Most people would be inclined to accept that they know what they know. Makes sense, right? If you’ve been doing something for any number of years, one may feel as though they know how to do it and may not feel as though they can necessarily be taught anything further on it. A good example I can provide for this is when I finally decided to take the leap and start on an insulin pump. I went into it thinking I already knew everything I needed to know about effective Diabetes management and just wanted to hook up and start the pump and be on my way. How very wrong, I was…
It wasn’t until I went through the pump training that I realized there was still a great deal to learn. Until that point, my insulin boluses were mostly “guest-imated” and I had never heard of, nor was I was practicing, carb counting. And the reality is that I’m still learning today, almost seven years after I first started on an insulin pump. I’ve learned to temper my perspective and have removed the Diabetic chip on my shoulder and stored it appropriately where it won’t interfere with my medial education.
The same can be said of martial arts. Sometimes it can be difficult recognizing that what one knows should prevent the learning of something new or accepting information from teachers you may have otherwise not sought out on their own. This is especially true if you’re cross-training in a different style. Given that I’ve been at this for several decades now, I’m beginning to encounter more and more scenarios where the person I’m getting instruction from wasn’t even alive when I started doing karate.
For some, this can be a bitter pill and quite difficult to consolidate within themselves. After all, in many situations I would be inclined to believe that I’ve “been there, done that.” The important aspect is that I may not necessarily been there and done it THEIR way. And if I’m genuinely there to learn and include these different styles and techniques in my overall toolbox, I need to be willing to humble myself long enough to recognize that knowledge can come from many different sources.
There’s absolutely nothing worse than someone who thinks they know better but still wants to advance and progress within your style. Guess what, pal? You don’t put in the work, you don’t reap the benefits. I’ve seen it countless times throughout my youth. Sensei used to have boxers, hockey players and students of other styles who may or may not have been trying to belt collect, walk in with MASSIVE chips on their shoulders. Only to get served and shown the error of their ways by Sensei before leaving with their tails tucked. Don’t be that person. Broaden your perspective and be willing to learn. You’ll be all the better for it and you’ll go much, much farther. Food for thought… ☯️