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L: Loser, Learn, Laugh
L: Loser, Learn, Laugh
by Lynn Seiser
08-21-2012
L: Loser, Learn, Laugh

Breathe in, loser
Breathe out, learn
Laugh

Mr. Murphy and I are old friends. I usually make sure there is a place set for him at the table. If you cannot beat them, invite them for dinner.
Loser: (1) somebody who has lost something, (2) somebody who has not won, (3) somebody put at a disadvantage, (4) somebody unsuccessful or unlucky, (5) a social misfit, (6) failure or underdog
I heard there was no such thing as a loser. Either you won, or you learned. Don't you wish we all really thought and believed that?

We all think that in order to be worthy, we have to win. Win at all costs. Some coach a long time ago said that winning was not the most important thing, it was the only thing. If you cannot add another "W" to your scoreboard, you are a loser.

For many people, being a loser is a life position. They see themselves as losers, define themselves as losers, feel like losers, and unfortunately perpetuate the losing process. We live up to and attract what agrees with our self-definition.

People who think of themselves as real winners tend not to study the martial arts because they think they already know it all or are already good enough; actually fearing someone will see through their illusion or arrogance and ignorance. People who think of themselves as real losers don't to study martial arts either because they have already given up and believe that they cannot learn to be winners. Both winners and losers are limiting themselves by their self-conceptualization.

I have often said that either we all win or we all lose. If in every opportunity and experience, we sort for what worked and learn from that, we all win. If in every opportunity and experience, we sort for what didn't work and learn from that, we all win. If we fail to learn from every opportunity and experience, then we lose. Perhaps winning and losing is not an outcome, but a choice in perspective.
Learn: (1) acquire information or skill, (2) find out, (3) memorize something, (4) teach somebody something, (5) study or train, (6) discover or realize, (7) to understand
There are many learning strategies. The two most predominate strategies are linear sequential and mosaic. A linear sequential strategy takes a planned step-by-step approach in a logical progressive order. This is very common and popular among the engineer types. The mosaic strategy is a bit scattered and all over the place being tangential and spontaneous. This is very common and popular among the creative types.

In Aikido, you are often taught by the more mosaic strategy that makes you often wonder if there really is a curriculum or if the instructor is just making it up and the class progresses and as they see fit at the moment. However, most organizations do have a set curriculum by which you will be held responsible and accountable for on testing day.

Learning also happens in response to how we internalize the external new information through our sensory processes. Therefore, we tend to code information as visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. We see it, hear, and/or feel it. We experience the world through our eyes, ears, and skin/movement. (We could add taste and smell, but they are seldom used as a sensory learning style.) Some people learn best by visually observing a demonstration. Other learn easier through hearing a description and then talking themselves through it. Others only get it by doing it.

As teachers in charge of the learning opportunity and experience, we may need to set a context in which each individual can learn according to their own sensory style and strategy. As students responsible for our own learning, we may want to pay close attention to how we learn, not just what we learn. I have often thought that before the world throws content at us to learn; they first teach us how to learn the right strategy for the right task.

We cannot not learn. Either we learn what works or we learn what does not.
Laugh: (1) make sounds expressing amusement, (2) ridicule, (3) show contempt, (4) something funny or enjoyable, (5) chuckle, giggle, hoot, snicker, or snort
I have often cited Sigmund Freud and his jokes and their relationship to the unconscious. He states that jokes and insight were to same process of reflection and reevaluation based on a new piece of information or perspective, the punch-line or the insight. We can often tell when something finally makes sense to someone, we laugh about it. We can tell when the past is resolved and closure is obtained, we laugh about it. We can tell when we have gained some degree of self-assurance and security, we can laugh at ourselves. One of the first things to go in life and the last to come back is our sense of humor.

I tend to enjoy the company of others who make me laugh. Aikido is my hobby. If I did not enjoy the practice, and the people I train with, I would not still be doing it. I like people who are serious about the training, but not about themselves.

Things we enjoy we do not mind doing more. The more we do it, the more we learn. The more we learn, the better we get at it. The better we get at it, the more we do it. It is a nice self-perpetuating cycle.

Perhaps the punch-line or insight in all this is that if we train enough by having a good time, we cannot help but learn something. If we learn something long enough, we cannot stay a loser.

