All the academic jargon was fine and this article continues by discussing two areas:
1) Timing of the lesson, and
2) Spaced learning.
But firstly, to give us a picture that we can hang our hat on, let's go to training.
The beginning of most martial arts classes traditionally is often meditation.
This practice encourages the awareness of the thought process so that the student can regulate their thoughts in a non-stressed situation. We then add a small amount of stress whilst encouraging the student to control the direction of their thoughts. As the stress increases, the aim is to continue to control the flow of thoughts. To keep us positive. Stay in charge.
If you are against meditation, that's okay.
Here is a method to encourage the same result.
Every competitor notices that their experience of time in competition seems to bend. If they are in the zone and performance is effortless (i.e. they are winning) time seems to fly by.
"Where did the time go?"
If the competitor is losing, time seems to drag.
"I thought it would never end."
A way to confront this is to choose an exercise where fatigue starts to creep in. Let's choose choose push-ups. The instructor counts the push-ups from 1 to 10. Then instead of counting 11 he or she counts "1" again. As the total reaches 20 then 30, fatigue will start to set in. Every time the instructor gets to 10 the students will be wondering if that is it. As he counts "1" again the struggling student will go through a decrease in motivation, a mental struggle. This will happen everytime the instructor reaches 10.
Prior to beginning, the instructor should encourage the students to not attach importance to any given number.
The student is now in a constant state of monitoring their focus on the push-up that they are doing at that moment. If the thought of the end of the exercise session creeps in, they are encouraged to redirect their thoughts to the movement they are performing.
No more, no less.
Living IN the moment.
Now we can move to our initial 2 concepts – Timing of an experience and Spaced learning.
Timing of an experience.
An experience can either be systemised and planned for, or in the moment. If it is systemised, the concept is presented as part of a predesigned plan. If it is in the moment, the instructor waits until an appropriate time to deliver a message. Our push-up for example uses both. The instructor presents the concept then creates an experience to bring the concept to life.
Space learning involves both of the above. Our memory works better if information is rehearsed. If the rehearsal is spaced out it then reaches the subconscious. For us as instructors, it means after a concept has been presented we must constantly look for opportunities to remind students where the concept can be used. It may be later in the lesson or even later in the week. This "spacing out of learning" creates a profound change in the way a martial arts student regulates emotions.
It also makes the martial arts lesson a life lesson. The end result? The experience of martial arts training now becomes a critical part of growth and development.
For the first article in this series go here.
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