Monday, September 6, 2010

stealing the technique: response

I was recently teaching my son how to use a swing in our backyard and it related, in my mind, to Journeyman's post, Stealing the Technique.

In this post, which you should read, he discusses the teacher's willingness to show his/her students all the nuances of a technique, or whether to show most of it, thereby forcing the student to eventually understand the full details by close observation.

Back to the swing.

I was trying to verbally explain to my son how to build momentum by straightening his legs, and pulling back with his hands on the chains to gain speed. After a bit, it began to work, but still needs a lot of work. He's still pretty little.

What I realized by this process--the same as teaching him to ride his trike or anything similar--is that part of his understanding is going to happen by feel. His muscles will have to experience the proper form, and he will make adjustments as he learns to go higher and higher on the swing. For example, you can explain to someone how to ice skate all day long, but until the person tries to balance him/herself on the blades, it will remain an intellectual exercise. You learn balance by falling.

This is why I always want to feel a martial arts technique as an uke, first. If I can feel the result of the application, I can better copy it as tori.

A Sensei, as any teacher, can only take you so far before letting you learn from trial and error.

1 comment:

  1. There are some teachers that have their students practice a technique, and after every attempt deliver paragraphs of information on corrections. I think that can be really annoying, and inhibit the oppurtunity for a student to feel out a technique for himself. I agree with you.