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Old 09-02-2002, 08:06 PM   #7
Deb Fisher
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 145
Lynn, with all due respect, your excitement (*not* frustration) at the prospect of learning a new technique is an ideal for most mortals, a goal that aikido helps us attain, often IMHO by creating such intense frustration that one cannot help but figure out a new relationship to the unknown.

Such a premium is placed on mastery in our culture that it is often very difficult to learn anything without spending at least some time feeling stupid for not already knowing it. This is not right or useful, but it exists and is something people do have to overcome - I would be very surprised if you have honestly never felt pressured or frustrated while learning something new.

Difficulty in learning new tasks, frustration based on ideals of mastery, is endemic in our culture - even college education is increasingly specialized to the point of seriously devaluing a well-rounded liberal arts education. Not many people have the courage to learn new things in adulthood, because it damages the sense of mastery that comes from only doing what you know.

I'm not advocating this kind of "mastery", but please understand that there are thousands of people who come to the mat with a lot of cultural baggage about what they should and should not know, how quickly they should learn, etc. Your enlightened little quip is technically correct, as well as slightly haughty. You're dogmatically correcting the thread, rather than connecting with a frustration that is real, pervasive, a legitimate problem on the mat, and for that matter, kind of interesting culturally. This correction can only serve as something else to feel bad about - something else we haven't appropriately "mastered".

Why not just take the idea of frustration seriously as a real struggle to unlearn what everybody else in society is selling?

Deb Fisher
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