By the time you get to the dojo for your training, you’ve already done all the work.
Then it’s time to relax and focus on whatever particular body function your practice asks of you.
And most of all … HAVE FUN!
Why else are you there? Seriously?
These are pictures of the bike ride from my apartment to the dojo.
This is what I’m talking about.
Actually I’m going to talk about two main things dealing with this.
First, there is the effort taken to get to the dojo. This cannot be underestimated as it takes time out of your life you could be spending on things more “valuable”. Sure you’ve put away the time for the practice, and you probably can put an hour or two away for that each day … but what about when the travel time adds up? You start thinking about your practice really isn’t that time you allotted initially but also plain transportation.
For me, going to kyudo is a thirty minute bike ride one way. That takes an hour out of my day just getting to and from the dojo. That’s a bit long to just “pop on over to the dojo”, but then not too long as to deter me. (In Toyama, one way, I rode a bike for ten minutes, rode a train for twenty, and walked for twenty. That was too much. For aikido when I lived in Toyama City it was a thirty minute train ride and a twenty minute walk. Also too much. But then when I lived in Kurobe City, it was a ten minute bike ride. Awesome. )The plus is that I get to ride my bike, which I love and make me feel good. The other added plus is that most of it is beautiful.
I ride from my house through neighborhoods and a few medium sized main streets for 10 minutes, and then it’s along the Yamaguni River with sweeping views of the mountains, birds feeding in the river, and various goofily dressed joggers and walkers.
But it can also be hell when weather hits. Southern Japan doesn’t have quite the snow and cold as the rest of Japan, but there are days I’m bundled up in gloves, coats, and scarves to fight the chill. Any bit of rain can get you soaked out in the open like this. And the wind, especially here in Nakatsu will make for a sweaty fight against gravity strong gusts instead of casual strolls along the river. I don’t know what I’ll do when famous Japanese southern typhoons come.
This is what I’m talking about. Making the effort to getting to the dojo is hard work. Once I get there, I’ve already made it.
Time to enjoy your practice.
The point I’m trying to make (wow, excuse the jumbled thoughts today) is that a lot of people come to the dojo, kyudo for example, and think it’s this giant piece of work they need to struggle through and fight using all of their strength, when really …
they’re just getting in the way.
Especially in kyudo, we need to relax all of the uneccessary muscles and concentrate on what we’re doing, that doesn’t rely on physical strength. And have fun.
You don’t need to work so hard. Stop trying so hard. You’ve already done the work.
So you’ve already done the work before you get to the dojo.
I mean this physically as getting yourself to the dojo. In my case it’s a bike ride. The bike may be physically taxing, but there’s also train and car commutes people make everyday that can be much more mentally draining.
Cheers to all of you making your individual commutes! The universe appreciates your efforts, I’m sure of it.
You’ve already done the work before you get to the dojo.
I also mean this mentally, deciding to take the time to invest in your practice.
This is the big one. The big nasty quandary that really can’t be solved by math. By evaluating the things in your life by monetary or societal worth, I think martial arts will lose 99% of the time. (Cheers to all of you rich and famous ninjas). For the rest of us, it is a practice of passion we can merit by discussions of the body and spirit,
or maybe we can’t explain it at all.
We are artists and adventurers called by the passion to live and know. In the matrix we have to deal with the 0’s and 1’s like money, time, love, friends, beer, etc … but really it’s something much bigger. Beings transported through the universe by epic quests and unexplainable passions. We will all die and fade away, our time is short. Let’s make it all worth it and follow our hearts like we were told by the wise.
Let’s do our best.