Monday, July 11, 2011

Lessons on the road to Mastery

As I’m recuperating from surgery I think about the best lesson I learned, that being how unique every day is for us.

I hadn’t been training for much longer than a year when I had to move for work. My last class Lewis Sensei began my instruction of Chinto Kata. Then I was off to another state and city and only the availability of a different art to study. That next summer I returned to Salisbury for vacation and traveled to the main dojo and associated friends dojo and somehow learned the rest of Chinto. Then back to my new home.

A time of no videos or books and only my memory to guide me. I began to realize I really had to learn something very fast. Simple performance while in short term memory isn’t enough. You had to find a way to transfer that knowledge to long term memory.

Then I returned to Scranton and regular Tang Soo Do training and then further full time training in Isshinryu when Charles Murray moved to town. Especially in Isshinryu I was having kata shoved into me, but continual repeated practice made it work. Then my instruction ended and I was on my own.

In time I began training with friends I met at local karate tournaments and was being exposed to a wide range of additional studies. I further realized it was my burden to retain what I could as I wasn’t their student.

Several years later my formal Isshinryu instruction ended and as I began to train with many friends in many arts I realized as I wasn’t there student every class was unique. The burden was that I had to remember what I learned and that perhaps I’d never see that lesson again.

So I started to make notes the day following each training session. I figured if I remembered it over night I had at least some idea of what I was shown. I have all those notes to this day.

If a new kata was being shown I worked out a method to learn it immediately. [Note: of course this knowledge was superficial but it was better than forgetting the initial learning.]

I began this practice in 1980 and it continues to this day, class by class, exploring the continual new and expanding my understanding.

1 comment:

Golden Crane said...

Sensei Smith...
I heard recently of your surgery, and wished to send you my heartfelt wishes for a speedy recovery... both from myself, and Lee. You have shared so much of yourself, through your art, and we remember good times shared at House of the Samurai. If it is not too much to ask, we would appreciate connecting with you by email.
Diane, who used to enjoy your classes!