One of the principles put forward in this book (Zen in the Martial Arts) has guided me as a martial arts teacher, mentor and parent.
” The martial arts sensei is very much like a Zen master; they have not sought out the student, nor do they prevent them from leaving. If the student wants guidance in climbing the steep path to expertise, the instructor is willing to act as a guide — on the condition that the student be prepared to take care of themselves along the way. The instructor’s function is to delegate to the student exactly those tasks for which they are capable of mastering, then leave the student to themselves. The student may choose to follow in the footsteps of their guide or choose an alternate path, but the teacher leaves it up to them.”
The concept of giving tools and then providing an moderate amount of guidance on using them is critical in my experience and opinion. By doing so you helping the other ‘fish for themselves’. This avenue for building self reliance also requires self control on the part of the teacher/parent/mentor. Every mistake cannot be corrected. They will never own it for themselves until they are allowed to play with it. After all most growth is done through experience is it not?
Look at our reliance on lecture in the educational system, yet most of us are visual and Kinesthetic or touch learners are we not? Are we really ADD or ADHD or is it that we don’t provide a balance in the classroom?
In teaching physical movement, we able to teach the sciences and math in a way that may increase understanding in under achieving youth and young adults. When algebra and calculus are demonstrated through shooting a basketball, physicals can be shown through passing a football or hockey puck. Chemistry can be shown through making koolaide. But since we don’t use these types of demonstrations so that they can visualize during a test then we’re depriving them of tools for success.
One of the first encounters with people possessing self control that the author has is with screen writer Sterling Siliphant from the late 60’s. At the time author Hyams was publication writer assigned to Hollywood. Since the normal method of getting a story was to needle a person until they got irritated enough to give a quote you could use against them, the author wasn’t prepared for Siliphant to see right through the tactic.
I watch people around me and realize the saying of Lao Tzu is correct, ‘for the uncontrolled there is no peace’.
In counseling people and mentoring I experience the lives of others, many of the greatest mistakes or mishaps in their lives happen when they throw their self control to the wind. Emotion alone takes over, with the consequences stuffed in the back of our minds. When this happens the person who maintains their calm tend to overwhelm us or more accurately allow us to overwhelm ourselves.
This is what Siliphant did to Hyams.
Our first book I’d like to discuss is Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams:
The reason for choosing this as my first post is simply it’s ease of understanding and usage, The book isn’t really about martial arts and Hyams puts it. It’s about common sense, I find this ironic in that the longer I live the more I accept that sense is by no means common.
I have used this writing to enhance mentorship and enhance my own methodology for teaching martial arts. The reason? Hyams writings teach a core concept for my method, that is mutual interaction. As the great Sensei Ed Parker once noted “I’m not going to show you my art, if I show you it becomes an exhibition and soon will be pushed to the back of your mind and forgotten. Instead, I will share it with you. In this way we both can learn and grow.”
It is in this mindset that I extend my hand to you in writing. Do not just read my thoughts but share your own so that the community of ‘us’ can grow as individuals.
Sensei Papa Bear
This is my very first blog and my very first post to my blog. I started this to express thought and engage in dialogue about books that I read. I’m very eclectic, I don’t get wrapped up in being right. I’m willing to hear your point, but let’s be respectful regardless of how passionate your point is.
I’m planning to bring up books from business, life skills, fantasy, Sci-Fi, and anything else that crosses my path. So let’s ‘book it’ along the path of knowledge.