I have the honor and the privilege of being a student of the Shoshin Ryu School of martial arts. I’ve recently returned from the annual Nationals conference, this year in Boise, Idaho, where students and sensei from the dojo all over the country gather for 4 days of intense training. It’s so inspiring and I always return with so much to reflect on.
One of the lessons, from Curry Sensei of the Alaska Dojo was “Eliminating Chosa” which was about refining your movements to remove wasted effort. It reminded me that efficiency is useful regardless of the application. In martial arts, conserving your energy by eliminating chosa can provide you with the extra burst you need to win a fight or escape an attacker. Throughout your day, how many times do you switch tasks, right in the middle, because something else called your attention? Switching between tasks greatly increases the time it takes to complete any task and also decreases the quality of your output, just like wasted movement in martial arts. Perhaps in your work day, the consequences aren’t as dire, but you still need more effort and get less done.
Another lesson was from Soucy Sensei of the Connecticut Dojo and he reminded us that if you understand the way that your joints and limbs move, where they are strong and where they are weak, you can control them and use that control to gain the advantage in a match or a self-defense situation. I believe his words were, “control or be controlled.” This is so true not only in martial arts, but it also reminded me of the value of controlling your attention. There are so many things competing for our attention, trying to take our attention from us, that if we don’t exert control, we are at risk of spending all of our time just blowing in the wind of reaction, too infrequently being purposeful and making choices about how we spend our time (more on that here). Just like in martial arts, if you can only react and defend, you can never take control of the situation.
Nationals reminded me that my practice with Shoshin Ryu is not only about sport or self-defense, but also about personal growth and discipline…an exercise for the mind and spirit as well as for the body. I am so grateful to all the Shoshin Ryu teachers and students for allowing me to participate and helping me to advance my art.
Thank you for reading!