Sunday, January 08, 2006
"Too many mind ... "
Yesterday's karate class was spectacular, the continuation of an insight.
We spent nearly the entire 90 minutes in ju kumite, or free sparring, combined with groundwork (grappling, submission holds).
What made it such a breakthrough experience for me was that I spent far less time thinking about what my opponent was going to do and much more time simply reacting to him or her. This builds upon a realization I wrote about several weeks ago on the newly discovered benefits of hitting the pause button during my thought process.
I found myself going on the offensive far more frequently, and instead of planning which techniques I would try to execute, I acted upon openings as they occurred, and created openings by sometimes snatching the initiative from my opponents.
I wear a chest protector during sparring to protect my sternum, which was sawed in half during my last surgery, in August. Maybe this subconsciously gives me the confidence to surge forward, knowing that this piece of equipment, and not my chest, will absorb most of the consequences of my offense. But it won't soften a shot to the face or kick to the groin. Yesterday, I chose not to think about consequences.
In the movie "The Last Samurai" (an utter fairy tale but a fine movie nonetheless, in my opinion), there's a scene in which Tom Cruise's character is engaged in a kendo match with a master swordsman. In several bouts, he is soundly thrashed.
Then, he gets this piece of advice from an onlooker: He is told that he has "too many mind," and that he must have no mind if he hopes to win. He mustn't think. He must react.
In a miracle of Hollywood, he learns this lesson in less than two minutes, and his next bout is a draw.
I've been battling my mind since I first became involved in karate nearly a dozen years ago. And in nearly every such bout, my mind has won. Now, I think I'm beginning to understand how to even the score.