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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Owning Strawberries

Do you see this image. It represents a character of a short cartoon on the web and is also on Youtube. Its the evil strawberry.

After much thought and consideration I believe this character represents any learning activity that creates grief an displaces the learning goal in a distant place - a forbidden fruit if you like. Its a parable.

In any learning activity that does not come easily, it is hard not to feel frustrated and angry and act like this child - sour grapes !

The key to all this in acquiring a hard skill - and I am thinking of sweeps and throws in martial arts for me at the moment - is resilience. Its a characteristic of the learner that needs to kick in when a barrier to the learning goal emerges. Not dealing with set backs can make you give up and in adult learners who have unrealistic goals, this can happen. I teach adult learners social sciences. Some are very grade aware and have high goals and expectations for obtaining these high grades that makes the subject matter irrelevant almost. Learners in this category are high risk suspects when it comes to managing setbacks and wanting to give up their study.

Developing a different attitude to learning - seeing it as a long haul issue and seeing the intrinsic pleasures are a way to overcome set backs. Josh Waitskin talks about this in his disciplines of chess and Tai Chi. Of how the apprenticeship of learning *IS* the goal. Leave the learning train - lose the attachment to the discipline almost is what comes across. It is a psychological condition coping with set back.

Why am I talking about this ? Yesterday I was going sweeps and I am re-learning and re-learning and not really making head way in this set of moves. I have been here before with Vale Tudo and some of the moves there, which I could not really adapt to. I know what to expect and what is happening to me when I am learning however. I have realistic expectations to a degree with this aspect of martial arts. This realistic view aids me. I could get red faced like this child here, but I just have to accept the moves are hard. I did this while learning parallel park. I can remember the sweat under my arms and the pressure n my face when learning this manouvre for my driving test. I decided to take all pressure of myself and say I will get it when I am ready. Not rushing this. Love the learning and relish the innocence.

This is similar to my feelings of chess. Those innocent days in 1987 when I was learning from books and reading how the Sicilian defence creates asymmetry and nodding at the principles but not really getting them are to be cherished. The mystery of it all does add something. Chiseling away at the mystery is good too, however.

The big difference academia, chess and martial arts and driving here is the sensory motor side. Its very binary in terms of having a skill on the latter 2. You have the technique or you don't. You park in line and can see it for yourself. You can apply a sweep or not. No in between.

You work to get that strawberry in time or you don't.!