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Metronome Mind

Photo by Rick Carroll.

We don't often spend time unpacking mediation or mokuso as we call it in kendo, but I'd like to chew on bits and pieces with you in the context of "training" that we've been talking about during Kendo 101 and hopefully form more meaningful mokuso practices.

Mediation/mokuso is essential for the mental and physical performance of many athletes and high level professionals. They dedicate a moment of time everyday to clear and prepare their minds so that it's free of the daily negative pollution that keeps them from achieving their goals.

In the book The Mindful Athlete: Secrets to Pure Performance, George Mumford, the author and mindfulness coach to super star athletes like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaq, Clint Dempsey and Sasha Cohen, Mumford suggests breaking down the practice of meditation by imagining a metronome. "Imagine a metronome. Musicians depend on the metronome's regular rhythmic beats to master their scales which are the basic fundamentals of their music. Now consider your breathing like a metronome, consistently and rhythmically connecting you to your own source and providing you with a regular mechanism for recentering yourself."

Take just ONE minute today to sit upright in seiza, inhale and exhale comfortably filling and compressing your belly to the count to a metronome either real or imaginary. Inhale and exhale to the same count whether it's 2 counts, 10 or any number! This should help you come back to the "center," the quiet space between the pushes and pulls of stress and all that demand your precious attention.

In kendo, we can come back to the center of all the emotions we feel during an exhausting, frustrating or even highly fun and stimulating training, so that you can keep your training on track. It'll especially be useful to center yourself in the fight at taikai.

See how many days in a row you can do this metronome meditation. Over time I think you'll feel a lot less stressed by school, work and other life drama. Instead of stress you'll feel able to carry out what needs to be done to put you on top of your world.

One minute may seem like nothing, but that's the point in building a kaizen habit - something we can touch on later, but for now we're on MOKUSO. ONE minute! Shut down your monitor and seiza right where you are. Metronome breathe into your belly for one minute or less. HAJIME!

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