Journey to a new style...

OP
_Simon_

_Simon_

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
4,354
Reaction score
2,827
Location
Australia
As a Buddhist I've practiced slow, deep breathing during meditation for decades and agree as to it's importance.
Yeah absolutely it's helping. Anxiety has been really up there, but I'm actually finding that externalising my attention helps alot more than my usual method of honing in on the emotion (meditation etc). I think as I'm much more of an introspective person it can be my undoing at times, so doing different awareness/attention exercises involving the senses and localising my focus "out there" in conjunction with deep breathing has been really helping. Music and singing as well in a massive way.

That and drinking a new "sleepy tea" (chamomile, peppermint, passionflower, lemon balm, valerian root etc). Actually felt like I had a decent sleep last night, must have been the valerian root which I've heard has that effect!
 

Hanshi

Blue Belt
Joined
Oct 9, 2012
Messages
229
Reaction score
170
Location
Virginia
Sounds good so far. Combining all your training reminds me of jiujutsu.

Yes, one should always be relaxed for most techniques. Even punching should be relaxed until the moment of contact when one needs to "focus". I taught that that the arms should be considered "whips", not rods. For aiki type throws relaxation is the key. Best of luck on your journey.
 

Oily Dragon

Senior Master
Joined
May 2, 2020
Messages
3,257
Reaction score
1,647
always be relaxed for most techniques.
Allow me to demonstrate the skill of Shaolin again.

There is no such thing as "always relaxed" especially when physically combating a fellow human. But generally most people who think they are totally relaxed are the most vulnerable people on earth. Like the idiots who smoke pot and think they are elite wrestlers, Eddie Bravo style.

Instead, consider the act of relaxation from fight or flight.

BOOM, you're hit. Damaged, even.

So then, how do relax? I can guarantee you, most people will fail. Because the vast majority do not even know where to begin.

The only way to succeed then, is to have asbestos hands. They might need bandages later but, in the here and now?
 

Gyakuto

Master of Arts
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,996
Reaction score
1,559
Location
UK
Awesome, thanks for that, very helpful :). I liked the last one; breathing has always been a staple so I'll do something along those lines for sure :)
When is your grading examination, _Simon_? How are you doing mentally and physically?
 
OP
_Simon_

_Simon_

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
4,354
Reaction score
2,827
Location
Australia
When is your grading examination, _Simon_? How are you doing mentally and physically?
It's this Saturday! Honestly mentally was really having trouble with the anxiety, but strangely feeling okay today. More nauseous haha but okay. My instructors have been really encouraging, saying just to enjoy it, and that this is just a confirmation that I basically already am that grade. That I know everything and it'll be a breeze for me. They have alot of confidence in me and have been really supportive.

Physically really good, best condition I've been in for awhile. Knee has been quite niggly the last 2 weeks (I think just from all the intense extra training), but it's feeling good today.

I just need to remind myself on the day to relax, feel the ground beneath me, not rush anything, breathe deeply and slowly, and above all.... trust myself.

Been a week of real reflection... I remember starting this thread and how far I've come.

Tomorrow going to have a super relaxing day, a bath, stretching and breeeeathing haha. And on the day, if all goes well, I will be... very very emotional haha.

Appreciate you asking very much brother :)
 

Gyakuto

Master of Arts
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,996
Reaction score
1,559
Location
UK
It's this Saturday! Honestly mentally was really having trouble with the anxiety, but strangely feeling okay today. More nauseous haha but okay. My instructors have been really encouraging, saying just to enjoy it, and that this is just a confirmation that I basically already am that grade. That I know everything and it'll be a breeze for me. They have alot of confidence in me and have been really supportive.
This grading is obviously really important to you which is why your subconscious is putting pressure on you, with all its associated anxiety symptoms. When I took my 4th Dan I had a good idea I would not pass it, but I told myself I had a further two opportunities to try for it that year before Id have to hang up my sword. In the grading, I was totally relaxed because I genuinely didnt care of the outcome. This clearly disinhibited my performance because I past on my first attempt! I think this state of mind is very hard to replicate artificially without long-duration, deep psychological preparation and electric shocks to ones genitals.
Physically really good, best condition I've been in for awhile. Knee has been quite niggly the last 2 weeks (I think just from all the intense extra training), but it's feeling good today.

I just need to remind myself on the day to relax, feel the ground beneath me, not rush anything, breathe deeply and slowly, and above all.... trust myself.
You know what to do, _Simon_
Been a week of real reflection... I remember starting this thread and how far I've come.

Tomorrow going to have a super relaxing day, a bath, stretching and breeeeathing haha. And on the day, if all goes well, I will be... very very emotional haha.

Appreciate you asking very much brother :)
Consider getting very drunk before the grading宇hatll relax you.

Go out there and show them the hard work that youve been undertaking. I feel certain they will see it and reward you accordingly
 

Gyakuto

Master of Arts
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,996
Reaction score
1,559
Location
UK
Two matched groups of college students were given a maths test. One group was told to prepare for and sit the test as normal and the group was told to imagine they were Einstein/Hawking/Vorderman. The group that undertook the visualisation process performed significantly better than the other group!