Breathe in, loser
Breathe out, learn
Laugh

Thank 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 Andrew Sato of the Aikido World Alliance and Sandan (3rd degree Black Belt) from Sensei Dang Thong Phong of the International Tenshinkai Aikido Federation. 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 currently lives in Marietta, GA and trains and teaches at Kyushinkan Dojo, Roswell Budokan.
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Old 08-24-2012, 03:34 AM   #2
crbateman
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Re: L: Loser, Learn, Laugh

I guess I'm a "mosaic learner"... I've always described it as the "If you throw enough knowledge at a wall, some of it will stick" principle. I like your description better... paints a prettier picture.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 08-24-2012, 04:41 AM   #3
SeiserL
 
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Re: L: Loser, Learn, Laugh

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
I guess I'm a "mosaic learner"...
Clark-san,

I too am a mosaic learner but eventually learned to be both (also linear sequential).

The trouble I had was the stuff that was sticking to the wall was the stuff that maintained the self-concept of loser.

While I don't see myself as a loser anymore, I don't see myself as a winner either.

Just a perpetuate mat-rat and student.

Thanks for reading and responding.

Until again,
Lynn

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 08-24-2012, 05:52 AM   #4
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: L: Loser, Learn, Laugh

Thanks, Lynn. I have just come though a process of letting go of some really old beliefs about myself. Your column was timely for me.

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Old 08-24-2012, 05:53 AM   #5
lars beyer
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Re: L: Loser, Learn, Laugh

Hi, just saw this.
We cannot not learn, thatīs great.. It reminds me of a saying by Saatchi (one of the founders of Saatchi and Saatchi) "You cannot not tell stories."
I used it to explain to my cinematography students how they should be aware of everything they put in the frame since everything, even the unnoticed, tells a story even on the subconscious level.
That aside a great post and makes me think about my own access to winning, loosing and learning and how I sometimes fail in that respect.
Thanks Lynn.

Last edited by lars beyer : 08-24-2012 at 05:55 AM. Reason: more
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Old 08-24-2012, 07:03 AM   #6
phitruong
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Re: L: Loser, Learn, Laugh

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
I guess I'm a "mosaic learner"... I've always described it as the "If you throw enough knowledge at a wall, some of it will stick" principle. I like your description better... paints a prettier picture.

Thanks for sharing!
what if you have a Teflon mind? hey, wouldn't that a mime out of the box?

i thought most of aikido teachers have the attitude of: "i got this paintball gun here and i am going to put it on automatic. i am going to plaster you from head to toe. if the paint doesn't stick, then at least i will enjoy the experience. *pfft* *pfft* *pfft* READY? *pfft* *pfft* *pfft* Can't heard you over your screamming!! *pfft* *pfft* *pfft* *pfft* *pfft* No? *pfft* *pfft* *pfft* TOO bad! *pfft* *pfft* *pfft* *pfft* *pfft*... *pfft* *pfft* *pfft* *pfft* Hey! the paint actually stuck to the ass region! new targeting! *pfft* *pfft* *pfft* *pfft* *pfft* *pfft* "

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 08-24-2012, 07:17 AM   #7
jurasketu
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Re: L: Loser, Learn, Laugh

I think it is very important to recognize and admit that one is being a LUSER. I know that when I don't, I don't fix what's wrong. When I do, I feel like a winner when I make progress fixing the problems. Or I could be in denial. Never sure which...

All paths lead to death. I strongly recommend taking one of the scenic routes.
AWA - Shodan - Started Aikido training in 2008
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Old 08-24-2012, 07:46 AM   #8
SeiserL
 
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Re: L: Loser, Learn, Laugh

Quote:
Robin Johnson wrote: View Post
I think it is very important to recognize and admit that one is being a LUSER. I know that when I don't, I don't fix what's wrong. When I do, I feel like a winner when I make progress fixing the problems.
Greetings Kohai,

Nice to meet here too.

Exactly as you said, once you admit to being a LUSER (perhaps only meaning that you didn't get it right, yet) you become a WINNER (for that moment). Both are only temporary opportunities to learn and grow.

See you soon.

Until again,
Lynn

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 08-24-2012, 07:50 AM   #9
SeiserL
 
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Re: L: Loser, Learn, Laugh

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
i thought most of aikido teachers have the attitude of: "i got this paintball gun here and i am going to put it on automatic. i am going to plaster you from head to toe. if the paint doesn't stick, then at least i will enjoy the experience.
Yes agreed.

I often wish I was as fast or as bright as people assume I am.

