We have to be able to do something slowly before we can do it quickly. By delving with laser-like focus into a basic set of concepts or practices over a period of time, we can gradually internalize the knowledge. The process of reviewing and creatively exploring these basics over and over again leads to a very refined, nuanced understanding of them. We eventually integrate the principles into our subconscious mind where we can draw on them instinctively and rapidly without conscious thoughts getting in the way. This deeply ingrained knowledge base can serve as a meaningful springboard for more advanced learning and action.
In Josh’s Words:
“First, I practice the motion over and over in slow motion ….By now the body mechanics of the punch have been condensed in my mind to a feeling. I don’t need to hear or see any effect—my body knows when it is operating correctly by an internal sense of harmony….Now I begin to slowly, incrementally, condense my movements while maintaining that feeling….Each little refinement is monitored by the feeling of the punch, which I gained from months or years of training with the large, traditional motion….
“In both fields, players tend to get attached to fancy techniques and fail to recognize that subtle internalization and refinement is much more important than the quantity of what is learned….It is rarely a mysterious technique that drives us to the top, but rather a profound mastery of what may well be a basic skill set. Depth beats breadth any day of the week, because it opens a channel for the intangible, unconscious, creative components of our hidden potential.”
Further reading, Chapter 11, Making Smaller Circles, and Chapter 7, Changing Voice, PP. 72-77
From THE ART OF LEARNING by Josh Waitzkin. Copyright © 2007 by Josh Waitzkin LLC.
Reprinted by permission of Free Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc