Author Topic: Flow  (Read 1861 times)

Offline barnesglobal

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Flow
« on: July 04, 2009, 01:44:39 PM »
I have been studing the martial arts consistently since August 2001.  The biggest challenge I continue to face is flow.  Does anyone have any suggestions on developing flow with technique.  Any and all suggestions welcome.

Barnesglobal

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Re: Flow
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2009, 10:10:36 PM »
Flow is more than just a state of movement in the body, it's about a state of mind where the you become the movement itself.  It occurs with exercises that you have mastered the basics until they are second nature and you are responding more unconsciously or subconsciously than with the mind.  It's one of those things that if you're trying to obtain, it's nearly impossible to reach.

The most common barrier is self-consciousness.  As my downhilling coach used to tell me, "quit yer stinkin' thinkin'".  The difficult part of understanding flow is that it requires a great deal of focus, but at the same time, what we consider normal thinking shuts off.  It's replaced with a soft vision where some higher processing center takes over. 

Learning to relax and turn off the world may be the first step.  If you've never done meditation in either an active of passive sense, you may want to give it a try.  The three most common forms are sitting meditation, yoga, and tai chi.  The first and third don't work for me at all.  I can't sit still and the energy in tai chi makes my skin crawl.  So I used to do a fair amount of yoga.  Rodney Yee's videos on yoga for meditation are a great place to start if you think that's where your block is.  Once I did yoga for a year or so, I had to quit due to some back problems (previous injury).  However, ever since then I've retained the ability to center myself in my body like I never used to be able to do.  It dramatically improved my flow in downhill mountain biking, my former weakness in XC racing.

Offline “Mark”

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Re: Flow
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2009, 12:27:05 AM »
I was just going to say it's like riding a bike...

It's a state of mind with total focus and relaxation. It's not just physical activity either.

I write do my best programming in a state of flow. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes for me to get "in the zone"... and it can be very frustrating when I can't.

The state of flow is like being in bliss and being fully aware at the same time.

Flow is like darkness. You can't change the light to get darkness. You have to get rid of all the light, get rid of all the distractions.

It's a lot like day dreaming.

Go take a walk some still summer night, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Spend a couple hours being acutely aware of your surroundings. Hear every bird, every grasshopper, every rustling leaf. If you do this long enough, you will reconnect with being part of nature, and you will experience a state of flow with your surroundings.

Flow is the most delightful high you will ever experience, and you will never feel more alive than when you are in a state of flow.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2009, 11:07:28 AM by Mark Rose »

Offline Pathfinder

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Re: Flow
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2009, 08:17:55 AM »
Two thoughts on flow -

Bruce Lee - Be the water

Zen - prepare for nothing so you are prepared for anything

Lee was trying to help us understand that flow is the essence of any martial art. And note he practiced many, finally developing his own - which basically was borrowing anything he could to be the water.

The Zen comment is not an excuse for not training. The point is - like with Bruce's - you practice, you train, but not for a specific attack. You practice for the flow of the attack. For example, in a simplistic example, if you do nothing but train for a frontal attack, then someone who jumps you from behind will win. Aikido is an excellent way to understand this and the concept of flow in accepting (that is the right word BTW) your opponent's attack.

These I believe sum up the essence of your dilemma re' flow. Once you master these, flow will not be an issue.