Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Being Relaxed and Accepting Defeat

I keep writing about being relaxed. And I think that is really the key when facing an opponent.

In taiji, we are told to be relaxed. Relaxed is not a state of the body. It is a state of mind that brings about a state of body. It is no use trying to relax the body if your mind is not relaxed. If you are worried or afraid or angry or anxious, it will show in your actions.

Recently, a practitioner of Japanese martial arts was talking about what he learnt. It got me to recall what I myself know about Japanese martial arts, having trained in them before as well as having my own intimate relationship with Japan and things Japanese, including their way of life and their mentality. In Japanese martial arts, they advocate 覚悟, which when translated goes something like being aware of the consequences and ready to accept those consequences. In bushido (武士道) terms, it means being ready to die for a cause.

I think they all refer to the same thing. It means being ready to accept defeat (and the consequences that comes with it, including, at times, death). When you are ready to accept defeat, your mind is no longer cluttered by fear, anger or other emotions. Your senses are then heightened because your mind is at a different (higher) state of awareness. In a way, your mind is now sharper and thus you react faster. You can still be defeated if you never trained hard enough (because your body cannot achieve what your mind tells it to do) but you are otherwise at the peak of your performance.

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