Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Make and Let

Here's a big mystery for all of the martial arts instructors out there.  In every style, in every class, there are some things you need to make happen and there are others you need to let happen.  Sometimes the instructor will say, "Focus! That was slop! Concentrate!"  Other times he or she will say, "Relax.  You're trying too hard."

I've done it myself.  There are some things that require concentration and effort, and some things you just have to let flow.

It's not, as near as I can tell the class of technique.  Sometimes you focus punches and some times you just let them fly... but others, like dead hand technique, are ruined with a tight focus.  Maybe it is the student and some students need to relax and others need to focus.  Maybe it is the combination and student X needs to focus on his hip throws and relax on his sweeps and student Y needs to do the opposite.

Maybe it is something similar- in the 'make' techniques you focus on somatics, on the body and in the 'let' techniques the focus is on perception.  Maybe.

It's on my mind today because it applies to other things.  A new friend was asking about love- why it is so hard to find and so hard to keep.  It's a big mystery to many, but I have never felt that way. Listening today I got the impression that finding love was a 'let' technique  for this  person and keeping love was a 'make' technique.  That initial love was just supposed to happen and the work would come in keeping it from changing.

I approached it differently.  Loving for me was a decision; staying in love has been an act of gentle perception, like turning a flower over in my hand to see something new every day.


Drew Rinella said...

Masta.. can you teach me the technique that makes women *not* fall in love with me? It is getting way obnoxious.

Rory said...

No, grasshopper, the more aloof you become the more they seem to follow. The combination of strong and damaged (which you project in spades) is like catnip.

I can teach you how to provoke the neurohormones that get read as 'love' 'love at first sight' or a crush/infatuation... but that power must only be passed to those of good character. Sorry, dude. Leaves you out. ;)

Anonymous said... I guess then I'll just stick with the strong/damaged thing.....

Kami said...

Drew, you could always stop bathing. Can't promise it'll stop, but it might slow down.


Kai Jones said...

I thought love was like a butterfly.

If you don't pull the wings off, it'll fly away.

Steve Perry said...

First, you learn focus, using the monkey brain. Then you learn how to relax. Then, if all goes well, you learn how to be focused and relaxed at the same time.

At that stage -- one which generally eludes me, but that now and then I've reached -- many things are possible.

Bad boys don't have any trouble getting girls. I suspect that most of them have trouble holding onto girls worth holding onto long-term.

Kai Jones said...

Bad boys don't have any trouble getting girls. I suspect that most of them have trouble holding onto girls worth holding onto long-term.

Sour grapes? As one of those girls, I held onto the bad boys just as long as they were meeting my needs at a low enough cost. That varied from a few months to more than 2 years. Maybe that doesn't count as long term, but to a teenager, it is.

You can't tell from outward appearances what those needs were. One of mine was that bad boys were tolerant of my family situation, which included my mother's boyfriend (a drug dealer), and my curfew (don't come home before midnight because illegal/bad/not-kid-appropriate stuff was going on). Another was that bad boys were far more likely to be sexually experienced--I hate bothering with virgins, they don't even know how to please themselves, let alone how to please me. (That one changes dramatically after high school, as nice guys actually do get laid--eventually.)

I somehow manage to think of myself as worth holding onto long-term.

Kai Jones said...

Something I wrote more than a year ago about the attractions of bad boys:

Steve Perry said...

Nope, not sour grapes. None of the bad boys I have known have, unless they changed their ways, kept a good woman by their side. None of 'em.

Good women don't put up with being mistreated, and bad boys always get to that sooner or later.

Come back after twenty or thirty years with one and give me a report. Using somebody to escape a bad home situation as a kid is not the same as staying with somebody long-term.

If you are hooked up with a truly bad boy and you put up with his crap for very long, then you have some psychological problems to work out. Low self-esteem, maybe.

Kai Jones said...

Come back after twenty or thirty years with one and give me a report.

Didn't take *that* long for the cost to exceed the benefits. The longest I stayed with one was for 2 years; he stalked me after that, but I never went back.

Using somebody to escape a bad home situation as a kid is not the same as staying with somebody long-term.


If you are hooked up with a truly bad boy

I'm not. I looked long and hard for a marriage partner, using a list of desired traits that I carried on my person (an index card) so I could remind myself frequently.

Steve Perry said...

You make my points, so the earlier post about the value of bad boys seems a bit ... strained. Granted, most people have some value, even axe-murderers. The question is, how much does it cost to find it?

If you have to hack your way through six miles of blackberry bushes with a machete to get to a picnic spot, at some point, you are gonna wonder if it's worth the effort.

If you had stayed with one of your bad boys for twenty years, then the woman-worth-holding-onto designation might have been a real stretch. That you didn't speaks to what I offered ...

Kai Jones said...

Steve, when I read your comment I tripped one of my buttons, the one about agency. Bad boys didn't hold onto me, I used them for my own purposes. Other women do it to. Not all women; I have more than one contrary example in my family.

I think that contradicts your proposed causal relationship. If you don't, I can only shrug and return to my experiences. The illusion of agency improves my life.

Steve Perry said...

Dancing around my point here. You left, your choice. But by so doing, you proved my thesis, that your bad boy couldn't hold onto you.

A woman who stays with a bad boy -- and by bad, I don't mean a guy who has the leather jacket look, but who, by his actions, mistreats her, physically or emotionally -- for a decade or two who says she is using him is fooling herself. She's paying too much.

Mostly, I think she's allowed herself to believe that the devil she knows is better than the one she doesn't; but having worked with battered women, I know this is only a sad rationalization. Oh, he wouldn't have hit me if I didn't deserve it somehow.

Or, he just lost his temper. He didn't really mean it.
He sent me flowers and swore he'd never do it again.

Guy who smacks a woman around will seldom see the light, no matter how much he apologizes and says it won't happen again. Once a dick, always a dick -- unless acted upon by a greater force.

I find it fascinating that you are defending this point. Women who stay with bad boy have issues that have crippled them in some way, and in my experience, it tends to be fear of the unknown.

(Sorry to have hijacked the thread, Rory.)

Kai Jones said...

Steve, perhaps my definition of bad boys encompasses a wider or simply different range of behavior than does yours. Violent attack on a person (partner or child in immediate family) is neither sufficient nor necessary.

My experience of abusers (second-hand, because I never dated one, but I've observed my mother and sister in these relationships) was that they were not "bad boys," but charmers who attracted easily because they were so good, kind, loving, generous during the early dating period. (Note that my mother's abusive boyfriend was not the drug dealer-as far as I know, he never hit her.) I don't class them as stereotypical bad boys, and I don't think most people mean them when they talk about women's attraction to bad boys.

My own "bad boys" were rebellious teens and men, people who flouted convention and flaunted their disdain or disinterest in what they perceived to be valuing appearances over substance. They were wrong: they were immature. But they were not violent, they were not manipulative, they were not damaged the way the abusers I have known were.

Steve Perry said...

Just to round this out, and from another posting by Rory, I should have defined what I thought a bad boy was up front. For me, bad would be, say, criminal, and violent.

Not wearing the right shirt to school or skipping church on Sunday wouldn't qualify as bad behavior in the way that I used the term.

Your bad boys were considerably less bad than the ones to which I was speaking.