Going Back to Move Forward

SystemaAnother session with David and Rick Merrell. Another day of brilliant training. The 2 sentences have been fitting perfectly for over 6 years now.

Yesterday, a group of 16 had the honor of training with the very best in Florida, if not the whole country. Despite the rain and humidity, we enthusiastically covered basics, footwork, rotation and other invaluable concepts.

Those last 2 words are the difference that makes the difference. Others talk concepts and teach technique. David and Rick talk concepts, talk concepts and practice concepts. It is much more difficult, to put it mildly, that demonstrating a technique and having students try to repeat it. Aside from the physical aspects, one has to deal with the concept known in Japanese as “mushin” or no-mind.

It does not mean “not thinking” but rather to simply be still, quiet and react to what you opponent is doing. This is 180 degree opposite of technique whereby both physically and mentally, a person is “locked” into a specific sequence of movements, regardless of the actions of their opponent.

The other aspect that I was reminded of what Progress actually means to me. I always thought of progress as uni-directional; that is, progress was always forward moving. If I was making progress, I was moving forward or vice-versa.

However, yesterday showed me that sometimes, by going backwards, making adjustments, fine tuning and re-re-re-learning, I can make progress. In other words, I can make progress by going backwards. I can move forward by going back.

Overall, as always, it was simply the best.

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