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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

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The next phase of my martial growth would involve turning the large into the small. My understanding of this process… is to touch the essence (for example, highly refined and deeply internalized body mechanics or feeling) of a technique while keeping true to its essence. Over time expansiveness decreases while potency increases. pp. 119, 120

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…pp. 120-122

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

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