Friday, June 19, 2015

Snickets, Ginnels, and Wynds

I can tell you in words why something is useful, or good, or is worth doing, but your resistance to doing it will be in direct proportion to your resistance to the idea that you have a gap that needs fixing.

If there is no space for something to change, you won't change, however much I try to convince you it's a good idea.

Sometimes pointing out the problem to you physically helps. For instance, if I can make you notice that you can't find a clean exit after your entry, it will hopefully become obvious that you do indeed have a gap in your strategy, and thus opens your mind to the idea of change.

Thing is, sometimes taking a problem head on makes it worse. The mind gets in the way. It comes up with reasons and rationales to stay as it is, or stay within the bounds of it's imagination.
Sometimes problems need to be sidled up to, casual like, and worked on, without looking them directly in the eye.
Not for everything. Not all the time. But sometimes, especially when the existing program is hard wired, you need to take the more circuitous route to avoid heavy resistance.

But the circuitous route, almost ignoring the original problem, can bring up resistance too. For instance, I might know that doing seemingly unrelated X is the best way to help with problem Y. X might seem counter intuitive to your brain and it will start wondering why you are doing it, but remember, I'm teaching your body, not your mind.

I know that if you keep at it, your body will find a use for X without you thinking about it.  It's like an after market part that bolts right into the system and improves the running profile. The body is smart. It learns stuff and stashes it away. Then it reappears all over the place as the connections in the brain rewire, and if I'm right, suddenly your gap that needs fixing, will start to go away.

But you have to put the work in. And that's the hard part. Do you trust that this material really is good, even though it seems unrelated? Do you try it? How long for? Does the teacher know something you don't? Or do you know more than them? Are they selling you snake oil? Or might it actually be gold?

Everyone has to take responsibility for their own decisions. The way I do it is to ask myself if I want what they have, and by 'have', I mean how they move? If I can't do what they do, I want to learn how.

That's all. I'm happy to follow instruction until I find a dead end.

I will add one thing more.

Sonny asked me a long time ago if I was a 'good student' or a 'bad student'? What he meant I think was if I was capable of putting the work in, but also of thinking critically about everything that he taught me to do. He wanted us all to test the ideas. Are you better? Did it help?

Do the work, but obviously be careful who you follow down the back alleys. They are often the fastest route even though you can't see where they are going, but still, you need a guide who knows where they are going.


Miguel Becerra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Socially Incapable said...

Hi Maija

Two questions (I've got a few more but I'll be glad if I can work these two into comprehensibility)

1)As someone with what seems to be a very good 'student' mindset and experience teaching, do you prefer (as either student or teacher) the direct approach of taking a specific problem and 'solving' it? Or do you like to "go down the back alleys".? Does this 'faith' based approach have more potential to ingrain concepts that can be applied to a range of situations?

2)As someone that has been training and playing for quite a while, had meaningful teaching relationships with at least two different people and has a wide/eclectic experience within martial arts, how exactly have/do you identify people you want to learn from? How do you analyse and judge what they do? After all there are plenty of people that can move in ways that you can't but I'm guessing you don't necessarily want to be able to move like all of them. On a practical level are there any games or exercises you use for baseline testing when exchanging with someone?

Thanks and keep the posts coming, I've very much enjoyed both the blog and the book!

All the best


Maija said...

Great questions.

First, there is always change. Always. And it just keeps going, so not really worried about 'wrong turns'. Some mistakes have been the greatest learning experiences for me.

Anyway, the short answers are -

1 - Humans are smart and adaptable. Given the right conditions they will find answers. What they don't know is which answers are better, or worse. That's the teacher, or guide's job. But even here, the student needs to make it actual, real ... otherwise it is not 'true'.

2 - I've never really had a plan regarding teachers or validity of material. I've trained with assholes and idiots in all their varied shapes and forms alongside the talented, the abusive and the brilliant. And that's OK. It's just 'path' if you like. Mostly I stay if it's fun and cool. When it's not, I stop. In hindsight you could say, 'that guy was nuts, you stayed way too long' or 'if you'd stayed longer you would have 'got it' better' ... but really, who's to say how it would have panned out? Someone once said that you could meet the best teacher in the world and not be ready to hear what they say ... so perhaps it's just luck and timing ....?

More later.

Miguel Becerra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Toby said...

Initial thought that comes to mind. Many students have no idea what success actually looks and feels like. Also it is very tempting and easy to confuse 'success' with 'winning'. Until these things can be clearly defined AND understood by a student you can come across a lot of the active and passive resistances (as mentioned), because it feels, to them, you are not leading them onto the path of 'success.

Once again, definition and understanding. This has been cropping up in a lot of my conversations lately!

Great post Maija, thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas on this, it's always great to see discussion the 'student journey'!