Thursday, July 22, 2010

Let’s Try That Again!

(I wrote this for the Triangle Martial Arts instructor newsletter! If you are not a martial arts instructor, don't give away our secrets, okay? *giggle*)
As martial artists, how many times have we thrown that same punch? Practiced that same lock?  In judo, during uchikomi, we would fit our throws over and over. And over. The same seoinage, the same ouchi-gari. Hundreds of times. Again. Again. After awhile, learning became irrelevant; my toes and hips and fingers just knew the techniques. And now, those repetitions give me the gift of nonthinking. 

Whether in competition or real life, there is rarely time to think a technique out. It’s either there or it isn’t. A student may know a technique’s history, the concepts behind it, or even how it differs between schools, but until said student can perform that move stone cold, with no hesitation, it really isn’t mastered.

Sometimes I avoid repetition. I don’t want to be boring.  I worry about students’ reduced attention spans. I see Karate Kids and Airbenders and wish I could, within a well-spliced training montage, unlock a student’s inner warrior (complete with dragon tattoo, ki fireballs, and dim mak). Next to magic amulets and secret regimens, plain old hard work seems so...plain.

But “let’s try that again” is one of the most underrated instructions in the dojo. Rather than boredom, repetition fosters concentration and confidence. Students are reassured that they won’t fall behind if they don’t get it right the first time. Or the tenth. 

Sure, students love new techniques.  But what they can learn tomorrow must be balanced with what they can master today. Seeing yet another armbar is interesting, but reviewing a simple hip throw can be a better motivator. Through repetition, students experience techniques not as mere concepts, but as ongoing empowerment for their entire bodies. We help them to a deeper self assurance--and that will make them hunger for more!

Monday, July 5, 2010


As found by Ryka Aoki de la Cruz

Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman, May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author, musician, and poet who has been a major figure in popular music for five decades.

Anthony J. Mahavorick, pen name Anthony Robbins or Tony Robbins, (born on 29 February 1960 in North Hollywood, California, USA) is an American life coach, writer, and professional speaker.


BOB DYLAN: How many roads must a man walk down 
Before you call him a man?

TONY ROBBINS: One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power.

DYLAN: Yes, n how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?

ROBBINS: For changes to be of any true value, they've got to be lasting and consistent.

DYLAN: Yes, n how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned?

ROBBINS: If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.

DYLAN (NODS): The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

ROBBINS (SHRUGS): In life you need either inspiration or desperation.

DYLAN: How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?

ROBBINS: I've come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.

DYLAN: Yes, n how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?

ROBBINS: People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals - that is, goals that do not inspire them.

DYLAN: Yes, n how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?

ROBBINS: It's not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.

DYLAN (SHAKES HIS HEAD): The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

ROBBINS (NODS): Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.

DYLAN: How many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?

ROBBINS: Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives.

DYLAN: Yes, n how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?

ROBBINS There's always a way - if you're committed. The path to success is to take massive, determined action.

DYLAN: Yes, n how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn’t see?

ROBBINS: Using the power of decision gives you the capacity to get past any excuse to change any and every part of your life in an instant. You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.

DYLAN (SIGHS): The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

ROBBINS (GESTURING): You see, it's never the environment; it's never the events of our lives, but the meaning we attach to the events - how we interpret them - that shapes who we are today and who we'll become tomorrow.

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Writing vs. Performing and This Week

I have this division in my head between the writer self and the performer self. It's kind of a useful pattern with me; it validates my insecurities. If I am doing well as a performer, then I am "just a performer" who isn't a real writer. If I am doing well as a writer, then I am "just a writer" who isn't a good performer.

This week (July 7/8) I will be reading from my poetry, firmly in my writer mode. Of course, I'm wondering if I am a strong enough writer to match, or should bring some performance in as a crutch. See the silliness here? Invalidate and heap on pressure. Yuck. I go into these readings and performances sometimes with all this value attached to them, as somehow validating my worth, once and for all, and a writer, or performer, or whatever other hat I am wearing that day.

Steph said just have a good reading. I just need to calm down and be myself... Just relax and don't expect anything... Just enjoy the moment...

Thursday, July 1, 2010