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Old 10-10-2003, 02:42 AM   #1
jducusin's Avatar
Dojo: Open Sky Aikikai (formerly the North Winnipeg Aikikai)
Location: Winterpeg, Manisnowba
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 144
How do you regain lost focus?

Just throwing this out to everybody for advice:

If you've ever momentarily lost focus and concentration in the middle of training due to overwhelming emotion, how have you personally regained this focus? In other words, how have you been able to control your emotions in order to maintain your concentration?

I've found it easy thus far to shut out the outside world and errant thoughts that this might sneak onto the mats with me, but am finding it difficult to do the same to emotions that arise due to situations that occur during class (because the issues are obviously right in front of me while I'm training). Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance,

Open Sky Aikikai - http://www.winnipegaikido.com
"Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 10-10-2003, 04:22 AM   #2
Dojo: Seigi Dojo
Location: Jakarta
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 247
i just lost focus on yesterday's class, not because of emotion though but it's more to a branched mind.

what i did usually is just take a short break from training, sit at the corner of the mat watching everybody else train until i regain concentration.
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Old 10-10-2003, 07:12 AM   #3
Ghost Fox
Dojo: Jikishinkan Dojo
Location: New York City (Brooklyn)
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 219
Should you lose the Way

Without a doubt you will enter an "evil path"

Give no reign to the spiritual horse.

It is a matter of being determined and having the spirit to break right through to the other side

Just Breathe
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Old 10-10-2003, 09:03 AM   #4
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,888
IMHO, take a deep breath, let it out. As you let it out remind yourself of why you are training and took up Aikido to begin with.

Aligning our body, mind, and spirt is the real practice and training of Aikido.

My deepest compliments for realizing that.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 10-10-2003, 10:05 AM   #5
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 420

I gather from your jounal entry and the comment about "situations that arise during class" that you're it's a specific concern (or series of concerns) that's making it hard for you to concentrate.

I've been in similar situations where I've gotten frustrated or angry on the mat. I've also, at times, gotten concerned about some aspect of our training. In all cases, I've tried to follow the ideas in the serenity prayer:

(1) change the things I can

(2) accept the things I can't

(3) and pray for the wisdom to know the difference.

I try to maintain some detachment and not take things too personally. I can let go of many things that way.

After some time has passed, if I'm still frustrated, concerned, or angry, I'll privately talk with my instructor or one of my sempai. That pretty much always clears things up.

The biggest thing that I try to remember is to maintain a sense of perspective. Why am I training? What do I hope to get out of it? Where does this particular hobby fit into my life compared with my wife, my family, my job, etc.?



-Drew Ames
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Old 10-10-2003, 12:48 PM   #6
Paul Klembeck
Location: silicon valley
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 43

For me, take a breath as low in my belly as I can manage, relax on the exhale, stand straight, lifting the chest and smile.

For me, if I settle my body, my mind follows.

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Old 10-10-2003, 01:21 PM   #7
Anders Bjonback
Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Location: Boulder, CO
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 129
I have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyeractivity Disorder), and I've noticed that when's something's troubling me, I've lost focus easliy. A couple times in Ranori class I've actually found myself walking off on my own and staring at the floor!

What I do to "regain" my focus is come back to the moment and continue training, and hope I don't get distracted again. I also try to focus more on each individual strike, and try to keep a continusous focus throughout the class, and not let myself get lost in thought.

In training with intense emotion, I try to make my focus and training however intense that emotion is--that way, it's like I'm using the intensity of the emotion in my practice, and I don't get carried off by it as much.

"For peace and happiness are presences, not objects we can grasp and hold onto."
--Lilian Smith
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Old 10-10-2003, 02:38 PM   #8
Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 113
This is a tough issue. I personally (as stated in the drop-out reasons and rates thread) have left dojos simply because I didn't have the patience for jerks anymore (after 13 years of Aikido) -- but really I was the one that suffered in the end. I was the one that felt uncomfortable just ignoring the jerk playing petty dojo games, so I was the one that left and had to find alternate training arrangements but it shouldn't be that way.

If someone is to rough with you, state this fact to your partner in a clear voice loud enough for others to hear (but don't yell it) that he/she is being too rough -- but do it in a joking manner so as not to appear as though you are taking it seriously.

E.g. "Whoa there cowboy -- you're ripping my arm off. Ease up a bit please"

You say something like that aloud more than once, and any sensei work his salt will be over there to see what's going on.

If your partner is resisting you just to be a jerk, like Maresa says in the joke thread -- wait till your doing yonkyo then call sensei over and say "I just can't seem to make this yonkyo work on my partner, can you help". Repeat as necessary until your partner gets the hint.

I guess the point is find a way to deal with it that doesn't mean hating your club. If it gets to a point where you think you need to quit -- talk to sensei about it before you get that far. He'll take care of the issue, or he won't (and then maybe it is better to seek another club).

Bruce Kimpel
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Old 10-10-2003, 03:03 PM   #9
akiy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 6,011
Re: How do you regain lost focus?

Jamie D. Gaden (jdgaden) wrote:
If you've ever momentarily lost focus and concentration in the middle of training due to overwhelming emotion, how have you personally regained this focus? In other words, how have you been able to control your emotions in order to maintain your concentration?
I'm not too sure if it's all about "controlling" your emotions as in not having them come up but, rather, I personally feel it's more learning to feel what's going on and still being able to be functional. The following short article from George Simcox sensei illustrates this quite well:


As far as coming back to a calm state and such goes, I think it's a continual process that one has to practice throughout one's life. As one of my teachers put it (paraphrased), "recentering is a quick process -- five seconds or so and I'm in a much more centered place. However, like a puppy, my center is bound to go off romping away whenever it can. At that time, I have to say to myself, 'Heel. Down. Good!' This is something I've practiced for over twenty years, but I still have to work at it. A good time and place to do this is whenever you have free time such as driving your car, waiting in line, and so on -- just practice the process of recentering yourself so that it becomes a tool you can use with natural proficiency."

-- Jun

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Old 10-10-2003, 04:49 PM   #10
PhilJ's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Bukou
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 240
I remind myself to live in the "now". I look at my srroundings and "repaint" them, like a TV screen draws a picture, to help me settle into my current environment. Sometimes, I mutter to myself what I'm seeing happening (e.g. "He's doing this, she's doing that" etc)


Phillip Johnson
Enso Aikido Dojo, Burnsville, MN
An Aikido Bukou Dojo
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Old 10-10-2003, 09:49 PM   #11
Jeanne Shepard
Jeanne Shepard's Avatar
Dojo: Puget Sound Aikikai
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 351
The mat is a laboratory to look at our "stuff". Things WILL come up. Being aware of this and learning to get back the present, is, IMHO, one of the biggest gifts of Aikido.

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Old 10-10-2003, 11:19 PM   #12
jducusin's Avatar
Dojo: Open Sky Aikikai (formerly the North Winnipeg Aikikai)
Location: Winterpeg, Manisnowba
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 144
Talking Thanks Everyone!

Thank-you all for the great suggestions (Bruce, I think you might have accidently posted a response that was meant for another thread, but thanks anyway ) --- a lot of them sound like techniques that I found have worked well for me (deep breathing, concentrating on the moment --- I've even gone so far as to just taking things as they happen in the here and now in the sense of forcing myself to pay attention to them as they happen in order to get my mind back on track; Jun calling it "recentering" oneself is a very good choice of words) it's certainly not easy, as many of you have mentioned, but it's always nice to hear that I'm not the only one who it happens to --- I appreciate the support.

Best wishes to all,

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