Lost in Detail

This short piece is an attempt to answer a question posed by a fellow student.

There are so many things to focus on in training. Timing, distance, balance, posture, technique an. The thing is though that all too often focusing on these can serve the opposite of the desired effect. With more things on mind than can be sensibly dealt with we can’t see clearly. Its something I’ve been noticing more and more in people. Self criticism and an emotional need to succeed. While perfectly understandable these things are often counter productive, slowing down progress and take away from any enjoyment in training. Teaching methods used in Budo can help to overcome these problems.

A consistency in the teaching of Traditional Budo is that technique is taught in layers. With little to no explanation at first, complexity being added as the student advances. By learning the first idea we become ready for the second and so on. Some people I have met have gotten quite upset about this, seeing it as a kind of elitist arrogance on the part of instructors as if holding back what they know to keep a student in the Dark. This is not the intention (rarely). It is quite an important aspect of education in quite a general sense, enabling the practitioner to gain a solid grounding from which to learn from. The understanding gained in this way will be far more intuitive than if you took a more intellectual approach. When learning with the body it is necessary to put a lot of mental activity to the side, not to say that it cant be helpful to think but it just needs to be kept in balance.

For example I am learning to play the fiddle at the moment. Quite a painful process at times, for my family more than me! I have an excellent teacher, Stefanie. I practice with her weekly, mostly very simple bowing exercises such as going up and down scales. With the learning of tunes I prefer to take it slow. adding to what I have already learnt as slowly as is practical. Only when one has been learnt to heart should another be added to practice. Like in Budo, the constant practice of basics builds the habits useful for complexity. Any teacher I work with teaches in a similar way to this. Having accepted this process makes learning new skills more enjoyable and  far less frustrating. I always find that it is a pity when a person can not just enjoy training, study or anything in life just for its own sake.

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Filed under Budo Concepts, Life

2 responses to “Lost in Detail

  1. I love this article! It clearly shows how martial arts is what it is because of practice and hard work. Thank you for this!

    – Esther

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