Yin and Yang

By now we are all familiar with the terms Yin and Yang. We all assume that we understand its meaning. It’s the balance of everything: Good and Bad, Black and White, Male and Female. We know what we have read in books and heard in lectures from wise men. But aside from making a cool necklace or artwork on a t-shirt, how does Yin/Yang really affect our lives and, most importantly, our training?

By now we are all familiar with the terms Yin and Yang. We all assume that we understand its meaning. It’s the balance of everything: Good and Bad, Black and White, Male and Female. We know what we have read in books and heard in lectures from wise men. But aside from making a cool necklace or artwork on a t-shirt, how does Yin/Yang really affect our lives and, most importantly, our training?

It is said that all change in the universe can be explained by the workings of Yin and Yang, as they either produce one another or overcome one another. If you ignore one side and choose to be all Yang or only react out of Yin, I believe there will be no change — in your life or in your training.

A woman who feels she does not need the opinions of a man will never grow beyond herself. The man who doesn’t ask for and accept the advice of  a woman has cut short his ability to grow as a person. There are students who train on one side or another. Male students who are working on that softer touch, female students who are training to give weight to their male side. Each of us has our favorite uke, the student who we train well with, just enough yin to our yang. But what happens when you are training with someone you don’t balance well with? The guy that muscles every technique, the know it all, the flirt, the cutesy girl, the wet noodle. Come on, let’s not be politically correct here. Throughout training we each have or will run into these ukes. Let’s call it like it is. Too much Yin, way too much Yang, ego, fear, whatever causes the unbalance, this is the person now throwing a punch at you. Just like the man who doesn’t ask a woman’s advice. Just like the woman who ignores a man’s gifts. You will cut short your growing by dismissing what the frustrating partner standing in front of you has to offer.


So it may not end up being the technique that was shown. It may be a whole different lesson than what is being taught that day. When someone offers you advice you didn’t think you needed, it is very hard to quiet the ego enough to listen. I am still working on that. We all need to work on taking lessons when they are offered and not when we think we need them. The wet noodle partner doesn’t need you to change. You need him.


Take this week, seek out advice on something you feel like you have complete control over. Ask your wife, your girlfriend, your best friend about work, school, your training. You may find that you have been acting without enough Yin influence. You may find that your training has been following a Yang approach only. No part of your life is separate from the others. Work, play, training, it’s all a time to try and find that balance. And no one can do it alone. Seek it out.

 

(Originally published in Muzosa Journal 9/30/05. Author retains all copyrights.)

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