Paradigm is a word that has often used in the marketing industry. Paradigm (pair-a-dime) can be described as the set of filters we have in our heads . These filters define how we react to what we see in the world, and influences decisions about these impressions. A stereotype is an example of a paradigm. A belief about yourself is a paradigm ( I am too old, out of shape, too busy) We behave and react based on what we believe about a person, ourselves or a situation.
As martial arts instructors, we work to shift these filters . Trying to observe and understand the needs of the individual greatly effects how we guide students on their journey to black belt.
The way students think about movements they are doing largely effects the outcome. A clear example is when teaching a student to block. They execute that block with an entirely different energy when we swing a stick at them. The movement did not change, just their perspective of what it was for.
So how do you use this outside of the dojo? When sensing a potential conflict, take a moment to examine the paradigm. When you realize that someone may have had a bad day or that you are cranky because you are hungry... Well you may not be so quick to engage. Shifting the filter can be as simple as the old saying "put yourself in his shoes". Likewise, part of training is to develop a point of view about yourself and others with many sets of filters.
Sparring is a way to introduce shifting paradigm. Students who start this activity are very consumed with how many times they can land a strike or how many times they are getting hit rather than the skills they should be striving to develop. We point out that sometimes you are the bigger more experienced fighter and sometimes you are smaller. Do you remember how that feels? Think of your partner, how can they learn by working with you? How can you learn from them? This begins that notion of stepping into the other guys shoes. What began as an experience of competition or anxiety becomes an experience of learning through a give and take exchange; developing of empathy. Yes, we still teach students to go for the win in a competition, but in the dojo there are more important lessons to learn.
To sum it up, when feeling the waves of reaction to a situation, take that moment to consider the other persons point of view. Better yet, imagine a third uninvolved party making an observation as well. Understand your personal paradigms and be willing to change them.
Is the way you think about yourself holding you back?