Friday, October 21, 2011


here's my injury update:
I feel pretty good. the tightness following the injury is slowly decreasing and mobility increases every day. however, certain movements seem to make me think it could easily pull again, and so, although i've been on the mats a few times this past week or two, i am being very careful. (i am exempt from too much kata which is a nice break).
movements to avoid include: kicking while being supported or pivoting with the bum leg; sparring and/or fast weight transfers; going up on my toes; or any sort of jumping or big breakfalls.
still a bit lame, but much better than before.

Friday, October 14, 2011


A Taoist concept I am trying to get my head around is the following: Returning is an essential element of the Way.

On the grand universal scale it makes sense, everything lives, dies, and returns to its source. But how does it apply on a personal level? Or, a martial level for that matter?

Maybe, it is merely karma. Everything we give out returns to us in the course of time, as a matter of karmic balance. In Buddhist theory, this does not just apply to the here and now, but applies to the evolutionary aspects of reincarnation as well. But the Tao is more abstract. Perhaps less specific in this regard.

Personal and emotional equilibrium is another possibility. We return to ourselves and our balanced emotional state after every encounter or event. In martial terms this would be exertion, followed by the restful (yet aware) state of being. It would be about constantly recalibrating one's Mind, per se, or even the physical body itself. (Realigning to nature itself?) This is a return to the "unchanging aspects" of oneself.

Lastly, it could all be about cycles--or circles--so prominent in eastern thought. We always return to the beginning of the circle. We evolve in cycles and return to beginner's mind in all we do. In jiu-jitsu, the circle is paramount, and we always complete the circle of a technique and return to the starting point.

And each morning we return to a new day, and study more and more about the nature of ourselves and all around us.

Friday, October 7, 2011


When you begin your journey on the path of martial arts, little does one know that the bulk of one's training will eventually be spent refining what one already "knows".

It is a time-consuming and often tedious process--adjusting slight movements and footwork--that can occupy a student for the rest of their life. It requires dedication and love; it requires the drive to improve above and beyond the average individual who steps on the mats.

Bad habits form and need to be corrected; new insights are delved into; a new teacher has a new take on an old technique. It all comes down to small things, and small adjustments of one's perception of the art. It is adding the detail to a painting done in big brush strokes. (It was Picasso who said a painting is never finished).

Refining, to me, is an enjoyable aspect of learning. It means you already have a decent grasp of the concept being studied, and the slight nuances can be the difference between a technique working or not working in real life. It also reinforces what you already know via repetition--a major part of budo in general--and allows one to learn further by trial and error.

However, it is the time and dedication that separates the strong martial artists from the adequate or weak. And time is not something just anyone will commit to something they think they already know.

But each day we must have beginners mind.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011