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    Al Peasland
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    Post by Al Peasland on Wed Aug 13, 2008 7:03 pm

    I'm working on an article about the benefits of maintaining a White Belt mentality. How it's great to be able to take yourself into a new art, to become the beginner again, to be the bottom of the class with nowhere to go but upwards and all of those around you better than you.
    About how it's also great to challenge your ego that keeps crying out with frustration when you can't pick up a new "alien" technique and thats desperately wanting you to throw in the towel along with your teddies and head straight back to the gym you know and love and hit the bag - just as you have done for years.

    I had that feeling last night training with one of the best guys I've had the priviledge to train under and accompanied by what can only be described as a room full some of the most talented, patient, warmest, skilled, martial artists/gentlemen.

    And whilst the battle with my patience was tested as I struggled to pick up the techniques, I realised that in itself was one of the best lessons to be had from becoming the white belt again.

    My frustrations were eased by fantastic instruction and understanding that helped me go away with at least a few new techniques in my memory bank for me to race off and drill and drill until they start to feel something close to comfortable.

    But for a minute there, I definitely had the pangs of doubt of "is this for me?" and THAT was the best indication that Yes - it is definitely for me and where I need to be.

    My white belt last night looked so white it could have been used in a Daz commercial and I absolutely loved that feeling. So I can't wait for next week and the week after and the one after that cos I've got a new mountain to climb

    So, with my pre-amble out of the way, do any of you look to do this? and if you do - what do you get from being the white-belt again?
    Apart from the obvious of picking up a new art or a new skill or a new technique, what else can you gain from being a white-belt and taking yourself back to the beginning of your class?


    ps: By the way - please note that I haven't exactly had to travel very far back from the level in my own arts to reach white belt in others! (I'm no master - just a student)

    Al
    Tigger
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    Post by Tigger on Thu Aug 14, 2008 12:02 am

    Hi Al, I could not agree more. I feel like that every Sunday! If not when training with you and Mick, then training with Geoff. It is still one the scariest moments in my life to walk into yours and Geoff’s classes and train. The best thing about it is that you are surrounded by people who feel the same, there are truly no egos, everyone is there and feeling the same fear, which actually makes the classes so much fun. I keep in my head so many of Geoff’s words and always helps to chill me out.

    On a personal note I feel all the time I am a white belt, looking to others for guidance and I hope I never lose that, being in a room with such amazing people now makes me realise that whatever the journey I have to do in the morning is all the more worth it.

    I also feel that, for me, teaching now is the biggest white belt I could face at this point in my life. I have you as my main instructor (:-D I know you is so lucky!) and Mick and Geoff, as well as Lewis and the other guys who are so awesome in the arts they have trained, but for me my new white belt is the journey of teaching and pretty much (as you know) that scares me, esp. with the things I have coming up. I think that the path I am now on I will always feel the “white belt” feeling – which I think is how it should be even if you have trained for years, b/c the point of the “white belt” feeling is that you can always associate what you are teaching or training with someone to the right level.
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    Post by Guest on Thu Aug 14, 2008 1:09 am

    Amen to that Tigger.

    I feel that exact same feeling all the time with new classes, new training partners, new students, or even old students but new material.

    But is also helps to keep me focussed in a way and the feedback helps us to grow. I dont teach the amount of in depth stuff that most of the guys teach. but I do like to drill and drill properly, and add onto it bit by bit. and its rewarding to see someone come from knowing almost nothing if not nothing to being more confident in themselves, not through the fact that may or may not be able to handle a physical response, but just by seeing their demeanor change to one of more confidence and knowing that they can take what they learn and transpose it onto other things.

    I have a few close friends who I train with also, and compare what works and what does not, so to get honest feedback is the best thing in the world and im lucky enough to be able to train with some who call a spade a shovel and it always keeps me on my toes with what I do.

