Monday, December 22, 2014

Wax on, carry the rice and put on your jacket

MA films are full of repetitions. From Pat Romita's "Wax on, wax off" to ackie Chan's jacket on a pole, to anything in between. Classic classes are full of repetitions. In zenkutsu dachi, in kiba dachi, you name it. Modern combative systems do the same under another name.

Western minds abhor repetition. We try to disguise it, to sugarcoat it. But it needs to be done. You learn to score doing a lot of free throws. Then you do some more and start getting into something more difficult. Then you go back to basics.

But we balk at doing the same in martial arts. When we are, in fact, worse than ever before.

Once upon a time, people moved daily. They had to. Those bales didn't stack on their own, that carcass didn't stroll to the butchering table (shouldn't have killed it so far away) and, anyhow, even that critter's leg is quite a weight. And so on. These days, even work that's mostly manual loses as much of it as it can (compare building a wall not so many decades ago and now; wheelbarrows have been motorized, there are bricklaying machines...). And it's good, healthier. But we don't get any of the fringe benefits. Kata guruma is a lot more difficult if you've never carried enough weight on your shoulders.

We only have so many ours at the gym. Use your own elsewhere as much as you can. Find your equivalent "Karate Kid" training. Might be as simple as changing the way to walk up the steps home, or how you push the supermarket's stroller (or a child's), or how you clean a blackboard or stack bottles on a shelf. When you go out buying, try to carry your own boxes, maybe your neighbor's (goodwill is a good investment), and check how you move, how you carry weight. Use that, it's a gift, and one you need.

Take care.

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