I remain as
much the student as any reader of these
articles. If it were otherwise, of course,
the gains I might hope to make by writing them would surely be lost.
that my ideas wont always ring true for everyone, there is nevertheless one thing that seems as certain as any equation in
the theory of probability and as critical to our success as any of the mechanics we learn
or wagering techniques we use: to reckon with the DI journey is to reckon with
experience, DI has provided an uncanny link between the more mundane aspects of life and
all the things that most inspire and intrigue me.-
In Part One, I
noted that Mad Professor had provided a bullet-point road map for maintaining an
. But I noted,
too, how it can be easy to mistake that map for the road itself. In this series of articles Im hoping to
chart a useful course inside of ourselves as we
grapple with the challenges of the dice-influencing journey, especially the challenge of
maintaining a mindset appropriately geared for our own success.
There has been
an incredible amount of interest in another sort of map well want to use in our DI
journey. The online utility for matching our
individual shooting profiles with appropriate dice-sets and wagering opportunities that
Mad Professor and Stanford Wong will be providing has stirred our passions and it has
stirred up controversy.
not misconstrue Mad Professors online utility, or any toss-analysis software, as the promise of a
free pass to dice-influencing nirvana. Although
Mad Professor repeatedly notes that "its
not our shooting that holds us back, its our betting;" the conclusion must
nevertheless be tempered with the observation that Irishsetter makes, that "knowledge is not execution."
question, MPs online utility will presuppose weve already accomplished the
work required for us to benefit from it.
true that even great shooting can be squandered with dice-sets and wagering plans
mismatched to the particulars of our skill, its equally true that no amount of
computerized toss-tracking analysis will execute for us at the tables. No
computer software will do the work required for us to maintain and improve our ability to
de-randomize the dice with consistency.
This may seem
obvious, but I was amazed by comments on the message board that belie an understanding of
this. As I said at the time, we will always
have to rely on the multi-billion-neuron-strong software between our ears for maintaining, improving and
executing our toss mechanics.
We can track
our practice results, and invoke the assistance of silicon-based electronic intelligence
for calculating the dice-sets and wagers that will maximize our potential return. But no computer software is going to help if
were not consistently executing our skill while applying the information weve
obtained in an enlightened way.
The sum total
of all the directives we receive, is yet mere cartographic information in the DI journey,
nothing more. Each of us still has to
interpret the coordinates and navigate our own course.
thats why Ive become so adamant that the symbols and signposts appearing on
the available maps must be very carefully defined and considered.
Muscle memory remembered . . . AGAIN
In our last
discussion, we explored muscle memory because it is such a fundamental piece of the
dice-influencing puzzle. Its a powerful
tool for helping us move our skills forwardbut
only if its thoroughly understood and correctly applied. Expecting to get maximum advantage from muscle
memory without knowing how we really benefit from itand how to avoid becoming
stifled by itseemed to me to be a mistake of significant proportion.
Continued progress at DI requires a
deeply felt appreciation for the palpable differences between being a mere passenger on
the journey versus occupying an almost childlike state of sustained inquisitiveness and
fascination with the ride. Cultivating an
acute proprioceptive awareness, rather than relying on a more passive concept of muscle
memory, serves as a perfect vehicle for learning to maintain the elevated levels of focus
and concentration required for consistent performance.
that we need to be thinking about these things
when were playing or when were tracking our rolls during practice. Like everything else, our mental-landscape
concerns are all matters we can anticipate becoming more and more a natural part of our
skill-set over time. And just like anything
else, we more consciously work on developing our proprioceptive awareness during our
toss-tweaking and experimentation sessions, as opposed to our toss-tracking sessions or live play.
But only by
first focusing on it can we possibly expect to develop a finely tuned sense of our
physical awareness that will eventually become a natural part of our expanding skill-set.
really no different than any other skill-acquisition process. We break our toss down into its component parts to
analyze each element one by one, and then we readily reconstruct it into an improved and
its no less necessary to work with our proprioceptive awareness and muscle memory in
this exact same way.
