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Old 03-29-2013, 02:39 PM   #1
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
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The Path of Learning

I'm going to present a way of looking here that I feel helps when 'judging' things with relation to where someone is on a cycle, a path, of study and ability.

I will break it down into stages and number them accordingly from beginning study to end result. Steps if you like. I like to call these natural steps.

1) Gathering data.

You start with a purpose to learn and understand and a goal to attain ability So you read, you go to class, you gather data. Now some people do a lot of reading and a lot of gathering data and can even be a walking volume of data but alas this is only step one. So where are we when we do this? What do we have?
Well, we have knowledge. We have reached the dizzy heights of knowledge. We have a body of knowledge.

2) Mental application.

Then we try to see how this knowledge fits with the in life thing we are studying and where we see it making sense we enter mental understanding. So we have progressed to mental understanding.

3) Practice.

Now we practice. We practice applying that mental understanding to the real life thing. We start gaining a real understanding. We also start gaining some basic ability.

4) Continue.

We continue with the above three and dependent solely on our discipline increase our level of ability.
Now this is where it get's interesting. We reach a condition of competence.

Now I am quite competent at writing freehand. That's as far as I took that path to. I can safely say I am competent at writing. I am competent at cooking. That's all. That's where I am. That's my level.

Now interestingly enough this shows competence as let's say the first plateau. I can tie my shoe laces and that's good enough for me. Now what happened to all that data I had to keep in my 'skull' to do with how to draw letters, connect sounds, join letters etc. etc. It's gone. I threw it all away. I now have the skill and at that point I can release myself from all that data.

What's also interesting here is that I might want to go past mere competence on some things and that shows us there are other 'conditions' to be reached if we choose.

5) Confidence.

Someone comes along and says 'can you do that for others?' Mmmmm. Can you go cook for others, be a chef? Can you write for others? Mmmm. Suddenly I see to do so for others brings in what I don't know and what else I would need to learn. So if I choose to I would be entering the next phase of this path. What would that lead to? Confidence.

Just imagine a car mechanic. He may be competent but in a garage where you have many different cars coming in his aim would then be to reach confidence.

Even here he may have many 'tools' at his disposal like books and other things where he may have to look a few things up but he is confident in his ability to go through step by step and handle any car.

6) Artist.

Now someone comes along and says 'he's very good and reliable but Bill over there is a different class' Bill is not only confident but has some added qualities and goes about his work happily unruffled, nothings a problem and sees the cars almost as blank canvasses needing an aesthetic touch. They are not problems or enemies but friends needing a bit of tlc. When you see such a person at work you cannot but admire their flow.

He has taken his skills to the next level and at that level they become art.

7) Master.

Is there a level above artist? I call that the level of Master.

A master has become at one with the universe in which he or she operates. While others are testing the cars to see what's wrong with them the master merely looks at turns on the engine and somehow sees what's wrong. He can handle any car, any time, anywhere and has that 'magic' touch.

Now there may be some missing steps there. There are almost certainly many missing qualities that could be added to the relevant conditions but I think it could be a useful guideline.

Peace.G.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:00 PM   #2
PhillyKiAikido
 
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Re: The Path of Learning

Interesting. I've been thinking about learning methodologies that lead a person to go through the steps you listed.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 03-30-2013, 11:58 PM   #3
Janet Rosen
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Re: The Path of Learning

Except...I learned to tie my shoelaces with no gathering of data or mental application, no formal study of the history of shoes or the engineering of lacing. Demo, try, demo again, try and try.
I taught myself to read, well, certainly before I could read up on how to learn to read. My family never figured out how I did it. But a kid in a family of readers and lots of reading material can do it.
I don't think we gather data or have mental application. I think we start with a desire and then we go learn by doing. The gathering of data is a supplement that helps us put what we are doing into context.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:21 AM   #4
graham christian
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Re: The Path of Learning

Thanks Ting. Janet that sounds like quite a feat. Especially learning how to read as you describe.

Magic?

No there is no magic. My best friend was not academic at all and didn't learn much about reading and writing until he was 30. He learned many things and attained many skills prior to that but they all involved that same procedure as I described. A baby learns many things too at a great rate I may add yet still follows that procedure even when not able to read or even talk. Gathers data though and has a mind.

I can just see your face now when after gathering data through observation and trial and error finally understood (a mind thing) how to tie your shoelace and soon after that could do it competently and even at ease. What a lovely smiling face.

Peace.G.
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Old 03-31-2013, 05:43 AM   #5
SeiserL
 
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Re: The Path of Learning

Before we learn content, we should learn how to learn ...
makes the task so much easier.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:05 PM   #6
graham christian
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Re: The Path of Learning

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Before we learn content, we should learn how to learn ...
makes the task so much easier.
Indeed.

Peace.G.
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Old 04-01-2013, 04:34 PM   #7
Travers Hughes
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Re: The Path of Learning

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.
Cheers
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:43 PM   #8
graham christian
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Re: The Path of Learning

Quote:
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.
Cheers
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.

