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 ~

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Set Your Troubles Aside

One of the things I like about martial arts training is that it is a concrete opportunity to take your cares and woes and put them on a shelf for a while. You have to set them aside to concentrate on what you are doing. Having set them aside, you give yourself a respite, create a little distance from them and gain some new perspective.

Recently at Steven Pressfield's blog, there was a post on this very topic. An excerpt is below. The full post may be read here.

“Leave Your Problems Outside”
By Steven Pressfield | Published: December 25, 2013
Leddick ballet

David Leddick in Met Opera days

    I studied ballet at the old Metropolitan Opera when Antony Tudor, the famous choreographer, was the head of the ballet school. In fact, Margaret Craske was the teacher most students considered to be more important. She had danced with Pavlova in the ’20s.

    Miss Craske instructed us: “Leave your problems outside the classroom.”

This excerpt comes from an upcoming book by my mentor, David Leddick. David continues:

    Such good advice. And in that hour and a half of intense concentration on every part of your body, the music, the coordinating with other dancers you really couldn’t think about your troubles and it was great escaping them. You emerged much more relaxed and self-confident.

    We worked hard. We never had a sick day. You went on even if you had to lie down in the wings until you were needed. No one thought this was unusual.

    At the Met, the powers that be were only interested in two things: how well you sang and how well you danced. Your race didn’t count, your background, sexual preferences, family, none of that mattered. You had to deliver. That was the sole standard. It was great.

    In later careers all of this has stood me in good stead. I never had to work that hard in any of the various worlds I entered. I knew the quality of the work I was doing. Dancing at the Met was a wonderful experience and a wonderful preparation for the rest of my life.

2013 is almost over. How will you and I handle our work in 2014? What’s so great about “Leave your problems outside” is it’s applicable even if we’re only going to have one hour a day to pursue our artistic dreams.

One hour is plenty if we banish all distractions at the doorstep.


Zacky Chan said...

Great post. I love the comment about the author's practice being harder than any other they've had. When I've felt that in my budo is when it's been best. You go to training for the hour or two or three that it is working your hardest for something you love and that engrosses you completely, and then you go back into your regular world and it seems small and easier. I think that's a good level for how much passion you should have for your art and how difficult it should be, if the practice is truly worth the time. The practice should make your life easier, not harder. Thanks for the post!

Rick Matz said...

One of the great things about Budo training.