Bruce Lee once reportedly stated: “take it from any place you can find it.”
This idea basically summarizes the thoughts underpinning his approach to ‘absorb what was useful’ from other combat/martial art disciplines (e.g., judo, fencing, jujitsu, Western boxing) and activities (e.g., cha cha dancing, strength, and conditioning) to add to his already existing expertise and training in Wing Chun, to flow into his creation of Jeet Kune Do.
Seems simple enough, right? However, how many of us really practice this on a frequent basis?
If you are guilty of sticking to your normal (sometimes more comfortable) ways of doing and being (your usual niche), only watching your sport or activity, preferring to learn from fellow peers, coaches, and experts from that sport, I don’t think you’re all that abnormal. Most of us fall in that category and behavior, at least occasionally.
Now, I am not saying that there isn’t a whole lot to be gained by immersing yourself here, being on a constant pursuit to become a subject matter expert in that respective area.
Instead, like Bruce Lee believed, I feel that becoming the best version of yourself within your craft, involves deeply studying many different activities and the skillful performers and practitioners within them.
From there, it’s highly beneficial to go one step further than this too. That is, I strongly believe in seeking out those individuals to have them watch what you do and directly contribute to your craft in some way.
Invite them to critique your work with the learners in your learning environment.
Specifically, ask them (including, but certainly not limited to):
- What did you see?
- What surprised you?
- What would you change if you were in charge of the learning environment?
Then, when they answer, approach this activity with an empty cup and open mind – listen closely and consider what they have to say from their perspective.
What this has looked like for me in the past is, and while I am a movement skill acquisition coach for NFL players, I have participated in this activity with:
- High-level MMA instructors and teachers
- Track & field coaches
- Various K-8 teachers
- Musicians and artists (both the practitioners themselves or instructors of it)
- Baseball coaches
The contributions from these individuals have truly been immeasurable to the development, growth, and evolution of the form of life which underpins my craft on a daily basis.
Calls to Action
I think this month’s calls to action won’t come as a shock or surprise. However, I implore you to not just contemplate around them, but follow through at this instant (seriously, do so right now!):
- Think about sports/activities in which you have an interest (that still differs from your niche)
- Write down a list of individuals you may be able to reach out to (whether you currently know them directly or not)
- Find a way to connect with them in some way to learn more about what they do and how they do it (the steps to doing this will be specific to the individual)
- Ask this person if they would be willing to trade and exchange ideas with you; maybe seeing if you can shadow them while they work with an athlete/artist (or a group) and extend the offer for them to watch you in your environment
- From there, ask them the questions above! When this interaction takes place, be sure to take copious notes to journal or document what was said or what you found (find some other way to record your thoughts so you can review them).
Shawn is the Co-Director of Education & Co-Founder of Emergence. He developed content for the educational brand, Movement Mastery, from 2014 till the formation of Emergence, with the sole purpose of helping to enable a deeper understanding of the processes involved in the acquisition of more masterful movement for athletes in sport. Shawn has served primarily as a Personal Performance Advisor & Movement Skill Acquisition Coach for National Football League (NFL) players since 2008, working with approximately 12 players each year.