Last year, at SCaLE, John made an observation. “You are not ninja enough,” he told me. As a group of us were walking down a hallway in the hotel, I walked over to what I assumed was a portal used for catering events. As I pulled on the doors, finding them locked, John pointed out that I couldn’t go there, for the aforementioned reason.
Last night, as I watched my daughter fall down the stairs, the back of her head hitting the last two hardwood steps, I realized I am in fact not ninja enough. She’s fine, by the way, it wasn’t a bad fall and only scared her a little. The worst part for me, as I reflect on it, is that I knew it was going to happen. Well, I knew it could happen.
Kaylee, who is two years old and has been walking since she was 10 months old, walked up a flight of five hardwood stairs to meet me on the landing and take a book I was offering her. As she took the book and started turning to walk up the next flight of stairs, I observed that she was close to the edge and, if her balance wasn’t just right, she could fall backwards down the stairs.
Sure enough, this is exactly what happened.
Had I taken the simple precaution of stepping closer to her and moving in behind her, I could have repaired her balance when she lost it. Instead, perhaps lulled by her otherwise incredibly good balance, I shrugged off the thought. Right before I found myself lunging forward to catch her, my arms closing on empty air.
In Kiado-Ryu, one of our tenets is, Action is Faster than Reaction. In a fight, a punch can be thrown faster than it can be blocked. To act, an opponent merely needs to think about their action before executing it, a process invisible to an outside observer. To react, the action must be observed, processed, a reaction decided upon, and finally executed. Had I acted, I would not have put myself in a position where reaction was necessary.
Further, and only partially related to the moral of this story, as I prepare for my third degree Black Belt, I’m starting to consider other activities to augment my training. CrossFit is an obvious choice. While I enjoy the gym in concept, I’ve never been a fan of lifting the same weights in the same way every day. I also recently learned about MovNat, and the idea of functional fitness appeals to me. These activities would train me to move more naturally and efficiently when I do need to act or even react. Parkour flat out looks awesome, but I think I’m nowhere near ready to start that. Finally, for tactical training, I just purchased lifetime memberships for my entire family at FrontSight, so we can take all of the offered courses, some of which (as I’m told by those who have attended, who also advise me to ignore their infomercial-esque website) are downright awesome.
In short, I have a theme for 2011. I must level up my ninja.