Category Archives: Ambidexterity

Chinlone

via http://www.mysticball-themovie.com/aboutchinlone.html

Chinlone is the traditional sport of Myanmar (Burma). Chinlone is a combination of sport and dance, a team sport with no opposing team. In essence chinlone is non-competitive, yet it’s as demanding as the most competitive ball games. The focus is not on winning or losing, but how beautifully one plays the game.

A team of six players pass the ball back and forth with their feet and knees as they walk around a circle. One player goes into the center to solo, creating a dance of various moves strung together. The soloist is supported by the other players who try to pass the ball back with one kick. When the ball drops to the ground it’s dead, and the play starts again.

Chinlone means “cane-ball” in Burmese. The ball is woven from rattan, and makes a distinctive clicking sound when kicked that is part of the aesthetic of the game. Players use six points of contact with the ball: the top of the toes, the inner and outer sides of the foot, the sole, the heel, and the knee. The game is played barefoot or in chinlone shoes that allow the players to feel the ball and the ground as directly as possible. The typical playing circle is 6.7 meters (22 feet) in diameter. The ideal playing surface is dry, hard packed dirt, but almost any flat surface will do.

Chinlone is over 1,500 years old and was once played for Myanmar royalty. Over the centuries, players have developed more than 200 different ways of kicking the ball. Many of the moves are similar to those of Myanmar dance and martial art. Some of the most difficult strokes are done behind the back without seeing the ball as it is kicked. Form is all important in chinlone, there is a correct way to position the hands, arms, torso, and head during the moves. A move is considered to have been done well only if the form is good.

Myanmar is a predominately Buddhist country, and chinlone games are a featured part of the many Buddhist festivals that take place during the year. The largest of these festivals goes on for more than a month with up to a thousand teams. An announcer calls out the names of the moves and entertains the audience with clever wordplay. Live music from a traditional orchestra inspires the players and shapes the style and rhythm of their play. The players play in time to the music and the musicians accent the kicks.

Both men and women play chinlone, often on the same team. Adults and children can play on the same team, and it’s not unusual to see elders in their 80’s playing.

In addition to the team style of chinlone, which is called “wein kat” or circle kick, there is also a solo performance style called “tapandaing”. This solo style is only performed by women.

To play chinlone well, the whole team must be absolutely in the moment – their minds cannot wander or the ball will drop. All serious players experience an intensely focused state of mind, similar to that achieved in Zen meditation, which they refer to as jhana.

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Taming the body, taming the mind…

Below is a great blog post that I stumbled upon in my research. I found it to be very inspiring as I continue to struggle with keeping a daily practice. As the title suggests, it touches on the body mind connection, a topic that I hope to expand on very soon. I hope you enjoy this post, and be sure to visit the original source for more.

http://ibanepal.wordpress.com/2007/08/20/taming-the-body-taming-the-mind%e2%80%a6/

Almost one year ago, inspired by H.H. Sakya Trizin´s Vajrayogini teachings in Spain, I started to practice yoga on a daily basis, and seeing the results in my body(more flexibility, strength and vitality) the desire to become a yoga teacher-practitioner developed, too. But what surprised me most was the endurance that yoga gives, and the fact that with this endurance, the body can easily stand longer hours of meditation without so many bodily aches and pains, and without feeling one has to move positions so often. The body’s activity is accompanied by the activity of the mind, and as a result I have found that I can bear new, uncomfortable situations in life with more peace and tranquillity. I don’t experience so much mental stress or anxiety because I trust things more and don’t react to them as I used to. This immediate benefit makes me want to get out of bed when it is so cosy and nice in there, and my mind would like to dwell in old habitual thinking patterns of laziness and procrastination. This is another effect of yoga, it has the power to ignite positive energy and enthusiasm in one´s day, while providing a stable platform on which to build new, healthy and positive habits for oneself. I like having yoga practice as my breakfast, as my travel companion everywhere, stretching at a bus stop or at airports. It feels as if a sudden breath of fresh air comes into my mind and makes me appreciate everything and everyone with a new light…it makes mind transformation easier when we can accompany it with the body, and we can become more agile and lighter in the process. It is so joyful to feel no pain in the body and to know, with meditation, that it is, after all, impermanent.