Close your eyes. Now imagine your face bright red, your breathing heavy, your heart pounding, your palms sweating. You feel totally helpless in the face of your predicament.
No, I'm not referencing the scenario I outlined in "Misconceptions Concerning the Female Species," though most honest guys would attest that these symptoms are often part of talking with women.
This is martial arts class.
You're kneeling at the edge of the tatami, or mat, covering the floor of your dojo. Tonight you and your cohei practice randori, or freestyle attack. Assembled in a straight line, silently solemn, a handful of your toughest opponents sit opposite you. The tension is so thick that you can feel it in the air your lungs are yearning for, as well as the sweat that drenches you, running down your forehead and into your eyes, blinding you. Your sensei, though he knows your feelings from experience, is unsympathetic.
He barks out one short command, and the action begins.
You rise to your feet in unison with your adversaries, who are dashing towards you even as they stand.
You redirect the first attack, a punch to the stomach, just in time to blend with the second and throw your attacker to the floor. The other two run for you, but you push the first two into them, checking their rush for those vital few seconds you need to regain your stance. You don't plan, you act. As your attacker brings the knife edge of his hand at your nose, again you blend with the attack, utilizing his momentum and knocking him on his back. A short sprint backwards permits you to gather yourself and once again engage your opponents.
You are aware that your greatest asset in a fight of this nature is not your strength, nor your speed; it's your
movement. Without the ability to dodge an attack, deprived of the space to redirect your enemies into each other, you would be helpless in the face of their onslaught. You make good use of this vital weapon, and no matter how fast your opponents come at you you flicker in and out, like flame. The attacker who a second ago saw an exposed back as you dealt with his comrade now rushes straight into your outstretched palm.
Your adversaries thought they had that rear naked choke locked in; but you dropped to your knees and threw them to the mat, disappearing, then resurfacing behind them victorious. And then, as quickly as it began, it's over. Your Sensei congratulates you on your strategy, and you leave with a smile on your face, triumphant in your victory.
As I participated in this scenario earlier tonight, I couldn't help thinking that it parallels life very closely.
In a fight involving more than one attacker, you cannot afford to focus on one adverasy. As soon as you start to do that, you forfeit all chance of winning. You start patting yourself on the back for that great arm bar you just applied, and then before you know it two other men are jumping on top of that back you're busy patting. ;-)-
Neither can you expect to take on everybody at once. No, what you must do is utilize movement to rush one man, then throw him into his buddy. You're then free to attack the third attacker. You do this while remaining aware of everything that's going on around you. My fellow practitioners call this "disconnecting."
You "connect" when you focus attention on one attacker; too much connection means trouble.
In life, a million different things compete for your attention at once. You have to go to work, while coping with the fact that your girlfriend dumped you, and nagging at you in the back of your mind is that math homework that's due tonight, which you thought would be done by now but you thought wrong, and now you have to cancel the plans you made with your best friend three weeks ago.
How do you cope with it all?!?!
Well, as with randori, you can't let it all pile up at once. You have to be able to take one thing at a time, and put thiose future plans and projects on a timer in the back of your head somewhere.
You have to have the freedom to "move around," in other words rearrange things when they don't turn out the way you think they should.
Unlike randori, our strongest asset here isn't our movement. It's Jesus Christ.
"For I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13). While God doesn't promise that we won't have problems in life, He can help take the stress out of it for us!!! All we have to do is ask. When life leaves you feeling smashed flatter than a tortilla run over by a 400 pound truck driver driving a huge eighteen wheeler carrying a bunch of well-fed sumo wrestlers, just give it to Him and see what He does with it.
Disconnect from your busy world for a few minutes today and connect with God.
Don't worry; He's got your back. ;-)-