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Making smaller circles

6 juillet 2010

Making
smaller circles

« This concept of Making Smaller Circles has been critical component of my learning process in chess and the martial arts. In both fields, players tend to get attached to fancy techniques and fail to recognize that subtle internalization and refinement in much more important than the quantity of what is learned. I think it was this understanding that won me my first Push Hands National Championship in November 2000, after two year of Tai Chi study. Surely many of my opponents knew more about Tai Chi than I did, but I was very good at what I did know. I had condensed my body mechanics into a potent state, while most of my opponents had large, elegant, and relatively impractical repertoires. The fact is that when there is intense competition, those who succeed have slightly more honed skills than the rest. It is rarely a mysterious technique that drives us to the top, but rather a profound mastery of what may well be a basic skill set. Depth beats breadth any day of the week, because it opens a channel for the intangible, unconscious, creative components of our hidden potential. »
Josh Waitzkin The Art of Learning – A Journey in the
Pursuit of Excellence
, Free Press, 2007, p. 123.

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