The Moment

One of the greatest gifts that martial arts training has to offer, awareness of the moment. The world does not enter the dojo. The time spent training is time apart and away from the world. In the dojo, as we train, there is no birth or death, no phone of computer. The concerns and follies of the world are held at bay.

Correct training necessarily involves tools that hold the mind, spirit and body firmly in the moment. The following tools aid in that end to fully exist in the moment.

Breath. Many spiritual disciplines teach the use and manipulation of breath. Control of the breath requires the mind to focus on the moment of respiration. Awareness of breathing patterns requires thoughts to remain in the moment. And when you are winded from sparring or kata or kihons or waza  or ippons or bags or stances or makiwara, or whatever, your mind cannot focus on the usual blathering. All distractions are outside. All concern is on hold.

Exertion. It is difficult to calm and quiet the mind when the body is comfortable, warm, safe and rested. When you are pushing the limits of your physical faculties, the present moment is all there is. There can be no thought of stopping. You cannot commit any energy to the pain or discomfort of the exercise or your likely to stop and rest.

Isolation. I don’t like to train at home. It is healthy to train away from anything not involved in training. When I train karate, I leave my house, go to the dojo, change clothes and go onto the mat. There evidence in all that process that the outside world remains outside. It waits while you train and you rejoin it afterwards when you put your clothes back on and drive home.

Method. I train Shuri-Ryu Karate. We all have styles and schools and ways to focus on. The mind can focus on perfection of technique. I foucs on the skill that is being worked and nothing else.

What circulates in the dojo is moments of consciousness. Training puts you in that moment.


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