It was about 1978. I was a brown belt in one of Professor Bud Estes’ classes at the Chico Kodenkan.  I don’t remember what the class was about, but something Professor Estes said has stuck with me ever since. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been in Chico at the time and to have had the privilege to have learned from Professor Estes. You may have heard some of the stories about him. Suffice to say, there was something very special about him.

In that class somebody asked him the question: “How do we get what you have?” I thought… what a great question!  Now we are going to get the secret! Why didn’t I think of that question? Professor’s answer was short and succinct.  “Just do the arts, it’s all in there.” He said it as he waved his hand towards the boards. I can still see the gesture. I thought, it can’t be that simple. Now, I do believe it is.

If you are a Sensei (as am I), you have seen the changes in your students as they progress through the boards. If you are a student (as am I) and have been studying for any length of time, you have experienced some of these changes. The longer you study, the longer and deeper you will experience these changes.

Ever since that question/answer of Prof. Estes I have been fascinated by the connection of how we move with how we think and act. I recently read an article in the 11/26/18 issue of the New Yorker titled “Degrees of Freedom” by Raffi Khatchadourian, which confirms this relationship. The article is about research that started being about the connection between the brain and our muscles and how we move. The research has led to a direct mechanical/electrical connection between the human brain, via computers, to being able to control mechanical limbs, flight simulators and potentially jets and drones, just by thinking.

One of the key researchers in the early stages of the project was Apostolos Georgopoulos. In the article, there is a quote that particularly intrigued me: “Georgopoulos’s insights touched on just about everything of consequence that was human. Our sense of self, our sense of others, and the way we formulate ideas are often shaped by the way we move, by the way we expect others to move.”

It is refreshing when we find out that what we have been taught, what we are teaching and what we intuitively know about DZR is backed up by scientific research. It leads me to wonder what else we intuitively know about our system will also be proven by science, especially our healing arts.

This phenomenon is not unique to DZR.  No matter what you are doing, subconsciously, how you move affects how you think and how you think affects how you move.  As we go through the various stages of training (and there is no end to going through these stages…) be conscious that the training you are doing is going to have the effect on you that you want.

When you include the healing side of DZR, I believe some of the qualities the movements of DZR help us to develop mentally and emotionally include: compassion, strength, trust, subtlety, balance and fluidity, among others.

As for me… I’m going to “just keep doing the arts” …


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