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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The world is your dojo*

Last week, anyone in Minnesota can attest to the wonderful weather: rain, snow and wind advisory… the good stuff. With weather like this, driving down the road can be hazardous as the blustery wind blows you all over the place. Here I am, going down the highway, gripping my steering wheel like it was the last lifeboat on the Titanic. It is tiring and nerve-racking. I am totally focused on holding the wheel tight so I don’t get shoved in the ditch or onto other cars. I am holding on so tight that every little wind gust makes me overly react, turning a big wind gust into an enormous waver of my car. Then I heard this little voice in my head ….“The world is your dojo*”. Hmmm… how can I apply my skills to this? Then Rory’s awesome blindfold drill came to mind. OK the principles of Rory’s blindfold drill…. that sounds better since I am definitely not driving blindfolded. So I loosened my grip on the wheel, relaxed and tried to “feel” the motion wind blowing me around. Instead of anticipating the gush, I let it happen and sorta ride the wave. Glory be, it worked! I am not only a lot more relaxed and at ease, I can feel the wind blowing me around a lot sooner than I did before and thus only needing to make a very slight adjustment. I am not getting blown all over the road. I am actually enjoying the drive now. I am zooming by all the other stressed out drivers, still having a death grip on their steering wheel. My car is going straight as an arrow, like the wind barely even affected me. I got home feeling a lot more relaxed and happy then the first drive I had in this weather.

Amazing how fighting principles can apply to mundane tasks. And if being relaxed and calm can make such a difference in a stressful driving situation, how much more can it apply to a stressful violent encounter. In a relaxed state you can actually feel what is really going on. Your eyes can not only deceive you, they are slow to relay the message to your brain. And being calm keeps you from going into the flight and fight response and all the ensuing effects attached with it (tunnel vision, loss of hearing, decreased fine motor skills, increased heart rate, loss of focus and cognitive abilities).

So stay cool, stay calm…. and breeze through your day.

*dojo = martial arts training hall

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