A couple of years ago, Shihan asked me to paint a sign for the dojo that says “Think”, which is something his Karate teacher, Seikichi Toguchi, often told him (usually accompanied by a thump upside the head). Sensei Ossian told me that I should put “but not too much” below it, for students such as myself, who have a tendency to over-think.

Yesterday in Jiu-Jitsu class when I was practicing a technique with Ray, he remarked that my body knew how to do it, but I was letting my mind get in the way.  This is an issue I’ve struggled with since the beginning of my training, and I believe it’s tied into the difficulty I have with relaxing.  Sometimes my brain convinces my body that it cannot do things which it actually can, or I spend so much time thinking about what I should do that I lose my chance to act.  I think myself into failure.

The good news is that Ray is right.  My body does know more than my brain thinks it does, and when I relax and stop thinking so much, I am much better at Jiu-Jitsu.  I believe I did a pretty good job with that during class yesterday, so I had an easier time understanding everything, but I did have to think about reminding myself to “lead with the hips”.

“Think, let your mind go,
let yourself be free.” -Aretha Franklin

Unfortunately I wasn’t as relaxed when I rolled, but seeing as how I grappled with Ray and Conan, I think that’s somewhat understandable.  Conan and I started from standup, which was nerve-wracking enough, but Captain Judo was also in the building, and I don’t know if he was watching or not, but the thought that he might be made me super nervous!  The Captain did tell me that I was allowed to come to the kid’s Judo class afterward, so I’m not sure what that means (but I’m not going to over-think it ;).

It’s seems as though I have the opposite problem with my brain when I compete.  It shuts off, and I have a hard time thinking at all.  So it’s a good thing that my body knows some stuff!

Think, but not too much.  Mizu no kokoro, mind like water.  

3 comments on “Think

  1. Try singing to yourself while you're rolling. No breath, obviously. But just try it as an experiment, keep your mind on the lyrics and just roll. See what happens.

  2. Wow, that's a great idea! I can't wait to try it. :-)My karate friend Karin has the same over-thinking/not relaxing problem, and Shihan once made her sing a song out loud while doing drills (she sang "Holding out for a Hero") I would die if had to do that, but singing to myself just might work!

  3. It really does work, too. I have a similar problem in kata – I rush when I'm nervous or thinking about a tough transition. Singing helps me forget about the move and just do it – plus, it helps with the timing. (BTW, my nickname in class is "Neo" – after the over-thinking protagonist in "The Matrix." Can't tell youhow many times I hear "Don't think – just do!" per training session, LOL…)

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