Zen Martial Arts Center

Sacramento Martial Arts and Karate

At the self defense class last Saturday, Mr. Oliver described the states of awareness. He also challenged us to play a game. When you are in public, look at the people are you. Are there any oblivious white? Any cause for an orange alert? Hopefully no red!

This morning I played the observation game at McKinley Park. Here are several observations...

An older lady was walking her older dog. She was steady in pace, alert with eyes up and a grouchy suspicious face. It was as if everyone gave her cause to feel threatened. Her dog was nice though. Little and friendly, the canine kept a placid pace next to his owner. So her state of awareness did not match her surroundings, while her companion's did.

One gent was not having a good day. He was talking on the phone as he walked. Well, actually he was yelling into his phone in a heated break up conversation. Very oblivious white state of awareness. He did keep on course without running into anything but also splashed through the puddles.

An encouraging moment was the Herbie Smart car. He was at the wheel, engine on, phone in hand, car parked. Instead of driving in a white state, he took the time to park. How wonderful!

There was also a pair of 30-somethings who made a good impression. Their faster pace lapped me several times. Each time they were deep in conversation but still aware of their surroundings. They proved this by avoiding the muddier puddle-y spots on the track and making space to allow bikers easy passing on the left. When they were doing their cooldown stretches, they were equally aware of their surroundings: nodding politely as people walked past, hands free, eyes up, and keys only came out as they reached their car. Responsive, not reactive, was the good example they set. Nicely yellow.

One younger gal was distinctive in her pink beanie. She was my favorite to spot because she gave a friendly smile every time she crossed paths. Eyes up, no head phones, AND pleasant demeanor? We have a winning example.

So today at the park, I learned when not to talk on my phone, when to talk on my phone, friendly dogs redeem suspicious owners, how to keep eyes up to spot the mud puddles a few steps before I reach them, and that flat looking grassy areas are not as flat as I would like to practice kata.

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