Tuesday, March 31, 2009

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Your Emergent Event


Important things often happen suddenly.
Most people tend to think that things happen gradually – things like skill acquisition for example – but this, in my experience, is not the case at all. I think that when conditions are right, we undergo experiences that I like to call ‘emergent events’. Think of it like this …
Say we think of numbers – small numbers – they do logical things, they follow rules, and it’s all pretty simple and fairly predictable. We know that two times two is four, six plus four equals ten, etc. So it seems perfectly logical that huge numbers should pretty much just do the same thing as small numbers but on a larger scale – right – wrong!
Let’s apply this idea to say, brain cells. To paraphrase Dan Gilbert (excellent author and psychologist) – if we take a couple of brain cells – neurons - and we connect them via an electro-chemical circuit, we get something not any more powerful or remarkable than say a pair of walkie talkies. In fact it can be easily argued that the walkie talkie’s are more powerful. But what happens when we wire trillions of these neurons together (a very large number) we get something rather unique – we call this thing – CONCIOUSNESS – self awareness. That’s a pretty amazing thing. So obviously, when we got enough of these connections, some kind of critical event occurred and something new EMERGED – namely, we did! So two or three neurological connections cannot be deemed as ‘conciousness’ – not even two or three hundred connections – but something (or things) happened between those small numbers and the astronomically huge numbers that we actually have that causes us to BE! And be aware they we – BE!
So what is the point of this blog – well, it is my view that a similar thing happens when we undergo a learning process. People start out on the mat, in the world of BJJ, wrestling, boxing, etc – and they learn a bunch of independent techniques and theorems and they gather and collect as they steadily increase their experience and understanding – and if enough of this happens, something remarkable occurs – something that seems larger than the combined sum of that which they have learned – and they experience an EMERGENT EVENT. That is to say, suddenly, they are markedly better!
So, for any beginners that are reading this – or anyone else for that matter – never despair - steady practice, more and more connections and you can expect your own emergent events to take place. The interesting and uplifting thing is that this can also occur in all other areas of our lives.
I enjoy thinking and developing these types of ideas – they help me with my teaching process. So please let me know via the comments facility of you want to hear more or less of this sort of brain-food. When I weave these sorts of thoughts into the training during my seminars, most seem to enjoy it – but every now and then I see a pair of eyes glaze over - over to you …
Best wishes
JBW

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12 Comments

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Keep it coming Sir,

I really enjoyed this aspect of the most recent seminar we had with you. Emergent Events, The True meaning of Leverage, it's these things you teach that help people realise that BJJ is more than just a fancy way to put people to sleep and break their arms and legs off

Thanks again,
Bear

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Interesting brain food. I call those times 'Eureka Experiences'. Eureka (in it's Greek root) literally means "I have found it". It's the point when someone 'gets it'.

Great work here, Master Wills.

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John this line of theory is some of your best work. You touch on this from time to time and its very thought provoking, keep it up mate.
Mark NZ

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Anonymous 12:30 pm

Hi John,
Do you consider a Emergent Event a sum of the parts?
e.g. I was shown an 8 step escape from side control on the weekend ( by yours truely)
Part One - Learn the 8 steps mentaly
Part two - train the body : Muscle memory to be able to do the 8 steps
Part three - subconsious learning e.g. so the body reacts to being put in the right situation to effect the 8 steps?
As I do not think you would get an emergent event without all three(possibly more)
Regards
Scottm
www.bjj-castlehill.com

PS Keep them coming!!

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Anonymous 1:18 pm

I love the thought provoking blog entries. Please keep them up.

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Awesome Sir

i love to hear these things over the years your wisdom and insight has helped and guided me through many thins both on and off the mat

thank you
djc

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Hi MArk,
thanks for the kind feedback. In all honesty, I never know (nor can I predict) what stuff I write will be of interest to anyone. Will do.
John

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Scott:
thanks for your feedback. In my experience, an emergent event can take place any time .. the 'tipping point' may be reached, even by the learning of a technique that you don't like. it's something to with mking the right kinds of connections in your head. I also think that the more ;aware' you are of the 'process' of each technique, the more quickly the emergent event happens. Thats whay I like my students to fully understand what is going on - as opposed to just copying it.
Best wishes
John

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Hey MArk,
that's you right there - sorry, didn't relaize who it was till I blew up your pic. Handsome devil.
On another note - I hear some of your boys are learning secret deadly techniques from a well-known personality who lives in the deep south! My goodness .. where's the love?????

Stay well.
JBW

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I agree. Well done, and keep it up. You're often way more insightful than the majority of people I know.

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Thanks Elyse,
glad you like it.
Saw your blog - nice one.
if you do enjoy my blog - perhaps let others in your BJJ circle know about it. many thanks,
John

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