One of my hopes in authoring this blog was to have a written record of where my mind (and body) were during my journey. A 'snapshot' in time, if you will.
I had hoped that if I could maintain an open (or beginners) mind, that some of my opinions would change or alter over time. After all, I've said from the start that as soon as you close your mind, you stop learning and you stop improving.
Well, here's something I didn't think would happen. I've changed the way I look at the good old hip throw. After years of not really having any use for it, or seeing much value in it, I've recently become a fan.
Why? Well, I'd like to say it's because I did a deeper study in the biomechanics of it, that I delved into the history of this well worn technique or that I sought out an expert specializing in balance points and levers, but none of that's true.
The answer is that all of a sudden (relatively speaking), I got good at it. After years and years of struggling with it, not getting low enough, torquing my back, losing my balance and using too much strength, it just got easy. It was as if a switch had been thrown, everything just 'clicked' and it all came together.
I'm still not entirely sure what I'm doing differently. That's the strange thing about it. I'm not consciously doing anything different. The only thing I can put a finger on is that I've made sure I keep moving throughout the entire throw. Instead of breaking it down in my brain, I'm just trying to 'feel' it, to 'go with it'. I've actually stopped thinking about where to plant my feet, how low to go, when to swivel etc. And it's working. In fact, I'm actively trying not to analyze what I'm doing, or what I'm doing differently.
This was inspired, in part, by watching a guy climb a tall ladder to get on a roof. I watched him near the top of the ladder and just continue to step, from rung to roof. I realized that he just kept moving. He didn't stop, examine his next footfall, place his foot carefully and push off. He just kept moving. Had he stopped to ponder each detail of his next move, he may have put himself in peril of a misstep. I saw a parallel to my challenges with the hip throw. It's sort of like increasing the chances of someone tripping by telling them not to trip. The mere fact that they thought about tripping dramatically increases their chances of doing so.
Budo is everywhere, after all, not just in the dojo...
I suspect there's more to this lesson than I've managed to uncover, but suffice to say, I now kind of like the hip throw. Where for many years, I couldn't imagine a time where I'd ever use it, I now find opportunities for the hip throw popping up everywhere. I find myself balanced and my opponent unbalanced. I find that an advancing attacker can quite often easily be thrown.
I wonder if it's like learning a new word. It seems every time you do, you hear it spoken or read it in print over and over again. Something you didn't even know existed is all of a sudden everywhere. Or is it that they, like opportunities for the hip throw, were always there, but it was you that couldn't recognize them?
Food for thought.