Anticipation is the brain using information at hand to make a prediction.  It is a gamble.  In some instances, I would even call it hubris.  Our perception of reality is imperfect and much of our environment is intentionally trying to mislead us.  The notion that we can predict the future is folly.

Students can confuse their anticipation with being prepared.  It is not the same thing.

I find myself in a world in which there is a looming threat that hasn’t seemed real for months, and yet we all know it is at our doorstep.  We don’t know if or when it will come into our homes.  We don’t know how seriously it will affect us.  We don’t know when it will end.

Am I prepared?  Yes.  I can rest in the knowledge that I have treated this situation seriously and didn’t act in haste.  Am I scared? Yes. It is a very real threat with potentially serious consequences for people I love.

That is the extent of what I know for sure.

Everything you do in a typical class can be expanded and used to deal with the current pandemic.

  • The opening ceremony sets your mind and attitude to focus on something special that you are undertaking.  Start your day with something mindful and intentional.
  • Warm-ups and ukemi.  Eat breakfast and do something that gets your mind ready for the day.
  • Technique.  If you attend class in our dojo, you usually have no idea what techniques and principles the instructor is going to teach.  But you listen, you watch, you take in the information and act.
  • The closing ceremony ends the class.  We thank the people who created our art, we thank our teachers, and we thank each other.  The class ends, but we take what we have learned and incorporate it into our life.

The longer you train, the easier all of this gets.  The more accepting you are of the gift of teaching.  The more thankful you are for the experience.  Surprises are a delight!  Setbacks remind us why we keep showing up.  The lessons learned from the unexpected are treasures.

Our art can be used daily, whether you are wearing a sword, or not. My advice is: spend your time staying ever ready.  Don’t waste energy and thought on what you don’t know or what your imagination conjures. Be thankful for what trials reveal about you.


O’Brien Sensei

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