Teaching Notes

Oftentimes, “form” is the trick we can use to settle the mind. For a kid (and even an adult) form – or routine, patterned movement – is a safety zone. It allows for a gradual meeting of one’s limitations while at the same time expanding those limitations.
This is a tricky tightrope between “I can’t do that” and “I can do that”, perpetually fluctuating for as long as we are in learning mode. Confidence grows as a result of repetitive action until the brain stabilizes the most efficient neuromuscular pathway necessary for achieving a specific goal. That is why “bad habits” are hard to break, and we should never attempt it.
The natural way is to create a new pathway, almost from scratch and soon enough the brain will learn the “new efficient.” That too will change, but as we shift from one “efficient” to another, we also slowly become less hindered by the changes themselves. That’s where true confidence resides, and its “signature” is increased adaptability to any changes where one responds to the process of what is happening, rather than to the “what is happening.”
Sometimes, this cannot be easily achieved in a group setting. My Martial Arts training began with two years of on-on-one practice, sometimes daily. Not only it accelerated my learning, but it removed the element of social anxiety and aggression I was experiencing at the time. The one-on-one origin of my personal martial arts journey had allowed a type of introspection otherwise impossible in a setting where everything moves faster than one normally can handle. Everyone is different, therefore learning will differ for everyone, and teaching must adapt to everyone. A group setting, on the other hand, provides “soft walls” as I call them. These are limitations, boundaries, and discomforts that are not threatening or dangerous, or even unknown. These are the kind of obstacles that we bump into – voluntarily, but they do not bruise us emotionally (which is the sanctuary of our sense of identity). Bumper cars come to mind…
When I look at my kids in daily life, and yours in practice, that’s what I keep an eye on and aim for: an ever-changing ability to adapt from a position of confidence.
© 2017 Bogdan Heretoiu
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