Friday, 2 April 2010

Learning with a clear mind

Last night's Shorinji Kempo lesson turned out to be a good, sweaty session with lots of refining technique and learning formats ready for the grading. Unfortunately as I entered the dojo I had a few things on my mind and I was in a dark and painful mental state. These, typically (for me, at any rate), can be difficult to shake and the first 20 minutes training (warm-up and kihon) were not easy. Interestingly the light randori I did with sensei TO to warm up was easy. I find randori really helps clear my mind. Sadly, just after I finished warming up with the randori I descended back into my dark mood and I could see the black dog was following me.

My main worry was that I was more concerned about my mental state than learning. This is a crucial lesson for me as it's the run-up to the grading and I want to fill in any gaps of knowledge I have so I needed to buckle down. During this period when I was preoccupied I wasn't learning effectively. At times when sensei explained something to us in detail, I glazed over and ended up thinking about my preoccupations. "Clear?", he asked. "Hai!" I replied, then thought, "Uh oh...what did he say?". I'm sure lots of people encounter this but it struck me how it impacted on my learning last night. By the end of the session I'd shaken it and was focused on techniques, especially my kumi embu, and was learning well because my mind was clear(er).

Interestingly sensei TO pushed me out of my mood without realising it simply by creating an atmosphere of determined and focused repetition of the kumi embu. The determination and focus on the techniques meant I had no space in my mind for other worries. Excellent!

For those interested, the kumi embu for 2nd to 1st kyu is as follows:

1. Uchi uke zuki - ren hen ko
2. Soto uke zuki - ren hen ko
3. Sode nuki
4. Sode dori
5. Kusshin zuki - ren hen ko
6. Soto oshi uke zuki - ren hen ko
7. Kata muna otoshi
8. Eri juji
9. Ude maki
10. Chidori gaeshi - ren hen ko

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