Mindfulness and throwing

At last night’s class we began exploring basic throwing techniques and how these relate to Mindful Awareness.

If you think about a basic White Crane Silat throw, essentially one partner is in a certain body position and the one carrying out the throw begins to shift that person’s center of gravity right up to the moment where balance (or rooting) is ‘broken’ and at that very moment executes the take down.

Mindfulness is of course a broad term with many aspects and qualities to it. One important quality often described in various traditions is to be fully present with the object one chooses to focus on and to observe it with such clarity and resolution power that one is able to track the components and sub-components of sensory experience moment by moment. Can you be there right at the very moment a thought or emotion arises? Can you infuse it with clarity and awareness at that very moment?

In basic White Crane Silat throwing, this same concept is trained in a practical and physical way. If you are executing the throw, can you be fully present and consciously feel that very moment just before your partner’s center of gravity shifts and balance is broken? Can you feel exactly when this happens and time the throw accordingly to make it effortless?

Conversely for the person being thrown the same practice applies. Can you feel exactly the very moment your own balance is broken? Can you be so present with good feeling that your reaction to the throw is an honest reflection of the forces acting upon you?

The person receiving the throw is also implementing a mindset of honesty and allowing. There is no preference whether to fall or not. If the throw is executed well, one falls - if not one doesn’t.

Practicing these qualities of feeling, awareness, honesty, and allowing in a physical way over time reinforces these qualities in the mind and can be seen as a ‘skillful means’ of developing these in a holistic way.