Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Challenge: 21.00-21.50

I'm reporting half an hour this morning when I really should report more due to all the time I haven't reported in the past month.  Taking another month off karate :-( And I made a shocking revelation...

I've been reading this book - The Power of Habit by Charles Duhig.  A lot of the book is stuff I knew intuitively and through school - the vast majority of the surface activities that people do are habits of one form or another. We generally give a lot of praise and blame to people for actions and decisions that weren't the product of conscious, deliberative thought.  Most of what we do is conditioning based on certain stimuli and with an intended outcome.

If I can be said to have a habit, my one habit is to consciously intellectualize the world around me.  When someone yells at me, I don't get defensive.  The first thing through my head is: why are they really yelling?  What is the context, the subtext?  Someone else's habit might be to retaliate, or get defensive.  Mine is to think, even when the most prudent thing would be to act.

Because my one habit is to over-analyse, I have a very difficult time maintaining actual habits.  Whereas someone else might be met with a stimulus - a commercial break during a television show - and condition themselves to do something - do 10 pushups - my inexorable mind is always questioning my responses.  Shouldn't I do different pushups?  How many would be best?  Maybe I should do some situps?  After a while of this endless self-questioning, the fledgling habit usual falls by the wayside.

My work ethic has always been one about results rather than routine.  Throughout school, I've always had an ability to get to the destination, but never with a consistent method of getting there.  If I studied at one library on a certain day for test A, I could never repeat the pattern for test B.  My restless mind would wander about looking for some structure to my efforts before settling on one and making the most of it before the deadline.

Real life however, has no deadlines.  There is no set date by which you should be financially secure, act responsibly, be a good person, a good father.  Without deadlines, my restless meandering has devolved into full-blown aimless wandering.

In the book, Duhigg discusses this notion of a 'keystone habit'.  I prefer 'rosetta stone' so that's what I'll be using.  The idea is that certain habits have such a profound effect on a person or entity that any committment to the habit would necessitate committed execution of other satellite habits.  Without doing these satellite habits the rosetta stone habit could not be done.  And I think I've found mine.

I think my Rosetta stone habit is reporting.  If I could actually come to expect the act of chronicling what I do, and eventually come to like the act of writing down what I do, it would become more urgent for me to do what I know that I should.  The consistent need to do one act - logging my actions - would lead to a persistent need to do the things that need logging.

I have to start building the writing habit, both for myself and for publication.  I have to feel strange not writing something down.  And then, when writing, I'll feel strange not having done something worth writing.  And that strange feeling, the longing, the expectation of something absent - is what I need the most.


Notes from Seisan:  There is a tension generated from the rear leg front kick that can be used to power the Gyaku-zuki from the hiki-ashi.  The feeling is one of a rooted Superman punch.  In the superman punch, you punch as the same side leg kicks back.  Shifting your pelvis forward during a rear leg mae geri creates a left right tension in the body, a coiled feeling.  You simply release the coil by pulling back the leg and driving the punch as the heel plant.  It also feels a little like Ouchi-gari.

Training notes: practice uke against a post.  It allows you to develop the blocks in association with sabaki and stances.  It is important to feel resistance against the forearm on the target zones, to feel where the lines intersect, where tangents are made between lines and curves of force.  Stay close to the post, stay as close as possible.  Push-up/fall-down against the post when doing age-uke, toboku ho, fall against the weight.  When doing jodan-age uke, you should feel yourself pushing up against an arm as you fall into your opponent - falling and rising at the same time.

Toboku-ho: a side kick to the back of the leg should be a strike in training.  In reality, it should be an unstable movement, falling into the joint.

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