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Zen in the Art of Throwing

Article By: Tony Ciarelli,
Huntington Beach High School

"A man who has attained mastery of an art reveals it in his every action"

I have always felt that preparation for the throwing events was much like preparing for the martial arts. Not just the physical movements, but the mental preparation as well. Our dojo (practice hall) is the ring; we do our kata (practicing of form and movements) much the same as martial artist perfecting our techniques to the smallest details. The words the samurai lived by were WASA~KI~SHIN (Technique~Energy~Attitude). WASA, Technique always comes first and foremost, but technique is not enough by itself. KI, Energy is needed; this energy has to be developed to come from within each of us both physically and mentally. SHIN, Last to throw far we must develop an attitude or spirit about throwing and ourselves. WASA~KI~SHIN these are the words to live by and must be understood and brought together into one if we are to throw far.

"Perfect form is formless"

WASA, we cannot think about throwing far without understanding and feeling the positions. As throwers we must be able to break each throw down into the smallest details. We need to understand how each movement relates to the next movement, from the start of the throw to the finish. Each movement must be felt and understood, to throw far we need to feel every part of our body from the tips of our toes to the tips of our fingers. This is done by study, seeking knowledge and understanding becoming a student, knowing that throwing farther is always possible. We apply this knowledge through drills, drills, and more drills, concentration on effortless effort to bring about a natural movement. We must make the techniques and movements become as natural as walking. Understand the positions so well that we no longer have to think about them we just feel the movement we no think the throw.

"Your capabilities can exceed your limitations"

KI, there is more to throwing than just hitting the positions. We have to create and center our energy. To create physical energy we must lift, run, jump, and throw. Every rep you do in practice throughout the year is storing energy in your body for that big throw you need at the end of the season. Once we have created this energy we must be able to center it and apply it to the implement or it does us no good. We have all known weightlifters that could lift enormous amounts of weight but still not throw far. Along with the physical energy there is the mental energy, this can be our best friend or our worst enemy. How many times have we seen throwers getting their best throws in warm-ups because they are relaxed and centered, then the judge says lets get started and these throwers say to themselves, "I wasn't even trying, now I'm really going to kill it" and the distance drops. When we have a rhythm we must not change we have to stay at the center, keeping our mental and physical energy balanced and focused. Our normal mind, no thought, mind and body become one and the energy flows from the thrower into the throw. Play like you practice and practice like you play.

"Only with practice and a proper mental attitude"

SHIN, to me throwing is not a game, it is not a sport, it is a system of self-actualization, half physical and half spiritual much like Zen in the martial arts. It is a form of meditation; the ring is a place to go where you can feel the center of all things, be the center of all things. I feel that the discipline involved in becoming a thrower is much the same as becoming a master of the martial arts. It takes a single mindedness that not all people can achieve. Throwers must be able to use their sprit, their mind, to be able to say to themselves "this is going to be the best throw of my life" on every throw. Just like the martial artist that sees himself breaking the board before he does it, the thrower must see himself throwing farther every time he steps into the ring. And you get into the ring again "this is going to be the best throw of my life" every throw in every meet throughout the season. Remember that throwers are the best athletes on the planet, you must set you standards high, fulfill the expectations of what you are, become more than what you have been. AUDACITY! AUDACITY! AUDACITY!

"Remember the mind is like a garden it will grow whatever you plant within it".

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