Just train. A couple of things brought this in mind today as I sit in a conference room waiting for the big meeting to start. One is how nice I’m feeling today after getting up a little early this morning to do iaido in my hotel room. Training always feels so good that afterwards I am amazed that I ever skip a day. Even when, like today, setting the alarm forward another hour and slipping back into the arms of Morpheus was so very tempting, the energetic and smooth, well calibrated way my body works after training is just so good that the extra sleep really doesn’t compare.
Just train. Training makes me feel good throughout the day. My body and mind are forced to integrate and work together efficiently and effectively by the training, and the effect lasts throughout the day. As much as I pontificate about how we can change ourselves and the long term personal development that is possible through training, it is even more about today’s training. My training gives me benefits now. I doubt I would stick around long enough for the long term benefits to develop and blossom if the training wasn’t good right now.
Just train. I learned something this morning about how I move and how I want to improve my movement. I’m rebuilding my legs after surgery, and even more than the exercises the physical therapists have me doing, I find that budo training is helping me recover more quickly than I had imagined. I just go and train each day. My legs develop new strengths and new abilities. I find little areas of balance and control that I need to work on. Today I discovered new things about how to train for the best results. This is today. I apply this epiphany to myself, and I can share it with my students on Saturday. Every time I train, I learn things. I love learning things. The discoveries leave me eager to find out what else there is learn. I do that by training.
Just train. Life is not always great. Training is always great. The dojo is a place I can go where issues of the world don’t reach. I’m just training after all. Work doesn’t affect that. I’m training. Arguments don’t change that. Training has trained my mind to be still and focused on what I’m doing so I can just train. I can shut down the noisy parts of my mind and get to work.
A lot of people worry about their rank or what level they have reached on the philosophical discussion of shu-ha-ri, which is just a distraction from the point of training. (Wayne Muramoto has an excellent discussion of shu-ha-ri here.) Just train. The act of training should include a lot of consideration and experiment. It’s not mindless repetition of the kata. It is mindFUL repetition of kata. Don’t worry about how you compare to others, or whether you are at one level of training or another. Mindful training will nearly always have you practicing at the right level. The important thing is to do the training. Don’t worry about the outside stuff. That’s not training and it won’t help your training. Just train.
Just train. All the benefits of budo flow directly from the training. As much as I love to talk about it, I don’t get that from the talking. Every time I train I get a workout. I teach my body to work more effectively and efficiently as a single unit rather than each part working against the others. I feel better. My mind is clearer and calmer. I can relax and put things in life in better perspective. Sometimes I even improve my budo. Just train.