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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Beyond The Wall


    I was at Starbucks, getting the a quadruple espresso. I was watching a man buy four of those blended drinks. He skips the cardboard carrier they offer and walks out balancing one cup atop another in each hand. It is interesting to watch and so I keep an eye on him as I sip my high octane.

    He walks up to the passenger side of an SUV and hands one stack to the female passenger. It is at that point that he loses control of the other stack and one Frappucino begins to topple toward the pavement. But very quickly, the man lowers his body and hand, reaches down and catches the falling cup before it spills of hits the deck.

    What a save!

    I did not stop to interview him, but I suspect he did not think too much about what he would do, nor is it a move that he has practiced countless times either. Yet there it was...perfect execution and timing.

    Action without thought.

    Later in the day, I was driving home with the "Shield Maiden". The Prescott area is notorious for MDs and ODs - Meth Drivers and Octagenarian Drivers, neither of which belong on the road.

    We had just turned onto HWY 69 approaching Mayer, driving at about 65 mph...OK...75 mph, when a big Van pulled out onto traffic. You know the kind...just like the Hillside Strangler used to drive, complete with blacked out windows and rust. It had been, and still was, raining so the surface was a bit slippery.

    But when the van pulled into traffic, it cut across straight to the number one lane...the lane I was in.

    Without any active thought, I gassed it and drove onto the center median. Being wet, the Tahoe lost traction and swerved slightly. Again, without actively thinking about it, I turned into the slide, righted the SUV, and cut in front of him as I sped off.

    A side note is that immediately afterwards, I noted a slight increase in heart rate, but it was back to normal before I realized.

    Had I not had the event I saw earlier in the day I might not have given this a second thought, but there it was again...quick mindless action unhampered by active thought,or fear of failing, or analysis. I will tell you that I do not train vehicle maneuvers regularly and while I did many years ago, never in a Tahoe.

    The Japanese have a saying - mushin no shin or "mind without mind" and is also referred to as the state of "no-mindness". That is, a mind not fixed or occupied by thought or emotion and thus open to everything. There is an absence of analytical thought and judgment, so the person is totally free to act and react without hesitation and without disturbance from such thoughts.

    At this point, a person relies what is felt intuitively. The mind could be said to be working at a very high speed, but with no intention, plan or direction. In other words, it is not concentration or focus, rather a relaxed mind (the ancients would say "spirit") and a relaxed body that can physically adapt quickly and respond to changing situations almost as fast as they occur, whether to catch a coffee cup, avoid a stupid driver. or kill an adversary.

    Perhaps something we should discuss more.
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Atlanta ITP
    I know the Starbucks example you noted was unpracticed and probably coincidentally successful.

    I would wager that your driving example is a product of training at speed (fighting, driving, etc).

    I can’t give a good example of my fighting skills being as quick as my driving as that was a larger portion of my life in my 20s. I recall when I was tracking my S2000 a lot about 12 years ago, I was in a pretty prime driving condition. I had even a lot of simulator time in race cars (not just video games). I found my car control, pedal control and all reactive emergency maneuvers on the street seemed to happen at 25% of the speed of racing speed.... so it all seemed slow.

    I think some tasks we should train in “muscle memory”, but should be a base that you cannot “not compute” in the moment of need because it’s too rigid. When I got back into TKD in college, I sparred with some of the “retail TKD school” grads who could knock out katas that were as sharp as a razor blade, but could not apply into live sparring and it was like fighting a robot... easy (but to the dismay of the instructor, taking sporting into account).

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    With hockey it happens a lot. Mainly because you are using a stick and a ball and you can’t always keep eyes on all things at one time. I can see the same with sword fighting. I know what you are talking about though, I have dropped stuff in the same manner and done exactly what you described. I don’t really have an idea how you would bring it out or train for it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    It’s more like hand and mind coordination, train through repetition??? Idk..

  5. #5
    In the majority of sports and combat psychology sources I’ve studied, what you’ve observed is referred to as “flow” or the “flow state” and is highly sought by athletes, warriors, artists, and entrepreneurs alike.

    Among the many resources, there is a book called “Stealing Fire” that details how a few well-known and extremely successful entities have studied and apply training to achieve flow states on command.

    This is also a fundamental goal within my ikigai, parkour. To have trained body and mind so well and diversely that no thoughts must be had or decisions made when it is a necessity to respond, react, or move. To have trained to the point of trusting what will be done by the unified mind-body system in a scenario and allowing conscious cognitive functions to recede.

    I can experience this on-purpose during training when doing the same sequence of movements in repetition, and have found it is especially powerful during surprise falls and bails. One moment you’re slipping off a railing 7ft up over concrete stairs and the next you’ve recovered and are safely standing near the obstacle. It’s wild, to say the least.

    Flow state, mindlessness, being in the zone, however it is named, is absolutely worth more study, in my opinion.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    "Stealing Fire?" Bought it, see where it takes me.
    Warrior for the working day.

    Es una cosa muy seria. --Robert Capa

    "...I rode the range in a Ford V8...Yippy Yi Yo Ki Yay." --Johnny Mercer (as modified)

    "What cannot be remedied must be endured."

    Vale et omnia quae.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Last night, I was listening to an interview with performance coach Dr. Michael Gervais last night—he’s worked with NFL teams, Formula1 drivers, Red Bull stuntmen, etc., on the psychology of high-performance.

    He made a comment that resonated with me: Mindfulness is critical to tapping into our peak performance. He mentioned that for Type A personalities, it could be called “Mindfulness-training” to make it more palatable. He also defined it as having two pillars: One being mindfulness/awareness training (which focuses on this “Mind like water” concept, on being non-reactive and much more in control of one’s responses, heart rate, etc) and the second being wisdom.

    I’m not sure if meditation or other mindfulness-training concepts have come up here much, but I have noticed remarkable results in my life as I’ve implemented a regular/routine practice. Has any one else had any experiences with this?
    Christian, Paramedic, Leader, Texan.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Western WA
    Mindfulness and mindlessness are different sides of the same coin IMO.

    One works at being mindful daily. Being present, in the moment, paying attention. Mindfulness is baked into martial arts training, if you're doing it right. You find that you begin responding to things before others even see the initial stimulus. I think of it as a relaxed state where nonetheless you're still on the starting blocks, ready to react mentally and physically.

    Thinking, visualization, training in kata for both the mind and body...these give you both mindfulness and mindlessness.
    Brent Yamamoto
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor

    Ready, willing, able. Bring it.

    Instagram: karate_at_1200fps

    Upcoming classes:

    Pistol Groundfighting, Texas

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