Thursday, April 24, 2008

Pick your nose

Straighten your shirt
Wipe your hands
Scratch your butt
Slap a mosquito
Shuffle your feet

How many of us have noticed that we have some unconscious or barely-conscious habits that occasionally take over during a practice. Do you find yourself starting to take a step during a kata and suddenly your nose itches maddeningly. How easy is it in solo practice to give in to the itch and call a do-over for that particular move? This happened to me this morning during the beginning of a jo kata. I'm sure it happens all the time but this morning at least I noticed it.
I know my instructor in college was always complaining that I wiped my face with my sleeve or wiped my hands on my thighs during kata. not only does this spoil the kata aesthetically but it changes the place where your mind resides. You have gone from mind-in-the-fight to gotta-scratch-that-nose instantly and at random. What may be worse is trying to avoid the tic. Trying to defer it to a more opportune time. Here you mind is flipping back and forth between the two modes. Concentration and focus are right out the window.
I have found in jodo that the occurance of this sort of tic seems to be similar to grabbing your jo with your hand in slightly wrong posture. Do you fix it then strike or strike then fix it? I tend to try to continue the motion with imperfect grip until I come to a node or a lull in the kata when I can reposition the grip.
This morning I looked like a cartoon - at least I felt like I did. Trying to do a kata with a mosquito on my foot and some pesky imp tickling my nose with a feather.

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