Keyboard warrior

I’m currently learning to type and realising it’s a great analog for learning in the dojo.

I’ve been typing for a long time, mostly with two fingers, and wanted to take my skills to the next level. It’s been tough because there is so much unlearning to do. Daily activities involve lots of repetitive mechanical drills to bed in a new set of coordination and motor skills. Initially I’m going really slowly because accuracy is more important than speed, right?

Every now and then I find myself in the zone and get to feel that I have made progress. From time to time I take a typing test to see how I am doing. I don’t actually get any better by taking the test, but I do get a measure of my progress.

As I acquire new skills, like a new row of letters or the shift key, everything slows down again.

I tried a bunch of typing programmes to help me, the one I settled on introduces new elements slowly and includes revision of older elements. It teaches by positive reinforcement of what I get right rather than focusing on what I get wrong. There is assessment along the way. I slowly progress from conscious to unconscious performance and from incompetence (with the new method) to competence.

In many ways it’s just like learning aikido don’t you think? Here are my thought bubbles:

  • When you’re learning a new skill (technique/kata) accept that performance  goes down in the short term.
  • If you keep doing what you have always done you will likely limit your progress.
  • Going slowly to bed in new skills is essential. Speed comes later. Deliberate learning is the key.
  • Learning is cyclical and every time you do something new you need to slow down.
  • People often have interesting attitudes to belts and grading but they simply help to measure your progress.
  • Test the art itself occasionally, sure, but don’t expect that this helps you get better.
  • Freestyle practice is essential. It engages your creativity, provides an opportunity to exceed your own expectations and gives a great sense of achievement.

signing off,


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