When the time comes, we have to jump.
We should learn the right technique, but there is something else that judo can give us if we really train.
We have our tokui waza – this is how I am going to win. We rely on it. But the psychological training is to go in and forget all your favourite things and just throw yourself in totally.
It is very difficult to do. But if you succeed in doing it, something new will come. The body seems to move by itself. And quite often it is something that you are not very expert at.
This is one of the things which the old masters stressed.
That the Way comes to an end.
You train and train and now you have got to forget that training and open yourself.
This applies to life.
We have got our pet techniques in life.
I always look at things scientifically.’
‘Well you have got to be a bit practical, you know.’
‘Well, what about the feelings of other people?’
We keep on repeating our favourite lines.
‘I’m the one who is always thinking of other people.
I am the conscience of other people.’
‘I am the one who has got cool objective scientific viewpoints.’
‘I am the one who says get on with life.’
We have got these favourite tricks which we use in life and we have got to be able to jump beyond them.
The blind spot
And if you can, what happens?
This is called the blind spot. It is something that is well known but is rarely thought about or analysed.
The chemist, Linus Pauling, who was continuously creative over a number of years, said, ‘When I am confronted with a problem that defeats me, I concentrate on it for three weeks.
Then I deliberately rely on my subconscious and throw away all thought of it. And then weeks, or months, and sometimes years later, the answer suddenly pops into my mind.’
Now, we have no explanation for these things. None. The great French mathematician Poincare tried to analyse it.
He said, ‘ It means that there is something in my unconscious mind that is more intelligent than I am! It can solve problems which I can’t solve. I would hate to think that!’
We are given the chance in judo – there is a tradition – to practise emptying the mind. After the judo practise, when you are pouring with sweat and blood you practise sitting still.
We used to do this at the black belt classes which we held at The Budokwai. It is said to give energy, an inspiration and a freedom.
It can even give freedom from the fear of death.
To be able to empty the mind, like a clear space. Not falling asleep. Like a clear space, empty of hopes, ambitions, fears, and worries.
This is the advantage of learning an art like judo. In a small field, you can practise this emptying the mind and you will receive inspiration.
Something will happen which you don’t direct. The body will move of itself. It will come to life.
Bushi of the Yin, Bushi of the Yang
One of the old texts say there are two kinds of bushi (the Japanese warriors) – the bushi of the yin (the quiet) and the bushi of the yang (the positive).
The bushi of the yang, the positive, walks as if his feet would crush the earth. His glare looks as if it would powder rocks.
He walks on with small steps uttering shouts which terrify the opponents.
The bushi of the yin is calm. He walks steadily. He is silent. But the response is instant because he is not making the response – the response is coming from the beyond.
These are some of the traditions within judo. And in judo we can try them.
This is one of the things judo can give us for life: energy, courage – but also the ability in difficulties, or in triumph and success, to be free from it all.
O-me-dame de shinde koi.
With wide open eyes come and die.
This dying means give up the thoughts on which we rely. Give up the things we hold on to and walk forward with wide open eyes.
These are some of the things that judo is meant to give us – and can give us if we practise in that way.
It is not wrong to practise in other ways. But we ought to think, occasionally, if it can give us more than just fighting on the mat.
© Trevor Leggett