There are times where training in a school is forbidden or not possible. There are always ways to hone the inner blade as many cultures have shown us before, from adopting agricultural tools into weapons to masking fighting moves in dance and song.
Here I focus on the family unit. Here are twenty drills or games to do by yourself or with the kids to better their attributes and emotional capacity to do good under pressure.
Take a ball and throw it in the air and catch it again using the same hand. Transition from laying down to standing without stopping movement and breathing.
Take a ball and throw it to the ceiling and catch it. Throw it again and catch it after turning a full turn in one way and then in the other. Continue to add turns as much as you can and remember to let your eyes time the motion.
Stand two steps away from a wall and lean on it with one hand. Throw the ball up or bounce it off the floor and switch hands and catch it with the other hand. Continue and if possible, add distance from the wall.
Place yourself in the push up position while holding a ball in one hand. Roll it toward the hand on the ground and place it to replace the support. Mind the breath to lead each shift in mass.
Stand two steps away from the wall and throw the ball at the wall and catch it using your arms and body or legs but not the hands. Repeat and see of you can free your hands from the drill altogether.
Place the ball on the wall and keep it there using the top of your head. Roll it down the body using just the body movements down and up. Think how sails can move a ship sideways from the direction of the wind.
Throw the ball away from you and see exactly where it is. Close your eyes and retrieve the ball without touching anything other than the ground and the ball.
Start with one laying down on the ground and one is standing up. Throw the ball between each other as you continuously switch from laying down to standing up. Remember to keep breathing and let the body angle play its course on its own.
Take two balls and throw them to each other at the same time. Continue to throw them with the rhythm of your breathing and start walking together as you keep throwing the balls with the same tempo.
Stand together facing the wall. Throw the ball to each other by bouncing it off the wall. Aim to catch it by moving from its path and pulling it to your body with an arm and keep going.
Stand back to back and move the ball from one to the other around you, above you and and underneath you. Continue to do so and try to surprise each other with the delivery as the other side senses the direction from the body contact.
Stand five steps from each other with your backs to each other. Any side can start turning and throwing the ball at the other and the other needs to avoid getting hit while hitting back with their ball. Listen to the shift in mass and the change in breath before the move. Listen to yourself first.
Place the ball on the ground and pass it from one to the other using just one foot at a time. You cannot stop to kick the ball but must move continuously and time the steps so every kick is also a step.
Stand one step from each other and hold the ball at shoulder level. One drops the ball as the other has to catch it and to step away before being touched by the one who dropped the ball. Here you are allowed to go to the ground, move in any direction as long as you avoid hurting each other. The more we pay attention, the more it pays forward.
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.
Fun games to strengthen and bring more movement awareness to kids and adults with heart
1. The broken cement truck – one person starts transitioning between being on all four limbs facing the ground and facing the skies as one or more use their feet and legs to try to keep him in one of those states.
2. Ground glue – one person brings themselves as close to the ground as possible with all their parts and one or more use their hands to peel them off as they move to maintain contact with the ground.
3. Wave surfing – One moves to pass through a line of people holding hands together as they move to bring him back from whence he came.
4. Medusa – one group or person is moving toward the watcher/medusa. Whenever the watcher hears something, they turn swiftly and if they catch the movement, they get to change places.
Drills for elevations of spirit and body must not be dry…
Fist– Two people start at the push up position facing each other. Both lift opposite arms and they push each others fist back and forth.
Double fist– Two people lie on their backs with their heads facing each other. Place both fists against each other and push and pull in at the same time while relaxing the muscles of the torso as possible so as to use the least amount of tension.
Scissors – Lie one your behind with body and legs in the air facing a partner in the same position. Aim to move the other to their back by using no tension and just movement and breath in the legs.
Three as one– Three people facing to the outside while crossing arms together. Sit and get up and site and roll together and get up again. Aim to spread the load and communicate with body movement where the group must go.
Up and down the shaft – place a sturdy shaft perpendicular to the ground and climb up and down on it using dynamic body tension and shifting your mass from side to side.
Open close– One lies on the back and presses the knees together as the partner pull them apart. Aim to use your breath to distribute the work and activate just the parts of the body that are needed to the task. Do the same in reverse and up and down.
light pressure awareness– We know the pressure of a finger is enough to cut flesh when focus to the tip of a blade. Press one or two fingers lightly as your partner breathes and relaxes to avoid contact becoming impact. Start standing as the relaxation will take you to the ground and back.
Bound – Place both hands behind your back and keep them there. Have a partner hold the top of your head and strike you with arms and legs as you move to have the incoming limbs slide over you instead of sinking in.
Inner pressure– Place a target about ten body lengths away and have one partner push the other to that target as the partner resists by moving and never by tension. Have them hold their breath for as long as they can and laugh as their face releases the mask it holds in everyday life.
Games and stories are the best way to teach the young and non walking dead.
Here are a few ways to bring your child more into the moment and show that paying attention pays.
One more cat – Choose an animal like a cat or an object and see who calls it out faster and in greater amounts. You can have a cat counting contest or a broken pavement contest it matters only that we pay attention. Change what the object is from time to time as the seasons change (red leaf for example) and enjoy the extra awareness.
