Maintaining a Dynamic "Ready Position"
To be in a position and state of readiness at all times is of paramount importance for a martial artist when they are engaging an opponent. If, for whatever reason, they're caught out of position or unaware, it will take them longer to act or react, giving the opponent the opportunity to more easily land a blow or use a technique against them. By maintaining a dynamic "ready position" a martial artist will be able to act or react quickly and appropriately. This can mean the split-second difference between seizing a target of opportunity and missing it completely, which in turn can be the difference between victory and defeat.
The ready position is the platform from which all of a martial artist's actions are launched. From a physical perspective, it's a firm yet highly mobile base designed for speed, mobility, and balance; enabling the martial artist to move in any direction rapidly and with complete ease on a split-second's notice. From a mental perspective, it's a position that communicates a clear message to any would-be opponent, the message being, "I'm ready."
The ready position relates to much more than simply the physical position of a martial artist's body. It is the effective organization of the martial artist physically, mentally, and emotionally. Bruce Lee describes the ready position in the following manner:
"Not tense, but ready -- Not thinking, yet not dreaming -- Not set, but flexible -- It is being wholly and quietly alive, aware and alert; ready for whatever may come."
How does the principle of the "ready position" relate to each of us in our daily lives? Whether we realize it or not, our personal appearance and the way we carry ourselves sends out a message to others about us. Call it attitude, bearing, physical presence, aura, or whatever, it's visible in everything we do. And other people pick up on it. So the questions become -- What sort of message are are you sending out? What sort of image are you projecting? Does the way you carry or hold yourself convey the message that you are someone who is 'ready' and in control of yourself, or does it convey something else? If so, what message is it?
As you move through your day, do you move in a well balanced position, aware and alert, ready to take advantage of opportunities that either present themselves or are created by you, to meet challenges and deal with whatever comes your way? Are you centered physically, mentally and emotionally, or do you move through your day in a state of unpreparedness or disorganization, missing opportunities because you're either not alert to them or not ready to act on them when they appear, leaving yourself wide open and vulnerable to whatever problem or obstacle pops up or is thrown at you?
Being in a good position and state of readiness is equally as important for the student taking an important school exam or the business professional meeting a potential client as it is for a fighter dealing with an opponent in the ring.
LIfe is fluid and unpredictable, and many things will hit us unexpectedly and without warning. These things could be physical, mental, or emotional. Whether positive or negative, they can catch us off-guard or throw us out of balance if we are not in a good ready position. By maintaining a dynamic ready position as we move through our daily life, we can reduce the time it takes for us to act or react, and will be far less likely to be caught unaware or miss opportunites. Whatever we do, we will be calm, determined, self-composed and focused fully on the present moment. Our body, mind, and spirit will be fully integrated in dynamic balance, and we will be alert, expectant, and ready to act on ideas, desires , and dreams as well as physical things. We will be, in the words of Bruce Lee, "wholly and quietly alive, aware and alert; ready for whatever may come."