The More I Learn…

RJJ LogoThe more I learn, the more I realize how very little I really know. I find myself constantly revisiting materials and gleaning new information from it. I will read something and a year or two later reread it and come away with a completely different conclusion. It is like I only get part of the picture and the more I learn the more of the picture I get. However, with this comes the realization of just how little I knew and still don’t know.

I am slowly beginning to understand the idea that when you stop learning you stop growing. Learning allows you to push the boundaries. Once you are comfortable with what you know, the boundaries stop moving wider. It is scary moving out of that comfort zone. I do fully understand that. We fear what we don’t know.

Change can be scary. We often fear failure. Not so much the failure itself but rather thinking we may look not good enough in our attempt. We can build up blocks because of this. I struggled mightily with a technique cross-over side thrust kick because I felt I couldn’t do the cross over portion deep enough. I struggled with this part over and over and built it up in my mind that it was never good enough. Oddly enough it was when I stopped caring that my technique improved.

When I say stopped caring, I really mean letting go. Letting go of the worries that it might not be as good as others. Letting go of the worry of whether I was stepping deeply enough. Letting go of the worry that I may fail that technique. Oddly enough, once I let go, the technique become much better. I found I was stepping across deeply enough and had a very powerful kick.

Yet letting go is still something I struggle with. I know that letting go can be a very beneficial thing. However, I hang on for all I am worth. I keep building those walls, despite knowing that if I just let go of the worries I will feel so much better. My journey is filled with things like that. One step forward, two steps back.

I let things bother me because in my head I think I know how things are. Down the line, looking back, I discover I was missing something crucial. It all goes back to not knowing how little I know.

We have a phrase we use a lot in class, ‘tunnel vision’. I am sure you have heard the phrases ‘he’s got blinders on’ or ‘you can’t see the forest for the trees’. We get so wrapped up in how we perceive things to be that we can’t see things as they really are. Sometimes it is just a lack of perspective, sometimes it is a lack of understanding.

I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in seeing things as you want to see them. As I slowly (very slowly) grow as a person; I can begin to recognize as it’s happening, the clamping down on my reality. I still find it much easier to see things from a distance than when I am caught up in the middle of it. I think this is only natural. I hope someday I can be both far and close seeing. I know now how very very far I still have to go; and at least I know that, which is something…

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About the Author

My name is Clayton Søby and I am a Nidan from Rushmore Jukite Ju-Jitsu. I started studying Jukite Ju-Jitsu in August 2001. I still train when I can. In the meantime, I keep busy writing a monthly column for the website and studying Aikido here in Maryland. I hope to see you in class whenever I can make it back to visit.