Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Don't try so hard

One of the best pieces of advice that I received at the recent most excellent budo seminar in OKC was from sensei Jack Bieler.
We were doing a jo class in the middle of a four-day, 8 hour/day seminar and I was tired and sore but I sure wasn't going to miss Jack's jo class because I want so badly to "get it" wrt jo.  I'd gotten to the point that my right shoulder, which has long had problems, and which I'd had tweaked for me the week earlier at a different seminar - that shoulder was by this point sore and weak and nearly useless and I was having to compensate majorly in order to even limp through honteuchi (thing #1) like Quasimoto.
So, Jack came up to me in the midst of my slacking off taking a break and asked if everything was ok - did I understand what we were working on and I started trying to explain why I was malingering with excuses about pain and reduced range of motion and etc...
Jack's response, in a soothing voice... "Don't try so hard.  Relax."
Don't try so hard!?  Dammit! Why didn't I think about that?   That is so obviously what was wrong.  Don't try so hard.
This is a marathon, not a sprint.
We are supposed to be marinating in budo instead of getting our budo through a Cajun Injector.
Reminds me of one of Nick's stories - A guy comes up to a budo master and asks how long it'll take to learn his art.  The master says, "5 years."  So the student asks, "What if I work twice as hard as everyone else?" and the master replies, "10 years."  Then the student asks, "Well, what if I work with 100% intensity all day every day?" and the master says, "20 years."
Or, in shorter form, "There is no shortcut, because there is no endpoint."
Or, even more succinctly, per Jack, "Don't try so hard. Relax."

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Patrick Parker

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