Noticing & Naming

One of my earliest reading experiences was with the book „Pony, Bear, and Apple Tree”. For me this was a scary, strange looking book. Most notably it was missing a whole lot of words. However, my mother was able to read it just fine, as if all the words were all there. I completely failed to wrap my head around how she did it.

(I recommend you read the following paragraph out loud)

In a big garden there was a big 🌳. On the tree lived a 🐛.  The 🐛 liked to eat 🍃 and 🍎🍎. One day the 🐛 turned into a beautiful 🦋.

This kind of story. However, in Sigrid Heuck’s children book the drawings were not emoticons that fit in snuggly. Instead, the drawings were big, colourful blobs, out of text flow. For me, they just did not look part of the text. Took me years to figure it out.

An important part of language acquisition is the ability to identify and name things: „Look! A tree!”, „Look! A bird!”, „Look! A motorcycle with four people on it!”

Soon the good student will not only identify the obvious, but start to notice the elusive: „You’re wrong, it’s not the stork that delivers babies, it’s the midwife.” With experience the symbols, concepts, and discoveries become more and more complex, and soon we’ll have self-adaptive mRNA vaccines.

In sports we also noticed and named a whole lot of things. The 14 parts of a tennis racket are these: the beam, the bumper guard, the butt, the butt cap, the dampeners, the grip, the grommet, the handle, the head, the rim, the rubber collar, the shaft, the strings, and the throat.

Also in Tennis, we have the Serve, the Forehand, the Backhand, the Volley, the Lob and the Slice, and a few more that are all well defined. Given the right trainer this can be taught seriously enough to turn pleasure into nightmare.

In Skateboarding we have the Ollie, the Kick-flip, the Pop-Shuvit, the Heel-Flip, the Manual, and … in this sport every list of tricks is officially incomplete. It’s in the nature of this sport that players invent new tricks all the time. And their own style.

It is said that Dr. Moshé Feldenkrais didn’t want his moves to be named at all. To stop students from doing so, so it is said,

  1. he didn’t allow note-taking during his classes,
  2. he never announced what he is going to teach next, and
  3. he came up with new lessons all the time.

Dr. Moshé Feldenkrais wanted students to fully engage in the process, the movements, the experience, rather than them trying to move according to a pre-defined image. 

Plenty of Feldenkrais practitioners made a doctrine out of these three points. I beg to differ.