I’ve recently been reading The Art of Self Cultivation, which is a potent book of Chinese wisdom and quotations. The quotes challenge thought process and a certain experience erupts, I liken it to pulling a thread on a giant ball of yarn. Armed with an iced americano and some time, who knows where the thought process will lead me.
This quote, while seemingly unrelated to this post, was the spark in which my idea flamed. Take what you will from it.
“In study and in affairs avoid the desire for easy victory or quick results. To seek them is to circumscribe oneself and prevents attainment of the origins of things.” – Huang Zongxi
The idea unravels. I copy the idea from my notebook.
A new perspective of mine is the idea of extremes. Heavy vs. Light, Far vs. Near, Visible vs. Invisible. Almost everywhere I look I see this to be true. Only in very rare occurrences does going to the extreme, maximum or minimum, actually produce results which can be deemed “good”. A usual “balance point” is constantly looked for. As martial arts mirrors my life, you can see these contrasts quite plainly. I refer to these contrast positions in judo or jiu jitsu as “Grey Areas” or “Sweet Spots”. In these areas, the vast majority of exchanges take place, this is where you catch others. This is where you get caught.
Getting caught usually occurs when a new pattern or route, that which has never been followed or previously known, is inflicted upon you. In theory, if you had known the pattern, route, or technique, defenses could have been prepared. Because the route has never been discovered or is foreign to you, or perhaps you were simply tricked or out maneuvered, the defenses prepared were inadequate, and have failed you, which leads to your capture. The tap. The ippon.
The tangent grows.
In life, I feel it is dangerous to deal in absolutes. I have to agree with Obi Wan on this one. This is due to the scale in which extremes are viewed. Scales differ between individuals and are as unique and different as our very own fingerprints. Because of this, what I deem “extreme” is of the norm for another, and vice versa. Having this knowledge is crucial in both social interaction, filtering actions of others, and judging your response.
When focusing solely on training, extremes are easy to spot. Do not overcompensate movement. Do not lean to one side. Do not become too predictable. Do not under or over train. But when we zoom out and attempt to apply this concept to life, it becomes complex and difficult. A relentless amount of factors become present and seeking balance becomes a challenge.
The positive I take away is that awareness can trigger change.
“Knowledge follows realization of ignorance.” – Zhuang Zhou