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Visceral Training

This year’s Festival theme brings to mind high stakes, terrifying, gut wrenching conditions. That’s what real self-defense feels like. The definition of visceral is: “relating to deep inward feelings rather than the intellect.” In other words, forget about analyzing, calculating, and thinking your way through it. The way you have conditioned yourself, the way you have trained, the habits you have cultivated, this is what will appear when your intellect and reason are temporarily banished.

I am using the term “conditioned” here to refer to the way you move, your To-shin Do taijutsu, as well as your state of mind when you train. Reflexive, skilled movement is a matter of repetition; collecting experiences. Sometimes I refer to this as dirt time. There is no short cut. You have to put in the time. You have to train. This is also true with regards to state of mind.

It is frequently very awkward for people who have not experienced a violent attack to manage training with realistic energy and intent. In addition, it is a very difficult balancing act for a teacher to keep the training fun, safe, and encouraging as well as real enough and threatening enough to provide reliable conditioning of the mind and spirit. It is, of course, important that we have fun training. Fun is good. It is important for you as a student to take care in your own training that you strike a healthy balance. It is so easy to let your sense of fun, fear of failure, sense of self-consciousness, among other things, to prevent you from keeping it “real.” Pick up some critical skills, drills, ideas and techniques this year.

It’s not to late! Festival is always worth the investment. This year is certainly no exception. Airlines often have some less expensive fares late in the game. You can bet all the teachers have great stuff planned, I certainly do. Pull the trigger. Make the decision. Be there!

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