Mind, Body, & Spirit
Rachel Matheney, Jukido Jujitsu Academy – Palm Coast, FL
In Kokondo (kokondo karate & jukido jujitsu) we define a strong Kokondo-ka by how far that person has developed the three areas of their being: the mind, body, and spirit. This is not an easy task to accomplish. It takes time, discipline, and patience. While developing these three areas there will be inclines, where you as the student, will feel everything is working perfectly like all of us desire. Then again, there will be declines where everything seems to be going wrong. The goal during these times is to take an appropriate approach and be determined not to give up. Multiple attempts to solving a problem are an important and natural part of a student’s growth. One can take a piece of knowledge from each failed or successful attempt. This is how we learn from our mistakes. If we didn’t go through this process there would be fewer opportunities to learn and progress, which is our main focus. We strive to be better ourselves instead of trying to be the best. Through my experiences, I have learned the importance of training in all three areas; the mind, body, and spirit. Neglecting any of these areas will seriously deter a student’s personal growth and place them below their full potential as a Kokondo ka.
When dealing with the mind, one should not transition into a downfallen pattern by putting up a mental wall. This will block the student’s progression. Every failure after that will build that wall higher and higher. Therefore making it harder and harder to accomplish one’s goals. While struggling with a mental problem keep focused on the proper shisei, or attitude, through an introspective view. Look at the persons who are being affected and decide whether or not one’s shisei is contributing negatively to others. Also keep in mind the effects that the student’s mental state is having on him or herself. Figure out why and how the effects came about and don’t linger on the fact that they exist. Determining the why’s and how’s will help in fixing the problem by understanding what is happening.
The body is also a very important part in progression. Too many of us are overly concerned with getting our bodies to do everything right, in order to obtain perfect technique. But it will never be perfect 100% of the time. Even the Masters in Kokondo are still “perfecting” their technique. Instead of getting frustrated that one’s techniques have flaws, concentrate on how to make them closer to being perfect. The goal in Kokondo is to better oneself, always keeping progression as the focus. When a mistake is made do not focus on the mistake alone, also focus strongly on the process that created the error. This way, knowledge is obtained as to which faulty steps have been taken to create the problem and now one is able to focus on correcting them. Though be careful not to fall into the trap of expecting a drastic change over night. It takes time. If it were that easy then everyone would be perfect. As we have all noticed, that is not possible.
The spirit is also a significant component in a Kokondo-ka’s development. Spirit cannot be taught, only attained and maintained. Every serious Kokondo-ka should have an innate spirit since they are in Kokondo for some reason. There is already a want and desire to practice the art and the way. This leads to the path of a healthy spirit. One suggestion for maintaining the spirit is not to become disheartened. Enjoy and be grateful for the ups and the downs. A student learns and develops through each. Do not become discouraged through the downs. Look to these times as a new challenge. Moreover one should not become arrogant or haughty during the ups, for this causes blatant complacency and disregard because, the student begins to think they have everything under control, but there is always something to improve upon. Focusing on the ups and downs in a balanced approach will lead to the development of a strong spirit, one that is not unconfident, nor pretentious.
When we apply the proper approach to our training, the mind, body and spirit seem to flow perfectly together (The way of gentle flowing power). We realize that we learn more in many ways from suffering defeat than winning every conflict we face in training. This gives us the motivation for improving and discovering our downfalls and areas that we need to progress in. We then look at the “declines” as challenges, as stimulants for our brains instead of hindrances. The learning process will always be in progression and will be enjoyable, as it should be. This in no way means that one will never face frustration again. It just means that we will have a different outlook, a different perspective when dealing with them. This is why it is so important to equally focus on the mind, body, and spirit. They all work together to form a well-built and stable Kokondo ka and each should be treated with equal significance.