Bringing training to daily life

For most people, training is something that happens at the dojo, at the gym, and in the case of martial arts preferably with training partners and wearing a dogi. This is not my view.
I believe training should be part of your entire life, and not be limited to 2-3 hours a week when you step on the mats. A couple of years back, I was interviewing Akuzawa sensei for the magazine Yashima, and when I asked him “so how do you train?”, he simply replied, “oh I don’t really train currently, I don’t have time for training”. I was puzzled, this was totally unexpected as I saw his constant evolution over the years. That did not look like somebody who was not training.

But what he was not saying, was that everything he does in his life is training. And that’s what we should all be looking at: how we can make every single moment of our daily lives an opportunity to train. And now is as good a time as any, as we are all stuck at home with no opportunity to go to the dojo and train with our friends.

Building body awareness

To me, this is one of the most important parts of martial training.
When we do solo exercises such as Maho or Shiko, we are looking at some sort of benchmark or gold standard. That’s what you want your body to be like in a way, it’s teaching your body and your brain how you’re supposed to stand, sit and move. But you only do that a few hours a week, best case scenario.

So now, what you want is to bring everything back to that. If this posture is your gold standard, we can consider it’s a 10. You are not going to be able to keep it all day long, and that’s normal. We are human beings, living and moving, and so we will regularly get into weird postures and shapes. The question becomes then how aware of it we are, and at what stage we realise we are off track.

In a way, this can be compared to mindfulness and meditation. It is never about emptying your mind from any thought, it’s about being able to notice your thoughts as they arrive, let them go, and go back to your breathing. Same goes to the body, it’s ok to go off track and not be at 10 anymore, but when do you realise it? For a lot of people, it might be when they reach 1 or 2, when they are totally twisted, to maybe already on the ground or ready to fall. If you manage to raise your awareness to a point when you pick it up at 7, that’s already a great improvement. I typically don’t believe Akuzawa sensei is always perfect and never makes mistakes, this is simply not possible. But every time he gets off track, he picks it up super fast, so he might go down to 9.9 only. To him this is enough as his sensitivity is way higher than ours, but for people in front of him, it feels like nothing.

Day-to-day activities

Walking is one of the most common human activities, one that we are basically made to do. But are you aware of how you’re doing it?

Same goes for reaching objects, or a door handle typically. How do you go to grab something? Which part of your arm and hand are you using? Chances are you’re doing it on autopilot and don’t even realise it.

I won’t go through all of these in writing as it would be nearly impossible, and for that reason I prepared a video that goes through all that, with hopefully some useful ideas that can help you adjust the way you do things, make you more aware, and allow you to train more without even realising it!


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