Thursday, September 19, 2013

Digging in the Dirt

THUMP! ...  THUMP! ...  THUMP! ...  For the past week, for a couple hours each night after I got home from work, I would work on digging a 2 foot deep, 2 foot wide, 25 foot long trench in my yard.  Initially, it was grueling work, but about half-way through the project, while swinging a pick mattock over my head and noticing I was smoothly transitioning from one overhand grip to another, it dawned on me that something about what I was doing felt very familiar.  The overhead hand transition I was making to easily switch from chopping away at the soil on the left side of the trench vs. the right side of the trench was the same type of movement I had done for years while practicing various bo kata.

I then also noticed that rather than just swinging with my arms and getting tired very quickly, I could combine working with the weight of the pick and my own body weight to more easily chip away at the hard packed soil.  Suddenly, I was making significantly faster progress and was not getting anywhere near as tired as I had been earlier.  I was paying better attention when digging, noticing when to give in to the resistance rather than work against it, something that had been practiced quite a bit while studying udundi.

It all seems so obvious now - I just wished I had been  mindful of all of this from the start. I finished the last 12 feet of the trench in about 1/3 of the time it took me to do the first half.  It's a good reminder of something I've been missing from my lack of martial arts training these past couple of years.


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