Perhaps, during your grading, you could imagine youre Chojun Miyagi or even.Steven Seagal
 
OP
_Simon_

_Simon_

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
4,354
Reaction score
2,827
Location
Australia
This grading is obviously really important to you which is why your subconscious is putting pressure on you, with all its associated anxiety symptoms. When I took my 4th Dan I had a good idea I would not pass it, but I told myself I had a further two opportunities to try for it that year before Id have to hang up my sword. In the grading, I was totally relaxed because I genuinely didnt care of the outcome. This clearly disinhibited my performance because I past on my first attempt! I think this state of mind is very hard to replicate artificially without long-duration, deep psychological preparation and electric shocks to ones genitals.

You know what to do, _Simon_

Consider getting very drunk before the grading宇hatll relax you.

Go out there and show them the hard work that youve been undertaking. I feel certain they will see it and reward you accordingly
That's really cool about your 4th dan! Strangely I've had similar experiences too where I perform better when I just couldn't care less, or I'm much more relaxed as a result. It's weird huh! Like when I play pool against people, I'm just playing for the fun of it and end up winning, whereas the other people get really competitive and try too hard haha.

Thanks heaps, I don't drink but will avoid getting drunk though haha, it might happen accidentally ya never know!
 
OP
_Simon_

_Simon_

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
4,354
Reaction score
2,827
Location
Australia
Guys.... I did it :D. That was incredibly challenging and a really tough 3 hour grading but achieved Shodan Ho/black belt. Months and months and more of preparation but honestly 15 years of preparation and training leading to this moment... so very happy with how it went.

Only can count a very few amount of times I wish I'd done something differently but they were very small things.

The start was the toughest, and we actually got all the physical endurance stuff out of the way right at the start. The calisthenics, pushups, 100 crunches, pushups, plank, 100 squats, followed straight away by the beep test. My legs while tired strangely held up really well; all my training, running, legwork helped heaps. Then straight after beep test was sparring (!). Was only 6 hard rounds, each harder than the last but I was incredibly happy with how I went here. I moved well and felt relaxed and met everything with a sense of confidence and ease. Didn't expect it to be so early but maybe to make sure in case not everyone could stay later.

All else then came after (basic techniques, knowledge, breakfalls, rolls, movement drills, partner drills, sabaki sets, kata etc). Even the formal presentation of the higher katas went great, and I took my time and didn't rush. One of the things I was worried about (bunkai and practical application of kata) went amazing. I remembered everything and was able to explain it clearly and apply it all well.

I know some other style's/club's gradings are tougher than this (eg my old style) but I don't care. It was really tough and feel like I truly earned it. Like my instructor says it's not a survival course, but meant to be about learning and understanding the art and displaying that, and I really like that. Even though your spirit and resilience is truly tested too which is important haha.

Very proud of myself. Prior to it on the day I was super anxious but kept moving, breathing, and just aimed to enjoy the process. And I very much did :)

Alot of my dojo mates stayed back for invaluable support, guidance, encouragement and spirit in sharing this momentous day. It was immensely helpful.

Today I am sore from head to toe haha, literally everywhere! But still went to a 3.5 hour seminar today (the day after) haha. Day off tomorrow I promise!

This one meant alot
 
Last edited:

Gyakuto

Master of Arts
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,996
Reaction score
1,559
Location
UK
Well deserved congratulations _Simon_! I know you worked very hard for this and for a grading, that sounds thoroughly gruelling.

You need to relax and enjoy your achievement now. Are you given a belt or do you buy your own?
 
OP
_Simon_

_Simon_

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
4,354
Reaction score
2,827
Location
Australia
Well deserved congratulations _Simon_! I know you worked very hard for this and for a grading, that sounds thoroughly gruelling.

You need to relax and enjoy your achievement now. Are you given a belt or do you buy your own?
Thanks so very much! Really appreciate everyone's support here as well, it helped heaps so thank you everyone :)

Yep today I've cancelled everything and having a lazy day at home haha. Drinking some fine coffee, reading, reflecting on everything. Yeah I've been given the belt already, wore it for the first time yesterday.

Like many others have said before, I feel no different as such (like not a superman or anything), but something feels different. It's like a conclusion of an old pathway and entering into something new. Or a continuation at a different level.

Martial arts to me is like engaging yourself in a process of unfolding, with little peaks or endpoints along the way, each one pushing you further forward into a new depth of integration and understanding. So I'm aiming to embody the place and space I find myself in, and trusting in where I am and in the process.

