Conditioning the Mind

Tetsuo Kaieda


I often find myself wondering whether or not I could be making better or more efficient use of my time.  I try to think of all the possible mundane things that need to get done and what I need to do in order to complete those tasks.  Unfortunately, to a large degree, this eats up too much of my time and creates endless lists of things that need to get done, but no time to do them.

In training, you could also view how to improve your skills the same way.  Endless things to improve, work on, think about, focus on, but then you’ve run out of time to do anything.  Even if you do work on a few things, it will only do you good if you repeat it enough times to reinforce the muscle memory and the feel of the technique.

This correlation between martial arts training and “real life” represents my biggest challenge in life.  The challenge comes from drawing on lessons learned in one venue and applying them to the other.  If a kick or punch can be decisive and committed, shouldn’t your decision to stick with an exercise plan be just as decisive and committed?  If a technique lacks flow and power, will your day’s tasks be equally as disjointed and cumbersome in their execution?  If you are present in class in body, but not in spirit or in mind, will you learn anything?  I believe to a great degree that all of these tasks and movements are interconnected.

I have received instruction from several martial arts teachers over the years and from them I have learned many different philosophies, techniques, and styles.  But one thing that has remained consistent, no matter who the instructor, was the dedication and perseverance demonstrated by that instructor to their art.  Each had integrated their art with the conditioning of their body, mind, and spirit.  From each one I have subconsciously and consciously gleaned valuable lessons.

Here is something you can do every day to help train your mind.  Go about your day normally and if you think up a task you could do to try and improve yourself or your position in life, try and remember it.  Anything from not eating that donut your co-worker brought in to paying off a credit card early to just calling a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.  After your day is over, reflect upon that task and ask yourself this.  “Why did I think of that task?  Were my mind, spirit, and body acting together in my best interest?”  When your mind, body, and spirit are in agreement, I believe that this will offer insight to your own beliefs and what is truly important to you in your life.  From that insight, perseverance and determination to achieve what is important to you will naturally follow.

That is how classes are held at the Jinenkan Gi Yu Dayton Dojo.  The integration of Body, Mind & Spirit is how classes are taught.  As always….persevere!