I think that when people were talking about "Mushin" or the Calm, "Be Relaxed" or whatever you want to call it, they were talking about a BLEND of being Aggressive, yet not OUT OF FOCUS.
It's hard for me to explain, but I know that in those moments where I have done well in fights or confrontations, and when I avoided being crippled by a Jeep, I WAS RELAXED, yet it was not in a passive, blase' sense, it was sort of an active, super-accelerated, yet seeming slow, type of deal.
If there is a Mushin, it would be the ability to handle with some sense of judgement, your fear and rage, yet drawing on them to propel you forward.
I don't think this can really be taught. I know I personally have gone from shaking the first time I even HELD a gun to fire it to now being able to NOT rip a guy's head off, yet not standing there and saying "Buddha bless you" like the dude in "Killer Priest". My personal best feat, besides avoiding the Jeep in a kima shuffle stance that then switched to a boxing stance, was the time I did a jump flying 360 degree spin kick in a fit of rage and knocked a thick branch off of a tree after arguing with an ex. I didn't even think about it, I have tried to do it later and I still can't, but I know that I scared the crap out of a dude who was watching me! And out of myself.
You can call me in denial, that is fine. I know there is a certain calmness within the storm, but I don't think it can be achieved by wearing beads and holding hands or by constantly banging on other people. I don't know if it's inborn, or just luck. Frankly, I wish I could pull it off at WILL, but I'm glad it's been there to save me when I really needed it. Perhaps meditation is the way to go, but face it, how many instructors and us assistant instructors (alas I have joined the ranks of people passing on the b.s., I must tow the line and drill kicks instead of really talking to the kids as well, since I am NOT the one in charge) KNOW about mindset, or really sit down and talk to the students. When was the last time you heard someone in a class talk about being afraid, or being angry, or telling people they might choke, and that it is okay to feel those things. The only child I tell that stuff to is my son!
I think Van's warnings and advice could be passed on if WE stopped fussing over how many forms we have to learn and teach and ALSO tell people what it feels like when you've been kicking and kicking this dude and he won't go down, or the blackeye that would have made you stop sparring in class, suddenly is not even felt in a confrontation. How about telling them that the one kick or punch that they haven't done in YEARS may be the move to save them while their favored techniques may only be used as a setup, if at all. When was the last time you pulled aside a junior student who had more street fighting experience than you do and asked him about his stories so that you could learn from him as well? When was the last time you heard an upper degree black belt admit they have never been in a real fight?
Nobody ever tries to figure out what makes some people be able to hold technique under stress and other people fall apart. Nobody ever talks about how is it that 2nd gups may still be fighting like a fifth grader on the playground, yet a 4th gup on again off again student may be able to go toe to toe with a black belt in a full contact match.
I'll stop ranting now,
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