BLOCK WALKING & BOUNCING BALLS

EXPERIENTIAL MARTIAL ARTS I.

(originally published in The Lakewood Observer)
“The phenomenological world is not the bringing to explicit expression of a pre-existing being, but the laying down of being. Philosophy is not the reflection of a pre-existing truth, but, like art, the act of bringing truth into being.” – Maurice Merleau Ponty

It is the case and sadly so, that the larger portion of child’s play is stripped from the adult over the course of their maturation. We wander through the world as adults and we miss a lot. Fortunately, with a modest commitment of time there are any numbers of awareness softening calisthenics grown-ups may do to recover childlike capabilities.

1. BLOCK WALKING
Pick a block, any block. You’ll have to start as a beginner but your walking chops will be recovered quickly. This exercise requires about 120 seconds every day.
Start from a stop and walk the block slowly. Name what is perceived: “sidewalk slab,” “window,” “futon,” “sign,” person,” “slab,” “smile,” “window,” “door”. You get the idea. Do this once a day for several weeks and soon enough the naming will drop away. Let the block become your train of awareness. The only hard part is extracting the necessary 120 seconds every day. Do this for two minutes every day, do it for 30 days. See what results from giving up sixty minutes to this over the course of a month.

2. BALL BOUNCING
Buy nine rubber balls and be sure to test them. They must be bouncy enough to bounce right back into your hands. This exercise requires five minutes three times a week. Also, you’ll need to find two neighbors to join you. Yes, they can be your roommates if need be!
Pick a time and stand at the end of your front walk and, with your two companions, bounce the balls for five minutes. It is almost a sure bounce that after several weeks of doing this other persons will want to join you. This is what the other balls are for. If you approach this with any discipline at all, over the course of several months, you may find most of your block has joined the bounce. (If you need more balls, go buy ’em!) Enjoy what results.

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