Van Canna wrote:what is your take on 'depth of knowledge' ?
Do you know the difference between undergraduate and graduate engineering school? It's the depth of understanding of the material. When I was in undergraduate, I was constantly hearing fellow whining students say things like "Is this going to be on the next test?" or "Am I really going to need this when I get my job?" It was about learning the minimum necessary to move on. When I got to graduate school I started seeing some of the same material all over again. Somehow academia knows you get only surface knowledge the first time around. Understanding something in depth is an iterative process. It's watching... and doing... and then knowing it well enough to teach it... and then moving from there to your own unique discoveries or applications.
I was in a conversation with someone the other day trying to relate the concept of having to try less and less to accomplish the same thing. When young we worry about pushing more weight in the bench press or punching a bag harder. But with age and experience we focus more on exercises which challenge our whole bodies, or seeing and exploiting the vulnerabilities right there in front of us.
In our style alone, it's being able to breathe your life experiences in and out of the dojo into the basics.
It's a bit like this... I really loved Led Zepplin when I was a kid. But when I was young, it was all about the sound, the feel, and the rhythm. I sang the lyrics, but didn't really "get" what I was singing.
About 2 decades later the song "Whole lotta love" comes on the radio. I'm groovin with it as I ride down the road. Then I start to listen.
Way down inside... honey... you neeeeed me! Loooooooove!!!!
OK now... That meant a little something different than the first time I heard it.
Then comes this line.
I wanna be your back door man!
I almost drove off the road. Do you know what I thought when I was a kid? I thought he meant that you wanted to be such good friends that you could just knock on the back door like a neighbor and come right on in to borrow a cup of sugar. And now, after having experienced a bit of life, I knew that it meant... that I was such a good... uh... friend that I could go right on inside via the back door and get me some sugar!
That, my friend, is "depth" of knowledge.
It's like those circles after the "groin strikes" in Seisan. At first everyone tells you that you're doing a block after whacking someone in the family jewels. Then one day... Can you say paradigm shift?
Or learning that sometimes a circle is just a circle, and has so many different applications that you suddenly realize how you never really understood it all along. And that's when it starts to get fun.
In my opinion the only way to get there is to get out of the dojo and look around. A good teacher knows that, encourages it, creates the environment to stimulate the cross training or outside study, and welcomes the result right back in the dojo or training hall.