Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Friday, November 26, 2004

More on Slicing Time

Since I mentioned this I have gotten a few emails asking me to say more about it, so here we go.

The idea of "slicing time' works sort of like this.

Let's say that we have a unit of time, say ten seconds. A "slice" of that ten seconds would be the amount of time that you were actually present and focused on the external world and paying attention to what was happening without commenting to your self about it.

A "slice of time" is very close to what the old Japanese martial arts call "Zanshin", which is often translated as Warrior Mind.

The degree to which one "slices time" is the degree to which one has one's attention is broadly focused in the present, in "Zanshin".

So in that ten seconds, perhaps two seconds are devoted to being in a "slice of time" and eight seconds are devoted to internal thoughts, planning, considering, and ruminating. This is what I call "slicing time thickly".

Another way to think of it is walking down the street with a camera, every ten seconds you stop and take a picture, each picture is a "slice". Now if you do the same exercise, but take a picture every second, you will have much more information at the end of your walk, that is "slicing time thinly".

In any kind of stressful situation you will do better if you are slicing your time thinly because you will be receiving a lot more information as to what is going on.

I should take a moment here to mention that these are not original ideas of mine. A whole lot of people before me have noticed this. Some of the language in describing it is mine, but a lot of the language and descriptions come from Coach Scott Sonnon, who has some of the clearest understanding of the inner workings of martial arts I have run across.

So what keeps us from slicing time in very thin sections? I call it "internal considering" for lack of a better term. This is the amount of time you spend thinking about what could happen, what did happen a moment ago, planning your future actions, hashing over what you should have done but didn't do, coupled with your body's emotional reactions. (Most often stress, fear and the like).

In any kind of martial practice, this sort of "inner considering" puts one at a disadvantage.

How do you learn to slice time thinly?

You must learn to unify you breath, structure, and movement. You must release the chronic tension that is associated with fear and pain.

In martial practice this is very much like the "fire triangle" you may remember from elementary school. If all three are present then you have "combustion" remove any one and the process begins to unravel.

So if I am sparring with someone and I can disrupt one point of this triangle while keeping my integrity, that I have an advantage, if I can disrupt two of the three points, then I have a big advantage, if I can disrupt all three then the match is pretty much mine.

One of the very interesting effects of slicing time thinly is that you will often experience "time dilation", thing will seem to happen in slow motion and you will feel like you have lots of time to respond to whatever is happening.

Well, enough for the moment. If anyone is reading this and finds it interesting please leave a note and I will expand further.

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