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Time and Timing

"Love is most nearly itself when here and now cease to matter."--Eliot. Time is a matter of great importance in martial art since fast movement is a primary goal, but time's implications and flexibility go much deeper than mere speed of movement.

Timing your actions to coordinate appropriately with an attack is more important than mere speed because if timing and blending are right, the opponent's own speed or momentum should be enough to cause him to fall. Timing your movements to match an opponent's movements neutralizes or cancels out the power and duration of his attack.

The suspension of the psychological or mental flow of time is the gateway to transcendence of the spirit. Meditation, a common exercise in martial arts, is the most influential tool used to synchronize the mind (inner) to movement (outer). Slow movement against an implied resistance is a meditative method that sways time in the physical field. Slow perfection of form is a meditative exercise that creates gaps in time and simultaneously trains the body to move within these gaps.

The mind (through an internal function that creates a flowing sense of time) organizes, sorts, frames, coordinates and defines our experiences so that they make sense. Due to this temporal framework, reality is experienced in present time, learned and filed in memory as "past," and anticipated in the "future" for the sake of cause-effect logical relationships. Each person's mind constructs its own relative time sense so that it can adjust the chaos of sensory information to a controllable level, and equip the mind with a logical format for movement and change (cause and effect).

Time gauges an event, providing a context for all emotions, hope or dread, and the various methods of expression and communication. We live and die in the interlude of time. Our safety as well as our bondage depend on, and happen within time.

The temporal mind operates within a comfortable range of consciousness, nestled safely below the threshold of both insanity and transcendence.

Copyright 2004 by Jack Livingston


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