September 12, 2006


Watching a young man juggle in a square, I'm reminded that we can teach ourselves anything with determination and practice. I recall as a young teenager teaching myself to use nun-chucks. FOr what reason I forget, probably one too many ninja and Bruce Lee movies. I recall the many varied colors of purle, black and blue marks my long sessions with the wood and chains left behind on my skin. I also recall the sharp pains that accompanied each contact with wood and flesh. I remember the exhuberation I experienced when I could swing the chucks freely around my body and limbs without holding them securely and they didn't fly intot he air, but stayed on the intended path for another revolution or transfer to my other hand. I also mastered the long chain variety with short wooden handles. The mastery was a game. You learn each trick and slowly add more and more nuance to the effort.

Ease is accomplished through practice. Mastery of no thing comes immediately. I eventually moved on from martial arts to more socially acceptable forms of physical showmanship. Hacky sack. Even after practicing for hours, I never truely mastered that tiny leather ball, but I still have it. Every once in awhile, I come across it in a box. Invariably, I pick it up and the texture on my skin transports me back to one of my memories of hacking (this was pre internet you know). Then I'll toss it back into the box with a variety of other small things I've collected over the years that have little use other than to make me think of the past and how far I've traveled. As I watch the young man strive to keep 7 balls in the air at one time, I smile as I consider where he'll be in 10 years.


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