Friday, 5 December 2008

What remains...

"Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten."

This makes me think of Picasso-somebody who mastered the rules, then forgot them.

Most people think of Picasso's paintings as being of the abstract or cubist variety. His politically charged and poignant Bombing of Guernica is a fine example of his analytical and cubist style which he, along with Georges Braque, pioneered and for which he is well known. What some people fail to understand is that in his early life he was an exquisite realistic painter, mostly leaning towards neo-classicism which was popular at the time. At the age of 15 he painted the incredibly life-like 'First Communion' (1895/96) which prompted his own father (and teacher) to give his son his own palette and brushes and vow never to paint again! 

Although Picasso may be known for his fantastic and innovative cubist work and possibly later in his life for his whacky neo-expressionist work it can't be forgotten that this guy was an innovator and art pioneer who had gone through the process of learning the rules-mastering them even so as to be able to (at a very early age) create paintings with almost photographic detail and then pushed through those rules, burning them up forming new styles, new adventures in art.

Sound familiar? It should. Martial artists do similar things. Learn the rules-practice hard and do the basics well. Then get your black belt. It's after this we can start pushing boundaries, looking at other styles (if that's what takes your fancy) or just looking deeper into your own style and making it your own. We might not end up being a Martial Arts Picasso but at the very least we should, just like him, learn the basics thoroughly in order to master them. It's then that our true journey of discovery begins. (See also this article about black belt being merely the introduction...)

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