Thursday, 8 January 2015

3 Ways to Maximize Your Learning AFTER Seminars

Attending an Iaido or Kyudo seminar provides benefits similar to Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) for your training. The expert instruction and intense training can do wonders for your ability and understanding of the art, and provide added motivation to propel you along your path. However, just like taking PEDs, the effect is temporary, and anything gained from your experience can disappear without the effective AND timely maintenance. 

Here's a graph showing how I would feel in a 3-month span with and without a seminar, and whether the appropriate maintenance plan is applied immediately following the event.

Continuing from my previous post on Maximizing your Experience at Seminars, here are a few things I do following a seminar that helps me retain as much as possible. They may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how easy it is to fall back into your routine and forget everything you've learned.

  1. Reflect - This point is crucial. We all think that we have good memories, and that we'll remember exactly what we should be doing when we return the class the week following a seminar. Not true! What you've learned doesn't just sit in your head. It is constantly being massaged and compared to the other experiences and knowledge that you've crammed into that soft tissue. Those corrections that were top-of-mind yesterday, could easily be replaced by Anchorman 2 Outtakes.... So...(editor note: I started watching those again and lost my train of thought)... Anyways... REFLECT: Review your notes, ask yourself why those specific corrections were given to you or to the class, discuss with others in your class to get their perspective. Give it priority over all other thoughts in your training.

  2. Select - When we travel to Japan for training, the Sensei would often say something like "Since we don't have much time, I'm going to give you as much as possible. More than you can work on right now; so remember and take it back with you". The Sensei at seminar are thinking the same thing. They want to give as much as possible, but there's only so much you can retain and apply. So select those corrections that you find most important. Then...

  3. Neglect - Forget everything else! With work, family, and other personal commitments, we have little time to train as it is. Remember, the corrections you get from the highest level of instruction are usually what takes you to the next level. So forget everything (well almost) you've been working on before that point and time and really buckle down and train. Work on those points until it becomes second nature, then do it all over again. Practice. Practice. Practice.
(*mfmpf* Pompeii....)