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Time Slows Down

There are times during Karate training that time seems to slow down or even stop. You may have experienced this. I find that it happens most during jiyu kumite or very fast pairing off drills.

To you, everything will seem to be in slow motion. However, to your partner you will seem to be moving lightning fast.

During such times, your body will react on its own. You do not think, "I will block and then kick." You just are there, watching yourself block and kick. Sometimes it feels like you almost black out and then the next moment remember that you blocked and punched.

The more your body knows how to move the less your conscious mind is required. In fact, conscious thought gets in the way of spontaneous movement.

My sensei often says that the koshi has a mind of its own. Perhaps this means that the body has its own "mind" so to speak that can operate independently of the conscious mind. This is one reason that we tightly control kumite in my dojo. If you are not careful, you will not know that you have hit your partner until after it has happened. Spontaneous movement leaves very little margin for error.

Have you experienced this time perception phenomenon? I am fairly certain that senior Karate instructors will be familiar with it.

One strange thing I can report from experience is that when you move like this, you do not hear normal sounds -- perhaps you hear a white noise or nothing at all -- and you do not feel the least bit tired or winded afterward. The movement (or sequence) is timeless and effortless -- at least that is how it feels.

Strange, no?


Charles C. Goodin