Sunday, September 23, 2007

Training my mind ( warning contains some religious aspect)

Today I rested from all of the extra training that I've been doing this week to allow my body to recuperate. I decided to do some reading. I picked up "Spirit of a Sensei: A study of Japanese Martial Arts." written by Andrew Bowerbank.

The most enjoyable part of the book is the first section which looks at a personal in depth discussion on the effects of training in karate, and how well one remembers what they have learned from their past training. Mr. Bowerbank mentions..

"When trying to recall content much later on - for example, in an exam - many students will recall their teacher's passion first, then "follow" this feeling into that part of their memory where they can also recall the required material more precisely." (Pg 22-23)

As I read this sentence, I was hit with the truthfulness of it. Most of my strongest educational memories are attached to the person who taught that aspect of knowledge to me, and the manner in which I was taught. I have the loudest memories from those teachers that had a passion for what they taught. I could almost taste the enthusiasm, and joy that they felt as they shared the knowledge that they had within them. I felt an echo of interest, and curiousity as to why this was so important to them. As I learned more and more, I found myself embracing the joy of experiencing that previously unknown world as becoming my own.

Yes... I want my own fire, desire, and spirit for karate to infect, inspire, and bring others to the same realization of how much good Martial Arts can be for one's progress. I have seen similar concepts in many other parts of life. Almost every expression of a human being's inner creativity, and spirituality. i.e. Dance, paintings, song, sports, etc. It is the person that truly rejoices in what they are doing, and learning that attracts the eye, the mind, and the heart of others.

I've also seen it in my religion. I remember a wonderful quote that said "Faith is caught, not taught." I have always put forth my own joy, spirit, and desire for spirituality in my life as a seed to attract, inspire, and encourage others in their own path. There was so much more to sharing knowledge for me when I taught Sunday school. There was an opening up of "who" I was, and allowing the students to witness the deep vulnerable inner spirit within me.

This kind of revelation is to place oneself in danger of ridicule, and even rejection. Not everyone is attracted to a deep passion, and energy, there are some who are repulsed by such a display of dedication. Yet that is the chance that the teacher takes when putting forth in public their passion for what they have found to be of value to them.

"Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing." Albert Schweitzer

Such is why the attitude, and demeanor of the Sensei, and Sempai of a karate club is so important to the development of the lower kyu belts. Enthusiasm, and positive energy is catchy, and lifts the whole class into a level of training with full spirit which helps cement the knowledge into memory. I still have wonderful treasures of memories of moments in the dojo when the whole class worked as one to achieve the challenges placed before us by our Sensei. I remember the sparkle of appreciation, and pride that I saw in the eyes of my teacher as he watched his students surmount, and gain victory over the obstacles placed before us. It was a challenge that we shared together, and found a link of satisfaction among us at our success. We almost fed each other energy as we continued, and continued. Then at the end of class, after line up, I remember hardly being able to stand up from seiza, and watching some of my fellow students just roll over to lie on the ground facing the ceiling in exhaustion... but we all had smiles on our faces. We appreciated what we had achieved, and saw the value in it. This is where I can see Sosai Oyama's motto "All selfish desires should be roasted in the tempering fires of hard training." coming into fruition. By working together, sweating together, relying on each other with each person straining at their fullest, we learn to appreciate the goodness of each other. We share our inner spirit, joy, and dedication in a safe place where it can be encouraged, and even built up. Why did we push ourselves so hard? What motivated us to dig deeper within us to find the energy to meet the challenge? It was the passion, energy, and positive spirit of our Sensei calling out for us to meet his expectations. As a unit our class rose to the call, responded, and gave forth the best that we could. We were a team.. all being led by the guidance, and words of our instructor.

1 comment:

[Mat] said...

Good post and nice realization.

I agree with you.

"Not everyone is attracted to a deep passion, and energy, there are some who are repulsed by such a display of dedication."

I'm sorry to say that it is mostly true. Yet, I continue to wish that one day, the opposite will be true. And that this time, it will be done with respect for the human being. It will happen and I will live to see that day.

Dogmas are dogmas are dodmas.

I prefer the inner liberty given at birth with respect for the sacred.

Teachers have the very enormous responsability once they realize that most student that WANT to learn are there willingly and will gladly take what is given. :)

Cheers and continue on that very nice path!