Monday, December 19, 2011

What's Most Important...

I had a client come in. Wanted to learn martial arts to help her with her anxiety. She performs classical music and the amount of stress and pressure of performing and auditioning and competing at a high level were wearing on her and she felt martial arts would help her fight this, along with helping her learn to protect herself, and work out some inner rage.

She told me she felt she needed a hardcore teacher. A bad ass who was in her face screaming. That's what she needed. Tough love. I asked her why she felt this way? She said her teachers tell her that's what she needs, that's already what she's used to, and its the only way to get good performances out of her. I saw where all this anxiety was now coming from. I told her that's not the type of coach I was, and that's not what she needed.

I handed her a stick. I told her to hold on to it. Then I tried to rip it out of her hand aggressively. Every time I did, she braced and clenched. Even when I pretended to grab it, and feinted, she still clenched. When I came at her slowly, more politely, more respectfully, she relaxed and allowed me to move her around with the stick. I told her when people come at her this hard way, that's her natural reaction. Freeze, clench, stress, and react also aggressively. When I came at her respectfully and controlled, she allowed me to move her, we created a mutual bond of trust. I told her then that people will come at her in life this way, but she is also coming at herself this way as well, she is coming at herself without respect, impolitely, aggressively. She needed to be easier on herself.

I asked her what's the most important thing she needs to learn from martial arts? What's the first thing she needs to learn? What does she need to get out of today?

She gave me varied answers. From relaxation and breathing, to learning how to kick and punch or defend a grab.

I told her all those things were important, but to me the most important thing is learning how to get up.

I told her to lie on the ground, and asked her if she knew how to get up without having someone kick her in the face? She realized she had no idea. The simplest thing, the thing taken most for granted.

I then demonstrated a way to get up without taking any damage.

I asked if she knew what I just showed her? She said I showed her how to get up.

I said no, I showed you how to rise against duress. Duress of any kind. Physical or mental or situational.

Martial arts to me is all about being able to get up, rise to the occasion, or keep picking yourself back up, against any stress, pressure, or attack. Whether it be mental, physical, emotional, financial, spiritual.

I told her she would perform as she trained. If I screamed at her, she would just be good at taking orders. cog on a ship. Not the captain of the ship. It's not about taking orders, its about mastering yourself. To master yourself, you need to learn to rise against any adversity.

Get up.

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