Pencils Down!

“Pop quiz hotshot. There’s a bomb on a bus.  Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed.  If it drops below 50, it blows up.  What do you do?  What do you do?!” 

We can recite movie lines with no notice.  That quote is right there, ready to go. 

We can sing along to songs, accurately reciting the lyrics, at the right time, with all the right nuances.  “Sing us a song, you’re the piano man.  Sing us a song tonight.” 

We see a standup comic do their thing for an entire hour and we can recite the jokes to a friend for years to come, maybe for the rest of our lives.  Eddie Murphy’s Delirious is 37 years old.  What?!  And … “Ice cream!  The ice cream man is coming!”  Yeah, I can almost do the whole skit. 

All this brings me to my next question:  You know what you don’t see in a martial arts school?

Wait; what?  Was there a segway I missed?

No, but please … bear with me. 

A real martial arts school is a real school.  A school where students learn techniques that they have to remember and be able to execute on cue, in reaction, and as a reflex at any given moment.

Pop quiz, hotshot.

Beyond the myriad of techniques and tactics, it’s a school where students learn the academics, the history, a foreign language, philosophy, and the overall way of being.  It’s a lot. 

The first rank exam covers everything you need to know for that test.  This goes on another nine or so times, over three years until that coveted black belt exam, which requires the student to know everything from day one.  All of it. 

And … most students pass that exam.  How?

Back to the original question: you know what you don’t see in a martial arts school? 

Pencils and paper. 

Never once does a student take notes.  Not ever; yet, they remember everything.  Okay; mostly everything.

Learning is experiential.  Taking notes isn’t seeing or feeling.  Most times, it’s not even hearing.  Not truly hearing, anyway.  There’s no engagement whatsoever.  A song makes you feel.  It brings you there.  Same with a movie scene or a joke or that time we had that conversation with that bartender in London. 

A good teacher, teaches.  They convey, interact, answer questions, engage, make us feel something, bring us somewhere emotionally, psychologically, and intellectually.  It’s not about delivering info.  Any PDF can do that.

Wait, I hear Peter Gabriel on the radio, “I don’t remember; I don’t recall.  I have no memory, of anything at all.”  Great song.

Anyways, engagement isn’t just for teachers, instructors, gurus, coaches, and so on.  It’s for all humans. 

Awesome human interaction.      


Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash.

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