kyoshi Thesis

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Re: kyoshi Thesis

Postby Van Canna » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:16 pm

Juice: Win-win or No Deal
"Question: What about when someone else is doing wrong to us?
Answer: You must not allow people to do wrong to you. Whenever
someone does something wrong, he harms others and at the same
time he harms himself.

If you allow him to do wrong, you are
encouraging him to do wrong. You must use all your strength to stop
him, but only with good will, compassion, and sympathy for that
person.

If you act with anger or hatred then you aggravate the
situation. But you cannot have good will for such a person unless
your mind is calm and peaceful. So practice to develop peace within
yourself, and then you can solve the problem." S. N. Goenka
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Re: kyoshi Thesis

Postby Van Canna » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:18 pm

“If your heart is large enough to envelop your adversaries, you can see
right through them and avoid their attacks.” Morihesi Ueshiba
If you squeeze a lemon you get lemon juice, if you squeeze an orange you
get orange juice.

What comes out when you are squeezed? How do you
respond when you are under pressure? Do you withdraw into a fetal
position or lash out in anger, or do you respond with compassion and
empathy?

Do you make matters worse in a crisis or better; are you part of
the solution or part of the problem?


If you are a piece of fruit you do not have a choice about what comes out
when you are squeezed, but human beings do have choices. Deciding we
would like to be better under pressure is crucial but it is not enough.
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Re: kyoshi Thesis

Postby Van Canna » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:19 pm

Maybe it would be helpful to do some sort of role-playing so we could
practice interacting with compassion - maybe something like we do in every
Karate class! In Karate we practice taking care of each other in role-playing
conflict scenarios. We practice being our best under pressure.

An attack - even a make-believe choreographed attack in a Karate class -
cues our fear responses. There are many kinds of fear responses (maybe as
many as there are people to have them) but there are two big categories -
withdrawal and anger - and most, if not all, of our fear responses are one
or the other.

Withdrawal is trying to “check out” of the situation.

In Karate you might
close your eyes or over-tighten your muscles or ****** in your belly or just
generally lose track of what your body and your partner’s bodies are doing.
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Re: kyoshi Thesis

Postby Van Canna » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:21 pm

The other fear response is to become belligerent, angry, or vindictive. This
does not work any better than withdrawal, although we have many more
fantasy images fuelling this strategy from movies, politics, and sports where
the idea of “winning” a competition by “destroying” your opponent is a
given.

In the real world that does not usually work out very well because
the credits do not roll at the end of most real-life conflicts -

life goes on
and it turns out that when opponents are “destroyed” the conflict is not
resolved, it is heightened and extended.


Like withdrawal, anger shows itself in a loss of body awareness and
control. In some martial programs, particularly sport-oriented programs,
this response is encouraged.

But experienced and successful sport
competitors are not lost in a state of fear-induced anger. Anger and
withdrawal are just not effective under any circumstances.
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Re: kyoshi Thesis

Postby Van Canna » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:22 pm

Because fear is a deep, root-brain response, these are not intellectual
choices and they resist change through intellectual means.

So in Karate, the
method is to focus on technique, working to incorporate the movement
vocabulary of the style consistently. This is a great way to work indirectly
with fear.

Our teachers do not need to psychoanalyze us - they can just
show us where our bodies are out of place. The loss of body awareness is
the symptom - fear is the cause.

So the work is body-centred and practical
but it can be as deep as the student is willing and able to go.

So how do we bring the lessons learned in the dojo into our everyday life?

In the dojo we discover that fear does not serve us, withdrawal and anger
do not work, and being “nice” is not good enough either: soft attacks and
unfocused responses produce accidents and injuries.
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Re: kyoshi Thesis

Postby Van Canna » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:23 pm

The solution is what I call “ferocity.” In ferocity, we connect to the animal
archetypes of the style.

Ferocity, as I am defining it, is not anger or
withdrawal, it is something completely different.

Ferocity is full
engagement, it mirrors the attack so the attack is redirected to the attacker.

We discover that ferocity is the safest strategy for us and our training
partners.
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Re: kyoshi Thesis

Postby Van Canna » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:25 pm

Karate teaches us to engage in relationships ferociously. We can fully
engage with those around us, ferociously committed to overriding our
impulse to withdraw or lash out, ferociously committed to positive
outcomes and healing.

That commitment is not enough on its own though; we need to develop
skills and strategies to get the best outcomes.

We learn to anticipate, jam,
meet (hence our conditioning), block, attack, and yield (as in, get out of the
way, let it pass
).

All these strategies and many more can be used in in our
everyday life.

In Karate we start with the bow. The bow is really important - nothing else
works without it. The bow teaches us to address the healthy part of each
person we encounter.
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Re: kyoshi Thesis

Postby Van Canna » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:26 pm

Sometimes conflict needs to be addressed head on, sometimes it is better
to ignore an attack so as not to feed it, or to pretend an attack was actually
something more healthy (“building a golden bridge for your enemy to
retreat on”) -

every situation is different and demands creative improvising
- but what all these strategies have in common is that we do not allow
ourselves to be victims.

We need to be able to say no to an attack. There is
an old Buddhist story that someone came to the Buddha and heaped verbal
abuse on him and his response was something like, “I do not accept the
gifts you bring.”

