Escrima, sore shoulders and Zen Master Dogen

Categories: Buddhism, Taekwondo
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Published on: March 13, 2008

It seems that every time I think that I’ve the body trained enough to work (well at least to get by if not perform at the level I want) without getting too sore, we do something different and I find a whole new set of muscles that haven’t been doing a damned thing for the last decade.

Last night we did some sparring and I took a shot right in the shin splint which is a whole universe of pain but following that we did escrima. Since I’d never done it before I didn’t get to spar with them but I got to practice the basic heaven six drill. I’m not used to having both arm up and swinging like that but I did get going pretty well with the gentleman who was teaching me the drill. So of course this morning my shoulders are both sore as hell. Fun though. I probably enjoy swinging a weapon more than trying to limber up and train my stiff old frame to be one. Which means, of course, that I need to focus more on the latter.

On a totally different note, my wife got me the zen day calendar for Christmas. I’ve had one page that I saved sitting on my desk for the last two months so I thought I’d put it here as well just so it doesn’t get lost:

Refraining from all evil, not clinging to birth and death, working in deep compassion for all sentient beings, respecting those over you and pitying those below you, without any detesting or desiring, worrying, or lamentation – this is what is called Buddha. Do not search beyond it.


When I first read this I got stuck on the respect/pity part but, after thinking about it for a while, that is probably a reaction to how we frequently conflate pity with superiority rather than simply recognizing pity as sympathy and sorrow for the pain of others. Similarly there shouldn’t be resentment in admitting that there are people with a clearer view and greater compassion than my own any more than I would resent admitting that there are people who are better at math.

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