|A Japanese black pine tree, learning to grow|
Staying grounded, connected to the earth, is a necessary skill if you want to use your body weight, rather than muscular strength, to generate power; put simply, the poorer your connection to the ground, the more you have to rely on your muscles to generate penetrative shock. Which is fine if you're built like the hulk, but many of us are not, so remaining close to the ground is a real necessity.
With the help of a student, I've been planting trees in the dojo garden this week. One of the trees, a Japanese black-pine, is being "encouraged" to grow in a particular way. Learning to do that has meant tying two of the lower branches to stones that sit on the ground. In time the tree will learn to keep these two branches low, at which point the stones will be removed.
|Sanchin training in the old dojo|