Daily Dojo

A beginner knows nothing about posture or position of the sword, so there is no dwelling on body or mind; if someone attacks him, he scrambles to deal with it mindlessly. As he learns various things, however —physical posture, how to wield the sword, where to place the mind —his mind dwells on various points; if he tries to strike someone, what with one thing and another, he is exceptionally handicapped.

When he has practiced daily for months and years, finally his posture and way of wielding the sword become mindless, like he was at first when he didn't know anything and there was nothing to it. This is the frame of mind in which the beginning and the end are the same. If you count from one to ten and over again, then one and ten are next to one another. In the musical scale too, when you go from A to G from one octave to the next, then A and G are next to one another; the lowest and the highest come to resemble each other.

Takuan Sōhō had a unique insight into how people learn.
A beginner knows nothing about posture or position of the sword, so there is no dwelling on body or mind; if someone attacks him, he scrambles to deal with it mindlessly. As he learns various things, however —physical posture, how to wield the sword, where to place the mind —his mind dwells on various points; if he tries to strike someone, what with one thing and another, he is exceptionally handicapped.

When he has practiced daily for months and years, finally his posture and way of wielding the sword become mindless, like he was at first when he didn’t know anything and there was nothing to it. This is the frame of mind in which the beginning and the end are the same. If you count from one to ten and over again, then one and ten are next to one another. In the musical scale too, when you go from A to G from one octave to the next, then A and G are next to one another; the lowest and the highest come to resemble each other.

Takuan Sōhō

While this is a long quote at first glance, Takuan manages to boil down a process that takes a lifetime into two paragraphs. According to Zen in the Martial Arts, Bruce Lee was a huge fan of this quote, and used it with his students.

Daily Dojo

A centipede was happy – quite!
Until a toad in fun
Said, "Pray, which leg moves after which?"
This raised her doubts to such a pitch,
She fell exhausted in the ditch
Not knowing how to run.

A centipede was happy – quite!
Until a toad in fun
Said, “Pray, which leg moves after which?”
This raised her doubts to such a pitch,
She fell exhausted in the ditch
Not knowing how to run.

Katherine Craster

Daily Dojo

Each and every master, regardless of the era or the place, heard the call and attained harmony with heaven and earth. There are many paths leading to the top of Mount Fuji, but there is only one summit — love.

Each and every master, regardless of the era or the place, heard the call and attained harmony with heaven and earth. There are many paths leading to the top of Mount Fuji, but there is only one summit — love.

Morihei Ueshiba

Without love, no amount of hard work will do. It’s love of the craft that makes you practice longer, study harder and continuously move forward.

Daily Dojo

Nothing we see or hear is perfect. But right there in the imperfection is perfect reality.

Today we have a quote from Shunryu Suzuki. I have been reading and carrying a tattered copy of his book, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind for close to forever..

Nothing we see or hear is perfect. But right there in the imperfection is perfect reality.

Shunryu Suzuki

When it comes to learning music, perfection is often overplayed or underplayed. We either get tense about being perfect and make ourselves too stiff to be effective, or get so mellow that we skip practice over and over again.

I think the trick to being able to recognize those small moments when everything clicks – and when that moment passes have the strength of character to continue practicing, learning and growing until the next moment happens along.

Daily Dojo

Once you pull the handle you don't get your goldfish back.

Since it is Dear old Dad’s birthday, I decided to use a quote I once blurted out in a long-forgotten argument that to this day makes my dad laugh.

Once you pull the handle you don’t get your goldfish back.

Patrick Costello

In music and in life, we often find ourselves flushing some opportunity or challenge away. Skip playing in a jam, put off practice, blow off the wrong person and . . . well, you get the idea.

When this happens, when we flush the proverbial goldfish, it does no good to stage a rescue attempt or ponder on how badly you messed up. Just learn from your mistakes, move on and get yourself a new goldfish.

Away

I am going on a picnic. I’ll be back on Thursday.

In the meantime, be sure to watch and work through the first four episodes of The Banjo Dojo. Remember: practice makes familiar.

When I get back, we will be making announcements about Banjo Dojo weekends and other exciting news. Lots of good stuff is in the works.

Daily Dojo

This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.

Alan Watts quotes are easy to come by. They practically fall out of his books and lectures ready to share out of context.

This quote is different;

This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.

Alan Watts

Many Buddhist and Taoist teachers have uttered similar lines. Watts makes it nice and easy to understand. Westernized. Sans mysticism.

To work until the task takes on the nature of play. A simple thing at first glance . . .