Friday, December 24, 2010

the budo of santa

judo (thanks sensei strange)....

sumo....... samurai.....

kung fu.....

Thursday, December 23, 2010

the central mountain

"The Centre where the many became one... could be found everywhere and in everything..."
--Secrets of the Samurai, Ratti/Westbrook

"Black Elk said, 'At one moment in my dream I saw myself in the central mountain of the world, and the central mountain of the world was Harney Peak in South Dakota.' And then he added immediately, 'But the central mountain is everywhere.' " -- Joseph Campbell, mythologist

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Visual Approach

In general, I spend a lot of time in my own head.

Like all things, there are pros and cons to this nature, but one of the aspects that I try to embrace to its fullest is my strong connection to visualization.

In fact, I get obsessed.

For example, every technique I do in the dojo--physically--I do a minimum of two hundred times in my mind when i'm not on the mats. Even kata, which at times I don't enjoy, plays through my head like an old TV rerun before bed or walking down the sidewalk.

Attackers, I picture endlessly; sparring matches, the same.

I even throw strikes at the heavy bag.... as i sit idly daydreaming at work.

Maybe I'm nuts. Or maybe just borderline.

Perhaps, for me, it's how my nature works.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Winter Wonderland (kind of...)

Winter is here.
It's a good reminder that you cannot take training time for granted. In the past two weeks I've missed two classes from being sick; one because a family member was sick; and one due to snow and wind that was even too much for my Canadian driving sensibilities.
I guess, as always, the outer reflects the inner.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Wheel -- Part Two

While still thinking about the cycles of learning and understanding, I came upon a good Zen saying while flipping through the Tao of Physics, a classic book by Fritjof Capra that has been around for a few decades now. To me, the saying has its parallel in the stages of technical development.

Before you study Zen, mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers; while you are studying Zen, mountains are no longer mountains and rivers are no longer rivers; but once you have had enlightenment, mountains are once again mountains and rivers again rivers.

Basically, we are all using the intellect in order to arrive at a point where it is no longer used or needed. All of our technical knowledge can be broken down this way: we see a technique being done by others, easily and effectively, all as one movement; while learning, we break the movements down into various parts such as, angles, speed, force; and then, after much practice, we come to a state of mind where there is no longer thought involved in execution.

Once again, rivers are rivers.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Wheel

More circles.

Often, our technique consists a large circle (the arch of a shoulder throw), and often, or almost always in the case of my art, it has a smaller one as well (the tight wrist lock that finishes the technique).

I see the whole experience in this way.

When we initially come to train we start recognizing patterns, and learn by returning to a technique again and again over a course of months and years. It's a big cycle of learning, where, at every level we realize that we are just at the start of a new one. It's a constant spiral of understanding that seems to never end.

And then there are the small aspects. Returning to a wrist throw and honing the way it's applied ever more sharply. Ever more carefully. This is the small circle of one's education that insists on perfecting the simplist techniques in order to perfect the larger whole of one's abilities.

It seems that it's only when both circles move in unison that we advance further our journey.