Thursday, May 15, 2008

Learn Just One Move to Win


This short story brings insight on how to bring lateral thinking into practice,and how effectively it can be implied while imparting skills to the learner, once the ultimate objective is clearly defined.

There was a 10 year old boy, who had lost his left arm in an accident. He wanted to learn Martial Arts. His father took him to a Martial Arts school. The Grandmaster looked at the boy and enrolled him as his disciple. The boy was very eager and enthusiastic to learn Martial Arts.

The next day, the master taught him a move and asked him to practice that move. The move was difficult but the boy kept practicing it for weeks and then he was comfortable with that move. He said to his teacher, “Master, I’ve been practicing this move for a month now. Should I be learning some other moves as well?” The master said, “No Son, you just need to master this move. I’ll let you know as and when you would be required to learn other moves.”

The boy kept practicing that move for months but he was a little perplexed. A Martial Arts tournament was approaching and he just knew a single move.

On the day of the tournament, the master took the boy to the venue and told him to be relaxed and give it his best shot. The initial fights were easy for the boy and he soon made his way into the quarter finals. The opponent in the quarter final was strong but the boy was on a roll and he forced his way through to the semi finals of the tournament. He was happy and very surprised with the way things had gone so far. He was up against a very strong competitor in the semi final. His master told him to breathe easy, relax his nerves and go for the kill. He said “Do that move flawlessly." The boy went on to win the semi final and this was it.

He simply could not believe this at all. He had not even thought in his wildest of dreams that he would be up against the last fight of the night, and that too for the final trophy. Yes, this is it. He said to himself, as he was standing next to his competitor in the finals. Now, it’s a matter of nerves. The boy fought bravely in the finals and won the tournament. He was ecstatic and his master hugged him and kissed him on the forehead.

On the way back, the boy was still perplexed as to how he won the tournament. He could not help but asked his teacher, “Master, how come I won the tournament with just one move."

His master paused for a while and answered “You have almost mastered one of the toughest moves in Judo. And the only known defense to this move is to grab the opponent’s left arm.”

4 comments:

Ranit on May 16, 2008 at 5:02 PM said...

Excellent story!! It teaches us to look for opportunities in challenges... thanks Anurag

Ted Kopp on May 19, 2008 at 7:15 PM said...

Great story!

Now let's assume the kid faces a left-handed opponent (who'll go for the right arm instead of the nonexistent left one). He'll need to learn more moves, and will now have the confidence to do so.

Sonali on May 20, 2008 at 5:29 PM said...

Thanks for sharing this excellent story, Anurag! It provides us insights about "how" we could come up with a "solution" for every possible challenge (personally or professionally) that we face. There is always an "alternate" way to look at things and resolve. But, at most times, we fail to look out for those ways.

Blogger In Middle-earth on May 24, 2008 at 3:45 AM said...

Kia Ora Anurag. You've given us a splendid metaphor!

Within the popular principles of learner centredness and learner choice, this poses an interesting conundrum about their universal effectiveness when applied to imparting certain skills.

While it is certainly not implying just-in-time-learning, I wonder if this aspect of the art of teaching lateral thinking may be a breed apart from the rest of teaching and learning.

It makes me think how teaching other skills with similar characteristics, such as critical thinking, may well lend themselves to this technique.

Ka kite
from Middle-earth

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