It was just after I had been given shodan.
A new black belt in the dojo, I struggled to figure out what it meant.
Certainly I had to demonstrate some level of movement understanding- ukemi, kamae, san shin no kata, kihon happo.
Certainly I had to cultivate zanshin, mushashin, and fudoshin.
But what did the rest mean?
A sempai to some, what was expected?
I would hear about the martial arts body and how important it was, an being a young man and a new black belt I equated that with speed, power, and physical strength.
So I went out and lifted lots of weight and got big.
While it was an interesting exercise and time, the dojo was talking about something else.
The martial arts body as it relates to budo taijutsu.
A body that is always relaxed and free of tension, a body that moves in alignment at all times.
Using junan taiso to relax the body.
Stopping for a few moments during waza practice to check and see if one is holding any tension in the back or shoulders.
Breathing and trying to move slow and smooth.
Moving with flow.
Paying attention to the direction of the feet, that they line up with the knees and hips.
Keeping the back (spine) straight over the hips.
Working to cultivate the martial arts body through relaxed movement that is in natural alignment for the body.