On the benefits of Slow Vertically Balanced Movements
How Effortlessness Releases the Power of Intrinsic Energy
William of Occam used the razor as a metaphor for splitting hairs of difference, between competing theories in search of the one that was most true, stating that, “the simplest explanation must be the most correct”. In the practice of martial arts, the razor is the human being and its remarkable ability to endlessly split its balance point sensitivity into finer and finer hairs. The simplest version of martial arts is the practice of Yi Chuan, Standing Meditation. It is the anvil on which to temper the mettle of human ability, to know and preserve true centered balance. I say centered balance, in an effort to include the mind, because one cannot achieve excellence without being centered in both mind and body. At that point, the mysterious pass opens and the strings of the cosmic marionette are free to manipulate our bodies to accomplish whatever the moment is calling for. From this great position of centered awareness athletic excellence is guaranteed. I have believed since childhood, without question, that my body, being part of the world, knew the exact number of beans in a jar or which playing card was selected from the deck, without seeing it, or the exact distance to the rim of the goal and exactly how much pressure to put on the ball to make it swish through the net. I believed all I had to do was to not get in the way of my natural abilities. I felt everyone’s body was this way.
I still believe that this is the case and my search through the years has been on how to accentuate that natural ability. I saw T’ai-chi Ch’üan as a possible doorway into releasing the acquired conditioned responses of the living self and freeing up the body to use its intrinsic reflexes to perform the daily tasks of my life. This is what T’ai-Chi does if it is practiced from the alignment of the mysterious pass, because it is only in the mysterious pass that these skills are accessible. The ability is inherent in the structure of the body and its natural ensconcement in the electromagnetic matrix of all things, so the only skill required is the ability to enter that balanced and centered state of being.
This space is the threshold of all great, memorable moments in sports, the hail mary pass after the buzzer that was perfectly on the mark, the unbelievable catch or three-point shot. These events originate from and are made possible by the focused excellence of the mysterious pass. Bob Beaman’s 29’+ long jump left the toe pad, while he was deep in the mysterious pass, where all forces coalesced naturally to send him soaring on the perfect trajectory, translating running speed and jumping forces into a corridor of athletic finesse, unequaled for decades. This moment precedes the jump, punt, pass or shot. It is the state of mind acquired, achieved and believed before the lightning of the swing of the bat, racket or club. I have believed for years that the quick wrist flip of the basketball shot was the way to evade the doubting mind, momentarily access the mysterious pass and make possible, that most unlikely event of shooting a basketball from thirty feet away and hitting nothing but net. Then, doing it again.
It occurs because the shooter, however twisted by the complexities of the game and the maneuvers made to approach the basket, was balanced in their mind at the point of release. They found the mysterious pass, hit their mark and expressed the truth of the moment.
Athletic ability, plus the mysterious pass equals a moment of excellence.