Bloggaling the Mind
November 22, 2020
A Blog in Time
ASNJ’s professional SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Officer, you know, my wife, told me one of the best ways to improve a website’s SEO is to maintain a blog. With 95% of our new students finding us through Google, a-blogging I now go. To be honest, this is a piece of cake (No, I didn’t not bake, well, I do but not for this conversation). All I do is post my letters! You know the ones I send to you all the time? Like this. Write a blog? Done. I have pre-blogged. No need to get blogged down. (You know I can keep going). But seriously, quite a few people complain that my letters are going to spam (the indignity of that); now you can follow me. Here is the link. It is mind bloggaling.
December 5 – 11:15 Kids’ Testing
December 12 – 2:15 Class/Kyu Tests/Potluck
A special class with yours truly, followed by Kyu tests (there are a lot), followed by potluck party (we have a large parking lot and mat to physically distance and masks will be worn). All members and their families are invited.
I have contingency plans if we are limited to a number of people; I will do my best to make sure the tests go on.
Junior Deshi Instructors
Mondays at 6:00 for kids and youths
The Junior Deshi are teaching this class on rotation (as their school, homework, soccer, etc. allow) under the watchful eyes of Zachary (a real life schoolteacher) and overseen by Frank (Kids Program Director). If you are a young member, please to try to come to the class to support the Junior Deshi instructors (that means you, too, Parents: the kids don’t drive. Yet.). Support our Junior Deshi.
We are done, it is up and running. You should have gotten an email from Paul to come to the dojo to update your information in our new system. Please do so soon so we can switch over completely. Be prepared to update your information such as emergency contacts, etc.
Do you know what this is? I didn’t until today. I noticed when opening a website there is a little icon on the tab but never could understand why ASNJ didn’t have one. Now we do! It is the little things that make all the difference.
It is Nothing but Empty
This week I am speaking empty words. About nothing. Literally. We read and explored Chapter 11 of the Tao Te Ching (link). This chapter ends with “benefit comes from what is there; Usefulness from what is not there.” Read last week’s for more on this (or check out my blog!).
At last week’s class discussion, I recapped how emptiness is experienced in Aikido. But how does one experience emptiness in TCC? While the focus, in aikido, is what is happens around you (“The Dynamic Sphere,” great book) because you are the center. Your center is the center. In TCC the focus is the sphere is inside you, in your center. The sphere is not dynamic, it doesn’t expand and contract but it’s internal and infinitesimally small. When you are pushed, instead of uke’s experience of moving around you, you allow the force to move through your center, down your spine, into your foot and into the ground. Like Tohei’s unbendable arm or when you practice kokyu doza. In TCC, you allow the energy to move through you.
The goal is to have the ground receive uke’s power (rooting). In Aikido, the path to the ground is through the empty space we create around us through our movement. In TCC, the empty space is within us. So, in one practice, we embrace the empty around us, in the other, we find it within. In both, it is the emptiness that causes the attacker to fall.
In order to do this, we relax. To do that, we need to empty our minds. If our minds are racing, obviously, they are filled with thoughts. These thoughts cause an effect to our bodies, our legs bounce up and down, our shoulders are tense, etc. We learn to empty our mind by meditating (have I mentioned the Wednesday night’s class? You knew that was coming). This is where the process begins.
Putting the two together, emptiness around and emptiness within, is what I have spent most of my martial art’s life working on. I understand relaxation is the key and my understanding is what needs to be developed. Once I fully understand emptiness, my body will follow. There are moments now and then, experiences of true nothingness that give me hope (That does sound funny). I will admit I have not found it; I am still working on it. When it happens, I may start floating, or maybe I will just explode. I will let you know, it’s nothing at all.
“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
Bruce Lee (Yes, I actually quoted Bruce Lee)