Monday, August 10, 2009

Falling with friends

So, this month I've been writing a good bit about zanshin - an important concept that comprises various mental states such as follow-through, connectedness, and awareness both before and after an encounter. It's time now (for the next several posts) to begin sharing some of the exercises that I use to work on zanshin.
The first, and probably the easiest zanshin exercise is simply practicing falling in a group. I always tell all the students to fall so that they all slap the ground at the same time. This is not just some OCD glitch of mine, but it helps in several ways.
  • it gets you paying attention to the people and things around you - an important part of safe falling practice.
  • it gets you started practicing connecting and synchronizing yourself to other people.
  • it gets you started practicing falling within an external constraint. You have to adjust the mechanics of your falling techniques in order to both fall safely and match the external rhythm.
All of these are aspects of zanshin - attention, connectedness, synchronization, working within constraints - and all are improved by simply falling as part of the group.
Patrick Parker, is a Christian, husband, father, judo and aikido teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: or phone 601.248.7282
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