My instructor informs me of the importance of challenging yourself as you get ready to test for Shodan. To push yourself beyond your limit. I know my limit her name is Teri. Now Teri is a nice, person. Sweet, funny and a great photographer. She also happens to have a strong non fighting mind. What is that? It's the opposite of me.
I like a fight, give me a conflict, a point of view or principle to defend and I will rattle my saber with the best of them. You want to get thrown, I'll throw you baby, no problem. Teri has a maddening habit of not being easily lead. Her attitude seems to be "No, I'm not going to play that game but if you want to, go right ahead- without me." Grrr. she will stay put unless you lead her mind and not her body. No amount of pushing, pulling or cajoling will work.
So I'm training with her the other night and it takes me four or five try's to get the move right because I'm trying to drag her along in my usual manner. I'm sweating and groaning and my inner demon of self doubt is screaming at me "You worthless piece of shit, you know this art, what the hell are you doing?!" I finally broke down in tears I was so frustrated.
I also have this belief, ingrained in my bones that if I make a mistake at any time- that's it, I stop. I cut ki, show's over folks, Alisa has left the building. This, Robson Sensei tells me, is unacceptable. If I get stuck just relax until you can move.
No way my inner demon retorts. I don't buy this for a second. Try it anyway she insists. Ok sometimes you have to humor people to prove your point, I thought and went at it again. Teri attacks by grabbing for my wrist, I blend, turn and promptly get stuck. Relax, I tell myself and like snow melting in the hot sun I feel myself relax and Teri follows along as I move.
Wow, Did I really do that? I can't believe this and we repeat the attack. Once again I get stuck and relax as commanded by the sensei watching us. Relax and I'll be damned if it didn't work again.
This is a major breakthrough folks. We're talking cosmic significance here. I knew it as I stood there in shock. Is this for real? Can I actually correct a mistake without having to start back at zero? Is it possible to go on even after messing up? My technique improves immediately. I can do this.
"You're doing fine. " she reassures me.
"But I'm not. It takes me four or five try's to get it right."
"That's ok you're getting it."
"Yeah, but I can't do that during the test." I complain.
"Have you screwed up in a test before?" she asks. Well no, now that I think about it.
I apologize to Teri profusely for what I think is a bad performance but she will not hear it. Like the non fighting person she is, she will not play that game but if I want to continue buying into this nonsense feel free to do so -without her.
Maybe this non-fighting thing is not so hard to understand after all.