Sunday, February 10, 2008

Another question for y'all

A lot of you seem to have enjoyed the last time that I just posed a short, direct question and let you run with it, so here's another one. What do y'all make of this (paraphrased) quote from a highly-ranked instructor I met a few times ...

“I don’t give a d___ if the student ever consciously understands what I am teaching. My job is to reprogram the student’s subconscious mind to make appropriate defensive reactions to attacks.”


  1. That is part of it and it is a lot of what military, police, and corrections rely on. They try to re-program in a short time. However, I think you sell the students short who can be re-programed to respond AND think. Taking cues from my teachers, when I get to teach I try to do both. Not all of them get it but some do and they stand out.


  2. This maybe great for the short term student, i.e. an operator. It is not so great for a long term student, becuase if they do not understand the lesson they will not stay around for another lesson usually.

  3. Yes, this drives me crazy. I know an old Chinese instructor that says; "just do it like this for thirty years and you will get it". He also says "you have to be Chinese to understand".
    I believe this is why some asian martial arts stagnated until they hit the west and were viewed through a western mindset. Additionally, there were too many "secrets" kept for no reason. As the old masters died off, they took half their art with them.
    Let the students grow to fully understand what they are doing and why.

  4. I agree!!! All you remember in a real conflict is what has been "reprogrammed in you" I have not done alot of aiki or judo in a few years but if startled or attacked the moves just flow out. The older styles of aiki were dependent on this reprogramming thus all the variations on a single move they learned. Karl and crew refined it and made it easier to reprogram into a person. Now the quote gives no time limit. Of coarse the longer u practice the more programmed you become. This is why Pat, Karl, Becky, Henri and the like seem like gods when the touch u and u go down. They have been programmed long enough that it just happens in randori .

  5. I've tried both, and I want de-programming, not re-programming.

  6. I'm no god, jamie. Let's keep that straight. But I understand what you're saying. It's sorta like Asimov's law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology will seem like magic."

    I'm mixed in my feelings about this quote. Certainly much of what we do is dealing pretty directly with the subconscious, but if you don't ever train the analytical part of the student's mind then how will they ever teach it? If they never understand it on a conscious level then how will they continue their training if their instructor dies or moves away?

    You have to make use of these great training methods to ingrain the principles that make the art work, but you also have to teach the theory and strategy to the conscious mind too.

  7. These posts are great I have to agree with all of them, because they all have a place in a lesson. I agree with dojo rat and the possibility of an underlying principle being held back. Then jamie hit on the mushin state one developes in training. Chris really topped it off with the deprogramming, because that is used alot in knife work. We have to deprogram alot of natural reactions. The most meaningful post to me though is what pat just pointed out, and I cant believe I did not tough on this in my post. The instruct the instructor method is what my knife instructor stresses. Basically, you can teach one student at a time that can not help you spread your art or you can instruct the instructor that teaches hundreds along the way. Therefore, I would say we need a mixture of these principles to be effective martial artists/tacticians. Hey, jamie why dont you come show your face around mokuren sometime? All hail great god parker! ha ha thats just a joke pat

  8. I've noticed that the approach will depend on the student. I've got a guy in class that is non-stop with the questions. I wish he was one of those who would just do. He ends up burning so much time and sometimes confounding the Teacher who hasn't verbalized the why's and wherefore's before.

    I'm more of the mute guy that does because that's all I can handle while I'm flinging about.


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