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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Not Easy

"I said it was simple, not easy." -- Dan John (by way of John Powell, I think).

Wes reminded me of that quote after my last post. It was rattling around in my head when I was writing, but it never quite fit in there. Still, it's important, particularly the "not easy" part.

This has come up a lot in my Muay Thai coaching lately--I don't know if it's something in the air, or I'm just noticing it more this week, but I've gotten a lot of comments from students saying things like "I don't know why this is so hard" or "I just can't seem to get this...it's so hard..."
 
My go-to answer lately has been "Of course it's hard. If it was easy, you could do it already, and you wouldn't need to be here."
 
Which is really it, in a nutshell. Learning something new should be hard. If it's easy what's the point?

I remember someone (Maija, I think) sharing a story about a fellow student who went to train at another school and owned everyone there, including the teacher. He asked his teacher if he should go back, and his teachers answer was "Why? What are you going to learn from always winning?"

For years, the epigram for this blog was "The Obstacle is the Path". It was there as a reminder to myself that part of the goal of training is to struggle through adversity. The moment that training isn't challenging, it's probably no longer effective.

Here's how this connects to the Not Simple post:

As teachers, I think we need to be better about acknowledging how hard this stuff is. It's easy to starting thing that it's, well, easy. For a ten-year veteran of BJJ, getting out of mount may be easy...but it's still difficult and terrifying for someone whose never gotten on a mat before. 

An experienced fighter may think nothing of gloving up for some hard rounds, but for someone sparring for the first time, the whole experience can be paralyzing.

I'm not advocating excusing laziness, nor am I suggesting we shouldn't push our students hard (I certainly do); but we should remember that, when a student says that something is hard, it probably is.

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