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 Post subject: forge your mind
PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 1:04 pm 
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What training do you engage in to build up your ability to remain focused intently for short periods of time or for long periods of time?

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 2:08 pm 
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Thanks Dana for this thread, I will be interested in the responses!

I'm still a baby karateka, but I can say that I currently focus on Sanchin and meditation as a way to hone my focus. Especially after a crazy day, I've found that settling into a few runs of Sanchin help me reach a point of clarity and discard all of the rest. I'm not sure if that makes sense. :wink:

That combined with a breathing seated meditation or a walking meditation (depending on how much excess energy I have) helps me to learn focus and let distractions wash away.

Looking forward to what others may post on this topic (and wishing everyone a GREAT time at Summerfest! being 7 months pregnant means I've prudently decided to stay home this year... :cry:

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 08, 2008 12:10 pm 
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One of my main methods outside of regular karate trainings is seated meditation. I usually sit cross-legged and either focus on my breathing or some kind of brief mantra.

My more active version is bridge/plank training. I hold a plank position and attempt to maintain perfect alignment with as much relaxation as possible while again focusing my mind on my breathing or my center.

I'll often turn off the radio while driving and attempt to bring my full consciousness to driving and only driving. My monkey mind struggles most with that one, wanting to sing songs, focus on tasks undone at home or at work or anything bedsides driving.

I think major steps forward in concentration can be made by focusing all of your attention on the task at hand be it washing dishes, mowing the lawn, walking, or even grocery shopping.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 12:26 am 
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Dana, One of my favorite ways is to find a crowded noisy place and listen in on conversations. One of the best places is our local mall which has some nice places to do this. I'll just pick out a group of two or more people who are out of ear shot, start to focus in and see if you can filter out all the ambient noise. Another way I'll do this is pre-dawn when we have a lot of birds all doing their morning calls and try to focus in on one or two.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:02 pm 
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Good points by all ,a difficult subject .

I remember when both karate ,and meditation was looked upon has very strange ,some wierd eastern nonsense,but these days hardly any one raises a eye brow .

A route to progression was Concentration ,then meditation ,and contemplation .

Max.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:18 pm 
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I have no idea how I developed this ability, but I still practice it via application. I just tell myself "you're going to do this" and then do it no matter what. For example, if I am behind in work, I'll sit down and do a particular project for 8 hours straight without so much as a bathroom break. If you just don't give yourself the option of NOT doing something... I don't know, it works for me.

It has also come in handy when bungee jumping, fighting, skiing, etc. Doing things that I would be "stupid" to do. :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:49 pm 
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A routine I've been doing for a while, seems to work for me better than other things I've experimented with, at least for where I am right now.

Morning, standing meditation. Feet together, palms together in front of heart. 36 breaths, then sun salute exercise, 3 cycles of 36 breaths/sun salute. Ending with standing for 108 breaths.

afternoon, sitting cross-legged hands in lap, set alarm for 30 min. count breaths from 1 to 10, repeat.

Bedtime, lying on back hands palm down at sides, silent mantra, on exhalation "om", then "ah" then "hum", repeat.

I usually spend a little while day and night just sitting outside feeling the wind, temperature, looking at the grass, trees, sky, noticing how different parts of my body feel, tensing and relaxing. Watching bugs and birds, listening to the sounds around me.

I also like to listen to and play music on the guitar and sing. I think this was my first experience in something like meditation, before I knew what meditation was.

Running or jump rope/heavy bag rounds for a half hour or more are also good ones.


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 Post subject: Re: forge your mind
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:33 pm 
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Dana Sheets wrote:
What training do you engage in to build up your ability to remain focused intently for short periods of time or for long periods of time?


Having a little fat man close the distance and knock my block off.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 9:35 pm 
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Location: worcester, ma
one way i learned how to meditate was to sit with eyes closed and imagine a tiger in front of you , a big scary tiger, he is ready to pounce at you but is waiting for you to lose you concentration even if just for a mili-second. if you lose it your lunch meat.
an other way for me is to imagine myself with sword in hand faced off against an opponent. the person who loses his consentration is dead. i can actually feel my body energy pressing forward and waiting like a spring for his "flinch" so i can attack. then again you could do this in real time like a sparring drill.

steve


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:22 pm 
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Steve, I love the concept of the tiger, what a great way to encourage focus and imagery!

