Tuesday, April 28, 2009

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Seeing the INVISIBLE


I have long since developed a habit of looking at what instructors are doing rather than listening to what they were saying. This is for a number of reasons but one of the main ones is that more often than not, my instructors spoke little or no English. So I learned to look. But that’s not the interesting thing!
Here’s what I have come to notice over three decades of martial arts LEARNING:
Virtuoso’s (the people we try to emulate) DO NOT start out being Virtuoso’s. They start out with basic skill-sets like everyone else. They come up with simple – non Virtuostic (is that even a word?) descriptions for how they do their thing – before they become the Virtuoso’s that we admire. Then they evolve, the improve, they reach their Virtuoso status – and then – AND THIS IS THE PROBLEM – they continue to describe how they do their thing with their OLD AND OUTDATED DESCRIPTION. Bastards! How inconsiderate of them.
It has been my observation, that very, very few people EVOLVE their description (their: ‘HOW TO’) of what they do at the same pace as their actual technique. In fact, if I listen to their INSTRUCTION – I see that it oftens bears little resemblance to what they are ACTUALLY doing. This can be frustrating for many people.
For myself though, it provides the raw circumstance that I immerse myself in - in the study of martial arts. One of my best skills is to unravel what the Virtuoso’s do, pry it apart and show it to others. I derive immense joy from having people shift from ordinary and cursory practice – to extraordinary and insightful practice.

More to come …
JBW

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3 Comments

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One of the most profound realizations I have made in my years of studying teachers.

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Cameron 4:20 pm

John,

I've read many of your blog entries over the past few years and want to say thank you for sharing your insights, it's greatly appreciated! This one in particular is a nice gem.

Not sure what it would take get an RSS Feed, but I keep coming back to see if you have one.

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