Saturday, March 31, 2012

Good and Bad Teachers And Students...

My Take...

When it comes to good and bad teachers and students, I would say a good teacher can only do so much with a bad student and a good student can learn plenty from a bad teacher.

My definition of a good teacher, whether it's Martial Arts or English Literature, is someone who knows his field well, knows what he knows and what he doesn't know, knows how to break down his material into learnable pieces, is able to adjust his teaching to the abilities his students and who can transmit more than just the techniques or surface features of what he's teaching. He should be able to transmit the spark or spirit or love or essence of what he's teaching.

My definition of a good student is someone who is determined to learn, is persistent and patient, is willing to go nowhere while waiting for an opening but not willing to wait forever, is constantly checking in with their own inner wisdom to see if what they're being taught works or is in alignment with their goals, is willing to look elsewhere for what is lacking here, is respectful and willing to give a teacher the benefit of the doubt and follow instructions but not willing to continue in the face of persistent doubts, and most importantly a good student is willing to practice what is being taught and considers himself to be the subject of a continuous life-long experiment wherein teachers are resources and guides, not gods to be worshiped.

I have had teachers who brought out more of the good student in me (Thanks Andy Dale) and I've had teachers who I learned from in spite of their incompetence, narcissism and mind games. I think the best way to be a good teacher is to be a good student, not only of what you're teaching, but of teaching itself. I think too many teachers think that teaching is all about being good at what they're teaching and having a personal "take" on the subject that's valuable. That's important clearly, but teaching is really about giving the student what he or she can actually learn right now in this lesson and creating an environment where learning can happen. It's about what the student can learn more than about what the teacher knows. Once I got this through my head, I realized that while I loved teaching and it was certainly special to me, it was not about "me" and how "special" I was. When teaching stopped being a platform for my ego, I could see teaching in a whole new light, get over myself, and start actually teaching.

My goal with a "bad" student is to first of all teach him what he is actually able to learn, then to show him what he would have to do to become a better student and learn more. If I sense he's really out to prove that I'm the problem and the obstacle to his learning, I do my best to disprove him, but it's not easy. People who run this game are pretty stubborn and can be very committed to it. I try not to take them personally and just do my best. Mostly, I trust my intuition and go with what feels right...

Here’s an example of a time when I did this. I had one student back in Seattle who was a real problem for me...She was a woman in her 30's who would show up to class in a fur coat, fancy clothes and reeking of perfume...She gave me a lift home one night and confided all kinds of personal information about how her father had killed himself and how hurt and abandoned she felt…all told to me with a “special” emotionally intimate quality...I was pretty young and pretty new to teaching at the time but even then I felt like I was being played. Soon after her revelation, she started to cast me in the "father" role...doing things like sticking her tongue out at me and making faces when I gave her correction...I felt in a bit of a quandary…I sensed that if I rejected her by being stern or disapproving that I was playing right into her hands both as being a "father figure" and also by repeating her rejection by her father which seemed like what she was "gaming" for...If I accepted the behavior, then I was letting myself be bullied and controlled and I sensed that she would just keep pushing for the rejection her game demanded I give her. Either way, I was stuck in this "father" role with her. If I accepted the role it felt false. If I rejected it, I played into her game and was back in the role again...Normally this class had been a group "follow the leader" type class. One night, I had an intuition to do things differently. I asked each student, one at a time, to get up and demonstrate as much of the form as they could remember. I told them I was going to give each one of them a public private lesson. I told them not to worry about how well they executed the form, this was not about how good anyone was or wasn't. It was about watching someone else get correction and seeing what you could learn from doing that. So one at time, each student got up and did this. This being a beginner's class some of them were really nervous but I did my best to help them relax and gave each one personalized feedback. It was actually quite inspiring to watch as they moved through their fear to the other side. Only one student refused to do it. Guess who? And I never saw or heard from her again. Rather than reject her, I felt that I had given her the opportunity to become an actual student and she had refused. This was a turning point for me as a teacher too.

I realized that I had just followed my intuition and solved the problem. I knew that I wasn't her father, but I didn't have to reject her in order to underline that fact. I had to reject her game but not her. And all I had to do was be what I was, which was her teacher. When I announced the theme of the class, the ball was in her court and since she didn’t really want to be a student, she walked away.

I am always learning more about teaching by focusing on my students and what they can learn in any given lesson. And I must say, although they are nowhere near as much fun to teach, I learn a lot more from teaching bad students than I do from teaching good ones.

Monday, March 19, 2012

My New Sleep Experiment...