Looking forward to this new beginning :)
 

Gyakuto

Master of Arts
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,996
Reaction score
1,559
Location
UK
Thanks so very much! Really appreciate everyone's support here as well, it helped heaps so thank you everyone :)

Yep today I've cancelled everything and having a lazy day at home haha. Drinking some fine coffee, reading, reflecting on everything. Yeah I've been given the belt already, wore it for the first time yesterday.
You might find this useful -
Like many others have said before, I feel no different as such (like not a superman or anything),
What? You mean尖ou cant levitate? Not even a bit? Ah存hodan ho.once you shodan you too will be able to levitate above the ground like the rest of us Japabese martial art Dan grades.

but something feels different. It's like a conclusion of an old pathway and entering into something new. Or a continuation at a different level.
Like losing your virginity
Martial arts to me is like engaging yourself in a process of unfolding, with little peaks or endpoints along the way, each one pushing you further forward into a new depth of integration and understanding. So I'm aiming to embody the place and space I find myself in, and trusting in where I am and in the process.

Looking forward to this new beginning :)
You know, its the failures along the way, as painful as they are at the time, that teach you the most. They will happen so embrace them too, Padawan (did I use that correctly?)
 
OP
_Simon_

_Simon_

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
4,354
Reaction score
2,827
Location
Australia


You might find this useful -

What? You mean尖ou cant levitate? Not even a bit? Ah存hodan ho.once you shodan you too will be able to levitate above the ground like the rest of us Japabese martial art Dan grades.


Like losing your virginity

You know, its the failures along the way, as painful as they are at the time, that teach you the most. They will happen so embrace them too, Padawan (did I use that correctly?)
Ah cheers, good ol Jesse! Yeah will have to loosen up the belt I think.

Hahaha ahh I see, lose the ho and ground-walk flow no mo'! This is the "do", yo! Oh goodness now you've got me going... 不

Very true, thank you
 
OP
_Simon_

_Simon_

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
4,354
Reaction score
2,827
Location
Australia
Please dont do that again
Hahaha that's only fair!

Strangely ever since my grading, I've felt such an immense calm within myself.. like a rock-solid dwelling of peace. Whether that's just the result of all that intense buildup of anxiety finally dropping out of my system, or whether something has really shifted within myself as a result of undergoing the grading process... who knows. But it's really, very nice
 

Gyakuto

Master of Arts
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,996
Reaction score
1,559
Location
UK
Hahaha that's only fair!

Strangely ever since my grading, I've felt such an immense calm within myself.. like a rock-solid dwelling of peace. Whether that's just the result of all that intense buildup of anxiety finally dropping out of my system, or whether something has really shifted within myself as a result of undergoing the grading process... who knows. But it's really, very nice
Its probably a bit of both. You were very wound up in the run up to the grading with all the associate adrenaline, cortisol and your success means these this is cut off immediately and its replaced with lovely dopamine (reward centre activated), serotonin and even endorphins. Thats the neuroscientists explanation.

Perhaps there is a圬are I say存piritual aspect to success of this kind. An awakening of sorts, a shift of perspective, an elevation of ones frame of reference. But its transience suggests it isnt a true shift.

Enjoy it while it lasts, _Simon_
 
OP
_Simon_

_Simon_

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 3, 2018
Messages
4,354
Reaction score
2,827
Location
Australia
Its probably a bit of both. You were very wound up in the run up to the grading with all the associate adrenaline, cortisol and your success means these this is cut off immediately and its replaced with lovely dopamine (reward centre activated), serotonin and even endorphins. Thats the neuroscientists explanation.

Perhaps there is a圬are I say存piritual aspect to success of this kind. An awakening of sorts, a shift of perspective, an elevation of ones frame of reference. But its transience suggests it isnt a true shift.

Enjoy it while it lasts, _Simon_
Yeah all makes sense for sure. It's been constant thus far. I've had significant shifts in the past of that nature and it has a very similar feel. If anything it's as though undergoing the intense process allowed me to move through and drop some energetic baggage that was weighing me down and like you say, an elevation of my frame of reference. It's a nice reminder anyway.. considering how horrendously difficult life has been the past little while prior to this.

The peace at the center of my being isn't anywhere but there. Always.
 

Gyakuto

Master of Arts
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,996
Reaction score
1,559
Location
UK
Yeah all makes sense for sure. It's been constant thus far. I've had significant shifts in the past of that nature and it has a very similar feel. If anything it's as though undergoing the intense process allowed me to move through and drop some energetic baggage that was weighing me down and like you say, an elevation of my frame of reference. It's a nice reminder anyway.. considering how horrendously difficult life has been the past little while prior to this.

The peace at the center of my being isn't anywhere but there. Always.
This is exactly the modus operandi of Rinzai Zen. One works deeply on a koan (basically thinking about it all the time, trying to rationalise it somehow) and sits in meditation with the koan thinking or counting breaths or in silence. On top of this is hard physical work weather that be cleaning, scrubbing brushing, chopping firewood, gardening and even martial arts training (swordsmanship and archery being the most popular). This intense mental and physical exertion eventually places you in a state of fragile meditative absorption (samadhi) ready to be snapped out of ones delusional state by the intervention of ones roshi or some random stimuli.

Im fairly certain that this happens to people by accident in their everyday lives while theyre totally unaware of the defined Zen process or even their shift of perception. There will be members on this forum to whom this has happened. Why arent we aware of these people? They seldom talk about it and recognising it is a bit of a skill.
 

Latest Discussions

Top