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InvisibleSwami
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Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief
    #4032603 - 04/08/05 11:37 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

As many of you know, racquetball is my daily meditation and passion. It is a form of non-contact martial art and is as deep as any Eastern practice. Every part must be working in total harmony to excel. I use this as a regular test of who I am and where I am at.

(Substitute your own hobby while reading this to see how it fits. Most principles will be the same. I will be covering one sub-topic per day. Much of this is what I teach my students.)

1. Flexibility: both in mind and body. Am I limber? How much tension am I holding
in my muscles? How much fear or doubt? Is my opponent stronger? What if I miss-hit the ball? Who is watching me? (All manner of useless mind noise must be silenced or ignored.) I am still learning (as a former power-lifter) that explosive power comes from a complete relaxation of the upper body. The best power hitters look the most relaxed. It is a seeming paradox, but looked at deeper the truth can be seen that smaller muscles trying to add to the power of the shot only impede it like a boulder in a river. Trust! Trust! Trust! I imagine a shot and let if fly without hesitation. I have had so many players tell me that I am unbelievably lucky. I smile inwardly and accept the compliment. It is ALL about practice and faith in ones abilities.

What happens when I miss? Do I smack my racquet on the wall like a child throwing a tantrum? (I had two guys break their sticks on the wall in frustration in the last two weeks. Do I goad them? No, I actually applaud my opponent when he shows some brilliance. So why did they break their sticks? Because they believed they were better than their opponent and this clash with REALITY was too much to bear.)

Oops, I digressed. So what happens when I miss? I replay the entire point in my head. I KNOW that if all the parts were right the result HAS to be right! Ah, my balance was a little off, I failed to find the center of the racquet and I choked up a little on follow-through. While others may jump around in an emotional state shouting "I SUCK!", I will be making these minor corrections so as to improve next time. Awareness of my body and position and positive feedback leads to near-constant improvement.

One of my students, Dave,  asked me how I could take him apart so easily without any effort after he had been playing hard for five years, I answered, 'Because you are asleep and your form sucks." There was no meanness nor denigration, mere observation. He replied hanging his head, "I DO suck, don't I?" (Notice the attachment here?) I countered forcefully? "NO! You don't suck, but your form needs to be reworked and you will have to change the way you look at the game to improve."

Dave has rediscovered a passion for the game as he can see the path opening before him. Even though we have only started, he has made great strides.

Am I teaching him the ultimate truth? No, but it is a higher "truth" than that which he practiced. I am still, and will forever be, both student and teacher. Whenever I lose a game, I ask myself, "What did this person have to teach me?"

This last question can apply to everyone you meet.  :heart:


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


Edited by Swami (04/08/05 11:52 PM)


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OfflineLux
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Re: Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief [Re: Swami]
    #4032634 - 04/08/05 11:49 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Yes, there are many parallels with my own training. I am a competitive Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu grappler/Muay-Thai kick-boxer and training to hopefully compete in MMA/NHB. It is always when I begin to talk in my head or doubt myself that I get caught by surprise or things do not go my way so I can absolutely see and agree with what you're saying. While I do like to think that I take every bit of training as a learning experience, I will remember to ask the question everytime, what did this person have to teach me? Thank you.


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OfflineShagshow
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Re: Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief [Re: Swami]
    #4032637 - 04/08/05 11:49 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

right...:::applies Basketball::::...Swami, if you'd like to play some basketball; I'd be happy to help you find the higher truth in that world. Glad you are helping someone out in a non-condescending way; keep up the good work. Peace.


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OfflineShagshow
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Re: Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief [Re: Shagshow]
    #4032643 - 04/08/05 11:51 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Lux, if you are interested in some cool 'real life videos of amazing fighters' or kung fu guys...Check out this video on collegehumor.com...
http://www.collegehumor.com/?movie_id=121507


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Offlinefresh313
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Re: Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief [Re: Swami]
    #4032661 - 04/08/05 11:58 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

it is a game with simple technique
reaction
positions
placement
repeat

the practice and integration of the techniques will create the necessary mindset

at the end of the day you are still only as good as your opponents


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OfflineSneezingPenis
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Re: Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief [Re: fresh313]
    #4032738 - 04/09/05 12:25 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

I always thought you just had to hit the ball as close to the corner of the wall and the floor...I played an 80 year old guy who was just probably a year away from wheeling around an oxygen tank... whooped my ass in raquetball, didnt even move from his original spot hardly...


