Three Way Out and Bizarre Zen Martial Arts Concepts

Three Way Out and Bizarre Zen Martial Arts Concepts

There was always plenty of punching and kicking, I spent hours and hours punching and kicking, doing kumite and kata and techniques and anything else I could. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of stuff telling me about the deep, down why. And, I don’t mean just why kick or punch, but a why to the whole zen martial arts behind it all.

Now, to be truthful, the question was sort of wrong in its root. If you ask a person why, he’ll go insane, if you ask him how, he’ll go sane. Go on, try asking these questions and watch what happens to people.

Anyway, I read everything I could, couldn’t figure out what was under it all, and then, magic, I found the answer. I found it in an Aikido class, not in a book. The answer was, ‘A perfect circle has no corners.’

Well, of course. And I practiced shoulder rolls, forward backward, back and forth across the mat, and I reveled in the basic truthfulness of this simple saying. But even while I rejoiced at this simple answer, I was forging variations of much interest.

In Karate there is noise. We talk about moving quick and silent like a cat, but the truth is that we are noisy. And, it struck me, ‘The perfect art can’t be heard.’

Now I practiced moving like a real cat, yet sinking the weight in every move. My kata, especially the kiai (spirit shout), became totally different. I understood what it was like to do a form like a ghost.

And then the third of these concepts unfolded for me. This happened in Tai Chi Chuan, but it permeated through all the arts. And the truth was, ‘The perfect art cannot be seen.’

Three simple sayings, yet they impacted upon me, and change the face, and the very depths, of all my martial arts. I sought perfection through the smooth liquid of motion, the silent ghosting of movement, and the execution of technique without effort. Go on, try enacting these three phrases, and watch how you tune into a more zen martial arts.

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