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What I learned about martial arts by filling a water bottle

The other day, I was filling up an empty water bottle. It was one of these really thin ones that you get in a big pack of like 24 and can quite easily be crushed up and recycled.

I was filling it up from a large pitcher of water and noticed something interesting as it filled more and more.

I noticed that I was holding the bottle very softly so I didn’t accidentally crush it’s super thin walls.

But as it filled with water, it got heavier and I had to hold on tighter so that the new weight of the bottle didn’t make it drop out of my hand.

Dynamically, I increased my grip as the bottle to match the increase in weight from the water being added.

So my reaction was not set. It was based on the feedback I was getting from the bottle.

This is how we need to be as martial artists. We need to push, pull, hit, block, attack, defend, talk or walk away all according to the moment. Not even the situation – but each moment of the situation, dynamically.

This is the way of the master. It requires awareness and skill.

So from now on, when you train, don’t just practice the techniques. Don’t just say to yourself “when they do this, I’ll do that”.

Practice everything you do to be used just as needed, as much or as little for each moment.

I once read a quote that said “Rearing children is like holding a wet bar of soap”.

Martial arts is the same. It’s a delicate game of balance and awareness.

So the next time you are pouring water, remember to keep balance in all areas of your life.