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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Re: Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief [Re: SneezingPenis]
    #4032837 - 04/09/05 01:12 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

I get to say the magic word...BULLSHIT. Raquetball is an intensely physical sport involving lots of physical motion. I had my ass whooped at it too many times.


--------------------
"A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions." ― Carlos Castaneda


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OfflineShagshow
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Re: Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #4032839 - 04/09/05 01:14 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

"an intensely physical sport," I wouldn't go that for now Hueh...


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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Re: Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief [Re: Shagshow]
    #4032862 - 04/09/05 01:22 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

I would. Perhaps you don't know what you are talking about. I played the game as a soldier who ran 10 miles a day, and a 2 hour session left me severely winded and sweating. It does depend on how good your opponent is as to how much effort you expend. My opponents were in similar condition to myself. It is similar to basketball in the amount of energy expended.


--------------------
"A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions." ― Carlos Castaneda


Edited by Huehuecoyotl (04/09/05 01:29 AM)


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OfflineShagshow
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Re: Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #4032871 - 04/09/05 01:25 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

I'd imagine a good player could make you run around; eventually tiring you out. Perhaps my perception of what "an intensely physical sport" is just more tough :P. 10 miles a day is very difficult, i'd consider that more tiring (Depending on how you pace yourself). I'd consider running a Marathon, or finishing the Tour de France might be intensely physical activities/sports.


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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Re: Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief [Re: Shagshow]
    #4032896 - 04/09/05 01:33 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Well, I consider basketbal, football, most track sports, and ping pong to all be intensely physical. Citing marathons, Tour de France, and climbing Mt.Everest as sports is sort of pointless as few people engage in either...though I did once participate in a marathon.


--------------------
"A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions." ― Carlos Castaneda


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OfflineShagshow
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Re: Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #4032911 - 04/09/05 01:37 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

True. Did you finish the marathon; I admire the fact that you just took part in one.


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief [Re: fresh313]
    #4032942 - 04/09/05 01:57 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

at the end of the day you are still only as good as your opponents

Great observation.  :thumbup: A few weeks ago, a cat name Pat handed me my head on a platter. EVERY SINGLE SHOT, I was within an inch or two of retrieving the ball. I thought I was perhaps a little lazy, so I went from 85-99%. The result was the same. I hadn't lost that badly in 10 or 15 years. Played agin. Same thing. One more time - no change.

For weeks, I replayed the entire match as best I could in my head. I knew there was a key somewhere. And then the light finally went on! I was used to hunting rabbits (strong, but sloppy club players); and now I was hunting wild boar and was ill-equipped to do so.

While a good competitor needs to be able to take on new opponents with wildly different techniques, I was used to playing one-dimensional players - and that was ALL I could see. These types of players would select a specific shot and either make it or miss. They were very easy to read and paid no attention to me as I sprinted up to cover their selection.

Pat played the game like chess; looking several moves ahead. Unbeknownst to me (at the time), he watched me like a hawk and slightly adjusted his shot to bring it just out of my reach as he noted my speed and angle while I was charging in. What a master!

Going back to fresh's comment, as Pat rarely comes around, I will not be able to practice and test new counter-measures, and thus it is difficult to rise far past those whom I test myself against.


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Re: Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief [Re: Shagshow]
    #4032958 - 04/09/05 02:04 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

No, I made about 2/3 of the Honolulu Marathon. I was under pressure to participate from friends (my number was free) who ran also...I really had not the taste for it. I know...I'm a wimp.


--------------------
"A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions." ― Carlos Castaneda


Edited by Huehuecoyotl (04/09/05 02:29 AM)


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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Re: Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #4032967 - 04/09/05 02:10 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

I admit that I suck at that game,(when I did play it years ago) BUT how do you think several moves ahead when your opponent is largely unprdictable, if you have never played them. of course?


--------------------
"A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions." ― Carlos Castaneda


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Offlinefireworks_godS
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Re: Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #4033007 - 04/09/05 02:25 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Amazing thread, very insightful. :thumbup: I look forward to further installments, as well. :wink:

Playing guitar has a lot of the same elements, except for the more notable difference in that you aren't really competing with others. I'd like to note that I really enjoy the picture of competition that you paint in this thread - not of bitter enemies clashing to end the other, but of two of the same facing one another as a test of themself and the other. I'm not able at this time to express what I'm after in words, but I think that this kind of competition transcends the ego and the illusory self perspective... One is merely facing oneself, a dance between two lovers... two vantage points experiencing the same basic experience.... The universe facing itself.... etc. etc. etc... :nut:

Back to guitar. It also requires the mind to stop interfering with the experience of playing. Thinking most any thought seperates one from the experience of playing; almost all thinking serves as a distraction from playing. Playing guitar requires that the basic physical aspects and mental goals be more subliminal in order to open up the mental space for one to express themselves in a creative manner. Its no different than expressing yourself with a language, conveying that language through some medium. One needs to learn to type in an effective manner, where one has no need to consider where which key is, what finger to use to strike it, or to view the keyboard in order to type correctly. It needs to become a function that can be autonomous from our conscious thought when necessary. Sometimes one needs to consciously tune in to the technique in order to make corrections, just as Swami keeps awareness of his body's balance and position, the force of his movements, etc. etc.

