One of the greatest skills you can learn as a martial artist is to read intentions...and most importantly, act on intentions. We've all heard of the remarkable ability of the old masters to seem to know what was happening before anyone else. They could read intentions...and just like practicing a side kick or reverse punch, the more you practice the better you will get.
We all have intentions. It is the spark just before a thought and just before an action. But how do you tell the intentions of your opponent? Learn how to see your own first. Here's a meditation to do to get you started:
Sit in a meditative pose with your back straight. Focus on breathing deep in your hara (center). Now, become aware of the intention to inhale and your intentions to exhale. Feel the energy of intention just prior to each breath. Do this for about 20 minutes a day for 21 days...and notice the difference in your ability to pay attention and feel the energy of intent.
Next 21 days: Begin with noticing your breath's intention and switch to being aware of your intent to have a thought. Be like a cat waiting for a mouse to come out of its hole...watch...and feel.
During your day...when you remember...notice your intentions to think, move, breath, etc. Also, begin to see if you can feel other's intentions. Just watch...don't overanalyze. Play with it in the dojo as well....think of ways you can work with your dojo mate in reading his or her intentions. I use the word PLAY....don't try too hard. Be loose and listen and watch...and feel.
Hope this makes sense. Think of how reading your opponent's intentions can help you...not only in the martial arts but in life as well.
One great thing about being in the martial arts is the diversity. From one art foreign to you, you can learn more about your own art. For instance, one of my students back in Lincoln, Nebraska is a Tai Chi instructor (Yang family). As I learned more about tai chi and began practicing I fell in love with the movement, 'grasping sparrow's tail'.
Grasping sparrow's tail contains the essence of tai chi in terms of its movement. In it we have four movements, called ward off, roll back, press and push. These correlate a bit to the four 'winds', as I call them, of Sanchin. These are spit, swallow, sink and float. These winds when combined create a spiral of energy that is very powerful.
Well, practicing Grasping Sparrow's Tail, I could feel an internal movement of energy that moved and undulated. It taught me how to use me feet, hips, etc in a continuous movement for self-defense. Then when practicing Sanchin, I could feel the same energy and could use it within the more seemingly rigid structure.
It is difficult to explain this movement, but it is where Chinkuchi, or Fa-Jing, is generated. I am writing more about this in my next book on Sanchin and might play with it here for your reading feedback.
Well, basically, practice some Tai Chi and it will help your Karate. It feels good and can help any stiff Karate-ka break free and flow better.
Finally, I believe this latest storm of activities is over. I am feeling refreshed after taking care of my family's health issues over the past few weeks. Everyone is healthy now. My son's eye is looking better every day and his discomfort is minimal. Just one more followup visit to the doc in Milwaukee this week. One lesson that was reinforced for me was to keep my center and have faith, especially when so much is beyond my control.
Had a great book signing at Wausau's Barnes & Noble. They overnighted a bunch of my books from the publisher so when I arrived I was pleasantly surprised. They had cookies and coffee waiting for us as well. The book signing was an Author's Day and I had a wonderful time conversing and networking with other authors. I learned a lot as most of them were seasoned professionals with multiple books. It was great...I did learn I better keep my day job for awhile.
Just want to say thanks to all readers. Your encouraging words were helpful.
Life has a way of throwing a lot of stuff at you. In the past few weeks my two daughters have been very ill. One with a nasty virus that has effected her lungs, the other stung by a bee. My daughter who was stung is in college 3 hours away...she is allergic and went into shock. Fortunately a friend grabbed her epipen and gave her the doseage.
My wife and son, both have had surgery and lots of pain afterwards. My wife had to have a d&c to check for uterine cancer. Everything is okay as tests came back benign. My son had to have a eyelid repaired as it drooped due to a weak muscle-tendon connection. It was effecting his vision. Both of them, on the journeys home had break-through pain that caused my wife to pass out and my son to cry.
On top of this, once again, a top ranked bookseller, this time Barnes & Noble has screwed up an upcoming booksigning by forgetting to order my books. The one at Borders I had a few weeks ago, they accidently sent my books back just before the signing. What's up that?
Oh, well. Just gotta keep on one day at time. Everything does work out well. My son is recuperating well (I am home with him today...his surgery was yesterday) and he is feeling fine. My wife does not have cancer. My daughters have recuperated and are well...and my book signing for this weekend will go on.
What is there to learn from this? Not sure right now. Just needed to vent a bit. I feel better already.
Thanks for visiting. My Dharma name is Shinzen. I began studying Goshindo Karate under the watchful eye of Shihan Paul Dean in 1969. Yes, I now have gray hair. I am also Lay-ordained in Soto Zen under the tutelage of Rev. Nonin Chowaney of the Nebraska Zen Center.