Monday, November 30, 2009


In a previous entry, I mentioned that movement comes first. You have to learn how to move around in a relaxed mental state and properly interact with the ground. After movement comes interaction. 

In some sense, interaction is going on all the time. Gravity is pushing on you and the environment is interacting with you through your senses. Maybe a better way to think of learning to interact is to become more aware of the interaction that is always taking place. 

You can interact with the ground as I said, or maybe a wall or a ball or any inanimate object. You can also interact with animals and people. No matter what you do, you are doing some kind of interaction, but how do we get the best interactions or at least improve them as much as possible?

The first step is attention. It's not good enough to see or hear, you need to actively look, listen and feel. 

When you move around, in order to be balanced and move naturally, you should have your attention focused outward rather than inward. Some people call this "confidence". I think of it as the way a healthy person should be all the time. You should have a bubble of intent or attention around you. I don't mean a literal bubble...just think of it as a metaphor for how far around you your attention goes. It can be as small as just around your skin or up to 10 meters, 100 meters, a kilometer...I don't think there is a limit really. It should also be all around you and not just forward. If you are really focused outward, your body will relax, because your mind isn't telling it to tense up. Your mind is busy experiencing the world around you.      

At the point something enters into the area you are paying attention to, you are interacting with it. I don't want to get off track getting into the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and how intent and attention can be real forces, but let's just say that interaction occurs when your attention is on something. 

You start interacting with someone when they have their attention on you and you on them. If there is music playing, you interact with it only when you notice it, not when you just hear it. 

All of this may sound obvious, but here is the problem that often happens. People forget this simple phenomenon. You can get so wrapped up in your head and what you want or need that you can forget to interact. 

If you play in a band and you don't listen to your band mates because you are too busy trying to play perfectly or show off, that is not a full interaction. If you talk to someone and you just want to rant about something even if they don't want to hear it, bad interaction. If you are counting dance steps while you dance with a partner, bad interaction. If you are fighting and you throw out programmed moves, bad interaction. If you are having sex with someone and you are visualizing other people or situations in your head, bad interaction.

Luckily, bad interactions won't kill you in the short term or most of us would already be dead. They do do some pretty bad things though such as preventing fun, learning, energy and basically life in general. Living is interaction and the experience of that interaction is emotion.

Most people have been hurt physically and emotionally or they are too scared to let go to have real interactions with other people. Or perhaps they are busy wishing reality was different than it is or that people were different than they are so they can't let go and interact.  Other people are busy trying to get people to react to them in a certain way. 

Some people didn't get enough love and attention at a young age so they run around looking for people to give them energy, attention and/or approval. That isn't real interaction. Some people "fall" for a man or woman they know and start to see that person as the answer to their life. This expectation keeps them from really interacting with the person and perhaps starting a real relationship. Some guys never make friends because they want that person to first give them status and "respect" them before really interacting. 

Ok, so on to fighting. Fighting is an intense form of interaction. It can be terrifying, dangerous, and the person you are interacting with may or may not have their attention on you. To be as good as possible, you need to really understand how interactions work. Dancing should be a snap. You should be able to have great, fun conversations with people. You should be able to be vulnerable and your emotions should express themselves naturally on your face. If you can't do these things, you need to keep working on interaction. 

Of course, you can try to skip straight to fighting but in my experience you will have trouble going beyond your basic size, strength and speed. You will plateau and probably get really frustrated.  

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