Getting Your Zen Together with Martial Arts
One of the most important things
you can do in the martial arts
is get your zen together.
I am going to swing wide on this,
so stay with me.
In the book
Zen and the Art of Archery
by Eugene Herrigle (spelling?)
the author travels to Japan to study zen.
But they won’t let him.
All the priests turn him down,
they say that his western mind won’t be able to absorb it.
They tell him,
to study something ‘with’ zen.
Like the tea ceremony,
or flower arranging,
He chose archery.
he experienced zen,
and the book is quite fascinating to read.
Go get it if you wish,
but let’s us take a quick side step.
When you do Karate,
or any martial art,
you get a certain amount of zen.
The word zen translates as ‘meditative state.’
So you do Karate and you enter into a sort of meditative state.
I say sort of because we are talking broadly,
not about matrixed martial arts
where you get your zen together
right from the get go.
But what is this meditative state?
Is it the sound of one hand clapping?
Is it learning to be attentive?
Is it one of a thousand other things?
Yes, it is,
and no, it isn’t.
Zen is learning to focus your awareness on the moment.
You can slice that into a thousand different pieces
and end up with a thousand different zens,
all of them valid.
When you do Karate you focus on the punch,
on the block and the kick,
on the doing in practice,
in the receiving in freestyle,
and this all jacks up your awareness.
But if you practice only freestyle,
then you lose half your zen right from the get go.
And you know the old saying,
half a loaf of zen doesn’t deserve any butter.
I just made that up.
but the point is this…
Good martial arts makes for awareness.
Zen makes for awareness.
Martial Arts is a moving awareness,
and zen is a fixed awareness.
You have people that like one but not the other,
and they are being half loafed about it.
You simply MUST have both
if you are to have all.
Do you understand?
If you study Karate you won’t have the tai chi.
If you study Tai Chi you won’t have the karate.
You can’t study yin without the yang,
and vice versa,
because that won’t give you the whole yin yang.
That is an absolute and don’t even try to argue because I’ll just call you stupid.
But let’s expand this from karate and tai chi,
to martial arts and zen.
when I began my studies of zen
I didn’t last too long.
Waiting for the lighting of the Cosmic All to strike me.
But that moving zen stuff,
and then shaolin and wing chun and aikido and, and, and…
and all the other martial arts I studied,
they really worked for me.
though I had a high degree of zen
I knew I hadn’t really gotten into fixed zen.
So I put Yogata together.
it is like a kata.
It is motion.
But it is so slow,
and you can drag it out,
that it is fixed.
And it does a lot more for your body.
You learn to relax your mind
no matter what the tension on your body.
you get to the point where you can sit int he zen
and not be bored.
So I got my fixed zen together.
If you have beaten and bruised, and sometimes even broken, body
then yogata enables you to relax it back together.
If you are stiff and rigid,
and you know there is truth in the old saying
that a relaxed muscle is a strong muscle,
then yogata can do that for you.
If you just want a warm up,
yogata can do that for you.
if you are at the highest reaches of the martial arts,
and want to expand from moving zen to fixed zen,
if you want to expand your awareness
beyond what it is capable of through martial arts…
yogata can do that for you.
Here’s the URL…
if you really want to get into it,
here’s the website I have been playing with
dedicated to yogata
and yoga stuff in general…
time for me to get my morning work out in,
(and that always includes a bit of Yogata)
and start this day off like a rocket!
Have a great work out!
I’ve been publishing some of the old articles and newsletters,
here’s three interesting ones.
Combat Strategies in Shaolin Gung Fu!
Energy Beams in the Martial Arts
Mental Martial Arts
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