If you think you’ve seen everything, look at it another way and it becomes new.

There are times when I think I’ve seen everything. I get this strange feeling. Maybe it’s complacency.

Everything thing under the sun has been done and re-done.

Nothing seems to surprise me. I find myself repeating the statement, “I’m not really surprised.” 

It’s like a mantra I repeat over and over.

I’ve gotten feelings like this in a number of disciplines I’m involved in my life; particularly martial arts. This isn’t exactly unexpected.

The martial art I study is designed to be simple. It’s designed not to overwhelm you. It provides you with one solution for many problems.

Its purpose isn’t to overload you in a stressful situation. As a result, there aren’t endless things to study. You can see everything and things do become repetitive.

Photo by Sam Moghadam on Unsplash

As I walked into class late, I expected to see something I’d seen previously. The exercises being performed were things I had seen before — not surprisingly. I finished the beginner’s class and worked with some of the newer students.

When class ended, everybody left. I was left standing alone with my friend who owns and runs the school. He asked if I wanted to head out with everybody else or hang out with him and work on something.

I’d just got there, so I didn’t want to leave. Of course I wanted to hang out and work on something. The two of us started working on usual exercises, but we changed them a bit. It wasn’t the standard thing I’ve always seen.

My mantra changed a bit. I became a bit surprised.

Then my friend stopped for a second. He told me he saw something in a very old judo book and wanted to try it. He had me grip his shirt with one hand. This wasn’t anything new. We have our standard methods for dealing with this.

We have many violent ways and some nonviolent ways. I’ve done them so many times they’re ingrained in my mind. I can do them without thought.

However, he did something totally unexpected. He pushed his hand the opposite way I was expecting and my grip came right off of him — easily. 

“Wow, let me see that again,” I said.

He did it again and it worked as easily the second time. He had me grip him with two hands. 

Pop! The two hands came off easily and nonviolently.

It was so simple and the movement was the exact opposite of what my brain was screaming at me to do. As I looked at the movement again and again, I noticed something.

The movement wasn’t new. We use this particular movement against a type of choke placed on you while you’re on the ground. But it felt so strange doing it from a shirt grab, I didn’t even recognize it.

My mantra got turned upside down. “I was really surprised.”

It didn’t even take much to shake me out of my complacency. My friend just pulled something out of an old Judo book. The movement he used wasn’t even something I’ve never seen before. 

It was nothing groundbreaking. It was just a small change and it magically became new. It quickly shook off my mantra of not being surprised.

We played with this movement more and more. I’ve done martial arts so long now, I can just feel movements. When arms and bodies are in certain positions, I just know instinctively what I can and can’t do.

I knew when he pushed my arms away, they moved in a dangerous position in space. Where my arms floated, my wrist could be grabbed easily and placed into a wrist lock. 

I mentioned this to my friend and he instantly slapped my hand upward from shirt grab. He then grabbed my floating arm and smoothly put me into a wrist lock and down to the ground.

It was fluid, smooth, graceful, and easy. I was instantly happy I came to class that night. It had been a horrible day and I really had to push myself to go to class. I was expecting to see the same thing I’ve always seen. 

I was pleasantly surprised.

We worked on this movement repeatedly. We removed the grip from the shirt hold with the new movement. We both smoothly grabbed the floating arm and put it in a wrist lock. 

After a bit, we moved on. We used this shirt grab in a live drill and played with it. We worked a few other things into the live drill and went back and forth. With a slight twist, everything became new.

My mantra of complacency got flipped on its head and stomped on. Without much effort, old things can become new again.

This put a thought in my head — I can probably do this in other aspects of my life. We could also use this in our teaching to help our students learn and absorb base concepts.

What else can become new again with a slight turn or change?

 How else can I look at something too usual and make it new?

Apparently, it doesn’t take much. I also thought about how close I came to missing that class. I came late to class for a reason.

If I sat home that night and missed class, I would have missed all of this. 

Think for a bit:

What are you missing by sitting at home because you’re too tired or aggravated? 

What things you’ve become bored by can become new by looking at them in a different way?

Work out fanatic, martial artist, student, and connoisseur of useless information. Hopefully something I’ve written has entertained you. If it hasn’t, grab a coffee and take a seat, I’ll keep trying.
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Work out fanatic, martial artist, student, and connoisseur of useless information. Hopefully something I’ve written has entertained you. If it hasn’t, grab a coffee and take a seat, I’ll keep trying.
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