The Art of Winning Blog

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cardinal Rules

Recently, Erich Smith (Chapel Hill Quest) and I were having an exchange on Facebook. I thought his realizations and connections were so cool that they needed to be shared with more people. Erich gave me permission to repost his ideas here. Thanks Erich!

I was inspired today by your fantastic new window posters! I was thinking also about the recent post about the dojo phrases we internalize.

We've accreted several phrases at the CHQC over the years, but the core have always been:

Keep your...
knees bent,
back straight,
eyes open and on the bad guy,
move your feet!

[We repeat these] over and over and over again. Today, I tried to listen to them with fresh ears, and heard something completely new (to me):

knees bent - CHI
back straight (movement with head over hips over feet) - SUI
eyes open and on the bad guy - KA
move your feet - FU

From a certain point of view, each of the elements could be viewed as isolated (for learning's sake) explorations of the dynamics presented in the cardinal rules.

If I had to pick a dojo phrase for void/KU, I'd go with "It's always my turn!"

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I Can't

We have a lot of folk wisdom in the dojo. "Keep blood in your skin sack". "It's always your turn". "Hard weapons=soft targets". But I think my favorite is the one we aren't allowed to say "I can't". If you say those words on the mat, you'll quickly find yourself doing push-ups but you'll also have an instructor right there to talk to you to phrase what you really mean. It could be that you think "This is really hard" or it could be "I have no idea what you mean". These two statements are very different and making the distinction between them will allow your training to progress. The words "I can't" stop all future growth; you just stop dead and now you start trying to prove how you really can't. You can. Maybe not today or even tomorrow but if you keep trying eventually you'll say "I did it"!
Stephen K. Hayes Pro Shop

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