Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: learning

School versus learning

I love learning.

I hated school.

I don’t think these are contradictory statements, andĀ  Ithink many people would agree with me. I get a frisson of electricity up my spine when I learn something new. Or am learning something new. These days, this is mostly with Taiji because that’s what I’m studying. when I taught myself the Fam Form after getting out of the hospital, it was such a triumph. I need to tidy up a few of my forms, though.

In addition, I’ve added the Taiji weight-lifing set to my daily routine, but I knew that already because I did it before. I have smoothed it out a bit more and know why it’s done the way it is, but it’s not new.

Taiji is interesting in that there is a time where there is a lot of learning–like at the beginning. My teacher taught me the Solo (Long) form, and it was so much information at one time. She believed that when she first taught the form, she didn’t go too much in details. She gave the basics behind why we do things the way we do, but she didn’t load me down on all the theories and history in the first year. She wanted to give a broad base upon which to build the rest, and it took off a lot of the pressure. Also, it was hard to focus on more than one thing at a time.

So, when you’re a complete newb, you just concentrate on the postures (now called movements). As long as you get the basic shape of it, you’re doing fine. I have a classmate who likes to correct other people and tell them how to do things–and he’s incorrect more often than not. He’s been doing it ever since he started about four years ago (right before the pandemic).

Side note: That’s sexism at work. My teacher is a woman and I, the student who has studied with her the longest, am female-presenting. Also, I would not presume to assume that I know better than my actual teacher. It’s amazing to me how confident a mediocre white man can be in our society. I know why it is, but it’s maddening, in any case.


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You don’t know what you don’t know

Alternate title: I need to learn more basic stuff, but that’s not as catchy.

I have teeth problems that I need to deal with. I’m not happy about it, but at least I know what needs to be done. An implant and three crowns. Ouch, my wallet!

Then, my car started acting up. It wouldn’t start. I called my bro to verify that I should hook it up to the battery charger he had given to me, and I did that. It startd, but had an ominous meessage about checking the hybrid system. Plus a very scary red warning icon. My brother came over to check it out, but he brought the wrong gauge. He had suggested hooking it up to tthe battery charger overnight and fully charge the battery.

He explained, as he had before, that I drive the car too little in order to keep the battery fully charged. It charges as it runs. So he suggested as he had before to drive the car twenty minutse or so once a month. It was the same explanation he had given me the last time this happened which was several winters ago, but I hadn’t taken him up on it at the time. This time, once I got it statrted after jumping it, I did drive for twenty minutes. But that was with the message flashing, which made me tense as I drove.

Before my brother left last night, he hooked up my car to the battery charger and told me to leave it overnight. I did. This morning, I checked it and the car started right away. The dreaded message was gone! The ‘fill the damn gas’ icon came on, which I did when I went out to go grocery shopping. I was nervous after twenty minutes in Cubs, but the car started without a murmur.

The ‘fill the damn tires with air’ light is also on, but that’s a profblem for next time I go to Cubs me. I will pay more attention this time to my brother’s warning and take the car out more often. I am so relieved that it wasn’t the more dire option, but it exposed how little I know about cars.

My brother is my go-to about anything technological/electrical/car-related, but I probably should know more about the basics. On the other hand, it’s not as if it comes up that often so even if I were to learn more about it for myself, I’ll probably not remember by the next time I have to deal with the same problem.


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Intentional plateauing

When I first started Taiji, my teacher talked about plateaus. Most Americans are not comfortable with no growth because we are very much a ‘do more’ society. You see it at work in that most places of employment push you to move upwards, whether you want to or not. I read about it at Ask A Manager on a regular basis; people who have no desire to move up are seen as no-getters. And, yes, I just made that up. There was a questionĀ  from someone who wanted to quit that life but was worried as to how she’d be viewed. And how she would view herself if she got a job that wasn’t high-pressured.

This leaks over into other activities, including exercise. Americans are very much no-pain, no-gain. I know people who go all out in their exercise and then get injured and cannot continue to exercise. They are forced to take time off to heal, then hop right back on that treadmill. Then, injury themselves again, rinse, lather, and repeat. By the way, I know it’s lather, rinse, and repeat, but I have bene saying/writing rinse, lather, and repeat for ages and will probably continue to do so because it’s funny.

I have never liked the ‘push yourself until it hurts’ mentality, even when I was participating in it. I knew that it wasn’t healthy to push myself to the extent I did when I was dealing with eating disorders, but that didn’t stop me from doing it. It just made me hate myself more.

When I started Taiji with this teacher, she said bluntly that Taiji was the antithesis of that. ‘No hurry, no worry’ was our motto, which was not easy to embrace. If I can do something at 6 strength, for example, wouldn’t it be better to do it at 10? Not necessarily, as it turned out.

Taiji is known as the lazy person’s martial arts because we believe in using the least amount of energy necessary for the biggest results. This was not an easy adjustment to make. I was down with it in theory because I am a lazy person by nature. Inertia is my friend, and I do not like to exert myself. However, when it comes to physical activity, I have still ingested many of the same messages that others have because they are so prevalent in our society.


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