Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lazy Thursday

So here I am, sitting at my desk, on a Thursday morning at the junior high. There were no classes here yesterday. There are none today. And there won’t be any tomorrow. Why, you may ask? Because the first years were on a field trip to Hiraizumi, a town with a famous temple (Chusonji, a World Heritage site), the third years are on a field trip to Tokyo (JEALOUS, I wish I could go!), and the second years are doing job training. Er, not job training…but something like job shadowing. Where they split off into groups and help with work at various stores and such in the area, like hair salons, kindergartens, nursery schools, convenience stores, department stores, etc. So…yeah, no classes for the rest of the week. Yay, that means more time for blog posts and studying Japanese! And…sitting. Lots of sitting. Time to get up and do something.

...Whew! Okay, I’m back. I just did some shadowboxing and freestyle form, karate style and Bruce Lee style. I have been in a martial arts kick lately (see what I did there?). I have been talking to a friend recently who is interested in starting martial arts, and as a result, I’ve looked up a lot of Bruce Lee quotes and other Jeet Kune Do philosophies.

Jeet Kune Do means “Way of the Intercepting Fist.” It is Bruce Lee’s philosophy of martial arts. This philosophy entails a few basic key concepts: that of simplicity, practicality, and disobedience to tradition. With this philosophy in mind, martial arts practitioners should be able to adapt their techniques to a given situation rather than strictly adhere to certain stances or certain ways to throw an attack.

The downfall of traditional styles, according to Bruce Lee, is that the rigidity of the stances and attacks ends up becoming a limitation on the user. Think of it this way: if Guy A knows exactly how Guy B is going to throw an attack, Guy A can easily counter it. This concept was even touched upon in one of my favorite manga series: はじめの一歩 (Hajime no Ippo). The series’ “big, tough guy” Takamura was going for his first world title where he was fighting the champion (Bryan Hawk) who was a master of “unorthodox” style boxing. In other words, he had no set style; he was incredibly wild, and he threw punches from the strangest positions. Conversely, Takamura was well trained, and thus had perfect boxing form and textbook boxing techniques. Unfortunately,  Hawk was able to capitalize on Takamura’s “by the book” style, and he easily countered the attacks. It wasn’t until Takamura started resorting to his pre-boxing, wild gangster-style fighting and animal instincts that the fight started going in his favor.

Anyway, point is, rigidity leads to limitations. Let’s not get too limited by the routine we’ve created for ourselves. (Tomorrow’s blog entry will be a continuation of this one.)

Word of the Day: 無限 「むげん」 “mugen,” or, “infinity.” Literally, it means “no limits.”

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