FWIW, I wanted to share this from an article in ODE magazine about silence...which I thought relevant to the topic at hand:

below is quote of author talking about meditation and how hard it was for him 20 yrs ago...I really like his concept of the eye of the storm..sorta like life sometimes...

Quote:
Back then, try as I might, I couldn't settle my mind. Now, I know it's nearly impossible- - and I know it isn't necessary. The mind settles by itself if there's someone willing to listen. As soon as all those voices in your head are truly heard, they stop yammering. That's simply how voices are. It works the same with us: as long as we have the feeling that no one has heard us, we keep repeating ourselves until someone listens.
Meditation is another word for listening. The word "meditation" literally comes from two Latin words: medio, which means "centre", and sto, "to stand." So meditation means "to stand in the centre." When you're at the centre of your own realm of thought, you're in the eye of the storm - - the only place of calm. It's an accomplishment to get there and stay there. It's the accomplishment of not being carried away by the storm of emotions, images, desires, judgements, thoughts, habits.
If you can stand in the eye of the storm and observe all those voices from a distance, you can give them your full attention - - with no fear of losing yourself. If all the voices (yours and those of others) are allowed, life istelf will flow through you.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:27 am 
This may not be where this thread was headed because this is not the meditation we do but we have a drill to forge the mind called Ignore the Pain.

The concept is that when you protect yourself nothing can stop you from doing what you have to do the least of which should be pain.

Training is different because pain indicates injury and should be dealt with.

But some how we need to train our minds to function despite pain. A small piece of the warrior’s mind.

The drill is very simple. I think many have done a Sanchin stepping drill where a person places a fist against their abdomen and they have to step across the dojo as their partner presses on the fist providing pressure. When you get to the other side it is your partner’s turn.

This is done exactly like that but instead of a fist you will do things like place shoken fists into their upper chest or solar plexus and they must walk through that digging pain.

Thumbs under collar bone.

Thumbs digging into the side of your neck.

Sticks are great because you can dig the butt ends into many parts to create that pain they must ignore.

Anything that they have to press through to walk that hurts is great – be creative and work on those pressure points.

BUT don’t be stupid and place anywhere that will break or go beyond the person’s ability.

We want pain but never injury.

When a person first begins their spirit is hot and they grunt and press through it with faces twisted but determined.

After time the intent cools but remains firm. The mind learns how to simply be indifferent to the pain and step calmly forward with no expression on the face.

It is simply something you have to do and the pain is immaterial to accomplishing that goal.

Perhaps not for everyone but it certainly forges the mind for one piece of the self protection puzzle.


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 Post subject: Re: forge your mind
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:08 am 
Dana Sheets wrote:
What training do you engage in to build up your ability to remain focused intently for short periods of time or for long periods of time?


I hunt.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 4:23 am 
I apply concentration to my trade , my routine , my training , I aim to improve almost every time I conciously do something .

it takes comcentration , it`s about forming habits , being aware of the now and invested in it .

many folks go to karate and go through the moves an never try to internalise/concentrate on them , you can do this with almost anything .


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:09 am 
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Location: London, Ontario
Hi All,

Nice thread, great responses - thank you.

My two cents: standing meditation now - and on and off for the past 21 years. For my generation's BB test David had us stand for nearly an hour in front of the test board. Tough stuff, but worthwhile.

I am reminded of being an apprentice in an old-school pipe organ shop - my job was to drill holes in the various layers of the wind chest prior to assembly - before CNC.

This probably won't mean much to anyone one here, but it meant having to accurately drill literally thousands of holes of different diameter by hand through a variety of different materials so that, once the instrument was complete a finger depressing a key would allow wind to pass through the correct chamber at the correct rate and enter the pipe to make a note.

Ultimately to make music.

If one hole was incorrect the instrument would not play properly and you wouldn't know untill it was already assembled -- a thousand hours later.

It was gruelling - just like the standing meditation, but perhaps it worked to forge my mind because now neither seems that difficult!

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:11 am 
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After thought - indeed, standing meditation is pure pleasure now!

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