“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet.” — Miyamoto Musashi
Martial Arts. Something that’s been in existence since as long as we can remember in one way or another.
For the general population, martial arts are thought of as something that’s used to hurt people. After all, their main purpose is to help people defend themselves; sometimes in order to stop yourself from getting hurt, it’s necessary to hurt your opponent. It’s a sad truth. But with that being said, martial arts are just that — an art.
People often think of art as something that makes people ooh and ahh. Martial arts do that for many people, but maybe not quite as much as something such as dancing or music. The reason for this is because they’re often presented by people who have spent years of their lives disciplining themselves so that they don’t have to live in fear of what might happen. We’ll get into that more in future posts, so please ask questions about it so I don’t relay information that you already know.
Back to today’s quote. Although it can be taken literally, I believe it works best as a metaphor. And if this is a metaphor, the universe acts as the human mind and body while one planet resembles one aspect of one of those things.
There’s plenty of “planets” that we can choose to focus on: strength, flexibility, patience, endurance, memory, art, musical interest, and mathematical thinking to name a few. Most people make it through school and tackle a few planets. Some people exercise or do yoga and tackle a few more. Martial arts however unite them all. This is because they teach you how to use your body to create something beautiful, such as a kata.
Knowing this, it’s difficult to understand why people refuse to do martial arts. They keep you fit, they keep your mind whole, they stop you from hurting others BECAUSE you know exactly how to do it, and overall they just make you a more disciplined person. With this in mind, I encourage you to explore this world. Learn about the different kinds of martial arts and think about practicing one — there’s plenty that don’t involve hurting others at all if that’s your concern.
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One thought on “Uniting the Mind and Body”
Thanks, Chris. When you say “kata” are you describing the choreographed movements practiced and memorized? I think of Mr. Miyagi and “wax on, wax off” or the group that used to meet in our local park doing Tai Chi. I also think about the cold showers that are used to develop discipline.
I took a workshop many years ago called RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) that was taught by 4 police officers who all had different martial arts backgrounds and all had studied those arts with masters in Asia. I could tell, immediately, they had total control over their world and their emotions. When our “test day” came and I had to implement what I had learned in 5 days, my heart was racing and I almost threw up in my helmet. I successfully escaped 3 of 4 scenarios by letting my practice take over. (There is nothing scarier than a 6’6″ man in a big red, padded training suit coming at you yelling and attacking.) When I knocked him down, elbowed him between the rib pad and armpit, and scampered to the safe zone, I knew there was something to it.
Elite athletes with muscle memory to shoot free throws with eyes closed or land a dismount while flipping and spinning show this. Our minds are the muscle that needs the practice. That is the planet I want to explore. I want to be able to use my muscle memory and not have emotional responses to fear and challenge that block my growth.