This year we are discussing the Book of Martial Power (BOMP) on Saturdays.
No, this chapter is not talking about striving for awesome, inescapable control over your enemies. Pearlman is talking about developing such exquisite control over your own body and mind that no one else is able to exert control upon you.
I really think that this is the best chapter of the book so far. The one that speaks about martial arts the most. Pearlman drops some fine wisdom here:
- ...to the degree that we lack control of ourselves, we aid the opponent in controlling us.
- ...we must have more control of our own bodies than the opponent has over theirs, and more control over our own bodies than the opponent has over us.
- ...which means we must approach every single technique as a riddle of control: how can we best maintain control of ourselves in this situation?
To me, this manifests itself in aikido and judo in learning to walk out of the opponent's techniques instead of having to try to figure out how to escape or counter them. In order to do an escape or a counter, you must come under the control of the opponent in the first place. If you maintain control of self, you never have to do escapes or counters. If you refuse to assist the opponent in your own overthrow, then the escape/counter becomes much easier.
Do you see your martial arts practice as a self-control koan?
[photo courtesy of Jo Christian Oterhals]