[Bite-Sized] Video #3 of The Rhythm Of Learning Mini-Course

Welcome back for Lesson #3. 

This time we'll look at the 3rd and final stage of learning.

Whitehead’s 3rd stage is the Generalization Stage or another play stage.

A deeper play stage.

Since you’ve spent some time in the Precision Stage you’re able to take your play much deeper and perform movements that you didn’t possess in the initial play or romance stage.

You have developed and refined your skills and you can apply them immediately. You can push the pace, stretch the angles and create more options with your skill set.

This is known as Deliberate Play.  And many experts believe that Deliberate Play is much more beneficial than Deliberate Practice. 

By enjoying what you do, you will gladly spend more time on task, you will absorb the benefits of training much easier because you keep your mind and body fresh with romance and play. 

How would this work on a micro level?

Imagine a Jiu-Jitsu class.

The class starts out very playful, everyone is laughing and having a good time but still being very physical. This is the initial play stage. I love play-based warm-ups here that may or may not be specific to Jiu-Jitsu.

Then we enter the Precision Stage where your coach takes the class through the how-to, the details, the finer points of BJJ technique. And finally class wraps up with the 3rd and final stage, the deeper play stage where the athletes are able to go deeper into their BJJ game by working on the skills that they refined during the Precision Stage.

Here, Marcelo Garcia uses "The Rhythm of Learning" approach in his expert class. Please watch and take note of all three stages.


But let’s examine the macro level as well. Think back to your childhood, when you first feel in love with martial arts and movement. Did you daydream? Did your mind and heart wander away into those movements while you should have been focusing on your school subjects? Did you pretend to be a ninja or a samurai?

I’m sure you did. But as time went on you moved into the precision stage where you actually joined a few classes and sought out instruction. You became interested in the technique, the know-how and details of each move.

And now that you know them you’re able to play a much deeper game. Exploring game plans and flows that simply weren’t possible before. 

As you walk through your day-to-day activities and learn new movements try to be mindful of these 3 stages. See how they’re working in your life. I never really gave it much thought until reading that essay from Alfred North Whitehead but now I see it everywhere, in my own learning and that of my athletes and clients.

If I can give you one big take-away from this, remember that play and discipline are not enemies, rather they’re great friends that work together to solidify skills and learning.