How often have you been exposed to a topic where a requirement is set that you perform in a manner that is actually at a level higher than you knowledge level of the topic, subject or discipline? In today’s martial art communities regarding self-defense they are exposing students to incomplete knowledge of the subject matter of self-defense.
It is obvious that in order to achieve a higher level of expertise in self-defense that one should have a foundation to work from. A person seeking self-defense shall have a certain level of knowledge about that subject in order to realize that they don’t understand it “before” signing up for the training simply because a lack of knowledge will automatically handicap that person.
In order for the student to gage and understand they must allow the need to have an ability to measure what they are learning against reality, instead of against the fantasies inside their head put there either by their lack of knowledge, their false perceptions put there by modern media entertainment modes or by the fantasy set by an instructor of self-defense also lacking appropriate knowledge.
What you have in your head may not relate well to the reality of conflict with violence and that puts a student in a bad situation where criticality of health and wellbeing are compromised.
Then there is a sense of “false confidence.” Better yet, lets say that people tend to hold overly higher views of their abilities in many disciplines, social and intellectually, that promote this false confidence. This comes from being unskilled and lack knowledge that would prevent a person from reaching bad conclusions where they make inappropriate choices in self-defense. If the person is unskilled and remains only skilled in skewed training and practice then they will suffer when reality sets it in a real live conflict.
A term that will help one to understand this better and to achieve a higher level of knowledge with confidence is “Metacognitive Skill.” This is a skill a person should acquire that means some what simplistically as “knowing about knowing.” This particular skill is gaining knowledge about when and how to use certain strategies for learning and for problem solving. These two are especially critical when the discipline involves conflict and violence.
It is about learning to know what you know is complete knowledge on a discipline. It is about a self awareness of a person own knowledge along with the ability to understand it, control it, and to change it according to their own personal cognitive processes. It is a continual growing learning process.
It is about learning to learn. It is self-monitoring of your own learning. It is recognition of what is being presented to you as true and accurate facts, information and knowledge about a discipline, i.e. in this case self-defense where safety and heath are concerned. It is the ability to see inconsistencies in the self-defense training regimen. It is about looking and seeing and relating the material against a knowledge base adequate to achieve this skill.
It is the skill of meta-comprehension. It is about relating the current training information to prior knowledge. This is an ongoing process as you achieve higher levels of knowledge through training whereby you achieve a skill level in cognitive processes that allow you to see, feel and hear when something is good vs. something is not good. It is about an ongoing process of learning where the student makes adjustments to that learning process in response to a personal perception of the information taught along with feedback achieved using the skills acquired, your metacognitive skills.
It is about learning to monitor your learning without out external influences or the persuasion of a very talented instructor, etc. You have to achieve a level of proficiency that allows you to maintain your own attitudes that allow you to invoke the skills necessary.
This is a complex subject that for self-defense can be summed up as follows, “One should have a solid foundation of what self-defense is and the many facets involved before taking up a course.” This means having enough knowledge before engaging in the study of self-defense so as to have the ability to exercise your metacognitive skills in a learning environment. A person seeking this form of knowledge and skill must first look out for themselves and not rely on others to impart self-defense but to make a partner ship that fosters a complete knowledge of and training in self-defense.
A beginning study of metacognitive skill is here: http://education.purduecal.edu/Vockell/EdPsyBook/Edpsy7/edpsy7_meta.htm
Note: I am just beginning to understand this particular topic so read the above link for a clearer picture.