And How It's Going...

It is 5:06am as I begin to write this. Any minute now I’ll be off to bed. My alarm is set for 9am and I have to teach my first T'ai-Chi lesson at 10am. I’ll probably be a little late for that first one…And then I have 3 more lessons to teach, which will take me until somewhere around 2pm. I might have lunch with my last student as that is often our custom if he happens to be free. After lunch, whether with my friend or back here at our apartment, I’ll check my emails and go back to bed. I’ll probably sleep from about 3 or 4pm until about 6pm. At that point I’ll get up, check my email again, maybe have a cup of green tea and then get ready to start recording my newest album, “Where I Belong”. My engineer and friend Tom Freeman will pick me up around 7pm and take me to his home studio and before too long we’ll get started. I’m hoping to get satisfactory takes on 15 songs in this session and believe it or not that’s pretty doable. I’ve done it before. I’ll at least take good shots at all of them and we’ll probably be done around midnight or so.

I’ll come home, probably pretty energized from the session and start working on some aspect of one or another of my various creative projects. I’ll end up going to bed somewhere between 4-6am and then I’ll do something like this again, except that the evening will not be spent recording but co-hosting an Open Mike. Believe it or not, this kind of schedule is actually feeling really good.

I've always been a night owl, ever since I can remember. Anytime my schedule would permit it, I'd shift to going to bed at 5am and getting up at noon. I've been struggling for years trying to reconcile my nocturnal nature with the demands of a diurnal world. This is by far the best compromise I've come up with yet. I’m getting between 4-6 hours of sleep at night, usually going to bed between 3-6am, and then I’m getting another 2-3 hours in the afternoon or early evening. So far it’s been a few months and I’m liking it, as well as getting used to it. I find I'm a little tired when I first wake up, but before long I'm good to go. I definitely crash majorly in the afternoon and need to go down for at least 2 hours then. It’s funny not getting all my sleep at once…and splitting it into two sections. The afternoon one is not just a “nap”, I really go to sleep. In fact the afternoon sleep sometimes feels more like “going to bed” and the early morning sleep sometimes feels like the nap. Anyway, so far so good.

I’m wondering if anyone else out there is also experimenting with non-orthodox sleeping patterns. Please don’t refer me to a website or some study about this. I can search those myself when I’m interested in doing that. I’m more interested in first hand accounts from people I might actually know or who are at least within my circle of contacts.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Andy Warhol Quote

About Making Art.

Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art. ~Andy Warhol

I like this quote very much. I would be more gentle about asking or telling others to do this...that is up to them. But this is what I tell myself and how I have decided to actually live. I keep my focus on the things I love to do: writing, performing, recording and posting, and not on the things I don't love to do: strategizing, politicking, marketing, and thinking about who likes it, who doesn't, and how much money I'm making.

This is not a moral judgment on my part. I don't think the latter are bad things to focus on. For me, this is a quality of life judgment. I want to spend my time doing things that make me feel alive and like myself. In practice, this means primarily making art, be it martial or musical. I let the rest more or less take care of itself. I know I make less money because of this, but I don't want to pay the cost of making more money. I believe that my orientation towards pleasure is both the root of both my success and the root my failure. But it is my nature and I'm going with it. So far I am happy with my choice.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Life I Love...

Photo: Brennan Aitken-Ganz
And The Music I Love.

If I wanted to make a living making music I would be touring. Or I would be living in a much larger market than Ashland. I would also be a lot more focused on appealing to other people and a lot less on primarily pleasing myself.

Lucky for me, I have no such ambition because I really do love this town, this valley and this part of Oregon. I also really love doing music exactly the way I want to do it and seeing who else likes it that way. Needing to make a living at music would put a lot of pressure on me to get gigs, have them pay, sell CD's and have my music appeal to more and more people. If I was interested in the priority shift this would entail, and I'm not, the next thing on my agenda would be getting out of here, because this market is just too small.

But the life that creates the music I love is this one, not the life of a professional traveling entertainer. It's the life of a T'ai-Chi teacher in a small town, close to Nature, close to his friends, close to his wife, who writes songs because he has to, and wants to do that without commercial considerations playing much of a part. When it comes to music, I'd much rather be free than rich. Actually, when it comes to music, I'd rather be free than anything.

