Monday, May 27, 2013

Learning Martial Arts

Actually the title is a misnomer. You can substitute Martial Arts with just about anything. But let us stick to martial arts for now. How does one learn martial arts?

First you need a master. Second, you need to be physically conditioned to learn. You cannot get up one fine morning and decide to learn martial arts. Well, you can, as long you know that you are committed to it. Third you need to be committed. Fourth, you need discipline. Fifth, you need to unlearn.

And unlearning might be the biggest hurdle to learning. 

Unlearn to look the person in the eye. Unlearn turning away your body when you are fighting or sparring. Unlearn using your technique rather than your instinct and then make that technique your instinct. Unlearn not to rest when you are in training. Unlearn to keep those hands up, keep the guard up. Unlearn to react and learn to drive the direction of the fight...

Unless you do this, it is not possible to learn. Rather all the techniques they teach you is focussed on getting you to unlearn these and learn the others.

And how does that happen. In a nutshell - practice. Practice by yourself. Practice with a mirror. Practice with bags. Practice in sparring. Practice in scrimmages. Practice with self awareness. Practice. Practice. Practice. There is no damn shortcut to learning something like this. And it does not happen in an instant.

It takes time, effort and lots of commitment.

And why is this important here. Read through this when you want to see a change in behaviour or culture or knowledge. Unless you create an environment where one can practice safely, that change wont happen. Unless it is sustained both at "class" and "away" it wont happen!

(And how do I know this. What qualifies me to say so? Because sometime over the last couple of years, I learnt from the good folks at ICSA. And the entire process of learning with self awareness has been meditative, to say the least.)

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