On Working The System

September 25, 2015 by Rieshy

In college I took a philosophy class with a boyfriend.  I always knew how to work the academic system and used short-term memory with great success.  Imagine my shock when during a joint study session my boyfriend is asking philosophical questions outside the scope of the upcoming exam and reading extra writings only tangentially related to the assigned readings.  Tsk, tsk, wasting time.... I made an ‘A’, he did not come close. 


Don’t ask me today to explain the difference between Kant and Kierkegaard; I’d have to google it... but my boyfriend-turned-husband, remembers.

On nights at the dojo when our Sensei seems even more chipper and energetic than usual, AND has a certain sparkle in his eyes, we all know that we are about to be tortured, oops- challenged, with a leg workout.

Last night, I knew I was in trouble the moment I saw Sensei Richard walk onto the mat; maybe it’s the angle to his grin that’s his “tell”.  Sure enough, we were sent to the walls for wall kicks and then to the bags with a partner to count timed round-house kicks. 

The thing is, I’ve done this before; I know full well that my first 30 second count will be the benchmark I must exceed with each successive 30 second, one minute, 2 minute sessions.  The smart thing to do would be to kick just a tad more slowly than I’m capable of in the first session thus ensuring easier success for the following sessions. 

However instinct kicks in, literally, and you can’t help competing with yourself. 

Which is a good thing, because working the system in a learning setting is always about outward signs of success at the expense of real gain. 

It’s a lesson I hope my kids learn at the dojo as teens.  My teen-years are long gone and I finally get it; I just wish there was an online vendor of fast twitch muscles.


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