The Power of Pain

I once shared a stage with Robert Twigger, author of 'Angry White Pyjamas'. His book tells the story of moving to Tokyo in order to master aikido at Japan's most famous and elite academy, a year-long education that was brutal, sadistic and painful, where mastery was pretty much beaten into him. One thing that stood out to me in his talk was how pain is a highly effective - if not most effective - learning method. He told the story of how his sensei would not take the time to provide emphatic and holistic or sympathetic instruction and feedback as Robert grabbled (literally) with the art of aikido but would instead strike him with a stick. It would be this pain, not some soothing advice, that would help to sharpen Roberts focus and earn him his black belt.

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