Unconscious Competence

June 22, 2016 in Hebari's Blog, Rope

IMG_6114With rope education we are always talking about competence, ego, getting students to slow down and focus on depth rather than breadth, don’t jump ahead yada yada and on it goes.

The thing about learning a skill is that it’s bloody boring, it starts out as exciting, the prospect of the wonders to be unlocked, the cool things we’ll be able to do soon, and that generates the enthusiasm that gets us started.

Then we hit a road block, something that doesn’t work as expected, maybe a knot won’t hold, maybe the tie falls apart, maybe our bottom tells us that something doesn’t feel right. Whatever, we stall and it’s frustrating.

At this point we all know what we are supposed to do, we are supposed to stop go back and work on things until we have it right and this is where we have a choice to do things well or poorly.

So here is the trick I teach my students, at the point where you feel you “have it”, rather than jump ahead see if you can do it while doing something else, talk to your model, watch television whatever, the point is when you can use the skill well while doing something else you have become “unconsciously competent”, unconscious competence is essentially the point where as kill has been moved down to your automation functions and it’s actually really cool to become aware of it as it happens.

Human beings actually can’t do many things concurrently using our conscious minds, basically we can do one thing well or two things poorly. So the reason we are able to multi-task at all is that we have amazing automation systems run by our subconscious mind.

A great example is watching a child learn to walk, what they are doing initially is using their conscious mind to try to walk, which is really hard, there are just so many things to think of, and you can actually see them jump between them, they get one thing working then they try to do something else and fall over. Then over time they train their automation systems and walking becomes easier and easier.

When we walk we have all the motor and balancing in automation, we also scan our surroundings and avoid obstacles automatically, we also have a light automated tactical system that plans and remaps out route for us and we only need to move that to conscious thought when a major change occurs.

Rope is the same, we start by getting the basic components into automation, then bigger patterns that a formed form the smaller components, then we are free to notice our model more, and our feel and flow can be moulded by that feedback and so on.

So the moral to this story is get in touch with your learning processes, start to feel the progression as less of a progression into boredom and more as a progression into automation that opens up new layers of awareness and ability and your learning experience will naturally become richer.

How long does it take?

May 24, 2016 in Hebari's Blog, Rope

0004cab1-37c2-c3a9-8f50-37560ab14059_720This is a question I get asked a lot. It’s a bit like asking how long it will take to get fit, it depends on how much work you are prepared to put in and how much you are prepared to put your ego aside. As someone once said you can’t learn something you already think you know.
I’m also going to be sexist for a moment and let the guys know something. I hate to tell you but the girls are much less prone to tripping over their egos.

Let me break down the bad process for a bit and talk about some of the things I have observed from poor students.

  • They talk rather than do, it feels like the talking is to cover their inability to take on the information, or maybe they feel that it’s so easy it doesn’t require all their attention. Either way the people that talk a lot in class invariably end up lagging behind
  • They want to jump ahead rather than focus on getting what is in front of them right
  • They are the first to start trying to teach others
  • They obviously don’t practice between classes, or maybe they don’t practice well. Either way the progression between classes is small or non-existent
  • They seem to think that a quick class will give them the skills to get laid. Sorry no one will fuck you for skills especially not bad ones
  • The rush ahead when something frustrates them
  • They have a it’s good enough attitude

The behaviours of good students that progress quickly I have observed are:

  • They are quiet but inquisitive, they ask why
  • They are tenacious, they keep at a tie until they have that “Ah ha” moment
  • When they get frustrated they ask for help
  • They practice as often as they can and they practice within their limits
  • They critically analyse their work and work to understand why things are used they way they are
  • They, like everyone have an ego, they just don’t turn class into a competition with their teacher or the other students

For me the moment I an doing something for attention, or external factors, my ego is in play and prevents me, so I actively avoid competition. When I’m focused on the person I’m tying or just getting something right my ego subsides. So that’s what I try to do.