Saturday, 3 October 2015

My Mind's Eye is Missing from my Body

I love this song from the Crash Test Dummies.

Some of you who don't know who they are are probably far too young to remember them.

In their song "Here I Stand Before Me" the singer sings that his mind's eye is missing from his body.

Well, I can probably say I am missing an entire network of chakra points and meridians!

Fact is we have been taught that our bodies look like this inside...

... and it would most likely be what we find if we were to dissect our bodies.

Studying martial arts the way some of us have, however, we know that- in the heat of battle- we don't experience our bodies like this.

What good does it do us?

Well... the way we think of our bodies actually play a large part in how they perform. A body-builder will probably tell you that thinking about the muscle you are working during your workout actually makes that muscle work harder. So doing the muscle actually develops faster.

In martial arts, however, we do not want to feel our muscles working when we fight.

Sure- during kata practice and qigong we want to focus on the flow of qi and how that feels, but in a fight, you do not want to be preoccupied with your body, how it feels and how you actually move. A lot of us work on computers and will agree that these things process a huge amount of information in ashort space of time. The funny thing is, though- the computer does not even know that it is doing that.

Being self-aware we have the ability to take note of what our bodies are doing and what it feels like. We even get feedback on how we look when we perform techniques from others. The aim, however, is to be able to act without even paying attention to the how, but to just do what needs to be done and then forget it.

This also means that we should not prefer what we see over that what our other senses tell us. Our senses work well enough without us thinking about them. By becoming detached from them we allow ourselves to be aware of all the information that reaches us- not just that which that gets delivered to us via our eyes.

You may be practicing kihon at the moment being mindful of what your body does and how your posture is and so forth. That serves a purpose, but don't get stuck there. You will have to move on to imagining an actual sttionary person getting hit or imagining an actual attack being blocked. After that you will have to run a mental simulation of an actual fight as you perform your techniques. Sure- your techniques will end up looking different from what you are taught, but as people and their methods differ your fights will never look exactly the way they do in your kata either.

Then- in the actual fight- your body will aid you whether you are aware of it or not.

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