Sifu Greg Weir

Sifu Greg Weir

Junior Student’s Corner

In my last newsletter article I wrote about the differences between Tree Learners and Forest Learners (essentially, people who like to learn one move at a time versus those who prefer to learn an entire Form and then go back and work the moves over and over). If you didn’t get a chance to read that article, check out the last newsletter.

Interestingly, when I was researching that article, I also discovered some other categories of Learners. Namely, Auditory, Visual and Kinesthetic.

  • An Auditory Learner is someone who learns by listening. They like to have things explained to them step-by-step.
  • Visual Learners, as you might have guessed, learn best by watching. They need to see a move demonstrated.
  • Kinesthetic Leaners learn best by actually doing the moves themselves.

It’s important to note that (as with Tree and Forest Learners) there’s no right way to go about things. It’s just a matter of how your brain functions best. It’s also true that virtually no one is purely one type of learner. We may favour a particular method, but we definitely benefit from all three.

How do you know which one you are? Unfortunately, there isn’t a definitive answer to that question—but there are some characteristics you can look for. For example, when an Auditory Learner goes to do a new move they may actually hear the instructions the Sifu or Leadership Team Member gave replaying in their head. Auditory Learners are prone to talking to themselves or humming when they’re bored—because their brains are so stimulated by sound.

On the other hand, a Visual Learner in the same situation (that is, attempting a new move for the first time) will try to picture the instructor’s demonstration of the move—literally trying to replay it, like a movie, in their mind. Visual Leaners are known to close their eyes and conjure up images when they’re bored.

Lastly Kinesthetic Learners are always eager to try new moves themselves. Hopefully in class they’re respectful enough to listen to instructions and to watch demonstrations of a new move, but in their head they’re itching to try it themselves. Kinesthetic Learners (sometimes referred to as Tactile Learners) tend to fidget and want to touch things when their brains aren’t being stimulated.

I’m sure you recognize that when your Instructors are teaching something new, we try to appeal to all three types. Usually we’ll explain a move, then demonstrate it, and finally give you a chance to try it on your own.

How might this information help you in your Kung Fu training? Ideally recognizing which type (or types) of learning you favour will help you focus. Or, even better, knowing which one is your weakest will encourage you to sharpen that one so you can fully utilize all three—and hopefully make yourself a better martial artist as a result!