Training here in Japan is a whirlwind experience. We have just finished up about 40 hours of intensive martial arts classes, both with our grandmaster and his top level instructors. So, how did we attempt to make the most of this concentrated education? With principles that really apply to learning in general. Here, we’ll share our top tips for getting the most out of any information that’s coming at you. When we get back from Japan, we invite you to come try out these principles at one of our upcoming classes or seminars:
So, what principles are we using to absorb all this training while in Japan? Here’s our best advice for taking it all – and keeping it! – in both mind and body.
1. Just Train. Perhaps you’ve heard of Zazen, the Zen Buddhist practice of “just sitting”. Or maybe you’ve once struggled to get Dori’s song from the epic Finding Nemo: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming” out of your head. What each of these terms encompass is the invaluable skill of letting your analytical mind go and absorbing data through a more efficient channel. That is the channel of present moment awareness.
While our culture can get pretty caught up in the value of analysis, it may be that the best use of class time lies in just experiencing each moment and taking it all in.
2. Put work into figuring it all out, too. That analytical part of our mind is there for a reason – and its work comes into play after class. Taking the time to pour out some notes right after class is a great habit. After that, going home and organizing your notes is also very important. Each Dai-Shihan (top-level master) we worked with would occasionally pull out their own thick binder, filled with handwritten notes organizing their decades of experience.
For training in our dojo, we offer a great framework for organizing everything plus tons of videos to help jog your memory, here on our member’s website. After your thoughts and notes are all organized as best you can get them, there will inevitably be questions. Feel free to ask these questions in class, to email us about them, or best yet join us for one of our Open Mat times for a chance to really get into these points with your instructor.
3. There is no third principle.
Just kidding. Everything significant must come in threes, right? Okay, the third principle is this: Just Show Up. Just come to class. Just make that morning workout. Come to think of it, just show up for your bedtime. Make the time, take the time, and show up for the things that you know are most important to your goals. If your focus is not on the end goal but on continually showing up for each point in the process, it prevents you from getting discouraged – or getting a big head. So, actually, this principle and the first are basically the same. Go figure.
That’s all for the moment! Have fun with your own training. See you very soon.