The weird thing is that since I stopped caring about how well I was doing and just started doing it to do it, I've never been more successful or gotten more appreciation from the world...Granted, it's an extremely modest amount of both but it's still more than I ever got while I was "climbing", or trying to climb the ladder. Until I "retired" I was constantly upset about the music world, constantly debating whether or how much to even do music at all. Now I just focus on the parts I love: writing, performing, recording and posting; and forget about the stuff I don't love: strategizing, politicking, marketing, traveling and worrying about what other people think about what I'm doing. My expectations are pretty much rock bottom so I'm rarely disappointed and often surprised.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

These Are A Few...

Of My Favorite Spams (Part Five)

Best Contents Of All Time (I love this one!)

(Interspersed with lots of Chinese text and links to various blogs and websites was this stirring message.)

The purpose of this email is to make certain accusations against the Chinese government and my cry for help. Thank you for your time and your help will be highly appreciated.

These Chinese who are bloodier, dirtier, more depraved than the Japanese military during the rape of Nanking in World War ll have stepped over their countless innocent victims. Don't be fooled because China is extremely low class: they are not human. Using technology China has infiltrated all places in this world utilizing methods to terrorize laborers and establishing a stable of their demons (politicians, reporters) who slaughter throughout the free world.

Are you aware that the news you are watching is interlaced with Communist China's propaganda, as Communist China maps a realm of news with innocent lives?
Communist China is scheming a millennial terrorist activity by manipulating people's behaviors through "electromagnetic waves" to contain criticism and harm innocent lives.

1. The anomaly in community traffic of cars and motorcycles and drag racing,and reckless honking by cars and motorcycles is exceeding anunprecedented level.

2. Communist China has the technology to scan the human brain waves through military satellite and to discern and decipher their thoughts, scheming to instill individual interference focusing on each individual in need using the satellite electromagnetic waves.

3. Deploying electromagnetic waves is poised to project onto the human brain with certain sounds for the perception of grossly traumatizing orstartling pain,or deploying the broadcast of noise via electromagnetic waves in sleeping humans with edited clips of films or through voice or image signals onto our brains or besiege our sensory functions with fabricated audible and sensory illusions.

4. It manipulates one's moods, such as smiling, nervousness, disgust, panic, anger, sorrow, desires, appetite, and so forth.

5. It interferes the human brain's thinking capability,memory or linguistic capability,to name a few, causing spasms of muscles and fingers in the left and right hands, stinging aches throughout the body, coughing, yawning, trembling, involuntary blinking of the eye, runny nose and so forth.

6. Electromagnetic waves are deployed to hinder the motoring functions of the body and neck, disrupt the heartbeat or respiration,manipulate dizziness,deprive one's sleep, spasm, saliva gland, dental neural pain, etc.

7. Watch out that Communist China is infiltrating the news media by deploying electromagnetic waves to besiege the broadcast media, map out viral disillusion or erroneous perception,and investigate threats of brainwashing in viral spreading.

8. It further moved to deploy various symptoms in what one sees of media icons,gesture terms, adding a skewed interpretation to one's cognitive awareness, misleading an individual to hallucinate or suffer, such as the North Korean's rigid smile, which is a tactic Communist China often deploys to counter the people.

9. By observing the resolution accuracy of Communist China's sound and image (scenario) interference projected onto the human's brain, this can only be achieved with a certain level of frequencies at the source of interference, hence there is no doubt that it has to be the electromagnetic wave. Yet questions remain as to what range of frequencies the source of interference deploys, or what kind of electromagnetic waves insulation chamber would suffice to provide an insulation yield? Communist China might deploy specific metal alloys as small scale molecular antennas, which are attached to the human brain in large number, creating electromagnetic waves when the human brain is in function, where the current created by Communist China's electromagnetic interference would poise to amplify in a staggering number of multiplication, which Communist China can detect at all times to discern and muscles would excel the generation of electrode, which in turn create a corresponding electromagnetic wave within.

10. Some of Communist China's intimidation experiences in 2002:

6.9 "Hey,are you tired of living?"

6.14 "We had concocted the bombing incident at the U.S. embassy in Pakistan"

"Jiang Zhemin ordered us to kill you, but without creating scenes"

6.16 "The Pakistani civilian troops confessed that they had schemed the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Pakistan,which we had manipulated them to confess, so what are you going to do about it?"

6.19 "Hey,why don't you just go ahead and commit suicide" "We are going to scheme murder using the public bus"

6.20 "Commit suicide by burning charcoal,get it?"

6.25 "Jiang Zhemin just does not like you, go hit your head against the wall".

