Breathe in, natural
Breathe out, learned
There are those people who have certain skills that come easily and naturally as if they were just born knowing what to do and have the ability to do it. Then there are those of us who constantly and consistently have struggles to find meaning and ability in any thing we do. Surprisingly, this latter group is better off and often goes further...
Natural: (1) of nature/normal/ordinary, (2) conforming/expected with nature, (3) produced by nature, (4) of the physical world, (5) like human nature, (6) innate/instinctive/inborn, (7) being something by nature, (8) not affected or effortless, spontaneous, (9) like real life, genuine/sincere (10) biological/physical, (11) not sharp or flat, (12) without joker or wild card
In the dojo, not all of us started with the athletic aptitude, attitude, or the ability for training to be easy or enjoyable. Looking for that natural talent/ability is common in sports. Some people just seem to already know how hit, catch, throw a ball. Others know how to run and jump. They seem to have been born with an innate internal cognitive/emotional strategy that matches the physical task. The problem with this natural skill/ability group is that because it comes naturally, they often believe it is a given and they do not need to work on it. When the game becomes difficult or they are losing, it just does not match their mental map/expectation and they often lose faith in themselves or they attempt to blame others and are poor sports. We see this in new students who can just do a technique and in those who cannot. Both believe that skills and talent are fixed and natural. The problem with any belief system is that whether it is true or not, that is the limits of our reality.
In life, the newest social norm is to want the easy way out of everything, the shortcuts. We may look for tasks that we do not have to think about or put much effort into it. Many people believe that we are drawn to each other naturally and that a relationship should just work naturally. People tend to believe that if you have to work at it, then it must not be naturally right. (Agreed, if you have to work too hard, it may be the wrong choice.) Often this perception and conception of natural attraction and selection works great in the beginning stages of a relationship. We often see where we naturally match and ignore where we do not. However, getting and keeping (and deepening) a relationship are very different skill sets. Perhaps those parts of relationships, which are non-negotiable, need to match naturally. If you want someone who is trustworthy, just pick one who naturally is.
Learned: (1) highly educated, (2) scholarly, (3) honorable, (4) acquired
In the dojo, we find out that most martial skills are a lot easier than they appear. They say that it is not important how many times we fall down, only how many times we get back up. A base of Aikido is locks and throws/takedowns. One might think that with gravity it is natural to fall down. Yet learning how to take a fall (blending with the technique and protecting one's self from harm) is harder than learning the throw/takedown. I started Aikido with bashing/hitting/striking background. Everyone told me to move naturally. Therefore, I did and still I was wrong. I would not only have to learn a new way to move but a new way to think. I no longer thought or moved in straight lines of attack but in circular spirals of blending. Skill acquisition comes from intelligent mindful repetition. The neurons that fire together tend to wire together and we can learn a new natural. We just have to be open to learning something that goes against everything we have already learned (as natural) in the martial art world.
In life, we often just perpetuate what has been inherited or modeled for us. Except karmically, we have no choice in the matter. Our design is to replicate, duplicate, and perpetuate the past. We often are a lot like our parents who are like our grandparents. We have relationships based on what we saw within the family system. We gather, process, and evaluate information based on family patterns and processes. With the exception of the genetic material/characteristics, we learn what we have lived and anything that was learned can be unlearned and relearned. If our families are filled with successful, healthy, and happy people, we might want to decide consciously to continue in that direction. On the other hand, if our families are filled with people who are less then successful, unhealthy, or unhappy we might just want to learn something new. We might want to change the direction of our lives and teach our children and grandchildren how to have a better life and future.
Talent: (1) natural ability, (2) exceptional ability, (3) possible romantic partner, (4) ancient unit of weight/money, (5) aptitude/capacity/ability/endowment
Intelligence: (1) ability to think and learn, (2) secret information, (3) clever/aptitude/astuteness
Talent and intelligence can be natural or learned. Many coaches and teachers will say that they would rather have somebody who is able to learn because they are unlimited in what they can do. A natural talent or intelligence is limited/fixed from the very beginning with nowhere to go and nothing to develop. At least that is what many people think.
What if we learned to cultivate and facilitate natural talent and intelligence beyond what was given? What if the natural starting point was just that, where we start? Having it easy in the beginning can make it harder later in life. We often hear that people perform within their comfort zone (a misnomer because very few people appear comfortable in their comfort zone). They never learn how to overcome this limiting mindset. Perhaps the real talent is learning how to live a life of everyday learning.
Using our intelligence we can develop our talents in any content area we want if we know how and if we do the work. We can develop martial awareness and a martial body. We can learn to be healthier, happier, and more successful. We can learn to be empathetic, compassionate, and altruistic. We can learn to do what we all already know is the right thing to do.
Breathe in, natural
Breathe out, learned
Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service, and for sharing the journey. Now get back to training. KWATZ!
Lynn Seiser (b. 1950 Pontiac, Michigan), Ph.D. has been a perpetual student of martial arts, CQC/H2H, FMA/JKD, and other fighting systems for over 40 years. He currently holds the rank of Yondan (4th degree black belt) from Sensei Dang Thong Phong of the International Tenshinkai Aikido Federation and Sensei Andrew Sato of the Aikido World Alliance. He is the co-author of three books on Aikido (with Phong Sensei) and his martial art articles have appeared in Black Belt Magazine, Aikido Today Magazine, and Martial Arts and Combat Sports Magazine. He is the founder of Aiki-Solutions and IdentityTherapy and is an internationally respected psychotherapist in the clinical treatment of offenders, victims, and families of violence, trauma, abuse, and addiction. He is a professor of clinical and forensic psychology with an expertise in family violence and treatment. He lives with his wife and trains on the Florida Gulf Coast (chasing grandchildren).