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In my study of martial arts over the years, one concept that has been “drilled” into me is that of “foundation”. Get your foundation right, and all other things – balance, stability, power, agility – will flow from there. Get your foundation wrong, and nothing can possibly flow well. And how do we set our foundation? It is all in our “stance”.

The most basic stance is the 50-50. Shoulder width apart, even distribution of weight on each leg… and so on. Bend your knees. Bend your knees. Bend your knees. If I had a dollar for every time I heard that in class… For it is in bending the knees that we lower our center of gravity, create more stability. And so, we literally “ground” ourselves, root ourselves to the ground, grip it with our toes. Firm. Stationary. Balanced. Stable.

Karate blend2

And it is out of this stability that our ability to be agile – our agility if you will, emerges. For it is when we are established in our confidence that we are truly relaxed, and it is when we are truly relaxed that we can focus on what we are to do next. It is when we try to do too many things at once, that our energy, our stability, is scattered – and we do none of the things well. Some of you may say that this runs counter to the idea of multi-tasking, or even the ability to be agile – and that’s okay. If that approach works for you, more power to you 🙂

I am just here to communicate to you what has worked for me, and some of the lessons that my 35-years-in-training Karate Master has taught me. One of those lessons is that agility – the ability to move in any direction at any given time – emanates, emerges, flows, from stability. So, I have taken this lesson to heart, to my work, to my (spiritual) practice(s). And I have to say that I am better off because of it.

What is your take? Does this interplay of stability and agility make sense to you? What practice(s) or principle(s) add to your overall stability? How do you practice agility (the ability to move quickly and easily) in your thoughts and ideas? If you are in a leadership role, how do you communicate the ideas of stability and agility to your team(s)? Does the notion of spiritual stability – our core, fundamental values and principles – come in the way of our being spiritually agile – our ability to entertain new ideas and practices?

We will address some of these questions in our weekly twitter conversation on Sunday April 6th at 9am EDT (see here for your local time) with the #SpiritChat community. I invite you to join us and share your thoughts.

And no matter whether you can join us or not, I wish the best of stability and agility…


P.S. Photo Credit: Grandmaster Willie Adams (10th Degree Black Belt and one of the most ever-smiling, peaceful people you will ever meet), executes a kick… I took the original photo and ‘layered’ it onto one of my “ocean” photos. He is the teacher of Master Clyde Dennis (8th degree Black Belt, my teacher, and one of the most peaceful people you will ever meet :))