    Teaching is great and I love it, but I also love learning, and spend too much time researching, asking questions and moving forward in certain areas and questioning others. I am and always will be a white belt with something, and its the only way we progress and move on.

    If you are not uncomfortable you are not growing. simple as that.

    Much Respect All

    Craig
    cheers
    Al Peasland
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    Post by Al Peasland on Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:22 am

    Many thanks for your answers both.

    Being the white belt is great, and forcing yourself to encounter situations that places you back into that white belt state is even better. After all, imagine if we could ever get to a position where we reached the top of our own mountain with no other mountains left to climb. What then?
    Stood there thinking.... "Well - is this it?"

    Nice to be climbing one knowing that there are many many more left to climb.

    And no - I've not become a mountaineer - it's just that all my analogies are crap cheers
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    Post by Guest on Thu Aug 14, 2008 11:24 am

    Yeah nice call Al,

    God imagine getting to that point where there is nothing left to learn.
    it does not bear thinking about.

    Bring on the mountains lol!
    Tigger
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    Post by Tigger on Thu Aug 14, 2008 11:51 am

    Sorry Craig I feel bad that I did not say you where one the main people I learn from as well… although you are technically my clinch and throwing b*tch :-) you only have yourself to blame as I learnt it from you!

    I think it is easy to get stuck in a rut with anything you do, either work, relationships or the art you train. The comfort zone is a nice place to be, actively finding the feeling of the “white belt” again is very hard and can take a lot for people to want to do it – and this is by no means a criticism in anyway, at the end of the day it all depends why someone has decided to train.

    Through the class I now attend I see this not only in myself but in the others around me – we are all looking for something, something which will add to what we know, something which will develop us mentally, physically and even on the spiritual side. Some of us are hungry to learn everything and some want to take it in pieces- getting awesome at one art before looking to others – which is the right way to go who knows!, you could say that by wanting to learn everything you always stay a white belt and by sticking to one art you will always know that you may never be a white belt again, unless of course you move arts – but you will always take with you what you have learnt before.

    I guess it depends on who you train with – seeking out the best and training with them can only be a scary thing, but in my mind they became the best b/c they did just that themselves. Staying with what you know is comfortable but do you actual grow not only in the art but as a person? At the end of the day everyone’s lives are complicated, I don’t know anyone who has had it easy, so seeking the “white belt” feeling can only ever be a personal thing, and will always depend on WHY a person wants to train, WHAT they are looking for and WHO they want to be.
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    Post by Guest on Thu Aug 14, 2008 12:20 pm

    Hey Tigger

    Thanks for the kind words, I think lol

    I am happy to teach and show what I know, to anyone who shows an interest as you have done, and the fact I keep doing breakfalls until my whole body is numb is testement to the fact you love throwing me around lol. however,

    I think you have hit the preverbial nail on the head. Everyone has an internal dialogue of some sort which can be confusing especially when they would really love to do something but decide to take the easy route and stay in their comfort zone. As you say there is nothing wrong with this as its what they want to do.

    The only time it does become a pain is when we know we would really like to do something but are scared stiff for whatever reason. Anticipatory fear is the killer of all hopes, dreams and goals. Once we get out there and experience that which it is we really want to do the practical side although scary in some ways is not as bad as the images we create for ourselves to stop ourselves from achieving that what we wish to do.

    The people you associate with are a big part, the ones you train with, talk to, drink with. etc etc. Everyone who is already out doing what they love to do are the ones who will be able to show you the way forward. Knowing inside that if they have done it, so can you, me, everyone.

    It was hard for me, as those of you that know me on here, when I suffered with chronic depression. I did not want to talk to anyone, see anyone, go anywhere or do anything. And thanks to my wonderful Fiance Jayne. She got me booked with geoff on his class last year. I had told her it was something I had always wanted to do. Sure I had talked to geoff, and made plesantries, but never had the guts to go to a class or ask about training with Al, Mick, Matty etc.

