Saturday, May 22, 2010

Understanding the Japanese Basic Principle on Learning

Have you watched the movie, "Karate Kid"? It was a big loss that we lost Pat Morita who played Teacher Miyagi Role in the movie. He was one of the great Japanese American actors who can play original Japanese role. Talking back to the movie, Teacher Miyagi asked his student Daniel to paint the fence, wax the car, and sand the floor. Daniel, the boy, was puzzled why his teacher asks him to do these works, instead of practicing hitting and kicking skills. The teacher did not say a word until the boy finished his work. There were 2 reasons why the teacher Miyagi asked the boy these works.

1. These works taught the boy basic defense move of Karate.
2. The boy could build his body by doing these works.

In the modern Japan, even my Karate Dojo did not force students to do this kind of training any more. The teachers would tell you how to build your body and would use bodybuilding machines. However, they still let student wipe the floor by using a swab, not by a mop. In the process of wiping floor in low position help a lot in building your lower body. At the same time, students learn the spirit to respect their dojo by cleaning the floor by their own hands.

Usually, teachers themselves take their own swabs clean their dojo. Elder students do the same. Junior students copy what their teachers and elders do. For beginners of Karate or any Martial Art, copying plays important role in learning process. In Karate Kata (Defending and Fighting Form), even senior students stare at how their teacher moves and copy every and all of his moves.

Japanese word "Manabu" is usually translated to English as "Study" or "Learn". However, the process of Japanese style "Manabu" is a little bit different from "Study" or "Learn" in English. The origin of the word "Manabu" is "Manebu", its meaning is "Copy". In Martial Art, students in their learning process gain a lot by copying what their seniors are doing.

In other professional field in Japan, this style of learning is widely adopted. Medical trainees are trained to copy their teachers are doing. Beginner cocks are not to be taught anything for first 6 to 10 months. They need to copy what their chefs are doing and lick the dishes, which were used by chefs for their cooking. This style of learning by copying has several advantages, no matter what you are trying to master:

1. You can establish your base by copying. Firmly founded and established base will be great help to build your own design castle on it.
2. Copying can help to form uniformity among students studied in same place. Uniformity is the base for building good quality skills and services.
3. Proven and established base by copying will give you base for you to get back when you have problems. It works like a carrier ship for fighter jets.

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韋于倫成 said...


Fe024lixV_Ferrari1 said...

thanks a lot..........................................

Shaw said...


Thank you for your comment.

Shaw Funami
Fill the Missing Link

Shaw said...


Thank you for your comment.

Shaw Funami
Fill the Missing Link

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shaw .. copying is important, as is the learning why the art of copying is necessary.

We all learn from doing, but we all learn from improving our skills.

Thank you - Hilary

Shaw said...

Hi Hilary,

Thank you for your comment. As you say, improving our skills is important part of learning. We should be aware how we improve our skills.

Thanks, again!
Shaw Funami
Fill the Missing Link