules for putting them together. Then when you want to say something you have to stand there and think about how to construct the sentence. Then the next sentence....Fast forward months/yrs and you are bilingual.

Lan Powers 09-02-2009 02:33 PM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
"I" am actually try-lingual......trying desperately to convey my message/thoughts in ANY language...
(yuck,yuck,yuck....oh, a wize guy eh?) :)
Lan

Marc Abrams 09-02-2009 02:44 PM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
Sammy:

I wrote a blog on that subject last week. Hopefully, it may be of some use to you.

http://aasbk.com/blog/?page_id=102

Regards,

Marc Abrams

lbb 09-02-2009 03:48 PM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
Sammy, you just started, right? Two lessons? It's really way too early for adventures into the meta-level of aikido training, dude...way too early to be analyzing your own training process. Let all that go and just train.

Shadowfax 09-03-2009 06:57 AM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
Quote:

Mary Malmros wrote: (Post 239724)
Sammy, you just started, right? Two lessons? It's really way too early for adventures into the meta-level of aikido training, dude...way too early to be analyzing your own training process. Let all that go and just train.

LOL I think he knows that... hes asking how he can achieve that.;) I had the same problem. Its one of those things you just have to do. It just happens. And I think the only real answer is time. But trust me meditation helps a whole lot as well. Sammy I can tell your an energetic guy who thinks a lot, so learning to be mentally quiet is something that will not come easily for you. But it will come. Just try not to force it. Allow it to come. :)

lbb 09-03-2009 07:19 AM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
Quote:

Cherie Cornmesser wrote: (Post 239767)
LOL I think he knows that... hes asking how he can achieve that.;)

Yeah, I said. Just train. Don't expect. Try to do things with your body, don't try to do things with your mind. Don't try to think, don't try to not-think, don't fuss about what's going on in your head. Let it come and let it go. Just train.

Shadowfax 09-03-2009 07:50 AM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
The strange thing is the more you "try" not to think the harder it is to stop thinking.....I had that problem. Then I tried not trying. I forget where I read it but the key is to allow thoughts to come and go but not to actually focus on them. like ,leaves floating down a stream. They are there and will be there, you can't stop that but you also don't have to try to catch them.;) Accept that they are there and allow them to float on by.

sammywhip 09-03-2009 01:11 PM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
I'm quite energetic and I think a ton. A lot of the time it leads to bad ideas haha but sometimes its good. I'm just pumped for class tonight.

C. David Henderson 09-03-2009 01:48 PM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
Hi Sammy,

Three great qualities -- energy, thoughtfulness, and enthusiasm.

You already seem to understand the basic nature of the problem with relying on the second one during class.

My suggestions (for what they're worth):

When techniques are being demonstrated, focus on what you're seeing. Just try to really see what's being shown (on both sides).

When practicing what you were just shown, focus on what you are doing and what your partner is doing.

In between repititions, stay focused on your partner, but be aware of where other folks are and what they are doing.

In between techniques, focus on what's happening all around you.

If you find yourself thinking, take a breath; start over; refocus.

Rinse, repeat.

Regards.

Janet Rosen 09-03-2009 02:02 PM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
Quote:

Mary Malmros wrote: (Post 239771)
Yeah, I said. Just train. Don't expect. Try to do things with your body, don't try to do things with your mind. Don't try to think, don't try to not-think, don't fuss about what's going on in your head. Let it come and let it go. Just train.

Mary some of us don't and can't learn that way, esp as beginners. Some of us are wired to HAVE to think and parse things down; to this day I cannot learn a new weapons kata w/o writing it down step by step. Telling us to "not think, just train" obviates the fact that we ARE training the only way we can when new things are presented.

Shadowfax 09-03-2009 03:13 PM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
Everyone has a different learning style. It helps to understand what your own particular style is. For instance its been pointed out to me that I am a kinesthetic learner. Unfortunately this is not super common (around 15% of people are kinesthetic) and often people like me who are highly empathic, and sensitive to feel, have trouble learning the usual ways such as by seeing (visual and most common) and hearing (Audio). For me the only way I really truly understand what I am trying to learn is to feel it physically. Now that I understand that about myself I have been able to help my teachers and fellow students to help me to learn.

