Saturday, September 21, 2013

James DeMile - Three Stages of Learning Technique

Photo Credit:  James DeMile

Bruce lee was a conceptual martial artist and believed in accelerated learning.


In order to be a conceptual martial artist where you have the ability to understand the proper way to do technique and break it down to know how to train, you have the learning how to learn concept. Learning how to learn concept means when you are presented a technique, you break it down to learn what the reason for the technique is. Also you learn the details of what makes the technique work and if it will work for you.

Learning is a very dynamic process where it involves learning in the mind and in the body. Basically there are two types of learning: conceptual and training. Conceptual is the learning in the mind. Training is the learning in the body. Before you get into training, you must learn the conceptual process which involves the three stages of learning.

The first stage is to understand the purpose and mechanics of the technique. The conceptual learning involves getting a graphic picture of the concept. - Understand what it involves and how it is applied. This process involves the mental work of the technique. It is a process to consciously learn the principle. First learn the technique, its theories, degree of practicality and principles of application.

To do this you must separate the technique by isolating it out. Find out what basic positions are needed. Learn mentally all the body mechanics. What is its purpose? When do you use this technique? What are you trying to accomplish? What is it designed for? What is its theory of application? Get an overview of the technique by evaluating its move. Is it practical in its overall general use and not in its exact form? Is it useful to you as a fighter?

The second stage is to teach the body. Present the technique to the body to see if it can do it, then teach the body slowly. Once the conceptual process is understood, you program the body. Teach the body the technique and see if the body can perform the exercise. See if the body can do it. You are not looking for skill, speed or power but you working on the basic lines to see if the body can accomplish what you want.
Once you see clearly the function of the technique, teach the body carefully so all the principles can be applied. It is the process to practice the technique until you can successfully apply it. If you see a technique with value, you must ask how much effort it will take to teach the body. You must see if it complements your present abilities. Once you have gone through this process, now you either validate or invalidate the technique. You can believe in the technique now because you have gone through this process and not because someone told you it will work. You understand what makes the technique work.

Once you see that the body can do it and understands the physical motions, then you are ready to train.

The third stage is training of the technique for repetition and skill building.

Once the mind understands the technique and accepts it and the body is taught the movement; free the body from any expectations. Get the mind out of the way. The last process is to train the body to move in a natural way. You discard the concept and let the body do the work with increasing speed in a natural way.
Do not anticipate tension or criticism; just let it do its thing from the mental to the physical in the last part of learning. Once you teach the body a technique, get your mind out of the way. Let the body achieve the technique naturally with the flow. You dissolve the concept once it becomes automatic and a part of you. You are the concept. Do not hinder yourself with technical knowledge.

In my teaching, I acknowledge that a student will have other interests in his life and will be very busy, I do not want to take any more of his time than I have to. Therefore by explaining everything to the student in the beginning, and have him work on the different elements that make up the technique, it seems a little slower than having him jump in and train hard. Because he is taught the technique properly, when he trains the technique, it will be done better each time he does it. His learning potential will be higher because he will not be practicing bad habits and will accelerate the manner in which he learns technique. The student will be able to correct his mistakes and get the necessary repetition to practice the proper way.

Learning how to learn means to have the ability to learn at your own pace. You learn at your own learning curve so that even if you want to learn as quickly as you can, by following the three stages of learning, you are actually going to learn faster and better. An important part of learning is your attitude towards getting the proper information and spend the necessary time to really understand what is it that you are trying to accomplish.

Copied from James DeMile's Facebook Sept 12, 2013 status update.

For other entries in this The Art of Learning series, please check out:

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