Acquiring new knowledge and new skills is something that falls within the field of repetition, learning, memory and naturalness. In Aikido and Iaido, as well as in other Martial arts and various Disciplines of the Japanese tradition, there are three possible stages for the learning . Let’s go and analyze them together. Stage of total inexperience, not only on the side of the problem but also on the part of the system, in order to solve it. For example, if they give me a subtraction to do but I am not explained what a subtraction is and the way to solve it I will never be able to discover the final result so, put in front of another subtraction, I will be in the same difficulties.
So, at this stage, we are given basic movements to be repeated mechanically in such a way that in addition to giving us a problem, we are provided with systems to deal with it and as a result the more a gesture is repeated to infinity, the more it will enter our mental patterns and become natural for us. There are millions of examples, but maybe the simplest is eating. Anyone who has a plate of pasta in front of him knows, without the need to create a pattern in mind, which will have to take the fork, roll up the dough and bring everything to the mouth, chew and swallow. This gesture that we repeat every time we eat something, has entered so well into our mental patterns that while we do we can also perform other gestures or focus our attention on other things.
In the Martial arts it happens practically the same thing, first we will try to copy the movements that the Master showed us then, once the gestures have become ours, we will succeed in making them without thinking and these will become more fluid and natural . In the end we will not only be able to face other problems, or situations, but we will have everything we need to be able to resolve things without being told how to do it. We will walk with our legs. Although, of course, we will still make mistakes and our commitment to study should not fade.
In this phase the student has adequate tools to choose from in order to solve problems that are submitted during practice. His experience begins to be wider and, since there is no single solution for every problem, we begin to explore other methods in approaching even simple techniques. We start to think not only about the technique in the “mechanical” sense but also about understanding the principles that govern it and make it more fluid and natural Read more