Zen Martial Arts Center

Sacramento Martial Arts and Karate

Gi. The uniform worn in martial arts.

Gi. The first code of Bushido.

Gi. The right way.

2011 has been tumultuous with the UBBT commitment, a few bouts with the flu, a new job, conscientious diet changes, deaths in the extended family, a best friend leaving for officer training, stepping in when Mr. Oliver was on the Alabama Project, and more…

Most importantly, the new job. All the other aspects of life were at least balanced before the new work schedule robbed me of the usual UBBT work out times, the usual eating schedule, two days of helping with the children’s classes in the dojo, and the ability to stay up past 10 pm. These specific upsets have made me conscientious of the relationships in life.

Mr. Oliver has been discussing gi as the first code of the Bushido warrior. Gi, the right way, the right choice, the right thing to do. Many of the conversations turn to the gi of relationships. What is the right thing to do in relationships?

 We usually think of relationships with people. Lately, I’ve been considering my relationships. Not with other people per se, rather the relationship with my body, relationship with food, relationship with time, relationship with sleep and relationship with obligations. What is the gi for these relationships? What is the right thing to do in these relationships with the changes the job has created?

Easy answer… We all need sleep. If I go to bed earlier, I can wake up at the earlier time feeling rested. I can focus at work. I am more capable during classes in the dojo. I am more ready for the challenges tomorrow will hold.

We all need sustenance. If I pack a healthful lunch before going to bed, then I don’t spend precious money on a last minute craving-based take out option in one of the numerous lunch spots near our Natomas office.  This is a strong temptation for me. I love Chipotle. Panera. Beach Hut Deli. I don’t have the money to eat there every day, or every week. There are more important ways to utilize my income. Even better than saving money? The conscious choice to eat healthier has made me feel better. When I leave work to go to the dojo, the gi to nourish my body gives me more energy to jump, punch, kick, kiai, and play with our young students. I am my best for them.

A little more complex of gi… Some of us have committed to the Ultimate Black Best Test. This commitment, to me, has several layers. Foremost it is a commitment to do my black belt best in physical, mental and spirit training. It is also a commitment to fellow team members and the larger UBBT community. It is a commitment to the martial arts world in an effort to raise the standards for black belt testing. The “right thing” for my UBBT commitment is in the daily things like choosing to do one more kata when I’m my pj’s literally heading toward the warm, comfy bed. It means allowing space for the person merging without their blinker, and not glaring angrily at them. It means making the next pot of coffee when I pour the last cup. It means going to class when I don’t feel good that day. Seemingly simple choices today with the intent of setting the gi example, the right example.

The hardest gi to ponder is time. What is the right way to spend the precious resource of time? I don’t know. I do know the highlight of my week is spending time with the kids in our dojo and the kids at the Ride To Walk on Saturday mornings. It is only right to set those as the priority, and schedule everything else around them. So work must accommodate the Tiny Tigers and Little Dragons. Saturday morning festivities are sacrificed to volunteer out at the RTW ranch. That is the simplest gi regarding my relationship with tie.

There are so very many thoughts about gi, the “right” thing, and how to determine the gi in a relationship. These are just some of the ones I’ve been thinking about in the last few months.

What are your thoughts on gi?

What does gi mean to you?

How do you determine the gi?

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Comment by Lisa Spagnolo on May 6, 2011 at 9:54am
Before yesterday's class and the discussion of "gi" I had been thinking about how long it takes to really understand the concept of cause and effect (these thoughts will likely inform my post for this week).  This applies to "relationship" as you are discussing it. What actions are required for the desired outcome in each of these areas? (for oneself and for others).  Anyway, that's just a beginning and I hope to develop more soon. Definitely thinking along the same lines.

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