Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Fork in The Road

We have all faced it, and we will all face it again. The fork in the road between right action and easy action. This can take many forms. Sometimes it means the difference in doing something just for one's own selfish desires, and doing for the greater good. Sometimes it is simple difference between right and wrong, made worse by the delusion that we can do wrong and "not get caught".

Make no mistake, we are in combat every day. This combat is a "combat of the soul" and our victory is the victory of our good human nature over the evil that men do. We live in a world of temptation.

I want very much to believe that martial arts training prepares us to win these battles, the little battles inside us every day that cause us to give in to temptation, or help us to stand strong against it. The temptation to sleep in late and be lazy can be overcome, as we have found from our years of training together at 5:45 AM. So too, can other temptations be overcome, and allow us to choose long-term benefit over short-term satisfaction. We win a little bit every day.

Of all the challenges we face in our lives, the challenge to choose right action in the right moment without hesitation is to me the central goal of my life on this earth. I know my training will give me the courage to win this battle again and again.

What will you do next time you stand at the fork in the road? Will you be proud of the choice you make? Will your training give you the strength to do what is right?

I wish you the same victory I wish for myself.



Get a Grip

Good lesson today training in suwariwaza/tachiwaza sankajo from katatemochi and shomen uchi. On important thing in Yoshinkan that I often neglect is the need to grip uke's arm. Not sure if it's because I am trying too hard to flow, or just afraid to grab the arm. However, it is an integral part of several of the key controls in Yoshinkan that you actually GRAB uke's arm (usually elbow) and rotate it as part of the process of taking uke's elbow/shoulder and breaking the balance. The kihon shomen uchi responses for ikkajo, nikajo, sankajo, and yonkajo (ichi variations primarily) are prime examples since they depend on this rotation to unbalance uke and begin the dynamic motion of the technique. Without gripping and rotating, the technique feels weak and often fails to control uke effectively.

It is important to remember to get a grip.