The Law of Presence – You Only Really Have this Moment

Presence - Standing on Kilimanjaro

Martial Arts students often try very hard to push themselves and learn all the techniques required of them.  When it comes time to get ready for testing, many have difficulty, because it requires a new mindset.  They no longer have the luxury of analyzing their mistakes, as they are making them.  They want to “run the projector back” and rehash what went wrong.  Has this ever happened to you?  Have you ever listened to a speaker in person or on the radio, and been tantalized by the speaker’s idea, only to miss the next two ideas because you were thinking about the previous one?  While this kind of mental analysis is beneficial, and aids in the learning process, there are times where you must learn to “stay in the moment”.  If this idea is explored further, you start to realize that you really only have this moment to live.

Margaret Bonnano once said “It’s only possible to live happily ever after on a moment-to-moment basis”.  Although you can project your mind in to a previous time in the past or the future, you can only live in the present, in this moment.  We “indulge” ourselves by projecting our mind into the past or future, because we are fascinated with the possibilities. Nevertheless, we can only take action right now, in this moment.

So, when confronted by an assailant, you have only now to make decisions and take action.  You cannot afford the luxury of analyzing the event as it happens.  Although horrifying, this kind of event still fascinates us.  Allowing ourselves to analyze the event can cost us our health or our life, however.

So, when testing, the students must stay in the moment, act and react.  There will be time for analysis later.  This proves to be a very difficult lesson in life, and requires patience and persistence to master.

So, avoid the “paralysis of analysis”; stay in the moment.  It is really the only place you can ever be.

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What is a Dojo ? #LNK

“Dojo” is a Japanese term that is often loosly translated into “training hall”, but really a closer interpretation is “place of the Way”.  What the heck does that mean?

Americans tend to equate a dojo with a kind of specialized gym – a place to physically train and get a good workout.  A true dojo is used for much more, however.  It has several things that set it apart from a gym.

1) It is quiet;  This allows the student to focus on himself, his thoughts,  and the instruction.

2)  It is serene;  no tv, no ads, no distractions.  This allows the student to, again, focus on his training.

3) it is highly focused; in a gym, you often “zone out” and think about other things to get your workout accomplished.  In the dojo, you must increase your focus in order to avoid injury.

As you can see, a dojo trains not only the body, but also trains the mind and spirit.  It is this element that sets it apart from a gym.  In this regard, a dojo is part-gym, part-temple, and part-shrine, in order to tantalize and stimulate mind-body-spirit all at once.  This cultivation of mind and spirit occurs in a controlled atmosphere, so it can be applied to the real world outside the dojo.

So, come into a dojo, and see the atmosphere for yourself.  You should be able to see a difference from, say, a basketball court, or a bowling alley.  The good news is that the benefits recieved from a dojo outweigh those from a basketball court or bowling alley as well.

It is not a “gym”. 

It is more.