    She took it upon herself to get me a place by mailing geoff, and then Sharon called and told me I had been booked on it. 2 months BEFORE the course had started. The amount of times I almost backed out was unbelievable. but still made it and made some very good friends, Al " The Loverman ", Tigger, Dave S, Geoff, Nick Engelen. Mick " I kick Lamposts Tully "

    All who have helped me beyond words and measure. The road for me is just beginning again. After having done martial arts for a number of years I now find myself back in the thing which I love doing. Not a hint of depression in sight. The turning point for me was knowing that IF i can step up to the plate on something I was dreading and terrified of, then the rest just falls into place.

    Back to basics, back to learning everything from scratch. absolutely. me being a white belt. Absolutely. but the one thing I know for sure is that if I am not learning and not being around these kind of friends who guide and teach me a long the road. My life would not be as complete as it is today and my journey is only just beginning and one which I am sure will never end.

    To all the guys on here I made friends with and who helped me on this road again. It means more than you could know.

    Keep learning guys, and always be a white belt

    Craig
    cheers
    Mick Tully
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    Post by Mick Tully on Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:46 am

    great thread Al!
    and great posts guys....
    I know how Al feels on tuesday nights.....but how good is training with those guys?
    Just as an aside to what a "white belt" mentality can bring to you in life, being prepared to acknowledge that you need instruction in whatever you need opens so many doors you would not normally even realised existed.In my case realizing how much i did not know about martial arts led me to try different arts which in turn led me to start training with Lucky Madahar who in turn introduced me to the legend that is Rick Young,I met Sid at a seminar of Ricks which then brought me to acheiving one of my long term goals of meeting Guro Terry Barnett,Who now is my main instructor and i am honoured to call a good friend.I have also managed to train with some of the greatest/nicest guys in martial arts including the main man himself Guro Dan Inosanto...Earlier this year i was honoured and (very) surprised to recieve my associate instructorship under Guro Rick Faye....and not showing off but last weekend i was back in minnesota for summer camp and managed to get some tickets to the UFC and then off to the after show party with the great Erik Paulson and his lovely wife Tonya.Imagine how i felt while i'm standing there(an average martial artist from coventry)
    surrounded by Brock Lesnar,Cheick Congo,Anderson Silva,Joe Rogan and Eddie Bravo.Then Erik introduces me as "his good friend from england mick "to Greg Nelson and the legendary Rigan Machado!
    and the first thing Rigan says?
    "hows geoff thompson doing these days!!
    whats the point of this post?
    shameless name dropping?
    perhaps!
    but i like to think it's how we as "ordinary" people can find ourselves doing extraordinary things if we dare to dream them....any way i'm off to work on my tiep!
    mick x
    Nick
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    Post by Nick on Tue Aug 19, 2008 2:10 pm

    Great topic Al,
    Mick nothing wrong with blowing your own trumpet, top stuff mate,

    ATB
    Phil Brady
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    Post by Phil Brady on Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:12 pm

    If anyone feels they have mastered anything then I believe they are just beginning to learn. After all, a black belt is just a white belt soiled with sweat and blood. No?

    I remain a white belt,
    Phil
    Michael W Wright
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    Post by Michael W Wright on Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:35 pm

    yeah well, I'm a yellow belt! Tae Kwon Do, 1993, so eat that Razz

    I always knew I was better than everyone else, and now with all you lowly white belts out there, I'm the man.

    Get in! Twisted Evil
    Al Peasland
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    Post by Al Peasland on Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:00 pm

    T'is true

    You are Da Man! Basketball

    I am only a white belt but I do have brown pants.
    Sorry - was that too much info there??

    lol!
    Mick Tully
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    Post by Mick Tully on Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:34 am

    Hey mike
    you move well for a yellow belt! Great to see you yesterday mate x
    Al Peasland
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    Post by Al Peasland on Wed Aug 20, 2008 1:54 pm

    Yeah Mike W - nice to see you last night - thanks for going easy on us!
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    Post by AMC Steve on Wed Aug 20, 2008 3:30 pm

    Hello all

    Mike - I got my yellow belt in Shukukai Karate in 92, so my style is obviously better than yours lol!

