Thunder rolled, Lightening flashed…

It was one of those days. We all have them. I was tired, too tired to focus and train. But I went anyway. It had been a weird day… dark clouds hanging ominously overhead, a muggy stickiness that sapped me of what little energy I had.

And I was working on a relatively new kata. Suddenly I had a flashback to what it had been like to be a white belt. I was there all over again. Clumsy and uncoordinated, mentally I was fighting the moves. Looking down. Focused internally instead of just letting my body move and follow the direction I was being given, letting limbs flow, relaxed and determined.

While I trained thunder began to roll and lightening flash. “Focus,” it barked at me. “Pay attention. Quit thinking. Just do.”  Years of training have given me a muscle memory for certain movements. Thinking about them is my downfall. When I just do the move more often than not I get it right. Thinking. Its the intellectual’s curse. Sometimes I think you need to just feel the kata, its raw emotion flowing through your arms and legs placing them where they need to be. Economy of motion. Strength in body placement. Elbows in. Head held high. Breathing coordinated with movement.

The ancient masters studied hard to develop the forms that we practice today. Blood and sweat punctuated each lesson.  I thought about that as my mind fought with my body. I needed to trust in their wisdom. I needed to move and to feel. And I needed to remember what drove me as a white belt to master that first kata.

Finally I must have gotten too tired to ‘think’. I just did. The pieces and parts then began to take form. Repetition after tedious repetition it started to make sense. I didn’t mind repeating it over and over again. The exhilaration of getting it right fueled my body with renewed energy.

Each time we progress we move back to the beginning. Not relearning but reviewing that which we learned before. We are humbled by our lack of knowledge and energized by our thirst for more.

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