Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Technique of No Technique

Jackson Pollock - Autumn

The Technique of No Technique

This phrase did come from the Japanese, but as I learned it, it was applied to sharing techniques often at clinics. It can have a distinct use in many presentations. Or it may describe what one gains from what was shown.

Essentially there would be no reason not to share anything, as most will turn what they are shown into the technique of no technique. This meaning they will be unable to remember it, that it won’t pass from short term memory into long term memory.

One senior instructor used this often as he was invited to share many places. He would make them feel happy that he would show them much, for he realized there were no short cuts/

While I was shown this in context of many clinic where I observed this, it also applies to good material from other sources.

Not that people do not try and remember. But there are many inhibiting factors that interfere with the transference of short term memory into long term memory.

Let me give one example, One time I attended a clinic with Dan Insanto, just because I wanted to see him in action. The clinic was on empty hand knife self defense one of many clinics he was holding that weekend. What happened was a good example of technique of no technique.

He was demonstrating good movements, and sharing them with the group. But about every 3 minutes he was showing another good technique. One of the groups attending was from a school associated with him. For them it was an encyclopedic review of what they trained. For the rest, it was new material, presented too quickly for enough time to retain it. That was one of the definitions of technique of no technique which I was taught. As I had long ago read his book on the Philipean arts, I understood what was being shown. But the presentation guaranteed everyone not in the tradition would not have enough time to retain it.

Among the ways to retain the information.

1.     Actually take the time, not to talk with others, and go over the techniques time after time. This helps your RNA transfer the short term memories to long term memory.
2.     Help someone else learn it. Putting your own words around it assists your memory.
3.     Ask the presenter questions if you have them. Understanding what was shown becomes more important in time, if you don’t calarify issues, they will NOT become more clear;
4.     Start with the feet. It is most common to start at eye level seeing what is happening. But where the foot placement goes is important too. The fact that alone causes many problems if you cannot repeat what was shown.
5.     Review what you are trying to remember in your memory. Practice helps memory retention.
6.     After time has passed , record extensive notes on what was shown. You need to take a break in time, recording what is short term memory might make no sense in time. Recording that which starts to make it into long term memory helps retain the material.
7.     Practice. The most important thing is to find enough time to practice until you develop the skill.

One of the biggest inhibiting factors often is you are not the instructor of your program. And as good as the new skill(s) are, it may not fit the needs of your students development at this time. If you are a student, this is reality, things are rarely changes in the way the program progresses because of a clinic.

Learning does take place when there is conscious technique of no technique present in the presentation. That is important too, for it shows you what is possible within the art. That can provide additional motivation to move forward.

The Technique of No Technique is not necessarily done to frustrate you. Instructors realize many want to touch what they see whether they grasp it on not.
They often realize many will be unable to retain what is shown. But politeness may dictate that they no not mention that. So their corrections do help your understanding of the process even if it won’t help you remember the actual details

For the most part, this is part of our makeup how we individually learn. As an instructor repetition is one way we work to help the student retain material. Understanding this process, can help us work to make this not so.

Technique of No Technique does not just apply to learning in class or at a clinic. It can apply even to written material or videotape. Even when you find good material the same factors apply.

Take a written description of  an interesting technique. It takes work to transfer what is read (or shown) into practice. It probably is not what you are studying or even teaching. It takes time to apply those principals into practice. More so when other things intervene. Then without reinforcement from an instructor, constant review from the source material is required. And at times there is not enough information present, and you have to work to fill in those gaps. In the end that is often not enough.

You have to make what you end up with work after all.

For the brave, let me suggest an example, both basic and interesting different all at the same time. This is a subsidiary practice I learned long ago.

To go beyond the Technique of No Technique, whether intentional or unintentional, is what makes things interesting.

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