Author Archives: Josh Simon

Progress from two perspectives

When thinking of someone who studies martial arts, the average lay person immediately asks “what belt”?  Belts have become (since the 1950’s or so) a prominent way to mark advancement in the martial arts, but in reality what a belt shows is how far a person has advanced in a tiny set of requirements in a tiny arena accepted by a tiny group of people.  Unless of course the school is part of a larger organization.  Then substitute the word “tiny” with something else.

Nevertheless, for the tiny world that is our Integral Martial Arts class, belts signify how far you are in the curriculum which includes progression in gross, subtle, and causal elements.  … Read more...

Back to Basics

For this month we are trying to go back to the basics after a long time spent on special items, like swords and tai chi.  We have incorporated the Yang style short form into our school’s curriculum permanently, and we teach it slowly over all of the belt levels.  It is a good kata for learning to move your subtle energies, and like anything, you could make a life practice of it.  In fact, this subtle energy will become more important as we go through this month, along with the gross and causal portions of the self.

This class was spent on some administrative stuff.  … Read more...

Taking the time to explain

Today’s class was the first of the month, which means we switch instructors.  Sensei Frank takes a back seat and I take over the teaching duties for the month. For the past few months we’ve taken the students through a few different things, giving them a taste of many techniques and challenging them to find what is the same below the surface.  We spent a couple months working mostly tai chi, and then another couple of months working mostly sword.  Now it is time to recoup and digest.  I don’t feel it’s wise to go on loading them up with new things constantly, lest they forget and wind up with nothing.  … Read more...

If you’re feeling rushed…

….then you are rushed.  When drawing a katana, you must be centered.  Your mind must not be inhibited by anything.  If your mind goes to the weapon’s handle, it will stop at the handle.  If your mind goes to your opponent, it will stop at the opponent.  If your mind goes to your spirit, it will stop at the spirit.  I am paraphrasing Takuan Soho here.  The “mind” he refers to is a combination of what Integral Theory considers the subtle and causal.   When you fall into duality, you stop there.  Deep stuff to learn just from swinging a sword, huh?… Read more...

Way of the Sword

I always like it when we take a month or so to practice a new technique.  When worked consecutively for a while, you can actually see the technique go through stages.  At first, it’s all about the gross motor skills, which correspond nicely to the gross part of the self in the Upper Left Quadrant.  You can’t really look at it from any other perspective at this point because you are just trying to survive throwing the technique.  You are just trying to figure out how to make your brain move your arms and legs… not even gracefully, just at all.  … Read more...

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