UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An eastern approach to motor skill acquisition and performance Canic, Michael J.


This thesis investigates an Eastern approach to the acquisition and performance of motor skills. Zen Buddhism, due to the influence that Indian, Chinese and Japanese thinkers have had upon its development, is representative of a general Eastern world view. The epistemological and metaphysical foundations which underlie an Eastern view provide a context for skill acquisition and performance that is uncommon for most Western thinkers. In the Zen context, the only goal of phenomenal existence is to realize the Unified Ultimate Reality. The "Zen Skill" is an approach to life that is logically consistent with the philosophical assumptions which underlie Zen. The practice and performance of a motor skill is merely an avenue through which one may acquire or express the Zen Skill. Thus, an Eastern approach is more than just a method for acquiring skill, it is an expression of a distinct world view. The role of the learner, in this context, is to acquire the Zen Skill by practicing the motor skill with a "detached mind". The role of the instructor is a subtle one; it is simply directed towards the learner's realization of the True Reality. The Zen Skill is not "acquired" through a learning process since an Eastern view precludes the recognition of temporal distinctions. Rather, the Zen Skill is realized. The distinctions suggested in the structure of this thesis - namely, the skill, the learner, the instructor and the learning process - are only one representation of reality, and further, an illusory representation to one who has become "skilled" in the Eastern context.

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