We learn this inner training technique while seated. We can export it to kata. Then, with a calm, clear mind, we are free to act, in stillness or in action, without hesitating or anticipating.
Here is how to begin inner training:
Sit down in a quiet place. Make your spine tall, and let your body relax.
Your body rests on your seat. Your mind rests in your body.
You set aside your worries, hopes, regrets, obligations and schedule. You can take them up later.
You notice your breath moving. You sense it at your nostrils or upper lip.
Notice it moving in. Notice it moving out.
That noticing is called mindfulness.
Notice the length of the breath.
Usually, it is long when you begin. It becomes short as you settle down.
Attending to the length of the breaths is a kind if investigation.
You are examining your breathing for its qualities.
Use some effort to maintain your attention on the breathing.
You expand the range of your attention from the breath to the whole body. Head to toe. Through and through. Breath awareness becomes peripheral.
You allow your whole body to settle down and become calm.
With mindful attention, in this calm, a feeling of joy arises in your mind.
When you begin this mindfulness-of-breathing practice it is enough to do the first few steps. The time of practice can be of whatever length of time you feel is suitable. As you get accustomed to the first steps you can add the next steps. Extend the length of the practice period to as long as you feel is useful. Go deeper, little by little, as you get better at it.
This is the beginning of the mindfulness-of-breathing practice. As you can see in the outline presented on our Advanced Training page, there are 16 steps to this approach to mind training.
Throughout these 16 steps we attend to the condition of the mind and body. Through investigation of the mind, we detect five specific hindrances to concentration, and we remove them. We apply the seven factors which promote concentration. The training sequence described above is the foundation of the complete path.
We can use this foundation of attention, tranquility and concentration as we move from the seated posture to standing, walking and kata practice.
This is a good way to start.
As I have emphasized throughout, for this kind of inner training to be effective, it has to be based on a foundation of moral and ethical conduct. Doing harm, lying, stealing, and engaging in sexual misconduct, for example, hurt people. These actions also disturb and damage the minds of the people who do them. Only with a settled condition of mind, based on wholesome conduct, can inner training have a good effect.
An introduction to this topic and further information about it appears on the Mountain Karate Advanced Training page.
A video inspired by the book True Karate Dō, by Jeffrey Brooks. It tells the story of a monk’s moment of awakening, and the relationship of the Ch’an and Zen tradition to the lore and methods of east Asian martial arts.
Read True Karate Dō –
“One of the best books I’ve read in years, inviting and compelling. Jeff Brooks moves effortlessly from martial arts to Buddhism to consciousness studies, self-transformation, and related fields in this wide-ranging and Illuminating study that has much to offer both novice explorers and veteran practitioners. A splendid achievement.”
— Philip Zaleski, Editor, The Best Spiritual Writing series
— Co-author, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams.
True Karate Dō is available on Amazon in paperback, hardcover and Kindle Edition https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0C9S7QX44
Visit @MountainKarate on YouTube
Post and image Copyright © 2023 by Jeffrey Brooks, Mountain Karate, Yamabayashi Ryu, Saluda, NC USA