Miracle Learning in Impossible Classrooms
I opened my seminar in Tournai, Belgium, this morning with the observation that there are 3 key aspects present when any lesson, class, or seminar is truly to be of value to the learners. There needs to be:
- Caring teacher who loves seeing learners advance, knowledgeable and tuned in to the importance of providing a good example and presenting a meaningful lesson
- Significant material content to the lesson – things and skills to be learned that really matter and really work in the world
- Enthusiastic student who is open, disciplined, and ready to learn and advance
That third aspect might actually be the most important element for determining the value of any lesson. When a student is loaded with questions and hungry for knowledge leading to skill and wisdom, even a poor teacher and a mediocre lesson cannot hold such a learner back.
Maybe this was how it was for me back in the 1960s in my first formal martial arts training sessions. Truth told, my initial martial art’s technology was pretty primitive and did not really relate well to the way real fights, muggings, kidnaps, rapes, and hostage-takings took place, and my teachers were of the old school of militaristic hazing as instructional method and appeared to be quite aloof when it came to inspiring student advancement. But I was determined to get the most I could from those lessons, and I believe that my determination was the most important key to my becoming the martial artist I am today 40-plus years later.
Such determination to learn is one of the 37 Parts of the Path of Awakening – the San-ju-shichi Do-Bon – that is in the foundational teachings of the spiritual system I explored with Japanese and Tibetan teachers. Within the 37 Parts of the Path is a section called the Shi Nyo-I Soku – the “Four Miraculous Legs” – four ways of pursuing personal advancement so radical as to be beyond rational comprehension or logical description. Miracles happen. In one of these four astonishing possibilities, we can study so hard that literally miraculous learning occurs. Beyond rational explanation, we are so determined that we end up learning far more than what the lesson itself ostensibly offers or the teacher is capable of delivering.
How about you? Can you identify at all with the possibility of miraculous learning? Have you ever had an experience where strong and insistent wanting to know something led you beyond what would have been reasonable learning under the circumstances? Write your experience on here below as a comment, or even better, add your story to the discussion on the SKHQuest.com On-Line Community Forum where you can read even more details from me on this Shi Nyo-I Soku miracle super learning.
This wonderful lesson reminds me back in the early 80s when in your barn dojo we were learning the 5 elements and how to incorporate them. Like the earth element, you mentioned about how to find the memory, bring it to life, coupled with the earth breathing. Amazingly this helped me later, and actualized the lesson even more. Was out with my girl-friend, and some guys started following us as we were walking from the parking lot to the movie theater. I smoothly turned around while in a very earth voice tone stated hello, then gave them an earth look ~ feeling, then they said hello, backed away turning the other direction.
Thank you for the incredible lessons that continue to come alive beyond the dojo ~ even today !!
I can definitely relate to striving for more than what is available. What is really interesting about this idea is that I think I’ve learned more in my martial arts practice because of it. When someone strives to better themselves under poor circumstances you pay closer attention to what your really learning, or not learning. At least that is how its always worked for me. My martial practice has never been easy. Even now when studying mostly solo, even though many aspects of my training suffer, I feel stronger because I choose to overcome the obstacles surrounding me. For me, I don’t know how I’d be able to learn what I’ve learned so far if it wasn’t for the poor circumstances surrounding me. For those struggling with their training or their environment I offer you the idea that: “The light is brightest in the darkness. We just have to take the time for our eyes to adjust to see our way when we are buried to deep.”
I know exactly what Stephen is talking about. He was my fist Shidoshi and now that I am a Shidoshi myself, I can really relate to this aspect of unusual learning brought about by intense focus and will.
My thanks to Stephen, Bud and all the others who helped me grow as a martial artist and a human being..
These blog posts keep getting better and better!
I’ll wade into the water here, fully aware of how this might sound, but in terms of “miraculous learning” I’d have to say that after a couple of decades of taijutsu, suddenly all of this phenomen just showed up in the movements. It happened all at once and is hard to put into words, but if I had to describe it, it would simply be like small appearances of light. I could put myself wherever they went, the moment before my training partner attacked, and for whatever reason, he or she would go flying into space when they attacked. It always looks like the weirdest positions, perhaps this is a miraculous learning of taihenjutsu? Also, the kamae are something that are now very much “vehicles” of this energy, and sometimes even taking them inside of already moving to an attack freezes the attacker. When I ask my training partner why they stop moving, they just have this blank look on their face and say, “I can’t think right now.”
This may sound absurd, but honestly, I gave up looking for “secrets” and “mysteries” a long time ago, because the basic kihon were so full and demanded my continued attention. These weird things just showed up, after thousands and thousands of hours. I hope this answer is a correct fit to the question Mr. Hayes is asking. If not, please feel free to delete it, and keep posting material that challenges us!