Language Barrier ..

In many of my training travels, I found myself in places where I did not speak the local language – but I still managed to learn, and learn well. How? Simple really … I learned by watching – and watching closely. Most of us have this ability – indeed, it is in my opinion, our foremost learning mode. It’s how we learned as children – and for most of us, it’s how we learn as adults. We look, and we emulate – simple as that.
I guess everyone knows this to be the case – but here is something that may not be quite as obvious; a lot of very good learning can by done by listening. If we come across teachers/mentors/people that have something of value to say – we can learn a lot by listening – and listening well.
One of the things I have learned in the teaching of over 25,000 classes – is that most people do not have a natural talent for listening and then translating what they hear, into action. This particular skill is not something that our society readily instills.
In my school, I have an introductory class. In that class, novices are exposed to a number of different training methods – pad-work, clinching, groundwork – even pre-fight management strategies – but they are also being taught to follow detailed verbal instructions; in short, they are taught, how to learn.
Teaching adults how to learn is something that is often overlooked in martial arts schools; and many other types of learning institutions. It is usually assumed that people are adept at learning – but this has not been my experience as a teacher. We all need training in the art of learning …


Liam H Wandi said…
Very true. I went thru a period in my old karate school struggling to get the distance right for a foot sweep entry and it wasn't until my teacher said: Close your eyes and listen to it that I realised that the sweep is preceded by a short sliding step/hop that put you in perfect range. Now I try to listen to mat-friction all the time when learning new techniques!

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