22 May, 2016

visualization in training

Something which I often recommend to my juniors in the art is the act of visualization.  I find that many may think of this as supplementary or perhaps unimportant, but I could not disagree more.  When I have been busy, or otherwise unable to train, I found that visualization was not only vital to maintaining my mindset, but also in sharpening my abilities.  The ability to picture your techniques, see yourself perform them against an opponent, and then compensate for your mistakes, repeat the experience until you 'get' the correction you want, is vital to the dedicated artist.

Some of this was inspired, actually, from a few manage that I used to read.  I know this is a unique and perhaps silly source from which to draw inspiration, but perhaps that is the point of inspiration.

There are several levels to training that we undergo, and hopefully we continue to grow in that respect.  But we must also focus on the mental training that is available to us as experienced martial artists.

I must also say that visualization often coincides with breath training - I find myself unable to separate the correct breathing in visualization without doing so in real life.  Perhaps this is a weakness in myself, perhaps this is a benefit of visualization.  With the right breathing, power is magnified (just as in the manga - albeit to ludicrous levels).  But in reading old texts and sayings from Okinawa and China, their belief in the breath was very strong, so perhaps this isn't an incorrect focus for study.

I have also found that visualization has another aspect of training can help to clear the mind (much like meditation) and hence improve reactions and reflexes.  I think that watching videos is of similar benefit when you are trying to emulate a technique - seeing someone you find worth emulating perform the most subtle aspects of the technique not only give you insight into your own technique, but serve as motivation for future physical training.

As always, the way is in training.

Working with juniors and seniors

I haven't posted in a long time, mostly because I have found much of my time revolving around reading those of my betters.

In that vein, I must recommend the works of Gary Lever and Joe Swift.  Great authors with strong training and with interesting viewpoints.  Reading perhaps more for karateka than others, but perhaps worthy of at least a look by others in the budo/bugei.

Anyways, back to the point. Recently in class we have just finished a round of gradings and so myself and the next most senior (we are second and third highest under our sensei) are able to spend time working with/against each other.  After working with each other on knife defences and kakie drills, it brought home how much higher I am than those I usually work with.  I did things that I wouldn't have been able to with lower ranks - they wouldn't have survived.  I don't say this as a boast, but rather that it shocked me.  I had to readjust my own abilities, and it felt good to open up a bit and do something that would be downright dangerous with anyone else.

On reflection, it makes me think of the cycle of senior helping junior, who eventually becomes the senior.  A fascinating microcosm of the universe, with shorter (or maybe longer) generations than that found in the family.  And it brings home what the dojo really is - a family that trains.

The way is in the training.

10 August, 2014

More good advice

This really transcends arts and is great advice in general from a great author and karateka, Mike Clarke:

One particular item that struck me is "Be hard on yourself and easy on others."  As I find myself too quick to judge, this is advice that strikes deep.

Martial arts are about facing yourself, finding out what you don't like about yourself, and striving to change it.

As always, the way is in the training...

20 July, 2014

Effective Practice and Question to others

Just a great post which I think any martial artist would find helpful.  It is all about teaching and training in a consistent manner to achieve the results you want:

I have mentioned this before, but Ryan Parker's blog is one of the best resources for understanding close combat methods of Okinawa, and it seems this is often related to a lot of Asian martial arts.

I hope to be posting more in the future, as I have been doing a lot of reading, thinking, watching and training.

As an aside, does anyone have similar symptoms to the following:

I feel like I have too much energy.  It almost feels pent up, not frustrating but like I need to spend quality time with my missus, if get my drift.  I am almost shaking.  Training does not seem to be an outlet.  I don't believe in chi, but if I did I would say that something is overloading me from that perspective.  If anyone has any ideas what this feeling is, comes from, or how to deal with it, I would appreciate it.  It is hard to type this, as I am all but shaking.  I have only had this feeling a few times in the past.

As always, the way is in the training!

11 April, 2014

More karate or martial art phrases

Here are a few more phrases that may be of interest.  I find a great deal of knowledge in the simplicity of short phrases of wisdom.  The brevity adds a measure of abstraction that requires more thought and diving deep into ones experience.

Collection of the karate proverbs written in the Yojijukugo 四字熟語 (four characters) style:1. On Ko Chi Shin 温古知新 - ask old to understand a new2. Hatsuun Jindō 抜雲尋道 - parting the clouds and find the way3. Bun Bu Ryō Dō 文武両道 - literary and martial arts as one4. Kō Un Ryū Sui 行雲流水 - floating clouds, flowing water5. Kisshu Fushin 鬼手佛心 - a demon's hand, a saint's heart6. Seki Ma No Sei 石磨之勢 - the incentive to polish stones 7. Nai Gō Gai Jū 内剛外柔 - hard on the inside and gently outside

I wish I could lay claim to collecting these, but again others have done the hard work.

The way is in training...