Chayon-Ryu Training, Mu Shim, and Africa
By Charles E. Broughton, 1st Dan
In early August of 2009, and me having just turned 65, my son, his business partner, and I traveled to Zimbabwe on an African Safari. The Outfitter who organized our trip highly recommended physical fitness as a prerequisite for this trip of a lifetime. My son, who is in his early thirties, loves to run and ran two-three miles per day with a thirty pound backpack for his fitness training. My focus for this trip was to be very consistent in attending weekly training in Chayon-Ryu at the Spring Branch World Headquarters in Houston. By diligently applying myself during regular training and doing extra training as an Assistant Instructor for the Wednesday evening Children’s Class my physical preparation, fitness, and stamina was at the proper level when we embarked on our adventure.
For ten days we arose at 5:00 am and by daylight were in the field until approximately 1:00 pm. A lunch break, an hour’s rest, and back into the field by 3:00 pm until sundown was our daily routine. The weather was perfect; mid-30’s at night and 75 during the day, with clear skies as it is the end of their winter. This was an enjoyable change from the hot, humid, and sticky weather of Houston in August. We walked, climbed rocky hills, and crossed small streams, with an average of four to six miles per day on foot in rough, brushy, thorn infested terrain. Due to Chayon-Ryu training my feet and legs were tough and strong; with very good boots and a noon change of socks no blisters or sore muscles. Using Ho Hub, deep breathing, my ability to climb and walk this rough terrain was consistent as we traversed this rocky, hilly area for long periods. My conditioning was on a par with those 20 – 30 years my junior.
During the past year GMKS has really emphasized Mu Shim. Concentration on what you are doing, concentration on who you are dealing with, and concentration on what you are doing as being the most important item in your life at that moment. By constantly repeating this to myself and making a very conscious effort to really focus on the tasks at hand it helped me zero in on my activities and my performance and results were at a high level. Our PH, Professional Hunter, and his scouts/trackers soon learned and realized we were in peak physical condition, our focus was intense upon our activities, and we soon developed a good rapport with them and gained their confidence and respect.
One of the most memorable moments was climbing a steep rock incline, working our way through thick, thorn laden brush, and then up a sheer rock face to a cave. From level ground this cave was two-three hundred feet up but we traversed at least one-quarter mile to reach the opening. Along with the soot marks on the ceiling from hundreds of fires over hundreds of years, we saw a drawing of a rhino and a man, a hunter with a bow, left by the Bushmen who inhabited this area several thousand years ago.