Please excuse me while I tune into (and tune) my guitar. :lol:

:headbang: :headbang: :headbang: :satansmoking:
Peace. :mushroom2:


--------------------
:redpanda:
If I should die this very moment
I wouldn't fear
For I've never known completeness
Like being here
Wrapped in the warmth of you
Loving every breath of you

:heartpump: :bunnyhug: :yinyang:

:yinyang: :levitate: :earth: :levitate: :yinyang:


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief [Re: fireworks_god]
    #4033082 - 04/09/05 03:05 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

I'd like to note that I really enjoy the picture of competition that you paint in this thread - not of bitter enemies clashing to end the other, but of two of the same facing one another as a test of themself and the other. I'm not able at this time to express what I'm after in words, but I think that this kind of competition transcends the ego and the illusory self perspective... One is merely facing oneself, a dance between two lovers... two vantage points experiencing the same basic experience.... The universe facing itself.... etc. etc. etc...

V-e-r-y insightful. I tell all my students that when I am playing, I am really competing against my self and my opponents are merely mirrors to reflect myself in. It is exciting to me that you grasp this.  :cool:


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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Offlinefireworks_godS
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Re: Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief [Re: Swami]
    #4033112 - 04/09/05 03:25 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

It's all about Zen. :wink:

:headbang: :headbang: :headbang: :satansmoking:
Peace. :mushroom2:


--------------------
:redpanda:
If I should die this very moment
I wouldn't fear
For I've never known completeness
Like being here
Wrapped in the warmth of you
Loving every breath of you

:heartpump: :bunnyhug: :yinyang:

:yinyang: :levitate: :earth: :levitate: :yinyang:


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Offlinefresh313
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Re: Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief [Re: Swami]
    #4033143 - 04/09/05 03:50 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

i share the love for the game as well
the sheer speed and intensity forces you into the moment
it is funny how you compared your boy pats playing to a chess game
chess is a game of strategy and not a game of being in the moment but a game of predicting your opponents future moves
so it seems that by taking yourself out of the moment, out of the returning the ball so that the other player cannot return it that next shot mindset [ which is hard to do since it is so much fun ], by creating a series of shots which gives you command of the court, and forces the other player into the defensive as they have no time to strategize [ given they are strategizing at all ]

seems that it is less of playing the game, more of playing your opponent, since the game changes every time your opponent changes

you could play a thousand more games with your club players and play pat again with predictable the same outcome, if you played 20 games with pat, you would predictabley close the gap to a much greater degree.  then if you go back to playing your club players these skills you learned aganist pat would not have much applicability 


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InvisibleLunarEclipse
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Re: Racquetball: awareness, reflection, belief [Re: Swami]
    #4033736 - 04/09/05 11:04 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Thanks for sharing YOUR beliefs, Swami.  :thumbup:

I think all of our activities can be approached with the focus, attention, and learning approach you describe.  Everything has the potential to be a chess match.

It's important relax as your describe, and not get down on yourself.  If one is breaking rackets into the wall, or wrapping golf clubs around trees, it's time to find a new activity or at least change your approach.  I play golf, it is a mental challenge of serious proportions.  I play sporadically, so vast improvements are unrealistic.  Last year, I played about four times and one day I had the best driving day of my life.  EVERY drive was straight as an arrow and long.  I even hit a 300 yard drive which was unprecedented.  Of course, the next time I played, that was not the case.  The difference was one of having superior attention the one day, of being more relaxed and confident, and the resulting improvement in mechanics.  Of course, success breeds success.  If the first two drives you hit go into the woods or the water, you probably aren't going to have a stellar driving day.  Tiger Woods has the exact same problem.  It's 90% mental, 10% physical.

Your temper CAN kill you.  Years ago, some guy wrapped his golf club around a tree and the club came back around and hit him in the head, killing him.  Talk about your instant karma...


--------------------
Anxiety is what you make it.


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