It’s been just over two years since I’ve written on this thing.
Apparently I didn’t have much to say.
I’ve had two weeks to process what I went through.
This wasn’t the first Agatsu cert I took. A lot has changed since that weekend. I’ve moved, stopped training, started training, stopped, started..
It just over ten years ago when I did the cert the first time, hosted by Kim and Shawn Mozen in Calgary. It was the single toughest weekend I’d ever been through.
Till two weeks ago.
I passed and earned my certificate again, but damn, it was tough. I’m also ten years older.
I wasn’t worried about the movements. I’ve done thousands and thousands of kettlebell swings, thousands of Turkish Get Ups, presses, and more. Any I didn’t know or needed adjusting I would work on (I’m looking at you kettlebell jerk).
What worried me the most was my conditioning and endurance. Simply put, it ain’t up to snuff. Remember, I’m ten years older, and just about half of that time I was a bit lazier as I didn’t go to the gym or practice near as much as I used to before moving to Regina.
My brain, it turns out, was my biggest obstacle. Sure, I was beat. Sure, I stopped doing some movements on the final circuit (delightfully known as The Garden of Pain). Sure, I was wondering why the hell I was putting myself through this, but I never put the bell down unless told to.
I’m not gonna lie, it was hard, damned hard. Remember, I’m ten years older.
Over the past two weeks I’ve given the experience a lot of thought. I’ve concluded my practice for the next while will be on conditioning and endurance. One does not want to be winded walking down the sidewalk or up the stairs. And the biggest battle in all of it is my brain. The damned thing works harder than all of your muscles telling you to stop and thing doesn’t even move, flex, extend, lift, or pump up. Really, the thing is kind of lazy when it comes to fitness.
A special shout out to Kim at Endorphin. As a coach, instructor, trainer, and all around bad-ass, she knew all the right things to say during our weekend to get us through some challenging experiences.
Incidentally, the meaning of Masakatsu Agatsu is what I’ve just been blabbing about: “Masakatsu Agatsu translates as “True victory is victory over oneself.” Agatsu refers to this idea of self mastery. This is “beginner’s mind” — maintaining humility, always learning and refining as a student.” – from the Agatsu website.
It’s amazing what can happen when we actually tell ourselves what can do….. or worse… what we can’t.
This is from Wikipedia (so it must be true):
“Breathing is one of the few bodily functions which, within limits, can be controlled both consciously and unconsciously.”
Think about it.. if you want to hold your breath, you can. That is an especially good thing if you like to swim. If you go to sleep, you keep on breathing. It just happens. You don’t need to think about. This is an especially good thing if you wish to wake up in the morning.
As my meditation journey continues I’ve had some successes and some, um.. unsuccesses? Is that word? I don’t want to say failures because they are not.
As complicated as meditation is made out to be, it’s not. But, it’s not easy, either. The task is simple; sit and breath. But be aware of the breathing.. focus on the breathing. As your mind wanders, go back to focusing on the breathing. When things wander into your brain, acknowledge them, let them go and don’t judge them. They’re there and gone, that’s it.
Sometimes I’ve found myself dwelling on things and then realize I need to focus on the breathing. Some would say the dwelling is the unsuccessful part. Maybe it is. But each time I recognize I’m not focused on the breathing it becomes a success and I refocus on my breath.
Sometimes I’m meditating for twenty minutes. Tonight, not so lucky. I made it just shy of eight. To me, both were successes.
That’s when it hit me the other morning, thank goodness breathing is an involuntary thing, cause when you need to concentrate on it all the time it’s hard.
It will get easier though. I’ve been at this meditation thing now for about four weeks or so. I feel I’ve noted a change in me.
Some believe you need to hit ten thousand hours of deliberate practice to become world class in any field.
I’ve a ways to go.
“Practice is everything. This is often misquoted as Practice makes perfect.” – Periander