Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Meditation, Martial Arts and... Scooters?

I recently taught a seminar the Jiu-jitsu BC Society's annual intensive training camp. The theme of the camp was the mental and spiritual aspects of Jiu-jitsu. Most of the training in Jiu-jitsu is focused on practical application, but I find that even still the art has does have a mental and spiritual undertone that is picked up by students the longer they train. We don't usually discuss it directly in class however. I took this teaching opportunity as a challenge, to directly address an aspect of mental and spiritual focus that has direct applications in Jiu-jitsu. The seminar topic I chose was 'Meditation Posture and Breathing as Applied to Jiu-jitsu Techniques.'

The straight-backed posture and deep breathing of meditation improves Jiu-jitsu technique application in a variety of ways. I've discussed these on my Jiu-jitsu website's September newsletter. The biggest problem I find in teaching people to develop this posture for Jiu-jitsu is that people in general have very poor posture. Even if they do try their best to maintain posture while training, the habits they develop while sitting at work, driving in their car, eating meals, watching TV, etc. will always creep in.

I try to encourage students to try meditating for 20 minutes a day (I practice the Zen style). This is a good start because it is a time when you can focus entirely on developing that posture, in addition to achieving various health benefits.

Trying to use meditation posture while driving, is trickier since modern vehicles are designed to allow you to relax back while you drive, making it easier to stay in a slouched position. A great alternative to the car for this is the scooter. I bought a scooter several months ago and I found that while riding my scooter, it's very easy to maintain meditation posture. Additionally, because I am much more vulnerable in an accident on a scooter, I develop my awareness of surroundings every time I ride. Meditation breathing helps with this. It also helps prevent road rage when drivers cut me off!

There are many ways you can apply meditation posture and breathing in your day to day life. The more you do it, the less you have to THINK about applying it to your Jiu-jitsu because you make it your natural state. This is the perfect remedy for people who say they find they don't have to train, since it allows to improve your Jiu-jitsu no matter what you're doing.

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