Martial art is a form of art, so is language learning
For the last 4 months, I have been living in Uberlandia, Brazil. In this unknown town (for foreigners), I came across a man with a tremendous passion for Thai boxing. His name is Vilmones Brandão, and I have been taking Muay Thai classes with him.
His eyes light up when talking about Muay Thai. He loves his profession, and even more, he tries to preserve it to the purest form as he can. Like when I started counting my punches and kicks in Portuguese, he would tell me to count in Thai. Also he knows the history of Muay Thai and all of the moves and the names in Thai.
In this article, I want to tell you how learning Muay Thai has inspired me to become a better language learner.
“Muay Thai is a repetition of practicing”
Language learning, too, is practice. Before you can go on an actual stage where you can talk to people and show what you have learned, you need to practice a lot.
Practice with a language teacher, practice in the shower, practice with flashcards and practice with an application. The more you practice, the better you are on the actual stage; that is the fact.
Many times we want to ignore this truth and find other shortcuts. But the truth is that in the end, you will have to come back to practice. No one can deny that.
My session with my Vilmones is one hour twice per week. I swear, it’s really hard to punch and kick continuously for that period of time. Sometimes I just want to slack, so at times I wish the class was shorter, and that’s when I hear “kick harder“.
As a language learner, I think it’s important to learn from this. When we have a language class or even an opportunity to listen or use a language, we should not do it “half-ass”.
Meaning, really actively engage in the activity you are doing to learn the language. Just like I can kick and not put all my effort, I can do something similar when learning a language. If I want to get the most out of my training, I have to kick like I mean it. So when learning a language, you should also focus and try your best to learn in the limited amount of time you have.
I made a youtube video interviewing my Kru (ครู), which means teacher in Thai. I ask him various interesting questions about himself and general questions about Muay Thai in Brazil.
Download the transcript for the video here.