Oct
16

The Distal Method

I have developed a novel methodology to address the developmental aspects of procedural learning. The website is simple and informative. The method will reach a maturity level after the publication of the relevant books I am preparing. I will keep everyone updated on the release date of the books, their availability and exact contents!

 

Oct
16

Think & Hit

Konstantinos Papageorgiou, Stathis Charitonides and Triantafylos Christanas are the founders of the new paradigm for tennis. The website provides a thorough  analysis of the paradigm, offers solutions and explains why there is something really new and why nobody ever imagined it.

www.thinkandhit.com

Mar
11

Ueshiba, Star Wars and (…of course) Tennis!

At least Ueshiba was  old (in his mid fifties), practiced for life with teachers that represented a tradition of hundreds of years and most importantly, had a profound spiritual enlightenment (and at least two more later on):

 

…I felt the universe suddenly quake, and that a golden spirit sprang up from the ground, veiled my body, and changed my body into a golden one. At the same time my body became light. I was able to understand the whispering of the birds, and was clearly aware of the mind of God, the creator of the universe.At that moment I was enlightened: the source of budo is God’s love – the spirit of loving protection for all beings… Budo is not the felling of an opponent by force; nor is it a tool to lead the world to destruction with arms. True Budo is to accept the spirit of the universe, keep the peace of the world, correctly produce, protect and cultivate all beings in nature.

and later on …

“Around 2 am as I was performing misogi, I suddenly forgot all the martial techniques I had ever learned. The techniques of my teachers appeared completely new. Now they were vehicles for the cultivation of life, knowledge, and virtue, not devices to throw people with.”

 

and even later a third spiritual revelation…

“The Way of the Warrior has been misunderstood. It is not a means to kill and destroy others. Those who seek to compete and better one another are making a terrible mistake. To smash, injure, or destroy is the worst thing a human being can do. The real Way of a Warrior is to prevent such slaughter – it is the Art of Peace, the power of love.”

Upon creating Aikido and demonstrating supernatural powers (many examples you can see in youtube and even my Sensei, Tony Sargeant, exhibits skills that defy physical laws) even then, nobody tried to imitate him. His teachings yes, thousands followed. Nobody nevertheless tried to just imitate his movements.

Even nowadays that we have plenty of video material from him performing the techniques, no one will ever try to see if his movement is identical to a slow motion video of Ueshiba. It would seem ridiculous.

Not in tennis though! Using as alibi some crap biomechanical analysis that sounds a big deal to the ears of 15 year old boys, their parents and some not much more educated trainers, it is common grounds today to consider a side-by-side video comparison of your forehand with Federer’s as state of the art training. It appears to be very convenient to people to assume that. (See also my book ‘Magical Thinking‘). Nevertheless, nobody, ever is perfect. Not even Ueshiba claimed that! And to my knowledge, neither Federer himself – nor any other serious performer in any sport or art or science – ever claimed to possess technical perfection. But even if Federer was perfect, everybody has a unique adaptation to technical skills, called style, which should never be copied. A teaching system (the current) based on imitation is inherently wrong and disoriented to say the least.

Because I do not want to sound as believing myself to be the only one enlightened in the field of tennis teaching, I seriously consider the possibility that scientists or teachers ( well for me teachers should be scientists or, supposedly are scientists) have very good reasons to stick to the current system. This system allows for as many as 8 children to be taught simultaneously in one court (three should be the limit), which turns out to be very profitable. Furthermore, they can advertise irrelevant skills and profit from them (‘I was a top 100 player so I am a good teacher’). The lack of any serious scientific context (the only one being to imitate how Federer, and of course more recently how Jokovic hits the ball as now he is no 1), allows 18 or even 17 year olds to have a teaching license after 2 or 3 weeks of part-time seminars which local federations sell quite… profitably! Clubs profit greatly from this, as they can hire their own athletes as trainers, because… they were/are good athletes. These ‘good athletes’ know no other way themselves, so the story goes on…

This results in having kids competing in tennis tournaments in a way that resembles the “Star Wars -The Clone Wars”. Everybody looks and plays ridiculously the same (and wrong but that is another discussion). 2012 and still so deep in dark ages. Wherever I try to say that, the echoes of the witch-burners of the Middle-Ages resound to my ears… “Heretic! Who are you? You cannot say or act differently than the globally accepted Authorities!” Even if I claim to have substantial data and research on my hands to show, the answer of the incompetent always is “We wish NOT hear a thing”.

No matter how many degrees, expertise, positive experience or education you may have, you are never enough prepared to deal with stupidity. Stupidity is nothing to by taken light-heartedly, it is one of the fiercest powers of nature. Definitely one not to mess with. Half- ignorance is the mother of stupidity (the father being selfishness). When a 13 year old tells you ‘why not copy Federer after all? He plays well and his footwork is great’, this is understandable. Afterall there is the hope to educate the child. But what happens when a trainer says that? It sounds convincing to the ears of his students, parents and other tennis fans. Then, everybody adopt this view, quite dogmatically, and even though nobody really knows why, everybody’s convinced! The very words ‘science’, ‘proof’, ‘analysis’ loose their meaning. It is like a chain reaction of accumulated stupidity, which due to the exertion of critical mass explodes like a nuke and devours you.