We are not avoiding an attack by accepting it - when we accept the toxic
gift of an attack we take in something unhealthy that can stay with us for a
long time and poison future relationships.
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Re: kyoshi Thesis

Postby Van Canna » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:28 pm

We say no to every attack - we are not available to be victims and we are
not available to participate at the level of the attack.

If we allow ourselves
to be victims we are supporting the bad behaviour of the attacker. If we
accept an attack we internalize emotional poison that undermines our
ability to be a positive force in our world.

Instead, we bring our best self to bear on the problem with ferocious love,
we say no to fear and offer healing. If healing cannot happen then nothing
will happen. It is win-win or no deal.
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Re: kyoshi Thesis

Postby Van Canna » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:29 pm

Commitment to the Struggle
I heard this story from a local piano teacher. She did not tell me the names
so for me it is a parable.

A young pianist studied at the university here in Edmonton, Alberta (which
you might not know has been world-renowned for its piano faculty for
generations). She was a serious student and went away to earn her masters
degree in piano performance at another Canadian university.

She did well
but she always struggled with the limitations of a narrow hand. After she
completed her masters she came back home to Edmonton and took a
season of lessons with a fine local teacher who also has a narrow hand and
knew how to get around that limitation.

The student was superb in every other respect, she had just never come
across a teacher who had this training and knew the solutions to this
particular issue.

After six months or so of lessons the problem was solved.

With this final piece of the puzzle in place suddenly much of the difficulty
the Romantic piano repertoire had presented to this player was removed.
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Re: kyoshi Thesis

Postby Van Canna » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:30 pm

Here is the part I found interesting. You might think this musician would
now rejoice in her new musical freedom and set about building a career, or
at least plunge into a repertoire orgy.

What actually happened next was a
period of confusion. Up until this point music performance had always
been a struggle for her and that had become the whole point of the
activity. Now that she had achieved ease in her playing she was at a loss -
what was music about if not struggle?

Of course music is about everything but struggle. I certainly have no
interest in listening to someone fighting their instrument. The person who
told me this story called this “the commitment to the struggle.” Can you
see how easily students in any discipline might fall into this trap?
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Re: kyoshi Thesis

Postby Van Canna » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:31 pm

We Work So Hard!
Just for a little perspective... Sometimes we might feel a little hard-done-by
because of the difficulty of our training.

We go to two or three classes a
week and, if we attend the Yoga class as well as the Karate class, we get
around 3 hours of demanding physical activity in each of those sessions.


At home we are putting in 10 minutes or so a day as beginners to an hour
and a half or more for those of us who are doing the full Ashtanga Yoga
Primary Series plus their Karate practice.

This can seem like a lot - we can
get up in the morning and feel like we have another mountain to climb.
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Re: kyoshi Thesis

Postby Van Canna » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:33 pm

But here is the thing: we live extraordinarily sedentary lives. Few of us do
significant physical activity as part of our normal work. This is quite a new
phenomenon. Just a few generations ago most people typically did hard
physical work every day.

Imagine being an ordinary carpenter - without
power tools! - a lifetime of long days hand-planing, hand-sawing, and
hand-hammering.

Imagine farm life without electricity or gas powered
engines, ploughing and harvesting, caring for animals, hand-churning butter
and all the other chores - heavier work than most of us have ever
encountered.

Most of our strongest athletes today will never have anything
approaching the sheer physical power and endurance an ordinary working
person had a few generations ago. And by the way, the original Ashtanga
practice was two and a half hours long; the version we train with now was
reduced for “householders.”
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Re: kyoshi Thesis

Postby Van Canna » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:55 pm

Why Don’t I Feel Fantastic?

“I’m coming to classes and doing the at-home work; why don’t I feel
fantastic?” This question came up before class recently.

Of course it needs to be said that we are in training and we are going to
feel it. It is certainly uncomfortable at times - I have pretty much always got
some soreness somewhere in my body from my training and I accept that
as part of the process. Sometimes it actually feels good, like positive
change is taking place. Other times I am just sore.

Another response to this question was expressed well by David Mott
Sensei.

He was about to begin a Qi gong class and he said,“by the way, if
you are aren’t eating well and sleeping well, all the Qi gong in the world
isn’t going to do you much good.”

And eating well and sleeping well are
not easy or obvious things to do.

The hardest part might be figuring out
what that entails. “Common sense” is of limited value here because that is
responsible for the current dismal state of health in western culture.
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Re: kyoshi Thesis

Postby Van Canna » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:57 pm

What is a good sleep? Is more better? Maybe a long uncomfortable sleep -
tossing and turning and having unpleasant dreams - is not as beneficial as a
shorter, more peaceful sleep.

And how do you go about improving your
sleep? (I do have some ideas about that - coming soon in another post!)

And there is so much conflicting information available about diet it is hard
to know where to start on that subject (you could start with my book
review of Why We Get Fat).

I’m always surprised when people tell me they
eat well. Particularly when they tell me they eat well but they don’t feel
good.

How do you know your diet is good? Based on what criteria? I’m
almost envious that some of us can be glib about such an opaque topic.
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