Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cranky Old Person Complains: Quit Being Ignorant on Purpose!

When did it become okay not to know stuff? Was there a memo sent around and I was left off the distribution list?

Now, I am not saying that I know everything, but when I was younger it was not acceptable to just write off entire areas or skills as “I’ll never need to know that.”

It isn’t that I was any brighter or more focused than young people today. For example, I remember many of my classmates arguing,
“Why do we need to take these stupid programming classes? It’s not as if we are ever going to use a computer after we graduate.”
The only reason I didn’t complain much is that I actually found the classes in Fortran, Basic and Systems Analysis to be interesting. I did agree with my friends that these courses were totally useless for “real life” because:
1. Only programmers used computers and
2. I was never going to be a programmer.

I turned out to be wrong on both counts, but that is not the point (except to my children and a few close friends who have probably quit reading now and are gleefully emailing the link to this blog to all of their friends with the exclamation that I have admitted to being wrong).

The point is, I was not allowed to decide that I wasn’t going to learn something that I didn’t think was useful. The university, in its wisdom, had decided based on the collective experience and knowledge of the faculty that there were certain things that undergraduate or graduate students should know and they really did not give a damn what I thought or felt about it.


I did not want to take a course in qualitative research. In my doctoral program I specialized in research methods, applied statistics and psychometrics (tests and measurement). The people I knew looked down on qualitative research as a fancy name for creative writing. After arguing with the dean’s assistant for twenty minutes about why this was something I would never use and should not have to take, she said,

“Yes, AnnMaria, you are right. You don’t have to take a course in qualitative research…”

as I got up to leave, satisfied that she agreed with me, she continued,

“… only if you want to get a Ph.D. from this university.”

In my lengthy career (this means I am old) I have used qualitative research, system analysis, a few programming languages and much more of the “useless information the university crammed down my throat.”

Over the last few decades I have spotted a trend toward letting the monkeys run the circus, so to speak.

Now I truly believe, that as a general rule, teenagers and young adults are far more intelligent and capable of making decisions than we give them credit for. Part of the reason that high school is so soul-deadening is that we treat people who are developing intellectually as if they are incompetent morons and criminals to boot, restricting way too much of their individual decision-making.

BUT … anything can be carried too far. Much more than in past decades (I really AM old) I see students who don’t know how to read statistical results, cannot write succinctly and don’t know what a scientific report even looks like.

In judo, I see the same trend, students who don’t know the names of throws, cannot explain why a technique succeeds or fails, are not aware of rule changes.

LISTEN UP YOUNG PEOPLE! (and the old people who care about them)
Learn everything you possibly can. Quit excusing mediocrity and laziness with "Who needs to understand the three parts of a throw?" or "What difference does it make that my writing is redundant?"

You know what the difference is between the person who draws blood in the doctor's office and the doctor? The doctor learned all that other "useless" stuff that enabled him or her to understand chemistry, the course of diseases and diagnosis.

------ REQUIRED JUDO TIP ----------------------------------
Rules to know
1. We all know this but we forget... if you are being thrown backward and you fall on your back and do a throw like sumi gaeshi or tomoe nage and throw the other person four feet up in the air and slam her to the mat, guess what - you LOST! As Dr. Martin Bregman explained it, "When you are being thrown to your back,you cannot escape by throwing yourself on your back."
When your back hit, you lost the match and whatever happened next was irrelevant.

I said a while back I was going to mention the second most dispute rule and I forgot so now I did.

Also, I was corrected on the rules for gi length (thanks to Glenn Koyama and Dan Takata for the correction).

FROM THE IJF RULES The jacket shall be long enough to cover the thighs and shall at a minimum reach to the fists when the arms are fully extended downwards at the sides of the body. The body of the jacket shall be worn with the left side crossed over the right and shall be wide enough to have a minimum overlap of 20cm at the level of the bottom of the rib-cage. The sleeves of the jacket must reach to the wrist joint at the maximum and 5cm above the wrist joint at the minimum. A space of 10 to 15cm shall exist between the sleeve and the arm (bandages included), along the entire length of the sleeve.
The lapel and collar must be a maximum of 1cm in thickness and 5cm in width.


ric said...

ciao AnnMaria what do you think about Suzuki last wc in Rio(judovision clip)and of course the big one mistake Shinohara in the final Sidney2000?thanks a lot Ric

Anonymous said...

True. Judo has taught me to be a very open minded person. I think that has helped in many ways be on a computer, playing the guitar or math.

There is no knowledge that is not power!

On a another note, Why don't you start a judo program for American Indian people. I'm more than certain that there is great potencial among them. Dan henderson the UFC champ and wresling champ, is native american.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Some people say that I can loose mfemininity practising judo, becoming strong.
What do you think about femininity?

Dr. AnnMaria said...

No one loses their femininity by doing judo.

I believe that only weak men are threatened by strong women.

Here is my advice:
If you meet a guy and you do something to become very successful - win the Olympics, make a million dollars or whatever - and he is very happy for you and proud to be with you, then you have a good man.

If you are very successful and he is mean to you, puts you down and says you are like a man and not feminine because you are strong, athletic and successful , then you have a pathetic loser and you should go look for a good man.

Anonymous said...

not unless you look like this thanx to the weightlifting.

Anonymous said...

Which were your bench press, pull ups and biceps curl records annmaria?

Anonymous said...

So,it was from this answer that Ronda got her "Don't be a DNB" quote hehehe.