Bold Heuristics


When teaching I often get frustrated students when they lack boldness in their heuristics. When they make feeble attempts at corrections rather than going all in.

In most cases, their language will reflect their actions. Such as:

Me: "Push off the ground when you kick"

Student: "Oh you mean I should push off the ground more?" 

Me: "WTF do you mean MORE? More would imply that you pushed at all. Obviously, you have zero awareness of what your foot is doing and your ^#&$&*(%#@! language has completely stopped you from learning anything at all. Are we going to do this little dance of appeasing your ego and making believe you're trying to learn? You are completely wasting my time. Fix it now"

Yes, I'll admit. I get a bit angry. Am I apologizing? Absolutely not. Anger is a great tool. And the fact that I can hit the student makes it even better.

Then I usually go into the following rant:

"So imagine you are in a room and you do not know the size of the room. You are blindfolded. You have the job of finding the center of the room. How do you do it?

Well, the most efficient way to do it is to take off in a full sprint counting your steps until you smash into the other side. Then sprint back half as many steps. Done.

But instead what you are doing is taking a tiny little step and then coming back. Then maybe you take two tiny steps then back. Then three then back. And I'm supposed to sit here all day and watch you do that? Are you serious?

And that is how you are learning. You use the same method. It will take longer than we have so that method is useless. Go home if you are going to learn like that! Sit on the couch and watch a soap opera because that's how productive you are being now."


As an instructor, I want to see big mistakes. Bold mistakes. They are like hitting the other wall. And I can quickly help the student correct them and we move on.

When a student does this well they generally do something that is awkward and stupid looking. And I love it. We laugh and then we correct. It is a glorious moment of learning. It truly makes my heart swell to see.

It is the fear of awkwardness that stops some from using these bold heuristics. The fear of mistakes. 

But we needed that mistake to happen to move on. We needed boldness. We needed to remember that mistakes are simply a part of the process of learning. When we make them we then have something to compare. We can compare this side of the room to that and find the middle.

As is the norm, learning Shou' Shu' is not only a parallel to how we learn (or don't) at life, it magnifies it. We see our processes in action, in a mirror, magnified 100x. Our own personal faults are clearly shoved right in our face. 

It's painful for the ego. So most avoid it.

But the few who don't avoid it learn about themselves at hyperspeed. They confront themselves boldly. And they very quickly become better humans. It's a difficult path. In my estimation, only one in a thousand people will persevere through it. Maybe less. But not taking such a path, long-term, is far more difficult.




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