About teaching and training Eskrima and Bagua. Recommended seminars, and related material I find interesting.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Are you a good student?
Sonny asked me that once - it was a trick question of course.
On the one hand, you need to be respectful and polite, follow instructions and take the teacher's lead, take on board criticism and suggestion, listen carefully and modify your actions at their behest ...... On the other hand, everything you hear or learn should be taken with a pinch of salt, tried, tested, examined, thought about critically, investigated and played with. It's worth remembering that everything that is not personally experienced is hearsay.
For it to be your personal 'truth' you need to own it. You need to understand the context, the reasoning, be able to see it's worth and it's limitations .... and physically be able to manifest what you are talking about to complete strangers.
You have to be an active participant in your growth, willing to try things, but not get attached to their validity. You have to be open minded, attentive, work hard and think critically .. and laterally too.
You should also be able to adapt and change the information to mesh with who YOU are, and be able to expand who you are to test the edges of your possibility.
And perhaps most importantly, you have to be willing to fail and put yourself in positions where that is a distinct possibility, it is where some of the best learning comes from. I guess this is where it becomes important to have good 'others', in that I mean teachers, opponents, training partners etc to be authentic bad guys ... or honorable enemies. Your skill set will only improve in any meaningful way if the stimuli that you get to play against is authentic, challenging and as varied as possible.
We all seek guides in the subjects that we choose to study, but they are there to open our eyes, perhaps point the way, but not to carry us up the mountain. - Perhaps it would be best for us always to think of our teachers as honorable enemies? Someone for whom we have great respect as to their skills, but who we eventually need to learn how to beat. I know for sure that Sonny kept his personal 'secret weapons' in his back pocket, he refused to show his draw for instance, saying "I'm not going to show you my underwear", so on some level he was teaching us to not trust anyone completely. A worthy lesson in itself.
In the end, as Sonny said: "I am not teaching you, I am showing you what I do. It is then up to you to take it and make it yours". He could have added ... 'So that you can get good enough to defeat me'