Of course I’m discussing the topic of learning and absorption here; for all the fitness and martial arts program that we lead and provide.
There isn’t much use or purpose if we keep providing instruction, information, ways to improve yourself, if:
- you adopt an un-coachable mindset
- resist change
- afraid of experiencing errors
- afraid of accepting your shortcomings : regarding them as failures rather than opportunities to improve
- always having a (rational: in your mind) convenient excuse
and the list goes on..
As a long-time movement, fitness and martial arts coach, I recognize that some movements and skills are hard to learn, adapt and assimilate and know that most of the time, it’s a mental block and psychological resistance that manifests in physical inaction. I’m not equipped to manage these psychological issues but over the years I have found certain exercises and drills help the learner overcome them given sufficient coaching and time to frame their concern(s) and the given task at hand.
I’ve encountered people who don’t follow instructions and want to be ahead of the learning curve due to impatience only to injure themselves, people who shy away from certain movements due to negative experiences that they experienced as a child which left them traumatized, and so on.
At the end of the day, the gym and the coach can only provide the technical aspects and information required for you to succeed. In our boxing and Jiu Jitsu programs this is reflected in our requirements for both “technical” and “performance” components to provide a guideline on how much you have improved since your last continual assessment. This is compared with the current “you” from the past “you”. Of course some academies use competition as the defining standard, which is easier, and I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t influence that decision as competing among your peers is a pretty universal method of seeing where you stand on the pecking order.
However, if you are not a competitor or if there was no competitive event for the activity you took part in, what other means of assessment are there? Some schools use physical ability, complexity and control of movement, character and other subjective benchmarks which are susceptible to abuse and favoritism and this process usually takes a lot longer than jumping in the next competition and returning with handful of medals. Even then it only proved that you did well that day but performed badly on all others, or vice versa. Losing in a competition doesn’t mean your skills are bad. It could be that you are not at your peak performance under the watchful eyes of hundreds of spectators and dealing with the stress of performing in public which is a separate topic unto itself but I digress.
Ultimately, you have to adapt and assimilate the information you have gained from training, classes, seminars, workshops, online resources, offline resources (DVDs, books, podcasts, etc.) and make them come alive in your physical expression via performance. I have discussed this many times over the years with my charges and sadly for some, they either don’t live to their potential or remain status quo.
I’m not in any rush to bump anyone when they aren’t ready for an upgrade but the responsibility, the onus is on them to demonstrate that they have learned beyond a doubt that they deserve to be at the next level. This means that they are able to hang among their peers and be performing at or above their peers.