Martial Arts and Dancing
I am a martial artist and a dancer.
I have being dancing for approximately 10 years,
doing martial arts for almost 30 years and teaching for over 10.
I am certainly not an expert in either but
I am reasonably skilled in both.
Even though both movement forms are very similar
I am able to keep them quite separate and distinct.
When I do martial arts I am not tempted
to twirl my opponents around in a dance like fashion.
When I am dancing I am similarly not tempted
to break people’s arms or poke them in the eye.
It Can Be Hard To Keep Them Separate
Often when I dance with martial artists
they express to me how difficult it is for them
to keep the two separate and they have to think quite consciously
so that they don’t suddenly throw somebody
or put them in a lock of some sort.
I seem to be able to keep the two separate quite easily.
Whichever art form I am practicing at the time
I have learned to be fully present in.
An Interesting Question
This morning one of my dance friends ask me
how I’m able to keep the two related but different
movement forms separate and distinct.
I gave her an answer,
then I reflected on it and realized
it wasn’t quite right.
Then I gave her another answer which felt deeper,
but then realized that it also wasn’t quite accurate.
So then I sat with it for a few minutes
trying to figure out the honest answer to this question.
I Don’t Know
At a certain point I realized that I actually
didn’t know the answer to the question.
I told her that I would have to sit with it for a time
and see if I could figure it out.
I could have been tempted to be satisfied with
the first couple of answers because
they were reasonable and sounded good.
However I knew that they were not
entirely the truth so I wanted to dig deeper.
Even now as I’m writing this post I do not know
the answer to that question.
I do not know why I am able to keep the two
movement forms separate or how I learned to do so.
Disconcerting And Delicious
The feeling of not knowing is quite an interesting thing.
It can be both disconcerting and delicious at the same time.
Not Knowing Can Feel Like Failure
We are young we are often made to feel less worthy
when we don’t know something or when we are wrong.
Certainly the entire school system is built
to make us feel less worthy
when we don’t know something.
This is where the disconcerting feeling comes from.
I have noticed that often people will run from
this feeling of not knowing.
It doesn’t feel good to not know
because of the context we have been given
for this feeling through our upbringing.
There Is Infinite Potential In Not Knowing
The delicious part of not knowing something
is the feeling of potential.
There is an openness and emptiness
that exists in the mind when we do not know something.
This is like an empty canvas waiting to receive a work of art.
So much learning and growth is available to us
if we can sit comfortably in the feeling
of not knowing something.
That same growth is inhibited when
we avoid the emptiness and openness of not knowing.
In order to become more comfortable with this feeling
there are two major changes that we must make within ourselves.
Healing Inner Wounds Makes Us More Comfortable With Not Knowing
The first one is to heal the wounds inside of us that were given to us in our youth and childhood around not knowing. This means retraining our mind to enjoy the experience by celebrating the moments when we do not know. To celebrate and enjoy something reframes it from a negative to a positive.
Doing this consistently will make a difference in our experience.
It will take time because any inner change
requires a certain amount of repetition before it takes hold.
Don’t be concerned with what others think
The second is learn not to be concerned about
how others will perceive us in our ignorance.
When I’m teaching my martial arts class
if I do not know the answer to a question
I will always simply say that I don’t know.
I’ve seen many other teachers create answers on the spot
that sound good when the truth is they don’t really know.
They are concerned about what their students will think of them
if they admit they are lacking in certain piece of information
or that there are things they just don’t understand.
People Will Respect Your Honesty
I have found that most people are inclined
to respect me for that honesty.
It also helps them to trust when I say
I do know something because
they know it is not coming from a place of
trying to appear knowledgeable,
but it is coming from a genuine desire to help them.
Love and Acceptance are Key
When we can love ourselves and accept ourselves enough
to sit with our ignorance and not be concerned
with how other people will receive us
we can learn and grow so much more
than we would otherwise be able to.