What Do We Adjust?

I just got home from a meditation retreat hosted by a senior Tibetan teacher.

While there, we participants spent hours each day tucked in side by side on Asian style meditation cushion seats on the floor.

At one point I looked around at my fellow American participants and noticed an odd unstated discomfort. People did their best to wiggle around and find needed space.

Check this out the next time you have an opportunity:

Look at the size of the standard Japanese or Tibetan meditation cushion seat.

Look at the size of the typical older generation Asian person’s bottom and leg length.

Look at the size of the typical American person’s bottom and leg length.

Ask yourself, “What is wrong with this picture?”

Ask yourself, “Which should we adjust? Should we adjust the program to where the cushions fit the Americans here in America, or should we adjust the Americans to where they fit on Asian floor cushion seats?”

Next, think about how and what you are studying in your martial arts school and ask yourself a similar question. “Which should we adjust? Should we adjust the program to where the lessons fit the Americans here in America, or should we adjust the Americans to where they fit into Asian training situations?”

9 comments to “What Do We Adjust?”

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  1. Mr Hayes: Which did you do, when you designed To Shin Do?
    ~Jenn

  2. Even if I could somehow loose enough weight to fit into those charts established by the insurance industry I doubt that one of those pillows would cover half of my rump.

  3. Your writing gives me a lot to think about Mr Hayes, in this case your use of the word ‘program’. The implications are interesting.

  4. Likely an unpopular opinion, but I’d say a bit of both.

    Of course the timeless principles of the traditions we train in need to be adjusted for our American culture to be relevant and effective – An-Shu Hayes has and continues to do this thankfully – embodies the revolutionary, visionary American spirit that we’re desperately in small supply of.

    On the flip side, I think we as westerners need some adjustments too. Not in the form of government agencies or insurance corporations regulating it – but by a personal change in perception. We are a lazy people, always looking for the easy solution – and if one doesn’t fit, we’ll demand one that caters to us.

  5. You have to be sensitive to the nature of what is temporary. If you are not, then you will not recognise the limitations of the timelessness that you are refering to.

    This is a matter of the trees being confused for the forest.

  6. My friends and I had lunch with this great teacher I know. He met my family and gave my 2 year old daughter, a great compliment. I will tell her what was said when she is old enough and needs to hear it.

    I want to be more like him in that respect. He watches people around him keenly even while he is talking to someone else. It’s like he rehearses what he is going to say or do at the same time he is observing. Sort of like before an instructor bops a student with the tube of doom, a Dojo thing.

    If I could develop that skill set, I might avoid thinking how silly or stupid my comment was after I said it. I would confidently have said the right thing at the right time.

    Come to think of it, how often do we type out a comment on a blog without seeking first to understand? Did we thoughtfully express with text? Did our comment have relevance to the original thread?
    We’ve got to keep learning.

  7. I think the adjustment should be made. Scalability is logical when it comes to cusions. And if fit is not the issue, they would have no cusions at all. Of course they dont have strange and unusual sizes handy…if they are strange and unusual!

    Take your own cushion I say if you are extaraordinarily tall for the average population. I’m sure they’d give a bigger one to Shaq – why draw the line and make it complicated? Whatever fits should be used…easy as 1,2,3.

  8. I think whenever your import a tradition of any kind to a new land, it has to be changed to meet the requirements of the participants of current time & country. I think there needs to be a balance of tradition and modernity and the bottom line in regards to meditation being in a comfortable position to actually practice successfully is very important. I have been a practitioner of asian traditions since 1981 and have seen many things change, but ones thing for sure people will do what right for themselves to make the practices useful while living in a modern life! So my final analysis is flexibility is key in ones journey.

  9. I agree that flexibility is the key when studying martial arts. I personally enjoy learning about the original methods and techniques. But are they something I can use in a modern street fight? maybe, maybe not. The original techniques could work in a modern street fight, if we all carried swords and walked around in 80lbs of armor on a daily basis. I was attracted to To Shin Do because it addressed modern problems we face today. I am truly thankful that Anshu adapted the classical techniques for the modern day.

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