Learning to a Fine Level of Detail

Being Dangerous to a High Level of Precision

Left to society, no children would ever become uniquely and optimally Dangerous, as they were meant to be. Society can never educate and raise a Dangerous Child. Only the Dangerous Child can achieve that, with the help of wise parents and coaches.

The education provided by society operates in two directions at once. It suppresses every nonconformist tendency through penalties of withdrawal of support and simultaneously imbues the individual with values that force him to overcome and discard spontaneous desires. These conditions force the majority of adults today to live behind a mask, a mask of personality that the individual tries to present to others and to himself. Every aspiration and spontaneous desire is subjected to stringent internal criticism lest they reveal the individual’s organic nature. Such aspirations and desires arouse anxiety and remorse and the individual seeks to suppress the urge to realize them. The only compensation that makes life durable despite these sacrifices is the satisfaction derived from society’s recognition of the individual who achieves its definition of success. The need for constant support by one’s fellows is so great that most people spend the larger part of their lives fortifying their masks. Repeated success is essential to encourage the individual to persist in this masquerade. __ M. Feldenkrais p12 in “Awareness Through Movement

Moshe Feldenkrais was an engineer and former student of physicist Marie Curie, at the University of Paris in the 1930s. He trained in judo and became a judo instructor to co-workers at the Radium Institute. On the eve of WWII, he fled to London with a quantity of heavy water and “a sheaf of research material” on nuclear fission from the Institute in Paris.

Working on the slippery deck of a submarine, he aggravated a childhood knee injury to the point that he was unable to practise his judo. During this period of physical convalescence, Feldenkrais developed a unique method of self-healing of soft tissue injury, now called “The Feldenkrais Method.” In this method of healing, the person himself takes over the training, completely re-learning what it means to perform a movement, or integrated suite of movements.

Over the years he has treated thousands of people, from statesmen (Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion) to violin virtuosos (Yehudi Menuhin), with his unique method of movement that—he claims and his disciples devoutly believe—results in a kind of heightened self-awareness and improved physical coordination. __ People Magazine Feature on Feldenkrais

Al Fin has studied the history and theory of this movement and has had the opportunity to observe a few individuals who have undergone the self-healing method for themselves. Although The Feldenkrais Method is not structured to allow it to be studied using conventional research methods — and is thereby rejected out of hand by many — observations of the tangible outcomes for thousands of persons who had been previously disabled by their injuries suggests that something very useful exists at the core of this method.

Feldenkrais Teaches Exquisitely Fine Control

If there is a secret to the success of the Feldenkrais method of brain and body rehab, it is the combination of confidence of ultimate success with the infinitely incremental approach to recovering lost body/brain functions. Baby steps are encouraged and celebrated — then built upon. The reality of this method is far more complex than any short summary, but re-building and re-shaping of both brain and body seem to be taking place for these self-trainers. See Feldenkrais’ book “Awareness Through Movement” for more details. Also visit the webpage Feldenkrais.com for more information.

Dangerous Children Learn Skilled Movement by Similar Methods

For most children, learning to move occurs spontaneously with “growing up.” But that does not mean that the child has developed anything close to “optimal movement” for his body and brain. A playful training in folk dancing helps to expand the child’s repertoire of movements, but to become a truly Dangerous Child one should tuck away many clever tricks of motion and thinking into one’s portfolio.

That is where parents and coaches of Dangerous Children can learn from methods such as that of Feldenkrais. Although these children are not convalescing from injured brains and bodies, they are learning to move in ways which are unlikely to come naturally without a significant amount of self-training and mental control. If the method is to achieve the most it can for each unique child, the training (self-training) should begin early, as a type of play.

We have said this before, but it cannot be repeated too often: For young children, play is an indispensable tool for teaching and learning. For very young children to learn self-training, a playful approach is crucial.

Raising a Dangerous Child is Never Easy

If a parent or coach does the job right in the early years, the Dangerous Child’s brain will adapt to self-training and self-teaching as natural functions of daily life. By the time the child is teaching himself music, languages, creative approaches to story and art, science and maths, and methods of physical dance and self defense, the self-training and self-teaching approach will feel like the only comfortable approach to intensive learning, once an idea has been introduced.

Keeping the child balanced and making sure that opportunities are not needlessly neglected, is difficult. It is natural for the child to dive into an absorbing area of interest, to the exclusion of all else. But that is what parents and coaches are there to guard against. Let the child explore and dive deeply, but always bring him back to what is needful, if he does not return on his own.

Dangerous Child Training is Not Mysterious

There is nothing mysterious about raising a Dangerous Child. If done right from the early days, these children unfold mostly on their own. But the process is detailed and often tedious, and if the parent or coach does not tend to his or her own mental and physical well-being — and maintain a healthy sense of humour and play — turbulence may set in.

The end result of Dangerous Child training — just like the end result of pregnancy and childbirth — can seem miraculous.

Fine Detail Learning is Front-End Learning

You could say that this type of learning has a steep learning curve, or is heavily loaded at the front end of the process. It has high capital costs up-front in terms of time, personal energy, and careful attention. But once the habits are learned to instinctive levels, your child will never be “just one in the crowd.”

Once the habits of precision learning are fine-honed and instinctive, the Dangerous Child becomes a force of nature into the future.

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