Martial arts came into being because of a need to stay safe when the pressure is on. Some of the old school techniques came about as solutions to some very serious problems one could face when in danger. Many things happen to us when under pressure that would not happen in a dojo. So when looking at these techniques, we need to first study the context they were used in. One of the unique qualities about being human is individual expression. When we start out in martial arts, we copy step-by-step what the teacher is doing. Then later we start to explore the martial arts. One day if you’re lucky, you will be able to create art with your martial art. But this can take many decades. When training in martial arts, it is very important to look at each technique and method as a stepping-stone on the path. But it is also very important to remember to work on those techniques over and over again. Because as you grow, your understanding of those techniques will deepen and there will be new lessons to learn from them each time.
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I was working on kenjutsu last week and was moving with my training partner changing kamae (position based on what my spirit is sensing in relation to a changing environment). This requires the mind and body to stay sharp, because if your mind floats for one moment you could be in over your head. A good starting place on how not to get in over your head is “Stay in the moment, not before or after.”