Friday, February 17, 2012

Active and Passive Learning

I am going to be reprinting some old classic entries from my previous blog called The Angry Grappler. It will chronicle the evolution in my understanding of martial arts.
22 February 2010 @ 04:09 pm

Something that makes you a great BJJ player I think is your creativity. Your ability to take all your mat hours and create your own BJJ, create your own set ups, or create your own combination of moves that you were taught. It's something every BJJ school needs, to promote creativity. Listening to Ricardo "Franjinha" Miller of Paragon, he says that you don't want it to be like Simon says. Where I tell you this, and that's the only way you do it. Or take something the way he does it or any instructor does it and assume it is law and you always have to do it that way. You need creativity.

In chess and other strategy games like Go, the thing that the computer programs always lacked was creativity. Even when the computer finally beat Kasparov, it was when the computer was able to be creative and why Kasparov taught there was human involvement involved. It's something that programs for Go still haven't been able to do. Be creative with no bound rules.

It's when you learn math, the difference between being given a problem and figuring it out on your own, to turning to the back of the book and just copying the answer down. Passive learning to active learning. Active learning where you figure it out on your own is the only true learning and knowledge. It's why in science you always have to apply it and try experiments.

If an instructor told you all the answers or played Simon says, you're BJJ will become stagnant like an old computer program with no creativity. If you take knowledge or are put into a situation and figure out things on your own with the guidance of your teachers, then you will be like Big Blue vs Kasparov.

If your take a butterfly out of its cocoon for it, it will never learn how to fly. We know this with other things right? Teach a man to fish instead of just giving them fish. The same is even more true to BJJ...but maybe you never figured it out because you always had your answers spoon fed.
To really learn something, you must know the principles and apply them in a creative way. That is applied knowledge. All good BJJ players have their own unique BJJ and to become great you need to create your own style. You can even look at someone like Roger who we say has the basics down, yet no one else currently on the competition scene has his style. All the greats are unique, that's what makes them great. So before you try to learn someone else's system or think being good at their game is your key to getting good or even learning everything step by step is good... 
That tend to make good white belts but it always stops them from making that giant step to purple belt where they need to be creative. You will be excited to be a good white belt but it will ultimately stifle your game.
About the Author:

Sam Y. is a Master Personal Trainer, Certified Nutritionist, Coach, Performance Enhancement Specialist, Corrective Enhancement Specialist, Yoga and Pilates instructor, and holds multiple certifications. He is also an avid Martial Artist, training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, Boxing, and MMA. He is also the author of the popular fitness blog All Out Effort as well as the popular martial arts blog Inner BJJ. You can find him in the Los Angeles area personal training his clients, or at home annoying his wife, or on Facebook at his personal fitness page.

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