I moved a book on a shelf at work yesterday, because I was doing my Business Associations exam remotely via computer. I couldn’t help but think that technology had changed so much about the way my everyday life goes about. For one thing, the fact that I was dong an online exam– not just submitting something by email, which I’ll admit, even that is something new in the past few years. It’s because as I cleared myself some space, I found a 3.5″ floppy diskette on the shelf. It wasn’t dusty or anything, probably because it was under a box– but it looked like it might’ve been something I used just yesterday.
In reality, none of the computers at work even have disk drives at all. Indeed, most of them are without CD-ROM drives, now that network installations, even at small enterprises, are becoming so ubiquitous.
In the past, when my friends and I were running the Dawson Martial Arts Club (MAC), when the jiu jitsu guys first started storming our strikers-only club, the only way we could learn their techniques was by trying to figure things out from pictures if we could find a book in a bookstore or library, or by finding a jiu jitsu guy willing to teach us. The other night? The other night, I was in randori (sparring) with one of the blue belts, a guy who is 20kg heavier than me and almost a foot taller than me– he got me in a kesa gatame (scarfhold, I think they call it in other styles) pin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kesa-gatame). Since starting judo, I’ve been really bad at escaping pins– from my MMA days, most of the time the opponent will always try to pound or attack a limb, which often makes gives them (the attacker) one or two less limbs less to balance with. But in judo, because you can win a match just by basically pinning the person, they have all four of their limbs to make sure you have a very hard time escaping. Because of my lack of experience, I often have a lot more hard times escaping pins than I do countering attacks.
But when that blue belt got me in kesa gatame, I actually managed to escape– using a technique that I learned on YouTube. (Stephan Kestings “How to Escape Kesa Gatame and the Headlock,” which you can find at http://youtu.be/9Im8IKc8NeY ). I know, I know, a lot of you people actually do brazillian jiu jitsu and you think that this is really simple stuff– but if you are like me, and simply are ignorant, where will you learn these things? As a yellow belt, I learn a handful of new things every time I go to judo, and in a completely random order depending on what comes up. Frankly, it’s a hella lot of information. But sometimes, I want a particular solultion to an ongoing, specific problem– and as good as my instructors and seniors are, they only have so much time to share with me.
Technology, thus, allows me to do “judo homework.”
When I actually pulled the technique off, I think my opponent was as surprised as I was that we suddenly found our positions reversed.
On the flipside, I see a lot of ways that technology has not made our lives better… in fact, it might have made it worse. Classrooms full of students on facebook instead of paying attention to a lecture– I’m not trying to be a luddite, but why not just do it the way I used to, and just skip the damn class and do something else?
This morning, I almost saw a girl fall off her bike, because she was listening to her iphone, while texting, and lost momentary control. Almost performed a tank slapper. Oh, and her helmet was hanging from her handlebars. What can technology do for her… I guess it could get her a brain MRI after she gives flies off her bike one day.
End of the day, technology is just a tool, and it doesn’t automatically make us smarter.