Medition post follow up from the red desert...

Travis' last main post extolled the benefits of regular medition practice and its advantages in keiko and combat. This is something I have written about and talked with my fellow practitioners in the past. The results or output definiely outweigh the effort or input and for 20- 30 minutes a day, you are getting a great deal. Improved blood flow, relaxing and calming of the spirit, sharpening the mind and even increasing metabolism.
Altough I don't typically label it as medition, my practice (albeit unregular) involves sitting or kneeling, breathing slowly and deeply through the nose and focussing my mind to do nothing but listen and observe my breaths. Simple but incredibly difficult. The crazy, demon, lunatic monkey rages, squirms and has fun playing with your psyche. The idea is to tame it, right? It all begins from there.
Keiko, yoga, conditioning does wonders for taming the monkey and I find it easier to restrain after some physical  activity. Better yet, I sometimes begin with the little to focus my mind for the activity and then also end with it to consolidate and debrief.

Training the boys will attest to this as they often perform this before, during or after a session. A great method of incorporating this 'focus of breath' is something that Katsu Kaishu's Sensei used to do and then later teach Katsu (for more info on Katsu, please look him up as the guy was an absolute military and political genius who revolutionised the Japanese military during the period of the Meiji restoration). He would perform kata for a certain period and then sit in seiza and breath, focusing on restoring calm and equinimity. After a certain time he would recommence kata and then again breathing and quieting the mind in seiza. I have shown this and practiced it with the boys and it has been very well received. For you who train at home and are fond of doing homework, please try this. Whether it be hitting the bag, practising kata, doing randori etc, try this and see how it sharpens and heightens ones senses.

Remember, as mentioned in Grossman's 'On Killing,' "for those who haven't experienced real fighting or combat, we are virigins researching sex." Thus, I take Bruce Lee's stance and paraphrase, "Train, train, train so your first encounter is a decisive one." I solemnly hope, however, that you begin keiko with understanding, "that we train not to fight but to heighten our spiritual essence." (Unsui Manaka)



Maurizio Mandarino


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