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Old 04-01-2013, 06:43 PM   #8
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
Re: The Path of Learning

Travers Hughes wrote: View Post
Hi Graham, thanks for your thoughts.
I'd like to put out for maximum benefit that your numbers 2) and 3) could (and perhaps should) be changed.
Practice should come before the mental application - that way, you get to check your preconceived ideas from the gathering data phase, test and refine the mental application.
Just looking at the aikido paradigm - I have seen a number of beginners (keeping it gerneal, nothing specific here) do lots of reading, and think they understand based on someone's else's ideas. They think they have it worked out, only to fall down on the actual doing.
Maybe that's why we have issues with our training paradigms - its often noted that as a learning exercise, aikido is far from optimal when compared with other MAs. Maybe we're all thinking too much? (The curse for being an adult sometimes).
Putting it simply (apologies for generalising) the beginning of your framework appears to be Think Think Do - I wonder if Think Do (Re)Think (Re)Do is a viable option? (In essence your step 4).
Look forward to your comments.
Hi Travers.
Applying it to let's say the Aikido paradigm. Lets remember firstly that as with studying anything and quite well emphasized in AIkido and the martial arts in general is that you enter the dojo with shoshin. The beginners mind, the empty cup. In fact I would say anyone who through their own choice wants to learn something starts off like a sponge, ready to soak up as much as they can.

So entering they are wide eyed, nervous, but observing everything the teacher says and what others are doing. Soaking up data and trying to get just a little foothold, trying to understand what rules to follow, what the format is, where they should go, wgat they are being asked to do.

So the process is not to be looked at from the view of reading books. As you observe, as you listen, you are gathering data and the processing of it mind wise is then already happening. So 1,2 and 3 are already in play before the student does his first move ie: practice.

When you take just step one into account and then what I say about it here in this post ie: shoshin being the natural entrance point for all and everyone then with that alone you can see the fallacy of trying to make someone learn something they are not interested in for they will enter with a closed cup, no shoshin and in this day and age will then probably be given some detrimental label and be told they have learning difficulties. Yes they sure do

With regards to what you say about about think do, rethink do yes I would say that's all part of the 'cycle' In other words learning contains the cycle as I put it but to remember it's a repetitive cycle.

I was helping someone on a bit of a downer who had got a bit lost in what they were doing and feeling it wasn't worth it any more. As I listened I noticed how capable they were and how self disciplined they were but had hit a low point. I proceded to show them how ell they had done from the view of they started without any ability in that field and had reached a position of more than capable but were now being too hard on theirself. I introduced them to the concept of a floating condition, one which is a vital step but one which can be used anywhere on the cycle so to speak, The name of this step I call Review.

So when learning you are continually reviewing at each point you have a problem. It comes into it's own under different circumstances though as well. For instance once you are capable or even confident and all is going well and then for some unexplained reason all goes very wrong. Time for review. Sometimes you puzzle and puzzle and dot all the 'i's and cross all the 't's and realize you have changed nothing. So review tells you you have something new to learn. And so in life when we really get stuck we may go for advice and help but in essence we are being helped to review and discover.

So when students bump into their preconceived ideas it only happens because they have been told to do something one way, which they have already accepted, processed understood and found it clashing with a different understanding they already have.

The old Japanese way of teaching was very few words and more emphasis on be shown and do..practice. But still the emphasis was actually the same for the student. The student just had to gather data more by feel than words and but even they would be processing, processing then trying to apply.

One other thing I would say is this. Something I learned to look out for and that is that sometimes also a student wants to have more and more explanation and yet still doesn't get it. This is where discipline comes into play. When we hear what's being said, but somehow even though seeing it's right can't do it or fully grasp it. Time for what I call drill it. At these points you must just keep doing it until it clicks no matter how long that takes. Of course discipline is there all the time in studying but sometimes it's time for no more words or explanations. All these things are inherent in all the steps really.

Another use for putting things this way is to help understand things we see. For example the person acting like they are very skilled and able yet you look and wonder why? Well they have put themselves on step 6 say and yet they haven't done steps four and five. In the type of Aikido I do many often say it's all ribbons and airy fairy. Well once again it can be understood from this type of view. People wanting to do it like they have seen and yet wanting to bypass a number of steps. Then others think, 'that's odd, I trained with him and there was no substance there'. Yep, ego I'm afraid wants to start at step 5

Well, a few views of mine. Hope it helps.

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