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Saturday, June 25, 2016

To Making Friends with Stuff

              Human beings are animals that use tools, so they usually move with stuff not only in daily lives but also sports and artistic activities.

 In these cases, we need to be familiar with the stuff. I call this work, becoming familiar with the stuff, “making friends with the stuff.” For example, imagine when you use chopsticks. When you hold chopsticks by the dominant hand, you can move them as a part of your body without special care. This is the state “you and the chopsticks are friends”. On the other hand, if you hold them with your opposite hand (or in case you are not good at using them), that oneness will disappear. In other word, you and the chopsticks are in the relation of “the primary and the subordinate”. This is the state “you and the chopsticks are not friends.”

By the way, what I have tried to make friends with is wooden sword. I’ll state what I noticed while I have gotten along with a wooden sword.

Three conditions of “making friends with a wooden sword” are

1, I must be independent

2, I must be conscious to not parts of it but the entire

3, The relation between I and it must be not one-sided but interaction

              First, I must be independent. When you hold a sword, you tend to focus on only holding it and be careless that “you are standing”. So, you should care about yourself standing stably on the ground. It is better to prepare for moving to anywhere anytime with a moderate strain.

              Second, I must be conscious to not parts of it but the entire. If you are not used to hold long object like a sword, it is usual to chafe the floor or the ceiling with the tip of it because you cannot grasp the real length. If you stand and hold it with being conscious from the root to the tip, your body will be stabled only because of it. Condition1 and 2 are compatible.

              Finally, the relation between I and it must be not one-sided but interaction. When you hold and move a sword several minutes, the relation gradually becomes “the primary and the subordinate”. From “you and the sword move (S-Vi)” to “you move the sword (S-Vt-O)”.

              In this kind of case, you should hold the sword again. The movement that will appear is active (you grasp the sword) and simultaneously passive (the sword comes into your hands and changes the shape of your hands). Keeping this sense, you can taste a strange move that “I move the sword but simultaneously I am moved by a sword.”

              Looking back, there are several points that can be helpful in order to make friends with living human as well as a wooden sword. “Being independent”, “being conscious to entire”, and “interaction” are important to make friends in real life.

              Therefore, we should not look down on the ability to make friends with stuff. For example, I don’t think tennis players who throw their racket when they fail can be gentle. On the contrary, a person who treat stuff gently tend to be regarded as gentle. If every stuff has mind, it will take to gentle people rather than irritable people.

              I felt glad to find out that we can learn the skill to become gentle by swinging a wooden sword, a wild movement at first sight.

From Daily to Samurai

What are you researching for?This is one of the most difficult questions for me, but today I try to explain.

As I told you in self-introduction, I began to research for physical movements when I met Kono Harunori, who is a researcher for it. His father, Kono Yoshinori, is a master of Japanese classical martial arts. Kono Harunori researches for the physical movements based on the essence of martial arts by using daily movements such as raising hand or holding bag. In the society I hold in the university we practice simple movements as Kono Harunori does.

I give an example; the practice of “raising hand”. In this exercise, what you do is just raise your hand.

Maybe you are confusing…but, this natural and nonchalant movement is incredibly important.

Next, imagine that your hand is pressed down when you try to raise your hand. As soon as you do, most of you will be conscious to the obstacle, and natural and nonchalant movement you did without trouble also will disappear.

It is very important “not to be opposed” from point of view of traditional martial arts. In order “not to be opposed”, you should “just” raise your hand without caring about the fact that you are being pressed down.

This technique, “without caring”, is pretty difficult. Miyamoto Musashi, one of the most famous medieval samurai said,

“You can walk on a one-meter-wide board on the ground. However, if this board is laid across from the top of the castle to the top of that mountain, you will be afraid to walk on it. The essence of samurai is to regard them as same one-meter-wide boards and walk on them easily.”

In this case it is important “not to care” about the fact that you may die if you fail. You can practice this essence, “not to care” about difficulty and obstacle, in a simple and commonplace movement such as raising a hand.

Some people regard essence of martial arts as for only special person. However, if you sensitive to your daily movements, you can experience the state like samurai was in.

This is how I research for physical movements.

To wait until you feel like doing

I came home at this evening, and I wondered what to do because I didn’t have anything to do particularly. We tend to turn on TV or PC for no reason on this kind of situation. The problem is the fact that there is enormous information on TV or on the Internet. There are lots of devices that attracts us on these tool. While we are devoted in these, we waste time unconsciously.

In order to know what we really want to do, we need “conversation” with our own body. However, we forget our body when we click something attractive (mostly what forces us to think attractive) and are lost in it. While we are devoted in what our brain regard as attractive, we are easy to forget what we really want to do.

Today, before I did something, I tried to “wait until I felt like doing something”. As I did this, my eyes were struck by a bookshelf, and I took a book that I bought before and hadn’t read yet in my hand.

This action, so to speak, was done by my body spontaneously rather than by my will. Compared to the time I bought it, it was much easier to understand the contents of this book. If I describe this incident a little spiritually, my body, the closest natural object, made me read at just the right time.

We usually make a choice based on general ideas that we “should” do. Even when we choose what we eat, we care about proper calorie, nutritious balance, and how we are looked by this choice. In other word, we persist in what we “should” do.

However, as long as we cling to what we should do, we cannot listen to our body. Once we make our thinking mind empty and ask our body “what do you really want to eat?”, the answer from our body may beI don’t want to eat anything now.

             If you can wait until your body really wants and eat what you really want, it may be a great happiness.

              If you have something to begin as a new habit, it is useful to “wait until you really want”. For instance, consider when you want to begin to jog as a habit. When you don’t feel like jogging, your body may not move comfortably even if you force your body to run. If you feel like this, “wait until you feel like jogging”. Just then, there might be a moment when your body start moving unexpectedly. If you can encounter this kind of moment, you will become able to enjoy jogging deeply and become healthy. When don't you feel like running forever? Jogging may not be fit for you.

              It is difficult to keep doing when your body and mind are not in harmony if you don’t have strong willpower. I recommend you that you wait until you feel like doing job even if it is what you “should” do in order to you tackle it with the condition that your body and mind are in harmony.

            Of course, sometimes this easy kind of attitude is not allowed by society around you. Still, you also have what you can make a choice by yourself on a daily basis. I think it is better to follow your body than bind by ordering yourself “you should do it” “you had better do it now”.

Self-introduction (Renewal in November, 2016)

Yuto Matoba

Born in 1996 in Japan.

Personal history
In order to improve as a soccer player, I began to learn body movements based on martial arts from Harunori Kono at age of 14. As I learned it, I became interested in the relation between body movements and way of life.

After entering the university of Tsukuba, I established a student organization “Society of Body Movements” in order to keep researching for it through not only theory but practice. In this society, I instruct and research for movements with wooden swards, and movements that make activities of daily living easy and comfortable once a week.

At the 2nd year of university, I realized that yoga was a good material for research for the relation between body and way of life. After I learned about yoga by myself a few months, I made up my mind to learn yoga in the home of yoga. Then I visited to Rishikesh, India and took 200 hours teacher training there.

After coming back to Japan, I began to teach yoga. I hold Morning Yoga Class in the university every Thursday. Apart from this, I hold lessons of yoga and body movements at a Japanese drum club in Tsukuba city.

RYT200 Yoga Alliance

What I want to do
to be natural state of body and mind.
to offer yoga and body movements that is accordance with client’s state.

What I can teach
Basic asana and pranayama practice of traditional hatha yoga.
Adjustment of body movements that make activities of daily life easy and comfortable
Body movements with wooden swards