The idea for this rambling came from seeing one of my college Taekwondo students wearing a pair of Sock Monkey slippers… in Minnesota… in December. When he saw me notice them, all he said…with a grin… was that the chicks love them.
My comment was that wearing them is great…even in the Winter…as long as he’s thought about the consequences if “something” happened. Is he prepared to have cold, wet feet if… someone bumped into him and he stepped in a snowbank, he had to defend himself and they came off, if the girl of his dreams asked for them?
This lead to a discussion about personal protection and self defense…and the difference. One of my regular reads is Lise Steenerson’s Facebook Group “Life Assurance: Beyond self defense. She has many great insights on training and preparing. In fact, her material is so well done, I wish I had enough time to truly train with her and her people. She follows the concept that personal protection is what you do BEFORE you end up in trouble and self defense is when things have gone wrong.
I, too, agree with this. Seidokan Aikido founder, Roderick Kobayashi-sensei, opened my eyes to this in a story about the evolution of Aikido from techniques that end a life to those that protect life. During this evolution, Koichi Tohei-sensei developed the concept of Coordinating Mind & Body and applied this to his techniques. Kobayashi-sensei wanted to develop this further and worked toward application in everyday life.
This is where the discussion with my student went. If you are paying attention to everything that you are doing, then you are practicing personal protection. Understanding that the shoes you wear can affect everything that you do, not just the interview/meeting/date that you’re going to, can affect how you present yourself. One small part can be the satisfaction of knowing how many car accidents were avoided because you were aware of those around you…like the car on the highway entry ramp who doesn’t look until they’re moving into the lane?
There are so many things that you choose to do during a single day that you may not even recognize any longer. Some of them are now habit. How many times have you hit the same pothole on your drive home? When will you remember it and move over six inches?
It happens that one of my students, Jennifer Griffin-Wiesner, has a blog JOTV today that wonders about finding contentment. I think that we get so caught up in looking further ahead that we don’t see the “here and now”. Frank Guldbrandsen-sensei, my Aikido teacher from UMD, once commented about “present centered awareness”. This is the idea that you are right here, right now doing exactly this. His illustration was that of a dog chewing a bone. the dog isn’t thinking about what time his next walk will be, if his bowls are full or when you’re coming home. He is ONLY chewing the bone.
It ends up getting so bad that we make laws to be only doing one thing (think driving & texting?). So, do you have your bone for right now? Enjoy doing what you are doing right now.
Author: Master Robert Frankovich
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