General public (most probably you as well dear reader), cannot be experts in every field. Of course everybody has undergone some 15 to 20 years of education, more than enough if you ask me to know that imitation in any field is not the optimum system for specialization. But if the general public who wastes money on incompetent (yet fully prestigious and self-confident) trainers are to be even partially blamed for being so easily cheated, the other part, the trainers and ‘experts’ are the criminals in this story. Why? In my view, not because of the obvious end-result (kids learning crap tennis). It is because a teacher, in the meaning of the ‘Sensei’ or ‘Master’,  has a final mission to bring forth a greater consciousness to the student. To awake him. Not to  bring him back to the monkey level by teaching him that imitation is all there is.

I rest my case.

Not to forget:

Modular Mild Tennis. Can’t go wrong! (www.mild-tennis.com). There you can find in detail what my team proposes. Nothing new or weird. Only what has been used as a training method in martial arts, music and other sports for hundreds of years.

Jan
12

My New site for Mild Tennis

The organization I lead as well (together with Stathis Charitonides) has now a new website to help expand: www.mildtennis.com. Visit it!

Dec
19

Progressive and Mild Learning from Modular Mild Tennis Paradigm

 

Play and stay, as was introduced by International Tennis Federation is a (marketing) model which assumes that starting to play tennis immediately is the missing link in the efforts of tennis professionals to keep children interested in playing tennis.

 

Whereas it is only reasonable to assume that a child’s natural inclination to play is an important factor for consideration when programming  any training session, it seems that this approach generally lacks the basic understanding of other needs a child has, like discipline and specialized motor skills development. Or maybe, from what I understand lately, it conveniently enough accepts that specialized motor skills will develop on their own as the individual matures through play.

 

Furthermore, when I  say “generally lacks”, it is because “play & stay” model , as good as it fundamentally may be,  is taken too literally and into extremes.  The need of general motor skills development in a healthy individual is of grave importance till the age of 6-7 years old, not until 11-12 years old – and sometimes way beyond these ages – where “play and stay” model seems to be applied. For example, in the age of 12 we are way in the motor skills specialization  stage of  the child. That is why there are so many children (but not prodigies) that at the age of 12 they have impressive -to say the least – skills in piano playing, gymnastics or art.

 

A different approach is proposed from the Modular Mild Tennis paradigm (Stathis Charitonides, Constantine Papageorgiou). The priority here is towards the non-threatening (mild) environment in which the child learns from the very beginning only proper technical skills – always suitable for its own stage of development. In this model, like in martial arts where the same model applies with the use of Katas etc, the child has unlimited possibility to play but only in a way that will be beneficial to its development. “Playing” is not having only fun by sort of fooling around. This kind of carefree attitude is important for the child when at home with his friends or at holidays. “Play” when learning is a way of trying to express its individuality through specific (taught) movement patterns with a minimum of, or absent pressure from the teacher. Please note that “expression” is an important element in this paradigm. We influence the child to be able to express its creativity, and not its boredom or its inclination to superficially imitate role models imprinted to him/her by external environment.

 

Of course, the key word in “Mild Learning” is “Mild”. Mild means that all training (or an important amount of it in advanced players), regardless the level is done without all this fancy running and sweating you are so used in seeing when watching a “good” trainer training kids or athletes. It is all too common nowadays to consider a trainer “good” and a training session “successful” when in fact it was nothing more than an intense cardio-tennis training. That is useless for the development of the athlete, or rather, you will actually get a good athlete but a poor tennis player. Running like hell by no means improves your feeling, your subtle motor skills needed in every tennis hit and most importantly, your rhythm. You just learn to rush, the exact opposite of what someone should learn to do – that is wait for the ball. In mild learning the athlete has the teacher almost all the time in the same side of the court always perfecting these qualities that so hasty are neglected in common training sessions. All the rest work is done by allowing the athlete to play freely training matches every day. Maybe in another article I will present you all the (technical) damages someone makes to an athlete when he trains him with the classic cardio way.

Dec
06

Lecture in Wiesbaden

Last Sunday I lectured in Wiesbaden Greek Community about the detrimental effects gluten (Glutamat auf Deutsch) has in the health of both gluten-intolerant / celiac patients and to the general population.

I pin-pointed the epidemics (1% celiac & 6% gluten-intolerant) and some 30 of the more than 100 adverse effects of gluten consuption, from chronic fatigue and hair loss, to gastrointestinal cancer and other autoimmune diseases (gluten allergy being itself an autoimmune response).

