Taijiquan: The Method to Genius?

Taijiquan: The Method to Genius?

Postby Audi » Wed May 06, 2009 11:06 pm

I recently read an article in the New York Times by David Brooks called Genius: The Modern View. The article intrigued me because of two propositions it put forward: Genius comes not from I.Q., but from long practice; and slow, deliberate practice is the best.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B> What Mozart had, we now believe, was the same thing Tiger Woods had — the ability to focus for long periods of time and a father intent on improving his skills. Mozart played a lot of piano at a very young age, so he got his 10,000 hours of practice in early and then he built from there.

The latest research suggests a more prosaic, democratic, even puritanical view of the world. The key factor separating geniuses from the merely accomplished is not a divine spark. It’s not I.Q., a generally bad predictor of success, even in realms like chess. Instead, it’s deliberate practice. Top performers spend more hours (many more hours) rigorously practicing their craft.</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>Coyle describes a tennis academy in Russia where they enact rallies without a ball. The aim is to focus meticulously on technique. (Try to slow down your golf swing so it takes 90 seconds to finish. See how many errors you detect.)

By practicing in this way, performers delay the automatizing process. The mind wants to turn deliberate, newly learned skills into unconscious, automatically performed skills. But the mind is sloppy and will settle for good enough. By practicing slowly, by breaking skills down into tiny parts and repeating, the strenuous student forces the brain to internalize a better pattern of performance. </B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

How about the traditional Tai Chi advice to practice the form daily over a number of years to gain skill? How about the fact that most styles also stress doing the form slowly and with an engaged mind? Are we on the road to genius? Image

Take care,
Audi
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Postby shugdenla » Thu May 07, 2009 3:49 am

There are societal cues that allows genius to prosper and others (social milieu) that allows for the opposite.

IQ is about socialization and the ability to regurgitate and it has its place in places like USA and such. Actual skill acquisition comes about with "play" and the repetitive actions/moves/duration to achieve that skill. Within certain societies there are sayings within the social context that allows for success and taijiquan is just one of them.
I just came across a recent book "Outliers" by Malcomn Glidwell, where he observed that within Chinese language, there are built in concepts that allows better utilization of mathematical concepts despite the language (English) barrier! He also alluides to the rice culture of self (family/village) industriousness that provides a concept of survival and 'eating bitter' to achieve a goal! A little longwinded but I will stop here!
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu May 07, 2009 9:37 pm

Hi Audi,

While I am most often at odds with Brooks’ political proclivities, I sometimes have to give him credit for actually thinking, in contrast to some in his camp who are unfamiliar with that activity. The column you’ve linked, though, is especially thoughtful, and thought-provoking. Doesn’t it bring to mind those taiji documents that ponder innate ability (guyou) and how one can achieve optimal skill?

I especially like this portion that you quoted:

Coyle describes a tennis academy in Russia where they enact rallies without a ball. The aim is to focus meticulously on technique. (Try to slow down your golf swing so it takes 90 seconds to finish. See how many errors you detect.)

By practicing in this way, performers delay the automatizing process. The mind wants to turn deliberate, newly learned skills into unconscious, automatically performed skills. But the mind is sloppy and will settle for good enough. By practicing slowly, by breaking skills down into tiny parts and repeating, the strenuous student forces the brain to internalize a better pattern of performance.
~~~

This reminds me of a phenomenon I reflected upon back in the Proprioception and Conscious Movement thread:

One thing that fascinates me about development of neuromuscular skills is a sort of creative tension between conscious and unconscious processes. The psychological terms “conscious,” “unconscious,” and “subconscious” are imprecise, but I suppose that you could say that as a physical skill gradually becomes a matter of muscle memory, it becomes more unconscious than conscious. Skill, however, is not fully realized in simply getting a movement down pat as though fitting a template. Once it finds its way into muscle memory, there is an endless horizon of honing and perfecting. It’s as though you build upon the unconscious muscle memory by constantly bringing it back to the realm of conscious deliberation and monitoring through the senses. Running through this process, from the beginning levels to the upper ranges of skill, is the thread of conscious intent (yi).

Take care,
Louis
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Postby shugdenla » Fri May 08, 2009 12:57 pm

When I was in bootcamp (Marine Corps) at the rifle range, there is part of training called 'snapping in' (if I recall correctly) where, instead of immediately locking and loading, you hold your rifle at various position just looking downrange and 'feeling' the weapon (not that way) and getting accustomed to it. it involved sighting, how to handle/manipulate windage and other stuff befoe you actually load the weapon and sending it one its way.
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Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri May 08, 2009 7:50 pm

Audi,
I'll cut through this a bit for everyone.
The answer to your question is yes.
Some of us will get there more quickly than others, but if we stick to it...

I'm kidding of course.
But how could I pass that up?
;0)

Bob
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