We sometimes talk about feeling “centered” in daily life as a synonym for being focused, balanced. And with good reason: physical posture/balance and mental/emotional states have been shown to be intimately related. In martial arts the importance of finding your physical center – of balance, of gravity – is often stressed as a fundamental element of technique. But exactly why and how to find that center, and what to do with it, is often left unclear. Continue reading
It’s summer in Tokyo. It’s hot and humid, in a way that can really take it out of you. I’ve discovered, however, that cold showers go a long way in helping get through these sauna-like days. I pretty often have two or sometimes even three a day (one in the morning and one in the evening; usually one after the gym or dojo).
I started off doing the “James Bond shower” (also known as a “Scottish Shower”): starting hot, and gradually dialing back the temperature until at the end of the shower it was fully cold. That’s a pretty comfortable way to approach it, especially starting off. However, reading this inspired me to skip the gradual dial-back and just switch to simply flipping the water straight over to cold at the end, as a practice in controlling the flinch mechanism.
But cold showers aren’t just a great way to cool off (and learn to control your flinch mechanism); they can also have a meditative aspect (as well as a number of reputed health benefits).
In Japan there is a tradition known as taki-shugyō (滝修行): “waterfall training”. Continue reading