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Comfort for the Frustrated Student

This is a picture of some encouraging quotes from Uyeshiba, hanging on the wall of my dojo for my students to read. Hopefully they will be able to remember these ideas when feeling frustrated in their training.

"To study the Art is to undertake a process with numerous ups and downs.
Surrender to the expansiveness of life.
Take each class one at a time, then the sweat, joys, disappointments (plateaus) and rewards you experience can developinto an art you can love and call your own."

"The body learns slowly compared to the mind.
The process of learning the Art includes many repetitions, many errors.
Each class will bring out a detail you may not have noticed before."

"Just when you think you have accomplilshed something in the art,
something will happen that makes you feel like you've gone back to zero.
Try not to judge yourself, your classmates, teacher or the Art at this time."

We all have plataeus, that's just a normal part of training. Advanced students have been through several plataeus, and its not unusual to quit the art for a while when feeling frustrated, but then miss it so much you have to come back. If you can make it through these hard times, remembering there is no blame involved in it, this is key in, like Uyesheba said, making the art something you love, something that feels like its a large part of you and a defining characteristic of your life.

What is asked for, taking one class at a time, is a very advanced skill. It take the mind of "no mind" to be able to do this. This is a skill developed over time, and not something the beginner will be able to easily accomplish. A beginner may be able to understand the concept intellectually, but its so much harder to do than to know. You will know it intellectually long before it becomes a part of your body. Once it sinks into you, at a cellular level, then it will become yours.

This thing about coming back to zero is not something you should dread: its the essence of our learning. Every class should begin at zero. Every plataeu is coming back to zero. And in the end, you realize its all just a coming back to a larger, universal zero.

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