I also have become aware of the need to focus in more on specific things that I need to work on during the visual parts of the instruction. So if I am trying as I have been to work on foot work I pay closer attention to Sensei's feet during the demonstration and then work on other aspects after I think understand that part of the movement.

Very often in our education we are not taught how to learn. So before we can actually learn we must learn how to learn if you catch my drift.

lbb 09-03-2009 04:22 PM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
Quote:

Janet Rosen wrote: (Post 239818)
Mary some of us don't and can't learn that way, esp as beginners. Some of us are wired to HAVE to think and parse things down;

I didn't say "don't think". I said "stop fighting the fact that you are thinking". Big difference.

Shadowfax 09-03-2009 08:11 PM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
Quote:

Mary Malmros wrote: (Post 239841)
I didn't say "don't think". I said "stop fighting the fact that you are thinking". Big difference.

lol calm down everyone. we are all saying the same thing just using different words. :D

Sammy you did great tonight. I really enjoyed working Shihonage with you.:)

sammywhip 09-03-2009 08:17 PM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
Quote:

Cherie Cornmesser wrote: (Post 239847)
lol calm down everyone. we are all saying the same thing just using different words. :D

Sammy you did great tonight. I really enjoyed working Shihonage with you.:)

It was fun! I was doing pretty horribly at some things though. But, with time I guess. :rolleyes:

Basia Halliop 09-03-2009 08:25 PM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
OK, I've only been doing it a few years, so take my comments for what they're worth, but IMHO, I would say practice a given technique or movement as correctly as you can as many times as it takes until your body remembers what to do next without having to consciously think it through. Then gradually you can start adding it to jiuwaza and types of different drills where you try to keep moving and not stop to think as much (while on the side continuing to do slower more detail-oriented and thinking oriented practice to keep improving it and ironing out the bugs). I.e., personally I can't imagine trying to 'not think' when learning new techniques, to me that sounds like a sure way to not really learn to do the technique!

To me personally, 'not thinking so much' has always been the _result_ of a lots of very thoughtful practice with attention to detail, not a replacement for it.

Shadowfax 09-03-2009 08:47 PM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
like I said everyone has their learning style you have to find what works for you. For me thinking is a big problem that tends to get in the way. I have to empty my mind and just feel. But that's me and most people do not learn the way I do.

LOL Sammy... remember my getting confused on Shihonage tonight. I was doing it just fine two days ago and today it didnt work at first... that was because I was thinking. I let something as simple as using Katate tori instead of Cosa Dori grab get in the way. Like Garth said its the same technique the grab does not matter. But it was a problem for me. So we all have our own things we work on.

One thing that actually makes me feel better about my mistakes is seeing those more experienced than me making them too and struggling with a lot of the same things I do. No pressure to be as good as the next guy or gal.

One thing I always look for is just one thing that I think was an improvement over my last class. It does not matter how small or big that one thing is. At one time for me it was just making it to the dojo on time and not being so nervous, just getting through the class. Then it was just working on my back rolls and finding how to stop the pain I was experiencing. Right now I am really focusing on learning to be a good Uke as well as prepping for my first test.

Aikido is a lifetime study. You don't have to be good at it the first time you try it.... I can see progress in you already. Look carefully and you will too. :)

sammywhip 09-03-2009 11:42 PM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
Cherie, you are the best pick me upper in the world haha.

SeiserL 09-04-2009 09:17 AM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
IMHO, it is wiser to let go of thinking too late than too early. First learn the proper technique and attitude, then turn it over to your unconscious,

Lyle Bogin 09-04-2009 01:56 PM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
You can't stop thinking on purpose. It just occurs.

crbateman 09-04-2009 06:33 PM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
Quote:

Lyle Bogin wrote: (Post 239917)
You can't stop thinking on purpose. It just occurs.

For some, not thinking is natural... :D

Shadowfax 09-04-2009 07:07 PM

Re: Letting go of thinking through techniques
 
Quote:

Lyle Bogin wrote: (Post 239917)
You can't stop thinking on purpose. It just occurs.

Actually you can but its really tricky to achieve. You have to stop thinking about not thinking. :p


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