At this point in the workshop, four days in, you’ve probably reached saturation point several times, at least once a day, if not four or five!
The first strategy is to realize that this happens to absolutely everyone. It’s the moment when nothing seems to make sense anymore. It doesn’t matter now many times something is explained or how close you watch, nothing seems to sink in. Everyone hits this mental fog at some point. You’re not thick, you’re not suddenly losing your mind. Simply accept that you’re not really getting it at the moment.
Actually, scratch that. There’s nothing to forgive! Your brain is full and it needs a rest.
So take a rest.
If there’s an opportunity to take a break, fantastic! In some cases, it’s not appropriate for the group to take a break, and you may need to ask for instructor assistance, ask your partner to please go a little slower so that you can safely negotiate your way through the work, or when you’re really fried, simply sit out for a drill.
Sometimes you can feel it coming on, and you may be able to grab some water and take a breath, and that might be enough to get you through until the next scheduled break.
Take notes (I’m a big fan of writing everything down) on everything, and it may make more sense later. Review your notes after some recovery, and ask for clarification on the details, whether with classmates, the instructor or one of the assistants.
Once you get into the rehearsal portions of the workshop, you’ll need to monitor yourself more closely. It’s easy to keep going until you are ready to quit and then “just one last time” to try to get it perfectly, but that’s not always the best choice. My favourite strategy during rehearsal is to set goals for each run (warm up, focus on targets, focus on distance, find each moment-to-moment action) and then do that, full-out, full commitment. You may have just one run like that in you, or maybe 10. After that, REST. Perhaps debrief with your partner, but then rest your brain. Let your sub-conscious work it out. Go again when you’re ready. I find I get more quality work, and better use of my time and energy this way.
The key, though, is to let it go, and know that your mind will come back to you very soon.