The education of a young man

Each week I take my son on a field trip. We explore the gardens and fields and find new and old friends to play with.

This week, he wanted to play with the pigeons so we went through the process of hunting together.

He attempted to run at them and catch them at first with no success and when he asked we began the process.

We scouted for some crumbs and started scattering them for the birds. They came but never close enough to reach.

Then we squatted silently and the birds came closer but still out of reach.

We talked and I told my son to think like a rock. Be the rock and just breathe. Now the birds came at arms length.

Attempts to grab the birds were always fruitless. The birds seemed to know the grab was coming. When he asked, we moved deeper. “Don’t wait for the thought my son” I said “Act as the thought comes in your head.” I showed how to grab the birds gently so they are not alarmed and as he saw this, he became one with himself for a moment. From catching air, he went to touching and holding the birds who did not run away. This is a simple example of the Japanese mu-shin, the thought no thought. I interpret this principle as being one with yourself and having no gap between the parts of the whole.

After the bird hunt, we lit a fire floating on water using a knife, fire-steel, a few dry leaves and one green leaf floating in a basin of rock.

Keep the art in the Dojo and it is no art at all.

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Sharon Friedman

Student and teacher of movement and Martial art. Husband and Father. I can rebuild you, I have the technology :)

2 thoughts on “The education of a young man”

  1. I read your posts regularly, and have got some time. This struck me as 1 of the better ones (not that the others were not great:) thoroughly enjoyed it and I could see/feel the whole experience. Nice example of applied nothought outside of the dojo – thank you Mr Friedman

    Liked by 1 person

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