Monday, June 14, 2010

Get Uncomfortable

I was fortunate to attend an excellent training seminar taught by Kyoshi Bill Hayes this past weekend. Major Hayes is the author of “My Journey With The Grandmaster”. I walked into the session with a notebook and pen. I took several pages of notes but it was not enough to capture the amount of information presented. I simply could not write fast enough.

At one point in the seminar, Kyoshi Hayes told us to…

“Embrace complexity.”
“Embrace discomfort.”
“Embrace uncertainty.”

After hearing these words and reflecting on their meaning, I realized I needed to examine my training. In fact, it may be something we all need to do. I asked myself the following. How comfortable are you? Are you satisfied with what you know about your martial art? Have you stopped actively seeking information? Do you make the necessary adjustments due to injury or age? Do you look beyond the surface?

It could be easy to fall into the trap of feeling comfortable. We go to the dojo, run through material, and memorize patterns then move on to the next kata or weapon. I hear students saying "I know X or Y".

If we feel comfortable…Are we still learning? Are we receptive to new ideas? Or are the blinders put on?

If you have the opportunity to attend a seminar by Kyoshi Hayes, I highly recommend attending. Make sure to bring paper and a pen…you will need them. If you have not read the book “My Journey With The Grandmaster”, I highly recommend reading it. It will change the way you think about training.

It is time to “Get Uncomfortable”

14 comments:

Frank said...

Right on... Seek out the difficult things. Like a piece of raw steel, seek out the crucible, to be forged and honed...

We sparred a few weeks ago, and I was put in against a black-belt who was far beyond my skill level, and bested me in height, weight, and reach. I lost; badly. But I learned so much!

Winning would have been comfortable. Winning would have left me smug and filled with certainty that I was a strong fighter.

I am a strong fighter, but I am stronger, more humbled, and wiser for having been defeated.

Anonymous said...

The martial way is endless, in the end all that remains is action and energy but does this mean the way has ended or does it just continue on a deeper level? How can anyone claim to truly know anything, let alone everything, even about a supposedly finite subject?

On another note: isn't following one style all your life a sign of mental laziness? How much truth there is out there while you keep restricting yourself to the all-too-familiar, age-old path of precepts carved out by true seekers leaving that path behind as a testimony to their past efforts, hypotheses and misttakes... If truth, as Hegel says, consists of knowing everything (das Wahre ist das Ganze) why should we restrict ourself to knowing just one thing? Just because knowing everything is supposed to be impossible? Getting to know new things might actually shed light on old problems and questions, perhaps more so than re-hashing and reguriatating the old and familiar. Isn't this truly 'getting uncomfortable?'

Ariel said...

Your post goes right along with what my instructors have been telling me lately. I've heard "You need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable." Every time I walk into the dojang, I want to feel challenged, and I am. I learn something new every night. If we go to class and just go through the motions, just getting by with the bare minimum, then we're never going to reach our full potential as a student or as student and teacher.

Thanks for the post, Michelle!

Tampa Kickboxing said...

Really inspiring words. “Embrace complexity.”
“Embrace discomfort.”
“Embrace uncertainty.” I must re-asses my training too.

Rick said...

"Hold on to the hard things and your mind will open."
- Kushida Sensei

Jennifer said...

I just finished reading _My Journey With The Grandmaster_! I'd love to read anything you might have to write about the seminar you attended.

Felicia said...

Sounds like a neat seminar!

When I first started visiting the dojo I am now a regular student in, I was always uncomfortable - and I hated it and loved it at the same time. Sometimes it was SOOOOO difficult to bow in because I had no idea what new technique or explanation of same I'd be expected to grasp and decipher. What if I couldn't do it? It was scary stuff - but necessary to get me out of the rut my other training had lulled me into. It was like I had to just take a deep breath, exhale then try my best to just do the damn thing. One of the best and most difficult experiences of my life in all of its complexity, discomfort and uncertainty.

Thanks for a great post, Michele!

SueC said...

Michele, the fact you attended this seminar means you have not grown complacent or got settled into your comfort zone - you are still learning and growing in your martial arts.

I felt way out of my comfort zone when I joined my kobudo/jujitsu club last year - the whole structure of the class and teaching methods is different to what I am familiar with in karate. In fact it has taken nearly a year for me to feel that I fit in. However, I have learnt loads! I've even asked my instructor if I can learn some jujitsu as well as kobudo. This all actually feeds well into the karate because we are taking the karate back to a more classical style which includes more throws and ground techniques. I think I'm definitely embracing some complexity, discomfort and uncertainty at the moment!

Michele said...

Thank you for commenting!

In my own training, there is an ebb and flow. A group of us have been working on bunkai the last few months. As far as tai chi...I am out of my comfort zone most of the time. :)

Enjoy your training...

Frank said...

P.S. "My Journey With The Grandmaster," is an awesome book, and Mr. Hayes is a great gentleman and warrior.

Sandman said...

Fantastic post Michelle! Getting uncomfortable is a requirement for growth in karate and in life in general. I need reminded of that from time to time...

Michele said...

Hi Frank: Agreed! :)

Sandman: Thanks!

Journeyman said...

Insightful words. Getting too comfortable is a trap we must always remain vigilant against. Thanks for the recommendation on the book.

Michele said...

Journeyman,

Thanks for stopping by and commenting! It is a great book. It is one of those books that I re-read regularly. Each time I read it, I come away with something new.