Thursday, July 20, 2006

Today is what I have to work with....

I woke up this morning and realized something in a deeper way. It was similar to always knowing what the color "blue" looks like, but suddenly seeing the multilayers of blue in the sky, and sea on a beautiful summer day, and realizing how much more to "blue" there exists.

I understood even more fully that I only have today to work on my karate skills. There are days when you feel this "oh no.. today is karate class. I just don't feel like going" feeling. Those are very rare days for me, but they do happen. On those days, I have to rely on that inner backbone within me that unfailingly stands firm with the resolve that all good things need persistence to achieve. That kind of resolve does not come from "feelings", but from choices. There are many times when I don't feel like doing things in my day, but I do them because I value what results I will get from that effort. Today is the only day I have to work on what I want to improve in my life.. my health, my stability, my stamina, my skills.

Yesterday is gone. What I did then has brought me to this point, but I cannot go back and redo it.. I only have now. I can hope for the future, and what potential that I can achieve, but again I only have this moment to build up towards my goals. So, everything centers on the present moment. Each second that I breath I have a choice before me to reach for personal betterment, or to relax my decisions and accept where I am right now.

My understanding has grown of Sosai Oyama's motto of "Following the Martial Arts way is like scaling a cliff - continue upwards without rest. It demands absolute and unfaltering devotion to the task at hand. " It makes even more sense now. If you are climbing a cliff, you cannot stop midway, and accept that position. Sure.. you've made it halfway up, and the view is wonderful, but you become locked there if you don't keep reaching up for more. In fact, you can even end up sliding backwards unknowingly, and ending up back where you started. The steps that you have taken in the past have only build up the foundation for futher progress.. you HAVE to keep going. That is what a beginner's mind is all about! When we start learning karate, we start reaching for what we do not know. As we learn, we have the temptation to sit on our gathered achievements, but we have to keep reaching for what we can find farther up. Many times we reach in places that our Sensei haven't considered in their path, and we end up creating our own expression of karate.

Today is precious! It might feel like just another day, but it is more precious than any jewels or gold. We need only to ask someone who has only a few days to live as to how precious today is for them. I chose to reach higher in my karate today, and get that much better a view of myself, and of my art from being elevated a few more inches on the cliff of training.


Oniyagi said...

What a reflective post. Thanks for sharing your heart with us!

[Mat] said...

hum... inspiring.

It makes me think of a commercial I recently saw. Maybe you've seen it too. It's a man running. And you can see he's out of breath and probably unable to go on.

But he keeps running and running. And when he stops, he seems to be thinking of something. His eyes widen and he starts running again and again.

It fades and a voice says something like : "what would you do if you knew you'd lose your legs?" I'd probably do the same thing. Run and run and run and run and run again and again. Cry, run, repeat.

Each time I want to quit jogging, I reming myself that picture. I see the man, out of breath that keeps on running and running. What a horrible feeling that must be.

Indeed. Today. And only today. How many rhymes, poems, sentences have you read on the subject? Until you realize it, they mean nothing. And then, they start having meaning and you realize later again that they truly mean nothing.

To do a wonderful parallel with something I once read :

"when I didn't know the art, a punch was just a punch and a kick, only a kick.
When I studied the art, a punch was no longer a punch and a kick, no longer a kick.
When I understood the art, a punch was just a punch and a kick was only a kick"

Thank you, Bruce Lee.

lizzie said...

Supergroup, I'm so glad that I haven't had that feeling "I don't want to go and train in karate today." My feelings are far from that. I always want to go to class and train. If I don't, I feel kind of sad because I'm missing out. For example, I felt a little sad today because I couldn't go to the dojo because of work. GRRRR.

I had similar feelings when I threw disk. Some days, I didn't feel like going to track practice. However, I didn't love throwing as much as I love karate.

John Vesia said...

Discipline is just getting to the dojo, somebody once told me. Oyama was a bit more stern when he said, "train more than you sleep". I've never regretted a training session though, no matter how arduous it was.

Today is precious. The martial arts is about the here and now.