Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Monday, December 19, 2005

Current Training, etc.

My training is starting to come along again. I got over the psychological hurdle of thinking that I had to accomplish x number of things all in one session. I've found that I can break things up to fit into whatever time is available, and as a result, I'm not only covering more ground, I'm starting to get some depth in my practice again.

The sort of obstacles I'm referring to are ideas about having perfect conditions in which to train, or just forgetting it. Just like there's never a perfect time for a crisis, there's (almost) never a perfect time to train. If you wait until conditions are perfect, chances are you'll keep waiting.

I'm still missing some opportunities, but I know what they are and why. Again, it's a matter of letting my thinking change a little more, and I'll take more advantage of them.

In fact, I'm getting more done of what I've wanted to get to all around, including reading, and my study of the Japanese language. I'm still doing a good job of giving due attention to my family and job; maybe even a better job. This seems to be the hardest thing to due, and yet it's the simplest, really.

The root of it all has been really digging my teeth back into the standing practice again. The most fundamental lesson of the standing practice is to learn to relax. Relaxing is more than what you think; we habitually carry with us what the Reichian psychologist would call "character armor." The standing practice can be an effective way of loosening up the character armor, and over time begin to remove chunks of it.

The character armor distorts our perception of the world around us (giving us bad data as input), and corrupts our response to it.

There is a free eBook on the standing practice, Zhan Zhuang, which can be downloaded from or you could click on "YiQuan" over on the link list at the right side of this page.

We had some Japanese visitors to the office last week, and I was able to keep up my end of admittedly simple conversations, but I was doing it. Also, on receiving their business cards, I was able to read more of the Japanese side than I ever have, including being able to make out the kanji for their family names.

Current reading is - Nothing Special: Living Zen by Charlotte Joko Beck

I rank her right up there with Shunryu Suzuki and Brad Warner as a Zen priest who can write about the subject in a way that the reader can really sense of the subject which is after all, more experential than intellectual.


shyloh's poetry said...

OHMYGOD, If I did that I would never be able to stand up straight again. OUCH haha.

The best to you and yours always, Happy Holidays!!!

Rick Matz said...

(that's not me in the picture)

Anonymous said...

Great thoughts on training. For a while, I'd get upset at myself if I didn't get in standing, silk reeling and form practice during every training session. Now, I realize that I can only do what I can and I just do what I feel like doing, though I try to do the standing first ;)

Rick Matz said...

We are really our own worst obstacles.

shyloh's poetry said...

What do you mean that is not you haha. Well that is ok by me.