One of Dr. Kano’s main themes is that we should study. ‘Far more important than studying by books’, he says, ‘is actually to study for oneself’. Books ought to have a government health warning on them; they are addictive and they can seriously damage your health. Study and find out for yourselves, not secondhand. He said that the kata or pattern should be studied in its traditional forms, but he added that new kata must be developed.

People tend to think, ‘Tell us what to do, because we don’t know’. No, study and find things out for yourselves. There is inspiration if we can control the mind. Traditionally, after the Judo practice they used to practise controlling the mind. They practised sitting quite still for five or ten minutes, pouring with sweat or maybe blood, but not moving.

‘Really? What’s the use of that?’ people ask. A great use. From the ability to empty the mind inspiration comes. First intense study, &nd then emptying of the mind, which takes a lot of control.

Linus Pauling, a double Nobel Prize winner with a string of important discoveries to his credit (and in his old age he has just now discovered a new form of chemical bond), says this about his method:

‘For dealing with problems that initially defeat me, I deliberately make use of my subconscious mind. I think about the problem when going to bed, and in bed, for a week or two. Then I deliberately dismiss it from my mind and forget it. Then weeks or months later, as with the structure of alphakeratin (which was one of his discoveries) the answer suddenly pops into my mind complete’.

He studies hard and then deliberately forgets it; that takes great control. Something one has concentrated on to just dismiss it from the mind.

We can have inspiration in Judo; it can come suddenly. But to cultivate it systematically, the mind has to be controlled and that practice in silent sitting is one of the ways of learning to control the mind.

© Trevor Leggett

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