This is well described, and I think not uncommon.
I recently came across some videos by John Grinder about NLP and what makes children able to learn things more easily than adults - because they filter less.
Worth a look on youtube.
A starter: http://www.youtube.com/user/NLPacademy?v=HDCUYhXNEME
There are other relevant videos out there.
p.s. there are other martial arts related recommendations out there (which I think are compatible) - how to become better at learning from others from just watching, or from being uke, or ...