The Story of a Technique ...

The human psyche loves a good story.
Story-telling is how, through much of our evolution, information has been passed from one generation to another. We REMEMBER via story-telling; it is one of our most powerful learning mechanisms.

I often use our hard-wired predisposition for remembering a good story, to teach martial arts more effectively.

No matter how good the information, now matter how effective the technique, if the students don’t take ownership of the material we present to them, then it all matters for nothing. Taking ownership of the information we are presented with is fairly important, if we can’t remember those twelve new things we learned at that seminar, or those three new escapes we learned in class, a week or two after the event, then we have pretty much just wasted out time. Taking ownership begins with REMEMBERING; and hence we come back to the idea of story-telling.

One of the methods I use to better facilitate the students ability to remember and retain what they learned in class, is to build a storyline with the techniques I want to teach. A good TRANSITION DRILL is one effective way to do this. I might build a sequence of moves that link together and have them all practice them until they can rep it out with no hesitation; this builds a basic storyline, on top of which I will attach various techniques, variations, etc. When I do this, nearly everyone remembers all the techniques I taught during that session, even a month later, when life and other stuff has gotten in the way.

One of the things I learned pretty early on in my martial arts training is that when we start to ‘collect’ a serious number of techniques/concepts, etc – we will increasingly find it more and more useful to have some structured way of organizing all this material in our minds. This is imperative if you play a coaching role.

So what I like to do when I teach, is to encourage my students to begin organizing the material in structured and logical ways that are meaningful for them; and in a way, that allows them to remember and recall the material easily down the track when it is needed.

Pinning techniques, concepts and principles to a story is a very powerful way to do achieve this. Transition drills are a kind of story in their own right – students will remember strings of techniques better than they will remember individual techniques, Our brains love a good story.
Train Well – Train Smart.


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