This remark, that I am trying to learn Martial Arts as slowly as I possibly can, actually comes from 1967-1968. I was in a Chinese Kenpo Karate school at the time. Which self defense school I was in doesn’t matter, however, as, I found ‘slow learning’ applied to every martial art in existence.
That doesn’t mean I wasn’t learning and having the best time of my life. Heck, Martial Arts brought a point to life, and the rite of passage is not equaled in other method in life. But, I was learning slowly.
The process of learning slowly was described to me as ‘plateaus.’ I would earn a belt, learn new material, and then practice that new material for 4 – 6 months, and be bored with that new material after the first month. I knew it, you see.
Somebody shows me a move, I practice it a dozen times, and then I can do it. I don’t have to think about it, and don’t really understand why I am supposed to practice something I know. And pretty much everybody is like this.
Intuition is how a human being learns, and human beings are the fastest learners around. Yet, in a karate school or any other martial arts school, they are asked to memorize random sequences of moves, and then draw connections that don’t, for the most part, exist. No wonder learning is becomes tedious; no wonder people drop out.
Think of it this way: you are asked to memorize an algebra formula,
a trigonometry sequence, learn negative addition, and then you are a mathematician. Doesn’t make sense, does it? Yet that is the way the martial arts are presented.
Well, of course, the self defense arts come from countries which did not have logic, let alone public education, let alone an interest in the latest and greatest modern learning method. Doesn’t mean the arts aren’t great, they are, but they are slow to learn. The idea of plateaus is just slow, you see.
There are alternatives to this slow memorization of random moves, of course, one has to be willing to admit that the old methods are…old, and that it is okay to learn fast. We are our greatest resource, time to take the buckles off, undo the restraints, throw away the walkers…and get the lead out. After all, who would want to keep learning the martial arts as slowly as you can?