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Showing posts from September, 2010

Relax Completely

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In the practice of Kokikai Aikido, one of the four basic principles is Relax Progressively. The idea is to relax as much as possible when responding to an attack, as this allows you not only to respond with more power, but to respond with more flexibility of both mind and body. Beginners can achieve results on their first night of practice when they realize that they are adding unnecessary tension while throwing, but even advanced students find that there are always more ways to relax, more fine muscles that can be released, more mental openness that can be achieved. Hence: relax progressively.

Yet, Maruyama Sensei emphasizes that "relax progressively" does not mean "relax completely." If you relax completely, you can't respond at all!

There are benefits to relaxing completely, just not when you are being attacked! Most people seldom relax fully, even in sleep. Over the long term, this inability to release physical stress can have many negative effects, like ir…

Fast Forward

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I was talking to a colleague the other day as we were heading home about how much we look forward to the weekend. I understand her feeling that way, especially as she has two young kids. But we both remembered the movie Click with Adam Sandler. The premise of the movie is a massive cliche, and maybe that's why it was so appealing. We all know it's true: if you get into the habit of "fast forwarding" your life, when it's over, what do you have?

I am working on a different habit, which is just to notice when I am thinking about the future. Some people tend to dwell on an imagined past, I tend to imagine and anticipate what will happen - all completely fabricated, of course! But if I can notice when I am doing this, I have a shot at being where I am, maybe if only for a microsecond.

I'm gonna keep trying.

Everything's Amazing Right Now and Nobody's Happy

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Louis C.K.'s clip on Conan is pretty funny.

When I was a kid, we had a rotary phone. You had to stand next to it while you talked. Zeroes took a long time to dial. (Of course you only had to dial 7 numbers most of the time.) If we weren't home, the phone just rang and we had no idea someone had called.

While you were driving, you could not make a phone call. Nor could you listen to music except what was on the radio. That's not true, actually: when I was about 13 they invented 8-track tape. However, your kids could not watch a movie in the back seat of the van.  (They didn't have vans. They had station wagons.)

In fact, the only way to watch a movie was to go to the movie theater. Most towns had a movie theater that played one movie at a time.  If you wanted to see a film by Bergman, Bertolucci, or Truffaut, unless it happened to be on late night tv, basically you were SOL unless the local college had a film series. If you loved a movie (say, 2001) you went back that we…