Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Getting the evil smashed out of you

Ukemi practice teaches a falling reflex that helps keep you safe, but it also has some hidden benefits. Ukemi has greater leverage for positive change in peoples’ personality and behavior than perhaps any other aspect of martial arts.
Ukemi is about knowing when you can keep going along your current path safely and when you can’t. You have to learn to tell when you are beaten so you can stop putting energy into the system – energy you’ll have to eat at the end.
Bad actions begin with wrong thoughts and the two are so linked as to be inseparable But a lot of us get in trouble when there is no apparent consequence for a wrong thought or a bad action.
Ukemi is about consequences. After spending hundreds of practice hours getting tens of thousands of reps of being smashed for mistakes caused by wrong thoughts, you begin to get the idea that “maybe I shouldn’t act that way,” or more specifically, “Maybe I shouldn’t think that way.” Thus, ukemi gives you a vast amount of aposteriori knowledge that wrong thoughts have potentially severe consequences. Ukemi literally knocks the evil out of you one throw at a time.
Take for example, this fellow who made the news recently. What if, as a child and young adult, he'd been smeared a few thousand times by an elderly female sensei. What do you suppose would have gone through his mind just before this encounter?

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