“The Psychology of Life and Death,” by Jeff Dooley

Sometimes when I see people doing the 31 kumijo partner practice I get the impression that they are moving through a sequence of dance steps, memorized and practiced until they become automatic. Often it looks smooth and coordinated, as if each person knows what their partner is going to do next, which of course they do.

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  1. bruce baker says:

    Ya want the psychology of life and death?

    You are sitting at your computer in your house, and car crashes into your house jarring you out of your mental lethargy.

    You are practicing a kata with a fellow practitioner, and then .. you teacher starts hitting you with his jo saying,” .. DEFEND YOURSELF, WAKE UP!”

    You are talking to someone on your cell phone, or texting as you walk, then you trip and fall like some child, but there is no mother or father to pick you up.

    That is the psychology of life and death. All your plans and all your dreams are challenged with the finality of your incapacity to deal with situation at the moment of failure despite your best efforts.

    Eventually death will win, but until that moment, you fight against fate, fight against failure, and win temporarilly until death wins.

    Any Questions? Go look in the mirror cause that is who is gonna figure out the answers at the end of the day … despite all the help, encouragement, and good words people will give you as they try to help you … only you will be able to figure it out at the end of the day.

    And ya know what is even more perplexing? What you figure out .. will change as you grow old and put more and more years behinds you and acquire more and more knowledge.

  2. Katas are katas. Learn the basics, like the 13 and 31. Learn lots of ’em. Make some up. Do awase and kumijo. Think of variations continuing from some of the fancier suburi, like katate gedan gaeshi. The jo is the partner who will never say “I don’t like your energy”… Training is to build flexibility of body and spirit, so that when a moment comes you simply fall into form. If you survive you can sort out the stress that your mind experienced as it watched things happen.

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