Peace.G.
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:11 AM   #9
sully
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Re: The Path of Learning

as a beginning student, your post is very helpful,what i get from it is, get out of your head, and just keep practicing, thank you!
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:17 PM   #10
lars beyer
Dojo: Copenhagen Aikishuren Dojo
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Re: The Path of Learning

Quote:
Michael Sullivan wrote: View Post
as a beginning student, your post is very helpful,what i get from it is, get out of your head, and just keep practicing, thank you!
Hi Michael,
What youīre saying might sound a bit harsh for a beginner in aikido maybe, but at least itīs not far from the truth that sometimes itīs better to learn from direct personal experience rather than trying to understand in advance so "getting out of your head and practise" like you say is a good way to describe it. :-)
Best regards
Lars
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:35 AM   #11
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
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Re: The Path of Learning

So just to clarify here, the first two steps are happening as soon as you start observing from the view of wanting to learn. Then as you do step 3 in comes review and now steps 1,2 and 3 are all being continually repeated and thus interdependent.

You can't escape them so embrace them.

Peace.G.
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Old 05-15-2013, 05:40 PM   #12
JLRonin
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Re: The Path of Learning

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
I'm going to present a way of looking here that I feel helps when 'judging' things with relation to where someone is on a cycle, a path, of study and ability.

I will break it down into stages and number them accordingly from beginning study to end result. Steps if you like. I like to call these natural steps.

1) Gathering data.

You start with a purpose to learn and understand and a goal to attain ability So you read, you go to class, you gather data. Now some people do a lot of reading and a lot of gathering data and can even be a walking volume of data but alas this is only step one. So where are we when we do this? What do we have?
Well, we have knowledge. We have reached the dizzy heights of knowledge. We have a body of knowledge.

2) Mental application.

Then we try to see how this knowledge fits with the in life thing we are studying and where we see it making sense we enter mental understanding. So we have progressed to mental understanding.

3) Practice.

Now we practice. We practice applying that mental understanding to the real life thing. We start gaining a real understanding. We also start gaining some basic ability.

4) Continue.

We continue with the above three and dependent solely on our discipline increase our level of ability.
Now this is where it get's interesting. We reach a condition of competence.

Now I am quite competent at writing freehand. That's as far as I took that path to. I can safely say I am competent at writing. I am competent at cooking. That's all. That's where I am. That's my level.

Now interestingly enough this shows competence as let's say the first plateau. I can tie my shoe laces and that's good enough for me. Now what happened to all that data I had to keep in my 'skull' to do with how to draw letters, connect sounds, join letters etc. etc. It's gone. I threw it all away. I now have the skill and at that point I can release myself from all that data.

What's also interesting here is that I might want to go past mere competence on some things and that shows us there are other 'conditions' to be reached if we choose.

5) Confidence.

Someone comes along and says 'can you do that for others?' Mmmmm. Can you go cook for others, be a chef? Can you write for others? Mmmm. Suddenly I see to do so for others brings in what I don't know and what else I would need to learn. So if I choose to I would be entering the next phase of this path. What would that lead to? Confidence.

Just imagine a car mechanic. He may be competent but in a garage where you have many different cars coming in his aim would then be to reach confidence.

Even here he may have many 'tools' at his disposal like books and other things where he may have to look a few things up but he is confident in his ability to go through step by step and handle any car.

6) Artist.

Now someone comes along and says 'he's very good and reliable but Bill over there is a different class' Bill is not only confident but has some added qualities and goes about his work happily unruffled, nothings a problem and sees the cars almost as blank canvasses needing an aesthetic touch. They are not problems or enemies but friends needing a bit of tlc. When you see such a person at work you cannot but admire their flow.

He has taken his skills to the next level and at that level they become art.

7) Master.

Is there a level above artist? I call that the level of Master.

A master has become at one with the universe in which he or she operates. While others are testing the cars to see what's wrong with them the master merely looks at turns on the engine and somehow sees what's wrong. He can handle any car, any time, anywhere and has that 'magic' touch.

Now there may be some missing steps there. There are almost certainly many missing qualities that could be added to the relevant conditions but I think it could be a useful guideline.

Peace.G.
nice analogy. cudos
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:17 AM   #13
Tom Verhoeven
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Re: The Path of Learning

Graham, Thanks for your this description of the learning process. It reminds me of the method of Shu - Ha - Ri. Although your description sounds more linear with mastery as the end, while shu ha ri is more seen as a circular (spiral) method without a definite end as a goal. Was wondering if you intended it this way ?
Tom
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:12 AM   #14
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
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England
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Re: The Path of Learning

Quote:
Tom Verhoeven wrote: View Post
Graham, Thanks for your this description of the learning process. It reminds me of the method of Shu - Ha - Ri. Although your description sounds more linear with mastery as the end, while shu ha ri is more seen as a circular (spiral) method without a definite end as a goal. Was wondering if you intended it this way ?
Tom
Hi. Yes I intended it as you say as a more linear explanation. Shu ha Ri is different and yet present if you like.

The reason for this linear look is more for orientation really. So many times we ourselves fall into the trap of believing we are at one level which is not the truth. So many times we see someone at say level two, full of all kinds of data and assume therefor they are at a high level. It is for these reasons I posted it.

At competence, where the data is now no longer 'held' although can be recreated at will in order to pass on information, we may see the best starting point for conceptual shu ha ri in my opinion.

Peace.G.
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