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Friday, February 06, 2009

My Lessons With The Masters--Really Deep Stuff!

Here is some really deep stuff (and my interpretations of it) from my last couple months of training with John.

Incidentally, the reason why I have a lot more training tips on the blog from e.g. Lt. Col. Al than from John is that a greater percentage of John's training is completely subliminal and personal. Whatever John may be saying at the moment, most of the time the real lesson that he's teaching directly to your subconscious is contained in the contact, pressure and movement his body is giving you. Most of the time, you're not consciously aware of what your body and subconscious mind are being taught . . . but the improvement is evident when you subsequently work with other people.

--"New/old" exercise: flowing with the big foam cylinder. In John's youth, the ancestor to this drill was "fighting over a log." Using the big foam cylinder with a bit less "bad intention" makes for a more subtle drill that brings out very interesting feelings and movement. Through doing this drill with John, I had an "epiphany" regarding the CONSTANT rolling movement, NO STOPPING me or him, no seizing or muscling, just letting the cylinder roll and adjust. I must try to bring that same feeling to regular contact flow.

--More wet dishrag = more mushin. During contact flow with another student, John told me to feel more like a "wet dishrag". This allowed me to better release my looseness from the interference of conscious control. Rather than focusing on what was going on between me and my training partner, John's admonition made me focus more on my general internal feelings of looseness and heaviness (balance), disregarding (consciously) the actual movements, and hence making me far more dangerous.

--Balance can be in only one angle at a time. But if you keep it constantly moving and readjusting, it becomes difficult for your training partner or enemy to get a fix on it. Hence, the root that can't be found.

--Loosness can be in only one place at a time. If you loosen a part of your body, another part of your body must solidify. For example, if I loosen and pocket one side of my ribcage, the other side solidifies and is vulnerable. Therefore, I can't commit to or let my conscious focus go to a single loosening, but I must keep moving and flowing, loosening in any particular place only briefly with as little motion as is necessary, more trampoline-like than modeling clay-like.

--John makes me think/feel that something is coming in one place, which makes me loosen to absorb in that place, thereby solidifying in another place, which he then hits.

--I must have the PATIENCE to "ride" my training partner and feel where he's off-balancing himself and take advantage, rather than trying to force the issue and use muscular effort to disrupt his balance where it is strong.

--Natural athletes can pick stuff up quickly and "do" it (i.e.mimic kinds of motion), and can force things to happen through their superior athleticism (speed/strength/mass/coordination). We "non-naturals" (e.g. John, me) must understand the depth of the principles through experience, and be completely mushin, as we can't force anything to happen. Of course, the better we train the "naturals" to be like us (combining their natural attributes with deep understanding of the principles through experience), the better it forces us to become.

--Mushin, like most things, is present in degrees. It's not an all-or-nothing idea. You can have more or less conscious interference without being completely "no-mind" or completely "paralyzed by conscious analysis." Of course, all other things being equal, the "more Mushin" person has the advantage.

--The "Mind Like Water" analogy imagines the perceiving mind as a perfectly still, placid pond, perfectly reflecting the moon. The "moon" is REALITY, the reflection is the mind's perception of reality. Roil the waters with thought, emotion, etc., and the reflection gets distorted. The more roiled, the more distorted and distant from reality the perception becomes. Emotional attachment must be jettisoned. The opposite of hate is not love, but indifference--lack of any emotional attachment to the person or object. Love and hate of the enemy as well as love and hate of the self must not disturb the pond, or else you will not be able to accurately perceive and flow with reality.

Big shout-out to Bill in San Diego, and Marlon and Marc in Florida. They made the time and effort to get "hands-on" experience with Guided Chaos while I was visiting their towns, as I announced on the GC Forum. They've promised to post some impressions on the forum. I know that Bill has already gotten the opportunity to successfully apply the few hours of training he got (not to a life-and-death situation, but still, it clicked!). Also, shout-outs to Mike in L.A. and Evan and John in OH and KY. They got in touch with me and tried to hook up for training, but scheduling/circumstances prevented it. Hopefully soon guys! Props for making the effort. Good example for the other "fans" out there. Remember, reading/talking about GC/combat will not help you much. Training on your own is the critical first step. Getting instructor contact, either where you live or in NY, will multiply the benefits of your solo/group training exponentially. Just ask Bill, Marlon and Marc, or for that matter, Bob Miller in the Northwest and Ken Freeman in Chicago.

The new year is already one-twefth gone. Get on it!!!

1 comment:

  1. Had the pleasure of meeting Ari for the first time this past Febuary. And what an interesting learning experience it has been. As someone immersed in the more "soft" esoteric arts for 17 years, wondering why he is still at square one, did not pass go, nor collect $200 after all my training, Ari gave me quite a wake up call. First, there is no magic pill. Second, If I stand in one posture for ten years pretending to hug a tree I will not become invincible. Third, if I spend all day walking in a circle,well...I will be walking in a circle. Fourth, I cannot make my opponent's internal organs explode with just my chi or intent. Fifth, and here is where it gets really sickening, you actually have to develop motor skills! You know...those things like balance, timing, sensitivity, body unity and softness. Jeez! And then you have this contraption called a nervous system to deal with! I just wanted to sit and meditate all day on a mountaintop,do snake creeps up my leg tai chi, become one with the universe, and come down after 15 years and be unbeatable. Wrong! Actually what I was hoping to get from Ari was simply how to go beserk and destroy my attacker without even caring what he did. Drills? I didnt want any stinkin drills!!!

    What I did get from Ari after our first semi-private class together was a very gentle patient man who answered all of my questions with the precision of a surgeon. The second class what I got was...well, another Ari! He never let me stop moving and would only allow me to ask anything if I was in motion. Or is it mushin. And I admit that he was able to give me a good workout without exhausting an old man of 50 like myself. Ari allowed me to experience how not thinking makes you a much better fighter than if you are thinking.He also taught me as best he could in the short time we were together to always keep contact with your opponent while simultaniously showing me where all the holes in my defenses were! Backflips and rolling away from blows as I would have preferred werent allowed. Ari said one thing in particular that will stay with me always. He said "When you move any part of your body, every single part of your body moves as well." I'd love to train with Ari every week. Now if I can just figure out how to drive from Florida to Ari's house in under 3 hours. Hmmm.... Thanks again, Ari. It was very enjoyable. Marc