People seemed interested and continued listening to me while enjoying their gluten-stuffed cakes and pies. Oh well, at least the message was communicated from my side. Even if one person changes lifestyle or even if one discovers his/her gluten intolerance due to my speech, I consider it to be a huge success!

Bis Bald!

Nov
06

Teacher-Trainer-Player: Common misconceptions

A Player is an Athlete

A Teacher is a Scientist

A Trainer is a Worker

A player MUST:

  • Have a solid technique, power, form, stamina
  • Eat healthy, workout and train daily for several hours
  • Compete

A trainer MUST:

  • Have good tennis skills and generally good form
  • Know lots of drills and have a good instict on what drill is best for each player’s weakness- be able to play long rally balls with the athlete. Know some classic tactics too.
  • Have a basic scientific background so he at least be able to know how NOT to injure- burn an athlete

A Teacher MUST:

  • Have a thorough knowledge of biomechanics, physiology,pshycho- motor skills development, statistics-tactics, nutrition and pedagogics
  • Know the basic tennis skills perfectly but not for playing, mostly for demonstrating (well, sure, if he can compete even better!)
  • Be able to organise the team of trainers and the general (only) conditioning programm, which he will not do himself ( another physical educational trainer will)

Do not let the interlaping areas confuse you. For example,a player must be the teacher of himself as well, a trainer must have a good teaching instict and a teacher oftentimes – especially in activities like tennis where one cant just go home and study piano on his own!- must act as a kind of trainer too. That is even more true for small tennis clubs. But make no mistake. Being a good athlete never makes you a good scientist and being a good scientist never makes you a good athlete!
Read the rest of this entry »

Oct
02

My new tennis video

Oct
02

My new martial arts video

Oct
02

My new skiing video

Oct
02

My new guitar Video

Sep
30

Magical Thinking

My new book is available!

For free of course under creative commons licence

Read the rest of this entry »

Sep
29

Charles Mackay – Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (Abstract)

Very similar was the conduct of that inquiring Brahmin, which is related by Forbes in his
Oriental Memoirs. The Brahmin had a mind better cultivated than his fellows; he was
smitten with a love for the knowledge of Europe — read English books — pored over the
pages of the Encyclopedia, and profited by various philosophical instruments; but on
religious questions the Brahmin was firm to the faith of his caste and the doctrine of the
Metempsychosis. Lest he might sacrilegiously devour his progenitors, he abstained from
all animal food; and thinking that he ate nothing which enjoyed life, he supported
himself, like his brethren, upon fruits and vegetables. All the knowledge that did not run
counter to this belief, he sought after with avidity, and bade fair to become the wisest of
his race. In an evil hour, his English friend and instructor exhibited a very powerful solar
microscope, by means of which he showed him that every drop of water that he drank
teemed with life — that every fruit was like a world, covered with innumerable
animalculae, each of which was fitted by its organization for the sphere in which it Read the rest of this entry »

Sep
29

A Criminal History of Mankind- Collins1984 (abstracts)

 

  • Left-brain consciousness makes men obsessive. Obsession gives birth
    to blindness and narrowness, to cruelty and stupidity – but also to science and philosophy. And so the pendulum of history continues to swing between these extremes, and the story of civilisation is the story of creativity and of crime.
    This book is centrally concerned with crime; but if we ignore the creativity, we shall not only fail to understand the crime: we shall miss the whole point of human history.
  • In a sense, modern man seems to have made a very poor
    bargain. He has acquired a map, and not much else.
    The ‘map’ concept explains the problem of crime. A man whose actual acquaintance with the real world is fairly limited looks at his map and imagines he can see a number of short-cuts. Robbery is a short-cut to wealth. Rape is a short-cut to sexual fulfilment. Violence is a short-cut to getting his own way. Of course, each of these shortcuts has major disadvantages; but he is unaware of these Read the rest of this entry »

Sep
27

Alan Watts – The-Book-on-the-Taboo-Against-Knowing-Who-You-Are (abstract)

A muddle of conflicting opinions united by force of propaganda is the
worst possible source of control for a powerful technology.
It might seem, then, that our need is for some genius to invent a new
religion, a philosophy of life and a view of the world, that is plausible
and generally acceptable for the late twentieth century, and through
which every individual can feel that the world as a whole and his own
life in particular have meaning. This, as history has shown repeatedly, is
not enough. Religions are divisive and quarrelsome. They are a form of
one-upmanship because they depend upon separating the “saved” from
the “damned,” the true believers from the heretics, the in-group from the
out-group. Even religious liberals play the game of “we’re-moretolerant-
than-you.” Furthermore, as systems of doctrine, symbolism, and
behavior, religions harden into institutions that must command loyalty,
be defended and kept “pure,” and—because all belief is fervent hope,
and thus a cover-up for doubt and uncertainty—religions must make
converts. The more people who agree with us, the less nagging
insecurity about our position. In the end one is committed to being a
Christian or a Buddhist come what may in the form of new knowledge.
New and indigestible ideas have to be wangled into the religious
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