I’m currently re-reading an old book I have, called The Martial Artist’s Book of Five Rings: The Definitive Interpretation of Miyamoto Musashi’s Classic Book of Strategy, by Stephen F. Kaufman. This was prompted by my recent viewing of The Samurai Trilogy, the 3 movies created a long time ago to tell the life story of Musashi (1584-1645), who was a real samurai or ronin in the olden days of Japan, and wrote his Book of Five Rings to express his feelings, attitudes and strategies of dueling and of being a warrior.
I came a cross an excerpt that deals with the body language of a warrior, and I thought to myself: “Wow –this is very specific information on how to set yourself up correctly before a duel!” and as I re-read it, it occurred to me that as a coach, I give very specific instructions on body language, stance, breathing etc. when I am helping clients give a better presentation, or make a winning first impression for example. The devil is in the details, perhaps, and so the details must be perfected.
Please enjoy this ‘clip’, and then ask yourself if you were going into a big meeting, interview, giving a talk or pitch, what would your body language convey? Do you think about it beforehand or just ‘go with the flow?’ I think you know that my advice would be to actually ‘plan’ your vibe that you are sending, just like Musashi did, many years ago. Here it is, found on page 27:
“I always stress form and balance. If you are lax in your stances and positioning, then you will be unable to perform your technique effectively. Focus your concentration on only one thing – making the “hit.” Narrow your eyes slightly and ever so subtly flare your nostrils. Always fight with your spine erect and unbent. Keep your shoulders relaxed and lowered. Tighten your abdominal muscles and root yourself into the ground. Make yourself bigger in your mind than you are as a manner of intimidating the enemy. Slowly work your way toward the enemy until you are ready to strike. Then do so with utmost conviction, quickness, and power. Keep your weapons ready at all times. You should practice the proper stances and movements prior to using any fighting technique and in this manner establish your own sense of being through your particular art. How often have you witnessed so-called experts with no form or balance?”