Friday, June 13, 2008

Eye of the storm

In moments of crisis the disciplined human mind works as a thing detached, refusing to be hurried or flustered by outward circumstance. Time and its artificial divisions it does not acknowledge. It is concerned with preposterous details and with the ludicrous, and it is acutely solicitous of other people's welfare, whilst working at a speed mere electricity could never attain. “Crab Pots” from A Tall Ship by Sir Lewis Anselm da Costa Ritchie

This rightly describes that mysterious time-dilation effect reported often by martial artists. I catch that sensation of time dilation, in which rapid motion appears leisurely, most acutely during aikido practice. I can even invoke that phenomenon at will (with pretty good reliability) in myself during aikido. The other place that I experience it more often than other situations is in newaza randori.
There is this feeling of immaculate in-the-moment-ness during which the chaos and violence in the situation seems to diminish or even disappear, leaving me with the feel of strolling along with uke. Funny thing is this is often a one-sided phenomenon. Uke’s perception of time and violence seems to become enhanced as tori’s becomes diminished. Uke’s world becomes more chaotic and hellish as tori becomes calmer and moves slower. Some writers have described this as similar to the eye of a storm.


  1. It seems to me that this sort of thing occurs more often as you get more familiar with the way people move. Your mind picks up on which foot a person has his weight on, etc., and you get to where more and more often you can pretty much tell, if not exactly what's coming, at least what direction it's coming from.

    You seem a whole lot faster than you really are if you know what's coming.

  2. I have had sensations like this, but I wouldn't describe it as time slowing down. I would describe it as simply having more time.


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