Sticky Hands and Mindset:
I think most people know what sticky hands is or have some version they use. I'll explain the four levels that David Sensei uses.
1) Partners stand facing each other in a neutral stance (and remain in that stance). They touch wrists. They move their arms, hands and body trying to maintain contact (it is not required that you must have one wrist on the outside and another on the inside. It is good to start that way, but it should flow and shift.). At some point, one of the partners will try to touch or open hand strike the other. You may use hands and body movement to avoid being struck. Strikes, or touches, to the face can be allowed if control is used.
You must remain relaxed and try to feel what is happening. The training is often referred to as sensitivity training.
2) Same idea as above only now the partners are in Sanchin, and stay in the same stance.
3) Same again, only now the partners can move around.
4) Same as number four only now it is with eyes shut.
The idea is to gain sensitivity and learn movement etc.
So where does mindset come in?
We had not worked on this for some time (too many others things to train). Last night I had my students working on it. Now some of my students are talented and can do some things better than I can, but last night there wasn't much of a challenge. I was striking at will and forcing them at every turn.
On occasion I can be a little slow, so it took me until about level three to figure out just what was making the difference so dramatic. For the most part they were staying pretty relaxed and seemed to be doing things right.
What my students were trying to do was feel the attack and defeat the attack. That is what they were concentrating on. I, on the other hand, was thinking solely of striking. I assumed I would feel an attack and deal with it, so I was concentrating on positioning for the strike.
To sum it up I WAS THINKING ABOUT HOW TO WIN, and they were THINKING OF HOW NOT TO LOSE.
There was a big difference. Now, I am not referring to an EGO win/lose here. We learn more from our errors most of the time. What I am referring to is the fact that because I was concentrating on attack and not defence I was successful, while they concentrated on defence, they lost.
This is the mindset I have been trying to get across to them - you never defend, you only attack. Even if the aggressor throws the first strike you are the attacker. If you concentrate on defence you will lose.
Try an experiment, using level one - have one person like solely on defence and the other on attack. Watch the hands! What I believe you will see is the attacker's hands will begin to move closer to the defensive person. The defensive person will allow their hands to come closer to themselves.
The result is that the attacker now has an advantage in that he has to move very little to strike while the defender now has to move a great deal. This "try not to lose" mindset allows the attacker to get better position because they are the initiators. So, by trying only to not lose, YOU WILL.
The other thing I found is that if I maintained a defensive attitude they could stay relaxed very easily, however, once I changed mindset to attack, they could feel it and tensed up. AND THIS IS ONLY STICKY HANDS.
It was interesting to see it all come out in sticky hands. Once I pointed it out to them I could feel the energy change, and they reached up to a new level. (Of course I then also had to more up to another level - did I say I didn't have an ego?)