Learn to Learn with Travis Stevens
This is the absolute best time to be a martial arts student. There is more martial arts information available at our fingertips than any other time in history. With just a quick search in Google, or via YouTube you will immediately gain access to thousands of articles, videos, images about the judo technique you are searching for.
Plus with the growth in websites like JudoFanatics.com, you can find the best judo based instructional materials about all aspects of the art and sport taught by the best athletes and coaches in the world. As the wealth of information continues to grow exponentially, the average judoka and their level of understanding continues to rise as well.
Coupled with the availability of information is also an expansion in the ability to interact and communicate with athletes, coaches, and fellow judokas. Places like Reddit, Facebook, and Instagram are filled with amateur judokas full of questions and opinions. While this can be an amazing way to ask questions and clarify understanding, there is also a danger in adopting a hyper-critical WHAT IF? mentality.
In the video below, Travis Stevens addresses the danger of the WHAT IF mentality and how it can slow your growth, development and improvement as a judoka. Check out the video below and see what Travis has to say for himself. While you're at it, take some time to subscribe to Travis Stevens' YouTube channel and our channel over at Judo Fanatics.
What is the WHAT IF mentality?
In simplest terms, the WHAT IF mentality happens when you are presented with a specific scenario in class, a specific reaction or way the opponent might be presenting themselves to you. The instructor will show a technique that is meant to work successfully under the constraints of the scenario that has been outlined. The WHAT IF mentality comes into play when someone questions whether or not the technique will work if the parameters change.
Maybe you've seen the WHAT IF mentality at work in one of your judo classes. The instructor presents a scenario and shows a technique that would be successful under the parameters of this scenario and after demonstrating the technique, someone raises a question, a WHAT IF?
The WHAT IF they put forth is presented in a way that the student is trying to understand, but in reality, the student is undermining their own learning. They are presenting a WHAT IF that fundamentally changes the scenario that the instructor is presenting. Of course, the technique might not work the same way or be effective at all, because in asking the question, the WHAT IF, they have changed the rules of the game.
Travis Stevens argues that of course there are hundreds and hundreds of different variations that can eventually be explored, but in the moment, a specific scenario is being described and the technique being taught is meant to address those exact parameters. Don't waste time worrying about the WHAT IF variations you can dream up, because while you're doing that, you've missed the lesson right in front of you.
So if your instructor shows a technique that is predicated on the opponent stepping forward for you to achieve maximum throwing ability and you ask "Well, WHAT IF my opponent steps back instead of forward?" OF COURSE the technique won't work as it is predicated on the specific scenario the instructor outlined. If the opponent steps backwards, the answer would be completely different. By asking the WHAT IF question, what has the student achieved?
Nothing. They've missed the point of the initial instruction. They've shut down their learning by focusing on some hypothetical WHAT IF that isn't even relevant to the lesson at hand.
The best advice would be to listen more, talk less and ask questions that are relevant and do not challenge what the instructor is trying to show. Do this and you will get the most out of your classes and judo instruction.