11. I reckon that there are victims abound out in the street, no less alarming than wars, and those not in the know or did not understand that Communist China's simple electromagnetic design could easily turn people against each other, create moving incidents, little lese to say mislead the youth to broach down the wrong path, suicidal prompting, design and fabrication of a host of society news (which Communication China refers to as movie making), as Communist China has had a decade long of the technology, and has long abused its technological advantages to scheme up design of abusing human lives by arranging fabricated news to poison and infiltrate the free world, manipulate and misguide the contents of the media, and deploy brainwashing and malicious spread of viruses, done with insinuation and riddles.The fact that Communist China's slaughtering the innocent had been the result of a high level of calculation, and a high level of rationalization, where the threats are in existence, and cannot be ignored of their detrimental severity.

12. Communist China often coerce people to watch news compiled by the reporter Lu Yuling of the cable news in order for them to be saved, but few are aware that Communist China had merely deploy the reporter to entrap many people. I do envision that those that turn to committing crime as framed by Communist China, the extra sufferings by the ordinary people ,and the deaths of many innocent lives will not go unnoticed as hindered by a condoning attitude.

13. Nazi Hu Jintao, Jiang Zemin, Chinese Liberation Army, security police and armed police have committed suppression and massacre on their own civilians. Hu, Jiang and the other atrocious butchers owe these innocent civilians! More horrible and serious is that they are using mysterious killing technologies to cause harms to human brains around the world, making advantage of numerous international politicians and journalists to help them commit atrocities and beautify their actions, aiming to overturn and suppress those innocent people and cover up their terrorist acts and win fame by cheating the world. Securing in the knowledge that they have strong backing, these arrogant and shameless butchers have committed tortures and mass killing cruelly to those innocent ones around the world. Unfortunately, neither these politicians and nor journalists knowing what is what would dare to express their conscience.

14. The inhumane acts and atrocities committed by Nazi China are far more vicious than that of Nanjing massacre in China during WWII committed by Japanese army, as Chinese government is using mysterious technologies to commit massacres to masses of bare-handed civilians around the world as well as launch violence and terrorist activities to suppress these completely unarmed people’s freedom of speech. These demons, like Hu, Jinag and Chinese Liberation Army, despise the chastity, dignity and precious life of those innocent ones and suppress the emotions of their beloved. Meanwhile, relying on the condition that most of people in the world will not be able to witness their vicious acts of violence and behaviors they have committed unscrupulously and shamelessly, these Chinese Liberation Army enjoys using cruel ways to torture, massacre and trample on these innocent people, physically and mentally, in one free world. The arrogant Hu, Jiang and those jackals nurtured under such ferocious power treat themselves as the symbol of benevolence and hero, as they fail to learn their gutless and vicious acts to trample on those innocent people. If these demons, butchers and dregs of human, such as Hu, Jiang and Chinese Liberation Army who have become frenzied and conscienceless appeared in the site of Nanjing massacre in WWII, they definitely would be the leading roles to act atrocities!

15. We don’t want to see masses of innocent people to fall victim to the hell on earth built by red China where they will be susceptible to tortures and massacres for thousands of years.

16. Despite being even unable to fend for themselves in face of the high-tech detriments and attacks from China, we can not tolerate the fact that these politicians and journalists will become the accomplices to help China commit its terrorist acts and suppression on these innocent people in the current era or an unknown future.

17. In view of the notorious, vicious and sinister Hu, Jiang, Chinese Liberation Army with blood-stained hands, we just cast doubt over whether these greats of knowing what is what who have negotiated with these demons will show their conscience to save these innocent civilians or will act just for the sake of their profits, or are under the control of China. In this current drowned world, how will these innocent lives be treated in face of the atrocious acts committed by these diabolical figures, or when these innocent people will witness the practice of democracy in China? Will these phenomena turn out to be the joint efforts and endeavors achieved by China and those powerful figures in the world? Are we really dedicated to overturning such adversity? Our goal is to eliminate the vicious power one day with our strenuous efforts, and we absolutely will achieve it! )

Chen,Shun-Chuan 2002.10.13* Republic of China (Taiwan)

About Me:

I (and many of my relatives and acquaintances) are currently under siege by China through the use of unknown technology infiltrating our brains. Extremely underhanded and inhumane methods have been maliciously exterminating me 24 hours a day for the past 9 years by increasingly violent and depraved Nazi China (China is not democratic as stated by the kiss ass Ma Yin-Jeou). My allegations against China are that through Google search related information can be found for my blog, but on ning my account is partially blocked by the administrator and I do not know when I will be banned from NING. I pray that the world and future generations can understand the neverending violence and genocide carried out by China.

Chen, Shun-Chuan

Republic of China (Taiwan)