What is missing – Take a scene that is well known to everyone and remove one part. See who finds out what it is first and how. For example – take away the favorite picture off the wall and see if it is noticed.
Color blind – Things change color by season or man action. Note the changes the locals make in their yards and clothes, mark the changes in the leaves and trunk and mark the change in the skies and in the horizons.
Insects birds cats and dogs – Where you have insects making noises, you will not find birds, where you hear birds, you will not find cats and so on. Listen and predict what animals or people you will find about and learn a mighty lesson on rings of association.
Echo lines – There is a distance beneath which no echo is heard by us. Guess and match who finds the line of the echo in different places and ranges. There is a lot to learn about the three dimensional nature of waves thus.
The closing tap – A tune is made out of sound and silence. check who notices when the washing machine has ended its cycle, when do the birds finish their evening calls and gain the full range of the tune.
The lost ant – Hide a small paper clip inside clothes and see when it is detected, Place a plastic bottle cap under the sheets and see who is the true princess or just place an acorn on the ground and see who chooses to step lightly 🙂 The appreciation to touch goes beyond the fingertips.
The right key – Take objects that seem similar and close your eyes to pick the right one. It can be keys, clothes and anything that matches, your fingers and mind will connect past the oversight of the eyes and awaken even more.
The tower – Take very light objects like disposable plastic cups or clean ear cleaning sticks and build towers with them. aim to make them as gentle as possible to better understand the lightest touch.
Many fights and endeavors in life are determined before the actual visible contact begins.
Our awareness and focus
Our knowledge of self
Our ability to know what is important
These can put us in a place where we already won or in a place where we need to dig dip to simply survive.
Here are a few simple attention and focus drills. See how they relate to you and be safe about it. Chosen discomfort is a good teacher, injury is not.
Take two or three friends and stand as a triangle about three steps from each other. (Put on eye protection)
How to throw a knife – Hold the knife using the handle and have the pointing finger rest on the flat of the blade. Move the elbow and shoulder so the arm ends up pointing straight at the target and let the knife slip from your grasp and fly tip first toward the student of chance.
1. Take one practice knife and throw it from one to another in a set manner, tip first. Have your partner move out of the path of the blade and catch it at the handle.
2. Close one eye and repeat the drill.
3. Repeat the drill but now aim to pass the knife not in a set pattern but aim to surprise the receiver by not showing any tells to the throw. This teacher understanding of body language and eye focus.
4. Walk together in a circle and continue to pass the practice knife between you first in a set manner from A to B to C and then randomly and with the least amount of tells you manage. Avoid using speed as the key ingredient. The learning will diminish if you consider it a game. See all the facets of the diamond.
5. Repeat but with one setting the direction of the walking circle. All must pay attention to the randomly changing direction and the flying practice knife.
6. Take three practice knives and pass them in a set pattern first in one direction and then in the other. Mind to avoid throwing the practice knife while a partner is retrieving a knife that was not caught 🙂 It will happen.
7. Repeat the drill but throw the knives aiming to show the least amount of tells and remember to avoid throwing the knives while some are retrieved as now one can get two knives thrown at them at the same time.
Aim to focus on what matters. First avoid being in the path of the flying knife and let the body movement assist you in catching the knife in the handle. Avoid catching the blade unless you are acting out of necessity and remember to not be where you are attacked.
Walking on your fists is great. Walking on your first with a friend is even better.
Enjoy both rolls in this movement and note how the body learns to move as one, once tension is healthily distributed throughout the body. Let the breath lead the motion and relax your arms on contacting the ground to avoid excess tension.
Please resist the urge to push your friend too fast 🙂
Place your fists on the ground and let a friend hold onto your ankles.
Walk forward and back on your fists for 40 breaths
Walk sideways left and right on your fists for 40 breaths
Walk forward and back on your forearms for 40 breaths
Walk sideways left and right on your forearms for 40 breaths
Walk toward your feet and back by moving on your fists and bending the hips for 40 breaths
Jump with both fists forward and back for 40 breaths and mind to let the breath distribute and continue the motion instead of holding onto the impact
Reverse rolls and enjoy the work and how funny we look when we work honestly.
I like power. We all do, but power is not the answer against a blade or a verbal attack. One must work consistently on control and thus create a measure of awareness which guides the power and creates the final outcome. Power in impact can reach a point of diminishing return, Grace does not.
Here is a challenge (people like challenges)
Do this straight for 30 days
Hold a cup of water in your hand with water filling it and almost overflowing. Sit down on your behind and get up 10 times with no contact of arms to the ground and with no spilling of water.
find a stout round roll like a metal bottle or an actual wood log and stand on it. Teach yourself to walk on the log and take 10 steps forward and 1o back. Make sure you have a way to dis-log safely before you start walking. Falling hard is hard.
Reach a handstand with your legs resting lightly on a wall. Breathe and move to free stand and note how your body balances and overbalances itself. Focus on your breathing and maintain the hold for 120 breaths. (If this is hard physically, divide it to smaller parts)
The simple stuff is key to reaching grace.
Do this and reap the benefits or better yet, enjoy the work.