Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Music And Chi Flow

For a couple of years now The Dojo Rats at Shima Dojo have been having a music jam and a few Beers after our workouts. It started when we were traveling to other Martial Arts seminars and events, which require us to wait for hours at times to catch a ferry back to our secluded island hideout. Full-sized guitars are too big to sit in your car and play when it's cold, dark and raining outside. So we started packing Ukulele's, 1/2-sized kids Guitars and Harmonicas. With the right amount of Beer we start to make noise that resembles something like music.
I sang in a church choir and had a few guitar lessons when I was a kid, but didn't play much until about 10-12 years ago. Now I've got all the Dojo Rats playing.
But more to the point; I'm sure that there are some of you out there that play music or sing also. I'm sure that you would agree that there is something tremendously stimulating about giving yourself up to the rythyms, patterns and vocal expression that is found in playing and singing songs.
I had read in the past that Masters in the best Karate schools in Japan required their top students to play or sing some kind of music. Think about this: playing an instrument requires intense focus and concentration, and also lulls the mind into a meditative state when you relax into it. First you must develop dexterity to manipulate the keys or strings correctly. You must have a sense of timing and rythym, which is the most difficult thing for many people to learn. Then, if you are singing along with the instrument you are playing it brings all of your brainpower into one unified moment. You have to keep chords, notes, words and proper pitch in place or it really sucks. If you really belt out a song and get everything right, it is a fantastic rush. You have unified your mind and body in what might be the highest form of human expression. Think about how that would be amplified with 15,000 fans screaming for you at a concert and you can imagine how much energy rock stars recieve.
Well, The Dojo Rats are no Rock stars, but we sure have a great time.
Check out these kids if you want to see real talent, this blew my mind...


Hand2Hand said...

When I started learning the Filipino Tribal Arts of Escrima, Kali and Arnis from my instructor, Anthony Chan, he told me that I would sing and dance much better as a result of my training.

He's right. I used to be godawful. Now I'm good enough to be mediocre.

Seriously, the Filipino arts do teach you a lot about rhythm, from the clacking of the rattan to the use of footwork. At the time I started Filipino arts, I had 22 years experience in other martial arts. But I never experienced that before. I really do sing and dance better than I thought I would.

Actually, I am a pretty decent singer when I'm doing my impressions of Ronnie van Zant or Johnny Cash. I rock on "Folsom Prison Blues."

But in my own voice, I have a long ways to go.

Also, I have a guitar I got for Christmas 12 years ago. I've been looking for someone in Tampa who is willing to swap guitar instruction for martial arts instruction for years without much luck.

Someday, someday I will learn to play that damn thing.

Dojo Rat said...

I'm still a crappy dancer--
But I can sing "Tuesday's Gone" (Ronnie/Skynyrd) pretty good!
Dude! bust that Guitar out!

P.S. -- How about Allman's "Whipping Post" on the Ukulele??-- he,he... got that one too...

Joquius said...

There's actually a logical explanation for the connection between training and playing music.

A clear mind is always important when maintaining any sort of rhythm (example:, while exercise has been proven to improve mental health allowing for a clearer mind (

Hand2Hand said...

Tuesday's Gone?

Did you say, "Tuesday's Gone?"

Dude, that is my favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd tune! And next to the Grateful Dead, Skynyrd's my favorite group!

And yeah, I love the Allman Brothers, too. Bet you'd never guess I'm from the south!(LOL). Though I'm partial to "Blue Sky."

Yeah, I gotta break out that guitar.