The world has conspired to force-feed me arcane knowledge. I mean, how else can I explain when teachers of 4 disparate disciplines tell me to do the same thing? Karate and kenjutsu have their similarities – but what does that have to do with horseback riding? Or writing? Or shoveling snow, doing the taxes, cooking dinner, making love?
“You’ve been shown the way, darlin’,” my sensei commented on my observations. “Now its up to you to just go and do it.”
It seems that once one gets to a level where it’s less about doing something new and more about doing what you already know well, similar principles apply regardless of one’s activity. It’s time to dig down deep and sweat the details.
Recognize small little movements the uninitiated won’t even see.
Excise excess effort that gets in the way.
Try less hard.
Let it flow.
Do it over, and over, and over again.
Trotting on horseback, I expand my skeletal structure and support my core – it’s like holding two Japanese swords, one in each hand.
Cutting with a sword, I move, keeping my head centered and my weight under me – like when I canter around the arena, hoofbeats thundering in cadence with my breath.
In karate, my blocks should be small – as small as a gentle tug on the reins. In the saddle, my post should be low and soft – as though I bent my knees before a punch. And isn’t the movement of my hips while punching so similar to assuming a two-point position while jumping?
But none of that will work if I try too much, push too hard, tighten up. That includes writing. Not just the mental aspects of relaxed flow – the physical ones, too.
The mind leads the body, the body affects the mind.
Good posture, proper alignment.
Chest forward, shoulders and elbows defying gravity, expanded to the side just enough to feel the breath ease in and out as imaginary characters vie for my attention.
All that is supported from ground up. The legs, the core. Abs and obliques and the big muscles in the back, all working together to cut that rope, punch that guy, bend that horse, write that tale.
Aligned and focused, strong and relaxed, breathing.
Relaxing and exhausting all at once.
But so definitely worth it.