A mapquest for improving our mindset
You may be
surprised to find out that the methods for improving our proprioceptive awareness, our sense of our toss mechanics (well talk about some of the methods we can use in greater
detail in a future article) are actually the exact same methods we can use to gain an
enhanced sense about everything thats
going on in our mind.
As we continue deeper into our
discussion of mindfulness, well begin to focus on the crap between our ears. The broader utility of our proprioceptive sense as
an element of our physical skill will become startlingly clear as we apply it as a method
for becoming more fully conscious of our thoughts and emotions as well.
message-board post not long ago, I coined a word to try to encapsulate the idea of our
physical and mental activities being experienced as an integrated whole. In the post, I said, Its all physmentical.
If we consider
our physical proprioceptive awareness as merely
one aspect of our effort to optimize our dicesetting mindset, we can similarly consider
that cultivating a more conscious awareness of our thoughts
and emotions is another aspect of the same mental
By looking at
these differently targeted mental processesour
proprioceptive awareness on the one hand, and our thoughts
and emotions on the otheras merely two aspects of the same game, we can begin to chip away at our usual
propensity for experiencing mind and body in separate or conflicting terms.
particular sequential order, or any preference for any one aspect over the other in this
mental-game exploration. Our proprioceptive
sense can be continually observed as we also begin focusing on our thoughts and our
emotions. Being simultaneously aware of all of the interlaced
contours within the topology of our mental landscape is key to achieving an ultimate,
synchronous cooperation among them.
In this way, we
begin to expect that the different parts of our
overall awareness will seamlessly blend, and in so doing, become far more useful to us
than if each remains operating in imagined isolation of the other.
It is this
eventual synchrony among the mental, physical,
and emotional qualities of our awareness that we seek to encourage, by first assessing
each of them individually.
Then, it is
from this emerging synchrony of mind that well be able to hone in on that
effortlessness of execution were hoping to achieve.
waiting there; all we have to do is have the presence of mind to recognize it, again and
really not as abstract as it sounds
mental-landscape matters may seem too abstract or subtle to bother with. But to me, none of it is any more abstract or
subtle than anything else were constantly considering in our dice-influencing
efforts. Its just that these are things
that dont seem to be discussed nearly as much.
And I suspect thats only
because they are things we dont tend to notice as easily as most everything else we
go about doing in the business of our DI activities.
For example, to
me, the whole idea of de-randomizing dice is pretty abstract. Yet we quickly learn from the outset about the
axes of the dice and how we can arrange and toss them to alter the likely outcomes.
consider the virtually unlimited subtleties involved as we continually work on developing
the physical dynamics of our toss itself. We
spend huge amounts of time and energy debating in the abstract how certain very subtle
gripping or throwing-motion variations or different table-surface conditions will affect
the behavior of the dice. But once we begin
actually experimenting with these dynamics and experience for ourselves how they work,
these subtle abstractions become absolutely concrete, or at least they should.
really not much different with the mental-side considerations were discussing. Once we begin experimenting with them, they have a
way of becoming just as useful a part of our dice-influencing skill-set as knowing how any
grip, tossing motion, or table surface will affect the behavior of the dice.
any improvement to the mental aspect of our game will logically have an overarching effect
on all its other aspects, it just seems to make
sense that we apply some effort toward mastery of mind as we seek to achieve mastery in
Down the road .
articles, well be taking a close look at some specific ways to enhance our
proprioceptive awareness of both mind and body
to begin to
allow every next toss to emerge with more precision, and more effortlessly.
to reveal some of the things I found going on between my ears that I didnt know had been bogging me
down, and Ill explain how I believe I managed to begin working with them to my
advantage rather than allowing them to continue interfering with my progress. I expect some of the characters I found lurking, lounging, and raging
inside my head will be familiar to you. Hopefully,
youll find reading about them as amusing as it was for me getting to know them.
be discussing how progress in the mental game can be derived not only from staying in good
mental and physical shape, as is sometimes mentioned, but also from simply making a
conscious effort at deepening our focus on some of the routine things normally passing us
by in our everyday lives.
Return to the Table of Contents