When they keep throwing things at me without any explanation and expecting me to figure it out, I usually eventually do. Of course later I find out what I figured out had nothing to do with what they were trying to show me.

But I do appreciate (with a good laugh) the unrealistic compliment I am so unworthy of.

Just not that fast folks in any way, and getting slower as I get older.

But losing less, learning and laughing more.

Until again,
Lynn

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 08-24-2012, 07:54 AM   #10
SeiserL
 
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Re: L: Loser, Learn, Laugh

Quote:
Lars Beyer wrote: View Post
"You cannot not tell stories."
I used it to explain to my cinematography students how they should be aware of everything they put in the frame since everything, even the unnoticed, tells a story even on the subconscious level.
Yes agreed.

I love a good story.

When I hear/see some subtle detail early, I think and watch for how that will be used later.

I do a lot of therapeutic (I hope) story-telling and metaphor work when I cannot use direct suggestion. Most to gain access to that unconscious level beyond winning and losing to open the learning process without always focusing on the end product.

We cannot not connect. We cannot not communicate. We cannot not influence.

Everything we do tells our story.

Until again,
Lynn

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 08-24-2012, 07:57 AM   #11
SeiserL
 
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Re: L: Loser, Learn, Laugh

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
I have just come though a process of letting go of some really old beliefs about myself.
Yes, so agreed.

I thought I had let go of so much. Only to find that I put them neatly on a shelf to be knocked off and reexamined every time I step-up to the next level and have to ask myself "is this the one I fail at?"

Being a loser/failing was easy, well practiced and well earned.

This winning and succeeding thing takes some getting used to.

Until again,
Lynn

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 08-24-2012, 04:32 PM   #12
crbateman
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Re: L: Loser, Learn, Laugh

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
what if you have a Teflon mind?
Teflon doesn't last forever, especially if you use metal utensils... I just wait for some to wear off...
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:40 PM   #13
niall
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Re: L: Loser, Learn, Laugh

Great column as always, Lynn. I like the definition of loser as someone who has lost something. We all have to try to lose the things that are blocking us.

Can I ask you a technical question about the sensory processes you talked about? Where does learning by reading and study fit in? Is it visual or is it considered to be separate? Thanks.

Regards,

Niall

we can make our minds so like still water, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life
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Old 09-01-2012, 06:23 AM   #14
SeiserL
 
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Re: L: Loser, Learn, Laugh

Quote:
Niall Matthews wrote: View Post
Great column as always, Lynn. I like the definition of loser as someone who has lost something. We all have to try to lose the things that are blocking us.

Can I ask you a technical question about the sensory processes you talked about? Where does learning by reading and study fit in? Is it visual or is it considered to be separate?
Thanks for reading and responding.

Perhaps wisdom/serenity is knowing what to lose and let go of and what to hang onto. In winning we often only learn what is working to maintain a certain level. Its in losing that we learn how to improve. In winning we lose and in losing we have the opportunity to win.

Yes reading is a visual process.

Some people see the words on the page and record them in visual memory just like they see them. Practicing this strategy can lead to a type of photographic memory. This is rather intellectually content specific.

Other people see the visual words and construct the visual scene that is being described. If this is from a spectator dissociated position it does not lead to the same skill acquisition is if they construct the scene as if they were actually in the acquisition/scene performing the actual act developing the physical kinesthetic feelings (and slight neural firing) of doing it. You can see the difference in people who make slight ideo-motor movements while reading.

As we demonstrate a skill in the dojo, some just watch keeping the visual scene external, some internalize and begin to imitate the movement, some sub-vocalize describe the movements, and some don't see the movement or hear the instructions.

A poorer strategy (the one I used to use as an auditory learning) was to attempt to sub-vocalize the written page. It takes so much longer to say "catch the ball" then to see and feel myself catching it.

A master chess playing actually spends more time studying the games of other masters and visualize the game in front of them as if they are at the board than they actually spend playing.

This type of mental-rehearsal is very common in sport/performance psychology.

I like the reading/study part because it give some insight into the internal strategy needed to acquire and perform a new skill.

Hope that helps in some small way.

Until again,
Lynn

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 09-02-2012, 06:21 AM   #15
niall
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Re: L: Loser, Learn, Laugh

Thanks for that helpful explanation, Lynn.

Regards,

Niall

we can make our minds so like still water, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life
w b yeats


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