Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Waitzkin Notes

art of learning

Read this book over the last week or two, very enjoyable, very insightful, damn near incoherent much of the time. Lots of valuable ideas to think about, unfortunately author's tone, unsuccessful vocabulary choices, and total lack of bibliography make a lot of them more difficult than need be to translate into meaningful and useful syntax.

raw notes:

1st thing in the morning
last thing in the day
creative output without input (checking email etc)
start and end with high quality, self-driven creative work

meditation and breath
tai chi form meditation
return to breath. When it races, return to breath
the objective isn’t perfection, it’s process based
the outcome isn’t important, (you can dwell on thoughts as long as you return to breathing, pay attention to breathing, don’t control thoughts)
don’t judge yourself, simply evaluate and optimize processes

diaphram is center
intake of  breath is affirmative, energizing form into the fingertips
then exhale is sinking into soft awareness while energy is distributed
this is like a wave coming onto the shore then retreating softly, the lapping physicality of rhythm married to sound
physical introspection matching the thought form (think “coordination” instead of “unity” of mind/body)

“Flow state”
it is not a mood or mind-state to be "achieved," it is better conceptualized heightened awareness and receptivity to intuition (like thomas merton on the diamond sutra)
flow can be cultivated.
We pick a relaxed, “serene” activity that we recognize as close to flow
then we do some exercises (breathing or yoga or whatever, but something physical and appropriate) preceding this activity
maybe pick a song or an easy meal as well. A chunk of time 30-60 min of easy routine.
Do it daily for 30 days. Should be all linked together in the brain and increasingly easy to work into.
Then can start reducing the time commitment.
Eventually it should all be so practiced and tied together that slipping into flow is as easy as doing breathing exercises.

turning it on and off deliberately
to better specialize, intensify, localize effort and focus in and out
cultivating your off and on is mechanically training your stress and recovery periods
cardiovascular exercise, you push hard to reach 170 then fall to 140 then up again then down again. The goal is to increase efficiency so that the strain to reach same level is lessened (meaning that pushing to 170 measure is now a new workload high) and teaching your body to rest and recover more readily.
The same with mental stress.
Results in more On when On, more Off when Off.

mind as a stallion to be tamed and used
mind relationships, cognitive biases etc are habitual addictions
depending on identity and context they are a boon or a hindrance
you turn and work with/from these relationships as you turn to use as material instead of things to avoid.
do not judge, simply evaluate and optimize processes.

learning with open pores—no ego in the way
no fear of loss and no playing out of comfortable habits that are mechanical reasons for losses
no need to be correct or to justify
minimizing repetition keeps learning dynamic, less predictable
learning makes you vulnerable
necessarily, that’s what it is, investing in losses
because it’s not possible to never make the same mistake twice
but the more open and aware we are the sooner we catch mistakes and awareness translates to overcoming them

complete mastery of simple, small exercises that are intimately linked to a fundamental aspect of the art
translates to intuitive mastery of the fundamental aspect
this is internalization
but this is not always competitively viable without learning to make ever smaller circles, applying with just as much force of emphasis on the fundamental aspect to tangental tactics with greater and greater specificity
this results in an increasingly complex gameplan of uniform subtlety and power, much of which will be invisible
it also increases our attention as we play it out
very ppmd
depth of mastery in the most important forms is 90% of mastery.
(the first thing to learn and master in any MU is the edgeguard. Then what to do when they are cornered. Then from center is easier to understand totally and unconsciously)

once a principle is defined and in the blood, tactics are easy to design and build in/on

the goal is to cultivate a Principle by engineering a handful of ruling habits, to enable the principle to come out in everything
how you do anything is how you do everything
if you don’t turn it on in the little moments then the big ones aren’t possible

Visualization, investing as much mental and emotional energy as possible to practice, makes it more real to the brain and more effective learning.

no one has trained as hard or as well as you
(then you win)

There is a distinction between learner and artist/performer, different goals, different processes, different execution

we have to be at peace with imperfection. Flexibility requires imperfection and flexibility is laughably more important.
We work with the material that’s available as it is available, allowing for grace and inspiration. This is impossible with rigid expectations.
Create and maintain “ripples” of awareness. (This word ripples is problematic but the ideation is important.)

Solving for a Downward Mental Spiral
in blogpost, woman and bicycle

anger and indignation is a response to something that we don’t like, which normally is something that we aren’t comfortable dealing with and/or lies outside of our self-imposed rules (someone that camps the shit out of you, someone that talks during the game, etc). It’s silly to be indignant when faced with adversity. There will always be adversity. Our job is to recognize the mechanical solution and to deal with (not necessarily try to overcome or dismiss, but to keep under control) our emotions. It’s ok to play imperfect. Perfection is never the goal. Perfection is an idol that’s made up of your self-imposed rules. Perfection does not exist. The solution to this is to grow bigger than the opponent’s gambit, which has much to do with your actions, little to do with your ego.
Rather than try to put them out you can use your emotions as fuel to play inspired, provided that you are up to the mechanical/technical challenge. They have poked the sleeping bear. But the technical challenge is the most important bit. Once you have mastery over whatever the countermeasure is then it’s not very difficult to rise to the challenge.
With competence, what was disorienting is usable energy.

shutter speed
the throw that is at first experienced as a blur is 6 steps
with familiarity it is perceived as 6 steps in the brain with so many variations in each step
and you have the time, when worked into intuitive process, to perceive, process, and decide on a course of action in response to these as if time slows down, but mechanically it is because of focussed awareness that was not present before (when the entire throw was experienced as a blur) by way of clusters, grouped data in the brain
this concept expands to more abstract position recognition etc
I mean, it’s pretty much how the brain works lol but still good illustration

If the opponent does not move, then I do not move.
At the opponent’s slightest move, I move first.

If we want to be among the best then we have to take risks that others would avoid
optimizing and learning the potential of the moment and turning adversity into advantage
you should always come off of an injury or loss stronger than you went down
excellence cannot be cultivated or attained through non-presence in routine
adversity is a source of creative inspiration
like muscles tearing to rebuild stronger vs atrophy

The strongest competitors and performers are not well-rounded
(in fact, trying to round out ourselves often leads to little more than frustration and colvultion, perpetually moving the mental goalposts around trying to identify what is Perfect. Perfect is unattainable. Perfect is a horrible, unreal goalpost. Best is a bad goalpost. Best Self is much more realistic and useful. This is the location of the distinction between Optimal and Unattainable.)
they are masters of navigating their own psychology, intuitively and by design.
they are masters of fundamental principles.
their gameplans are effectively without exception specifically designed to enable their strengths and make their personal weaknesses non-fatal. There is no need for them to play perfect in every aspect. They play better than perfect in their element, when the game takes on the complexity and color of their personal logic. This is “expression.”
at the highest level, the winner dictates the tone of battle and the loser struggles to adapt and hold ground

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