Last week Wifey and I popped up to Noosa to catch up with her family. Now, my father-in-law and Hamez (brother-in-law, look up some of the archives as I’ve dragged him along to karate in the past) are particularly keen fishermen, so in due course I went out with them in their boat to do some fishing. Not having fished since I was a wee tacker, this was all very new and interesting for me; granted I was a bit rubbish at it, but it was awesome fun.
Where I want to go with this, though, is how being on the water on a small boat works on your balance. Between the three of us sitting down, standing up, casting, drinking beer (well, my father-in-law and I, Hamez is still under 18 and was our driver since he now has his boat license) and motoring around the river, there are plenty of opportunities to fall over and mangle yourself (and I’m quite adept at both of these generally). I’m sure with two legs its tricky working out your balance, but I had a bit of trouble adjusting given the lack of a knee on my left leg 😛 What I eventually found out was that I had to adjust my whole method of standing or moving on the boat… it’s hard to describe, but the best way I could put is that you have to learn to be far more flexible with how you control your walking/standing motions to go with the flow of the boat and the water, rather than resisting the natural flow of movement with a sense of rigidity. Once I got this sorted, I found I was having a much easier time moving around the boat without stumbling so much. Sure, I was never game to stand on the bow, but I was reasonably confident standing in the recessed areas by the time we ended up leaving to come back home.
It actually reminded me of the montage scene in The Karate Kid (aka greatest movie of all time), where Daniel is standing on the bow of the boat practicing his forms. Except I didn’t do any karate, because I probably would have looked like a bit of a tosser with all the other fishermen around 😛
You know what? I think this calls for a (widescreen) trailer to the original Karate Kid movie:
Awesome. Note the boat scene around 1:03. The only way that movie could have been better is if Chuck Norris was in it as a referee or something, like his awesome cameo in Dodgeball.
Anyway, the principle of this is the same for martial arts – be flexible, learn to move with your scenario and don’t oppose it with unnecessary, strict rigidity – as the mighty Bruce said, “be like water”. Even beyond the principle there’s the question of using the boat as a tool for teaching you to have good balance, which is an essential technique in any committed martial artist.
If nothing else, it’s definitely something to think about.