Thursday, May 31, 2012

more wisdom from my five-year-old...

"Daddy, when someone dies, and heaven is full, where do they go? Is it Australia?"

Monday, May 28, 2012

feeling a bit kata-tonic...

so here, basically, is the rant:
i'm suffering from an imbalance. there has been an extreme focus on a long series of katas in my dojo, that, although listed in the curriculum of the art form, have become the art form as of late. i will not get into the debate of usefulness of kata--surely there is value--but when it starts to become a more intrinsic aspect of one's studies than technique itself, for me, personally, it feels like my overall skills start to suffer. i feel like i am doing an intense weight lifting regime on half my body, while the other side weakens from misuse.
also, an imbalance in studies is hard mentally. it seems as the list of forms becomes more extensive, the more i am just trying to memorize movements rather than understanding the katas. i would much prefer to embrace a few kata forms fully, than boast a list in the teens that i can only reproduce mechanically and/or robotically. maybe that's just me, though.
while i have massive respect for my sensei, i find this is the first time i am being tested to this degree. a lot of it, as said, is based out of a curriculum designed by someone else, years ago. this imbalance, it seems, tends to rear its head when a grading is imminent--which it is for myself--another aspect of the arts i am ambivalent toward.
however, for me, quitting is not an option. i still value what i am learning and value my fellow students and their friendships as well. one thing i have begun to do is cross-train in other art forms to find the balance i crave. and my empty feeling is subsiding--slowly. i have attended a few classes where technique has come to the fore again, and my heart re-balances quickly.
I liked the comments following my recent post on emptiness, and have picked out a snippet from Yamabushi to conclude this post with. (hope he doesn't mind).
"I believe it was Churchill once who said "When you are going through hell, keep going." Good motto for a martial artist - Keep Going."

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

despite my moodiness, this past week has provided some good classes to give me thought. one class was very physically demanding, yet playful. sparring, grappling, striking. i just had a good time and approached it like a child who wants to muck it up and enjoy himself. it had a lightness about it, yet at the end i was fatigued--in a good way.
 lesson acquired: don't forget to play.
 the other class, just as valuable, sharply contrasted the aforementioned. two students and Sensei, just talking for two hours. not a bead of perspiration; not a strike thrown or kata performed (kata overload is one of my major reasons for my  burning out lately, perhaps i'll blog about that another time, as i do think kata is eating away at my very soul). the conversation in itself wasn't specifically enlightening, yet it is an aspect of  training that my sensei feels has been lost in many dojos. in my experience, he may be right.
lesson acquired: kata stinks conversation is good.
we'll see what this week brings.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


it's been a tough spell for martial arts and myself  lately. i feel a bit empty inside, and am trying my best to wait it out. there is no one reason for this feeling that I can put into words ; no specific problem or anything like that. yet my passion is being tested nonetheless.
I feel i am stuck in one place; i feel like the next level is just out of my grasp. all i have been able to do is embrace this feeling and hope it is transformative in a positive way.  after all, as a student of the Tao, I know that it is the hollowness of the vessel that forms its usefulness; it is the holes in the wall--the windows-- that open up the room to light. And "truthful words are not beautiful.(And) beautiful words are not truthful." So I am being honest, and I think that is a good first step in the path of returning.