Trust your Instincts

The other day I was free running through the deep woods surrounding my home, when I had gut feeling to move sideward’s, which luckily I did, as a very large tree limb landed right where I had been running before! After finishing my run, I had to reflect back on that Gut Instinct that allowed me not to be hit, and how it links to many aspects in our daily life that people overlook each day.

We all have a natural “gut” instinct, but the important thing to know is how to develop, and learn to trust it. Too many people have stopped trusting their instincts, they have cut off a natural sense that we are all born and evolved with.  Nobody can explain exactly how or why instinct works, but there are times when we get a gut feeling about what we should or should not do although we can’t put a finger on the exact reasons, but we feel it in the pit of our stomach and innately know that something is up.

In the Japanese warrior arts the center of the body is known as the “hara” and Koryu arts focus practitioners through meditation practices that concentrate on a location around this point (just below your navel). (ex: below)

“Do not fix your mind on the attitude your rival assumes not have it riveted on your own attitude or your own sword. Instead, fix your mind on your saika-tanden (hara) and do not think either dealing a blow at your opponent or of the latter dealing a blow at you. Cast aside all specific designs and rush to attack the moment you see your enemy in the act of brandishing his sword overhead.”

Yamaoka Tesshu – founder Itto Shoden Muto Ryu

As another interesting corollary point, recently I was reading that scientists are now  postulating that there are nerve cells in the gut that are connected to the intuitive part of the brain, modern science and ancient warrior training comes together!

When I get a “feeling” that something is wrong or right I feel it in my gut, how about you? Whether in business, meeting a new person, driving, or even walking in the mall, I trust my initial instinct and do not try to logically explain it away, as many non trained individuals do.

In modern day Japan, a person will be accepted by others or shunned, in business and personally, by their gut feelings towards you. This is a normal and accepted way of life. The Japanese people as a whole really believe that what they feel about you is true, without reservations. In Japanese this feeling is called “haragei.” Haragei literally means “belly-art”, but normally it is translated as a gut feeling, intuition, or pre-perception.

Soke Hatsumi has spoken about the concept of hara and related the “hara” to the old days idea that the samurai arts were arts of the hara. Soke has spoken about how it is with your stomach that you digest food, and absorbs the nutrients. These nutrients are utilized for the growth of your body, this is one form of nourishment, and how we should use our hara to nourish ourselves in another way.

Sensei explained how people relate to the world by either intellectualizing or emotionalizing, reacting in an emotional state, and that those two combinations are not necessarily bad. He said that it’s good that people analyze some things, but for a martial artist we have to go one step further. The third step is to use the hara.

More to come in part 2!!!

Bufu Ikkan