Recently I’ve had that funny feeling on 3 separate occasions–where I ran into someone whom I couldn’t quite place.Â I ran into the Context Problem.Â I wasn’t in the place where I met these 3 so I couldn’t put their faces into the correct context to recall who they were.
I know you’ve been there too.
You run into a person and keep thinking, “I know that person from SOMEwhere, but where?” This is a dreadful state of mind because, first of all, when it happens, you don’t know whether it’s a positive or negative relationship.Â Is it a good thing to run into this person or not?Â Or would you rather not have this person see you?Â You’ve been caught off-guard and have yet to regain your bearings.
Second, you flip through your mental rolodex trying to match the face with some memory, any fragment of a memory that you can reconstruct.Â (Yes, reconstruct.Â Don’t get me started on the New Age claptrap that we all have some perfect memory, like taking a picture.Â Brain research has proven that memories are stored all over your brain and reconstructed.)
That leads to the next issue, relating the face to the name.Â We always remember faces, names not so much, lending a bit more to the awkwardness of your chance encounter.Â So what do you do?Â You go with the flow, hoping that something the person says will trigger your recall.
Then comes the face-saving move, the person recognizes you and says, “Hi, it’s (ME),” giving you his or her name.Â The name releases the mnemonic floodgate, you recall the context and can now smoothly continue the conversation like a normal person.
I wouldn’t even mention this, but like I said, I found myself in this socially awkward situation 3 times in the past few weeks.Â I’ve gotten on familiar terms with that funny feeling lately, and it got me to thinking about my Systema students because, isn’t that funny feeling what students go through in every class, especially New Students?
First comes the sudden or surprise attack (because in Systema we don’t tell the person how we are going to attack) that takes you off your guard.Â Your brain yells, “Do something, now!”Â “But What?” you ask. Â Here’s where New Students get stuck, stop, turn to me and say, “I don’t know what to do.”
With a little training, new students figure out that going ANY where is better than where they are now, so they move.Â This may not be the COMPLETE solution, but it’s a good start.Â Your brain is still searching for an answer, like trying to recall a name.
As the attacker continues, and you continue to move, seemingly from out of nowhere comes the answer.Â You sense your opportunity, act and the attacker is subdued.
And all is right in the world.Â For now.
Last time I spoke about people quitting because they feel uncomfortable.Â Well, “that funny feeling” is an extension of that dis-comfort.Â When you realize and accept that your answers come out of your movement you will find more answers.
Recall the immortal words of Indiana Jones–in response to the question, “what are you going to do now?“–I DON’T KNOW, I’M MAKING IT UP AS I GO.”