Tuesday, May 11, 2010

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Seeing the Invisible


‘Notice what no-one else notices and you’ll know what no-one else knows.’ A skill that that my father urged me to develop – it is also a skill that I urge my own students to develop; both on and off the mat.
Taking ‘notice’ of things is at the very heart of natural and organic learning. Quick learners are usually quick ‘noticers’; developing a taste for nuance is something that will set you apart from the ordinary.
If we look at how a world champion (BJJ, golf, tennis, swimming, etc) performs, it can often be difficult to identify the things that he or she is doing that differentiates them from everyone else; but they are obviously doing things differently; we know this because they are getting a different result from the results that more ordinary people are enjoying. If we start with this premise: extraordinary people are doing things differently; then we can start looking, and looking closely, at what they are doing. It is only we observe with this kind of deep fascination, that we begin to notice the subtle, yet often powerful, ways in which extraordinary people differ from the ordinary.
Like any skill, the more we practise the art of ‘noticing’ the better we get at it. Coaches and teachers definitely need to nurture their ‘noticing’ skills; but this is a skill that can be taken from the mat and out into our daily lives; and as such, I feel everyone should nurture it at every opportunity. I urge my students to ‘notice’ – instil in them (I hope) – a habit of noticing, this way I can improve their ‘learning ability’ and not just their ‘doing ability’.
Take notice today – doors will open, opportunities will come to light and understanding will deepen.
Warmest wishes
JBW

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3 Comments

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Reminds me of the "deep practice" philosophy of Malcolm Gladwell and others currently writing about expertise and talent.

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great post, I think you are spot-on.

Hey have you ever met or trained with Roy Harris? (the analytical bjj teacher under Joe Moreira, in San Diego), any stories of him? (or his ex-student Michael 'bolo' Jen?)

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Love this post. If we can engage all our senses this "seeing the invisible" becomes a reality. See the technique, hear what the instructor is saying, feel the discomfort of the recipient, smell the laundered (or sweaty) gi, and wonder why it is done this way, is the key at least in my own experience.

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