Q; What is Mokuso?
A: The practice of clearing the mind before and after training while sitting in Seiza. Or in layman's terms "meditation"
With all that goes on in our lives and all the rush, distractions, videos games, television, Internet, advertisements, traffic, bills, stress, anxiety and stimulation overload that comes with living in the era of the 2000's, we have to wonder, why do so many of us often get distracted or find it difficult to mentally focus and releive stress and in some instances we cant even find the time to just relax.
Mokuso (meditation) is a simple exercise that can help with many of these challenges.
The real importance of mokso is not just doing it once in a while, rather it's the benefits of practicing it sincerely when you do actually perform it. Just like a computer, sometimes we need to push the reset button.
Mokuso can help the student clear their mind and DE-STIMULATE. It can help a person relax and slow down after a hard long day or after an intense training session at the dojo.
After a full day of school, work or life in general, the mind has experienced so many things at such a fast pace that it is a wonder why we often feel we're in the fast lane lifestyle and never seem to have time for anything or cant seem to slow down until the day is over.
Mokuso allows us to clear our mind both before an activity we wish to excel at as well as relax and RESET afterwards.
Karate practice benefit the mind, body and spirit. Typically the mind and body follow each other almost in unison while the spirit or the inner-self of a person tags along and feels the effect that the other two are engaged in.
Example, when we do acts of kindness or positive actions, our spirit or inner-self tends to feel the positive effects of the actions we are doing. This goes for NEGATIVE actions as well.
This can apply to clearing the mind too. If we practice Mokuso often and sincerely eventually our inner-self will feel the effects of it as well. We can start to feel relaxed and calm, yet even more alert and energized than before.
Personally I feel it is a very important part of training and it should be practiced often on your own time, not just in the dojo.
Children, with the help of their parents can learn to re-focus themselves while doing homework to re-energize their efforts and minds enabling them to complete their studies with less effort simply by doing a couple minutes of mokuso.
Good Mokuso practice habits:
- Sit upright in Seiza (kneeling) or Anza (cross legged)
- Keep eyes closed entire time.
- Breath deeply and completely at a steady and natural pace.
- Ignore sounds or distractions.
- Remain completely still
- Focus on OR think about techniques you just practiced during your training. Performing a KATA in your mind is also a great exercise. (this helps information burn in to your memory)
- Ignore any Itches, aches, numbness in your legs while sitting or even sweat dripping down your face.
- Visualize what you are thinking about with mental images.
- Do not rush, perform Mokuso between 30 - 60 complete breath cycles, (should take about 3 - 5 minutes.)
There are many other helpful tips but these are just some of the important ones.
Parents and children alike can practice this at home together, I encourage it. Try it out and see the effects of clearing your mind during Mokso and let me know if you have seen a difference in yourself.
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Shihan Joseph Claycomb