Meditative Studies day #12 - martial arts training

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Water eventually wears through rock.

While watching a documentary on the history of tai chi, there was a section on the Wudang style taught in a monastery in remote mountains where battalions of students are instructed to spend their days endlessly repeating the same few movements until mastery is achieved. Only then is a student allowed to move on to the next move. This reminds me of a Chinese ink painting class I attended, where we spent large chunks of time practising the same basic brushstrokes over and over again, until we (hopefully!) had gotten the hang of them. And it reminds me of learning to write, when as kids we had to endlessly copy letters of the alphabet again and again until we had it right.

There is something to be said for focusing on one task until you have mastered it.

And so I found myself late on Sunday night, tired and knowing that any daily drawing I did would not be something worth putting out in public. The rationalisations to just give it a skip were strong. There are some shells I have been drawing recently that refuse to work. One of them is tricky, the others just require a deftness and delicacy to look compelling that I haven't managed all together in the one drawing.

Given that whatever I was going to draw was unlikely to be great, I devoted the drawing session to endless repetitions of the same shells, and shall continue to do so until they I am satisfied with them.

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