How will you learn the new skill?

Cat on the wire

How will you learn the new skill?

There are at least two ways of learning / teaching a skill.

We can go first to details, learn small elements, then to bigger parts, then finally go to a big picture. Or we can start with the big picture, which offers an overview of how things work and then go to details.

The obstacle to the first approach is boredom. It requires a lot of motivation and dedication to learn all the small details and wait a long period of time to be able to have any use from acquiring skills. It can be very boring unless we are truly motivated.

The challenge of the second approach is frustration. Without all the small details it is difficult to master the whole.

In both approaches, work is required to move forward.

I am definitely a big picture person. As soon as possible, I want to have a whole “thing”. When knowing it, I have a motivation to work on details – even if it is very frustrating. Having the whole gives me enough satisfaction to work on polishing difficult parts. This is my primary approach in teaching Tai Chi. I am passing to people a bigger piece, the form – or the part of the form, and when they are accustomed to it and gain enough mental resources to pay attention, I correct details.

Traditionally in martial arts, the first approach has more sense. The first part of traditional martial art training is just strengthening the body. Then we learn technics (punches, kicks, blocks, throws, drops etc.) after that comes learning combinations of techniques, then training forms and at the end real applications during sparring training.

For each “belt” this path is repeated in a more advanced manner.

If we were preparing to fight, then yes, we should follow a traditional path. As we practice Tai Chi for fun and relaxation, all these traditional approaches have very little application.

Still, we need to practice in order to progress. Without it, it would become very frustrating.

So, whatever you learn during a Saturday class, please repeat it several times in the following week.

When I learn something new, I do it myself exactly that way. If I do not have space to do it, I imagine doing it.

It doesn’t really matter if you remember the whole thing. Practice what you remember, so the next time we meet, you can clarify your doubts and learn something new. That way you will have a lot of satisfaction while progressing really fast.

Hope to see you next Saturday.