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11:26 am: The world keeps on turnin’ turnin’ turning’

redmed, capital_l, and technolope and I decided to visit Boston’s South End “First Friday,” art event. A bunch of galleries open their doors and put out chips, salsa, juice, and the occasional bottle of wine. People dress in their festive best – their casual whatever – or perhaps some art of their own design (we saw some truly awesome outfits) and wander around taking in the scene. I thought that it was just fantastic that the city can still support a little mini-bohemian artsy corner – even in the current, savage economic times. It lifted my spirits to see how creative my fellow human beings can be.

Of particular note were Galvinized Hats, a funky – modern – artsy hat store and Triiibe, photography gallery that was showing a series of photos of identical triplets. That second was fascinating because it really brought out how much clothing and attitude generate an impression of someone. Even given physically identical (or reasonably so) models – they were able to create complex social dynamics in their images. It was cool.

Yesterday I went ballistic with bleach, broom, and vacuum and got the house slapped into some semblance of neatness. Of note was the liberation (LIBERTY, I SAY!) of the guest room from the oppression of cardboard boxes and plastic storage tubs. Then redmed put on some shoes that made her a full inch taller than me and went to her charity gala. For my part, I went to get sauced at as part of technolopes birthday. He’s got two friends with the same birthday as him – so we had like 20 people whooping it up.

In other news, the martial arts training proceeds apace. I feel like I’m starting to make progress at Judo again – which is a good thing. It seems to just take time (and effort, and caution to avoid injury) to teach my body to not oppose force with force. I’ve been *thinking* about that sort of thing for a while – but I finally feel like it’s starting to *happen*.

Many martial artists (back to Miyamoto Musashi) have observed that there is something swift and powerful underlying the techniques and movements that we train. Much as with Buddhism – you spend tremendous and deliberate effort to train your body and mind to do a particular thing – but then you then have to get your conscious and deliberate mind out of the way to allow that technique to blossom. Musashi referred to it as “the thing, itself.” Bruce Lee talked about this as well. I experience it – in tiny, tiny glimpses – now and again. For me, the feeling is that instead of working and working to *do* something to my opponent – they have begun to set themselves up for me. Outside observers tell me that those are the times when I’m doing it right. However, it doesn’t feel like I’m doing anything at all. My mind is in the position of deciding to finish a throw – noting that my opponent is favoring a particular foot or angle – or deciding to keep my back to the sun. My opponent then kindly lines himself up and nearly jumps onto my hip. I just turn my head and put him on the ground – wondering why he would do such a thing. Then he complements me on a nicely executed throw. It’s oddly peaceful.

Of course, it’s not peaceful when they do it back to me – but that’s why we start every class by training in how to fall without injury.

And now: Iron Man 2

Originally published at chris.dwan.org. You can comment here or there.

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