Sunday, December 03, 2006

Moving Mountains

It is a mistake to want or to expect expertise overnight. Trying to reach too lofty a goal in a short time leads to failure, because neither the body nor the mind are prepared for the effort. In traditional martial arts, we can learn to move mountains, but we follow the methods of moving them bit by bit, in amounts we can carry safely. Developing strength of character is a natural result of correct training, but most of us need to pay special attention to right action, since not all of us were taught to choose correctly every time. In training, part of right action means admitting that some of our techniques are not as good as others, and taking the time to work on them until they improve. It also means being truthful about the results of our techniques and realizing that, although they may work in certain practice situations, they may not be as powerful as we sometimes believe they are, and thus they need ever more work. Failing to be self-critical in this way can severely limit your growth as a martial artist.

From Budo Mind and Body, by Nicklaus Suino (Boston: Shambhala, 2006).

Nicklaus Suino teaches iaido and other martial arts at seminars throughout North America. Information about his seminars can be found at He teacher iaido, judo, and jujutsu at the Japanese Martial Arts Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, home of the University of Michigan.

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