    Mick - how did you feel in front of Brock Lesnar... small, possibly Wink
    (I'm only saying that cos i'm totally jealous)

    Al - Rick Young did an article for MAI with the same title at the end of last year, if i'm not mistaken. That may be of some interest to you?
    As for Brown pants... Jesus?!

    As for me, I think the more I learn the more white belt mentality I feel and as I only started learning technical sport specific ground last year, I am definitely the white belt on the mat. Razz I think that Tigger hit an important note above when teaching was mentioned, never are you wearing your white belt prouder than in your own classes as every lesson is new and your students are your teachers as much as they are your students. I have been lucky in the people I have had the chance to train with and the awesome people who are my instructors, all of which I feel the white belt mentality with but I think the white belt can be used outside of the dojo /studio also. For example. I was in a 30 man brawl at the venue I work on Saturday night and not having been in what I would term a real 'mass attack' before (long story but 20 gangsters went after one guy and they then turned on us, guess who was the first man in. pale ) it was a real learning curve and one which I feel brings about the white belt mentality again. Now for a lot of guys it was just a job, but for me, aside from the obvious stuff, it was a teaching tool to be learned with my white belt on proud. How could I have done that better? What did I do wrong? Also, I will now be adding in different elements into the teaching methods such as chairs and stools into the mass attack scenario's which definitely got in my way at the time. Now maybe to some of you those elements are obvious, but to me it was part of the white belt mentality letting me learn from a very dangerous situation.
    Anyhoo, that's enough about that, just though it may add some relevance.
    On a final note. I feel that it is having this mentality that allows us to learn and continue to progress forward and stay away from stagnation.
    Now I need to go and put my bacon butty on as the brain is slowing down pig
    Hope you are all well
    Take care, train hard and stay safe.

    Steve
    Michael W Wright
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    Post by Michael W Wright on Wed Aug 20, 2008 4:46 pm

    Good post Steve mate. I hope you are OK after the ruck? Knowing you, I'm sure you came out clean as a whistle Smile

    Al and Mick, it was really good to see you guys again last night and to get a chance to mix it up. I have really missed Terry's session, it was like coming home after a long time away. As you know, I'm not sure which direction life is going to take me in the coming weeks, but for as long as I am around I'm back down on a Tuesday. Muay Thai next week, bring it on Twisted Evil
    Al Peasland
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    Post by Al Peasland on Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:08 pm

    Thanks for the post Steve.

    Mr Wright - Muay Thai next week - oh dear god.
    My pants have just gotten browner pale

    :-)

    lol!
    Mick Tully
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    Post by Mick Tully on Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:51 pm

    mine too! x
    AMC Steve
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    Post by AMC Steve on Thu Aug 21, 2008 5:14 am

    I don't know if it's the photo or the fact I should be in bed by now, but Mick, you are starting to remind me of Homer Simpson Laughing
    Al Peasland
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    Post by Al Peasland on Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:36 am

    ummmm dough-nutsssssss Razz
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    Post by Guest on Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:12 pm

    lol!

    Doh
    Mick Tully
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    Post by Mick Tully on Sat Aug 23, 2008 10:55 pm

    fear my wrath you keyboard warriors! hahahaha

    when i get a step ladder stevie g....i'll own you !

    bwah ahahahahahha x
    AMC Steve
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    Post by AMC Steve on Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:31 am

    Bring your twin... 'Don't get done, get Dom' hahahahahahahahahahahaha
    Mick Tully
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    Post by Mick Tully on Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:12 pm

    Good job i was asleep when you threw the dominic littlewood reference! I liken myself more to vic mackey hahaha x
    AMC Steve
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    Post by AMC Steve on Mon Aug 25, 2008 3:38 pm

    lol!

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