There was a time when my martial arts training notes where among some of my most cherished possessions for what I believed the represented. Years of training and instruction, recorded and explored, but at a certain point they stopped helping my progress in the martial arts, and in all honesty stagnated my training for a few years.
An important lessons and perspective learned.
Now all these years later, when I look at my notes or explore the densho what do I see?
But first, back to that time in the creation of those memories.
What can one say about the first few years of training in the martial arts- regardless of style, school, or discipline it is a flurry of momentum, new movement, and ways of using the human body.
Around two or three years of martial arts training one begin to understand the kihon of the martial arts- in the Japanese martial arts, this is the basics of the art, the building blocks of movement- footwork, postures, techniques.
One begins to builds lists to study- either based on the progress of rank, or as a vehicle to try and approach the different types of unified movement.
Martial arts notes as a way to keep track of the finer points of a technique, a reminder on the points explored in class so I can work on the during the week and be ready for the next class.
Yet over time they became a list, a collection of movements. Important at that point in the journey as one needs to understand the movements, needs to be able to train in the kata.
Yet, I became so focused that the kata *became* the martial arts as opposed to a vehicle- shu-ha-ri, to understand the martial arts.
I spent a few years trapped in this collection phase of martial arts training notes.
Are the notes still important?
Yes, but for a different reason.
Now when I look at them, when I spend time looking at them before training, I’m reminded of movement, of feeling, of times past training.
I remember my martial arts seniors showing me the kata, what it felt like, what they shared- kuden, the dimensions and flavor of that movement.
Can I move in that same way?
Can I build on that movement and use it as a starting point to explore the kata or waza?
Finer points on the movement are still important, but what is most important to me right now is the transmission of the feeling through those notes and densho.
A chance to revisit the past and bridge to the future through the martial arts training.