Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Another book I've been reading

The inner game of tennis

No, its not the tale of the warrior women. Expect that in about two weeks or so. Instead, today we shall be talking about a much older book that was given to me by my aunt (for which I'm extremely grateful)

Timothy Gallowey's 'The Inner Game of Tennis'. I'm pretty sure some of you have read this before since it has been around for a while. For those of you who haven't, If you have any interest at all in any discipline that involves human movement, or in just gaining a better understanding of how your mind works, I'd advise at least checking this out of your local library.

The philosophy behind it seems to be derived from Buddhist thought. Its purpose is basically to get us to let the ego step aside so that the part of us that actually learns and acts take control. One of the interesting things about this method seems to be how much it affects the learning curve behind physical activities. As I read the book it was easy to look back at my past and realize how certain breakthrough moments in martial arts classes had been because of my ability, for a brief while, to live in the moment the actual movement was taking place without any form of fear or doubt.

What he tries to do in the book is provide suggestions on how to take that moment of absolute concentration and expand it so that it becomes a part of how we live rather than an occasional accident. While his examples all had to do with tennis, the basic principles and concepts he used are widely applicable. I'm working some of them into my daily practice to see what they can do for me.

Bottom line, read it. Worst case it'll be an interesting read with no new information. Best case, it'll make you change how you think about the process of learning/living.

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