New thoughts from japan and training bring in new ideas to contemplate everyday.  A recurring thought that comes up often is that we are all interested in knowing more and more but something that becomes more obvious the more we “know” is that the less we can move freely.  The more we know the more of the burden we carry of “how” we need to move.  The more the burden, the more the restraint in our movement, or so it seems.

A new idea that popped up in a recent class is this.  The word itself is spelt KNOWING.  Suppose we “reduce” our “KNOWING”… killing the “K”, we get “NOWING”… which can be interpreted as being in the here and now and not being caught up in the past experiences or knowledge.  May not mean we should not learn but that the learning should not be something external that will slow us down but something that is internalized so that it is just within us.  Goes with what Soke says that he is teaching the feeling and not the information and feeling can only be internalized by experience and not by thinking about it.  So we only carry the experience and this may not be as heavy on our “mind” and therefore will control us less.

Now if we reduce the word further and lose the “W”, we have “NOING”.  This sounds more like Soke telling us to be nothing, the “NO”ing of all that we perceive and therefore more freedom of movement.  Nothing is real unless we make it so and therefore making it nothing or “NO”ing the situation gives us more options of how we can react.  If we think a punch is a “NO” punch, we dont have to react only with a block or evade and are free to do anything or everything.  This may make the difference in a situation of giving us that paper thin margin of victory that comes by luck.

If we continue and lose the “O” and the “G”, hidden in the word, we find the ultimate answer that soke give me through his painting during my past visit to japan.  What remains is the “NIN”.  The perseverance is the answer i got when I went to soke wondering in my mind “What is it I need to do now? How do I change my training? How do I improve or move forward?”.

With the single word he told me that I have to trust in the path that I am following by experiencing classes by soke and his ju godans and the next step will happen.  It freed me from the expectations of my own self that I had and the burden of having to be representing the “DAN” rank that I have been given.  In the days after the trip, I followed this command and became more focused on my training and less focused on the results of the techniques as perceived by me and others.  I was able to get punched when I got my timing wrong but not be affected by questions of how people in class will think about me because of this.  I was able to let myself go when someone really got my balance through good movement even if they were untrained and it was a fluke.  Good movement is good movement and even if it is by luck, it is exactly what soke is saying we should create. From this all questions of techniques working and not working because uke did or did not move according to expectations became insignificant.  It was all a reflection of my level of training and had nothing to do with Uke’s level.  In short, I had a lot more punches landing on me from everyone in class but I also noticed that not having to react to it still made the technique work more easily than having to worry about perceptions.  Over time the frequency of the bad timing reduced a bit and the amount of my own movement that is evident to me became more.

Most importantly it was a more happier experience to be in  class.

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