I know, I know… the ladies have lived in utter despair, transcending their normal pain from the fact that I have taken, due to the lack of my shining presence.
Fear not! For I have returned, with more wisdom and insight.
Well, rather, with thoughts on my own, personal journey as a martial artist.
My assignment, apparently, has been to increase my mudo. As well I should. As a hobbit, rather than a Celt, a warrior spirit does not come naturally to me.
Not naturally. But it can be found. Darren Levine, the main man for Krav Maga in the U.S. says…
If you think you’re not the aggressive type, you’re wrong. We can say that without even meeting you. Everyone has some aggressiveness in them. Maybe you can’t rouse yourself to defend yourself. Then imagine your daughter, son, or mother being attacked. Imagine what might happen to someone you live if you do not stop the assailant. Fight for yourself. Fight for someone else. But whatever you do, fight.
Thing is, aggression is not, for me, the first step…
The first step is what I call Spock mode.
See, I studied with a Krav Maga club for a couple of months, before it broke up. One of the basic Krav exercises is the 360 defense, which is similar in nature to Haidong’s 10-step partnered sparring drill, albeit less structured. (In point of fact, if I say something in Krav is similar to something somewhere else, you can nearly always safely add “albeit less structured.”)
I discovered in this training a sort of mental state where I let thoughts pass by unattended. My attention was on the here and now around me, and it was a lot like not thinking at all.
Except I wasn’t not thinking. I was observing data, collating it, and reacting to it. I simply wasn’t extrapolating it into a larger cognitive structure that would permit me to modify or undergird my fundamental understanding of the nature of reality. In terms of the Myers-Briggs interpretation of the Jungian function stack, I eschewed my primary function, Ti (introverted thinking) for my secondary function, Ne (extroverted intuition).
Point is, Spock mode is allowed me to 1) relax, and 2) respond effectively to attacks.
Now, I think. And when I think and when I try to get things right, I get tense, tight, slow, and frustrated. In Spock Mode, I am actually able to attend to specific details (like cut angle and footwork) without getting tense, tight, slow, and frustrated. It’s like I’m simultaneously thinking and not thinking, as it were.
And Spock Mode was so effective in Krav that I taught myself to summon it on command while doing the 360.
I would take a breath, and there it would be.
I would always, always get hit at the same time as I was calling up Spock Mode. In Krav, I thought of it this way: it is better to get hit once and then be able to defend, than to simply get hit over and over and over again.
In swordsmanship, getting hit once is pretty much always fatal, so this is not an acceptable technique.
But, thing is, I never really experienced Spock Mode in Haidong. Not until halfway through the last grueling gibongdongcha at Seminar. Anger became despair, despair became apathy, apathy became Spock Mode, and suddenly I was rocking at sucking at gibongdongcha.
The real breakdown came when Master Gimp ran the Northwind crew through a sparring drill. Suddenly, I rediscovered my ability to summon Spock Mode at will. When Master Gimp talks about me finding some awesome mudo, that’s what it was. I wasn’t being aggressive. I was flowing into the next logical action in the disinterested state of Spock Mode.
So I really think it is Spock Mode, not the need to defend my friends and family, that will sit at the base of my mudo. Perhaps I will later find a way to claim and focus and use aggression from this state of bringing my secondary jungian function to the fore, (heh).
Perhaps in a state of disinterested external analysis, I shall be able to hold righteous wrath at arms length and direct it towards my foe.
Kind of like a sword.
Okay, maybe more like the heart is the sword of the mind? Meh. I’ll figure something out.