Monday, September 26, 2011

the sidelines...

Now comes the self-pity, irritation and dismay. Now comes the, "I don't want to reflect anymore, I want to train."
But my leg still hurts. I hobble and cringe every few steps. There is, however, improvement. It's slow, but it's there.
And now my silver lining is this: that it's not a lot worse. I've suffered several kinds of long-term pain in my life, and I am glad this injury is temporary and relatively minor. And it's only been a week, after all.
But the challenge with injuries like this is to not prolong the pain by getting eager and hitting the mats prematurely. The second injury is usually worse than the original.
So back to being patient. Or trying to be.
Here's a good post by Sensei Strange regarding sitting on the sidelines:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

pain in the.....

I recently experienced an injury during class.

In fact, I'm still hobbling around, although I've discarded the crutches and hope to be well again soon. (The injury occurred during sparring, which seems to be consistent with many of my previous physical pains. But that, as they say, is another story).

However, a good experience did accompany the injury, which occurred mid-class. After some ice and acupuncture, I returned to the dojo and sat down for the remaining half hour. And I just observed; a fly on the wall.

Although I've done this in other dojos, I've never really done this at my own. I removed myself from the class and my peers, and just soaked in what I observed on the mats. While there is no big epiphany here, I found it insightful, and in many instances picked out a few things I may have missed if I was directly involved. I also had a chance to watch how others learned and how others taught. It had an almost out-of-body feel, as if I was hovering above the room like a strangely dressed ghost in a white gi.

But while the situation was interesting, and i recommend trying it (not for as long, perhaps), after fifteen minutes or so I was eager to jump back in. That, however, will have to wait until next week--with a little luck--when I can walk more than a few steps without grimacing from the pain.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

drawing on experience...

Bruce Lee often used hand-drawn sketches to demonstrate combat techniques. Little more than stick figures, his books, such as the Tao of Jeet Kune Do, are filled with these simple renderings.
Although the drawings were printed for the readers' benefit, one cannot help but thinking the originals were notes to himself. It makes me think of many-a-sensei who encourages his/her students to write down what they are taught after class. It may not be so much for future reference as the process helps clarify and commit to memory the technique in the present.
I have been meaning to use sketches this way for awhile now. I feel the process of analyzing the technique--posture, stance, etc.--even as stick figures will help form a better understanding for myself, as a visual thinker, as opposed to a written, linear form.
I will hopefully post some of these in the near future, if nothing else as a good chuckle at my artistic abilities.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Nature is a language, Can't you read?

I am not in a martial arts funk. However, my practice of meditation and energy work have both been greatly altered over the past few months.

For the most part, with me, the meditative/reflective aspects of my training have been a routine--almost necessary--part of my martial equilibrium. But now, after a few months, I have found my discipline has eroded in this regard. It seems like I am just being lax until I delve deeper into the reason why this is so.

The reason is Nature.

I have found myself spending much more time than usual in the natural world, with my family, far away from concrete and traffic, and in the company of trees, lakes, and just pure quietude. This, I figure, has been my meditation and reflection time, and to learn the principles of energy one need look no further than a wooded area with small birds and squirrels. (Corniness doesn't mean it lacks truth).

In my area, the lotus, so sacred in terms of vedic/buddhist tradition, appears this time of year in the form of a white water lily--amid lily pads and leopard frogs--and opens its pedals to the sun in a like manner. Chestnuts fall to the ground, with a Newtonian thud, and one's place in the world seems a little clearer.

I have often thought about the dojos of old Japan, nested away on a mountainside. Outlook is influenced by environment, and therefore abilities in turn. Do concrete jungles have advantages also, fine tuning our senses to a more realistic setting for self-defense? Should we take training retreats--to our opposite living situations--as a form of cross-training?

Anyway, I feel better to have realized my meditation has not become lost. Rather, it has just changed its form for the time being.