Perception and Martial Arts

by | Jul 9, 2015

Sitting in a field, overlooking Boston area watching the sunset on July 4, 2015.

The other day I was driving by a state park in western Massachusetts and I happened to notice some deer. I pulled the car to the side of the road to observe them. The deer noticed me and didn’t move. They maintained eye contact for a long period of time, but they didn’t leave. I eventually drove off and the deer returned to grazing.

I noted that the deer did not consume extra energy by running off before they felt it was necessary. Also, once I left, they returned to their normal routine and continued eating.

In other words, they didn’t assume anything beyond the reality of what they observed.

When we train it is important to retain this philosophy – do not assume something is different than what it is by overlaying your emotions on your techniques. When you come into the dojo to train, do so with an open mind and allow the actual movement of training to guide you and not vice-versa. If you believe you can muscle through a technique then you have already lost because you have committed the wrong type of energy to your movements. As you free your mind of preconceptions, you can observe the world without intent and react accordingly – much like the way Nature works every day.