Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Karate memories: When I became aware of my breath..

I was performing the Heian Yondan Kata at a Tournament. Right after the first kiai point, I turned and did the double block. Putting all effort possible into the two punches.. I noticed that there were puffs of air coming out of me. Delighted, my whole attention turned towards feeling that air come out of me as my techniques happened almost on their own. My thoughts turned to: "Ooooo... how wonderful! Each time I send a strike or block my body is tightening, and the air is puffing out of me on it's own. COOL! I didn't know that I can do that, am I supposed to be doing this? What a sensation!!!!" Since I became preoccupied with my breathing I ended up at the third knife hand totally forgetting which kata I was doing. I stood there in a state of not moving.. almost in pause.... trying to remember which kata I was on... Suddenly reawakening to the fact that I was in the middle of a tournament surrounded by 5 judges who will be giving me a score on my kata... I thought " Oh oh ! " Now my thoughts moved faster "Oh dear.. I'm in backstance.. with my left foot forwards.. which kata has that.. LOTS of them.. What do I do? How will I finish this?" As my mind searched for the next move, I stayed still, and calm. It felt like an eternity as I stood there holding my position. All of a sudden I felt my body suggesting a "feeling" of movement that fit with where I was paused. With the total abandon of the thought "it's better than nothing" I followed the suggestion of my body memory, and finished the kata quite well, with the proper techniques, and stances. To my astonishment, my kata performance won me the silver medal. I guess that I wasn't stuck in pause as long as I thought I had... or I did it with such style that it seemed to fit there? Either way, I became aware of my breathing, and I haven't been the same since.

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