"Art is the antidote to the hazard of not paying attention. From our experience with art, from the entertaining exertion that art invites and requites – playfully practicing our capacity to question assumptions, linger on unexpected possibilities, and greet complexity, even strangeness without anxiety – we receive our best training in imagination. I mean art in all forms and regardless of the mode of engagement, whether as artist or audience. Imagination makes these a pair with a common bond. Imagination is needed to create art and to enjoy and learn from it. The visual, plastic arts, music, and literature exercise the imagination no less than do technical challenges to skill and craft, or the corporeal arts I have discussed, the modern traditions of Asian martial arts.
"Before we know what our body can do, we have to try, and before we can try, we have to imagine the movement, even if the image is obscure and indeterminate, as it must be when the effort is authentically venturesome. Unwonted movements must be integrated with what we already know we can do, which requires, in part, imagining doing them, forming a virtual image of corporeal integration, which funds the practice it takes to actualize the image in augmented competence. An agile imagination surmounts bodily challenges, enlarging our repertory of basic actions and enhancing the somatic resources we draw on in every tangible encounter.
"Tranquility greets change with gratitude. Longevity absorbs change and does not evade it. Training in the martial arts produces, as product and by-product, psychosomatic competencies that lend themselves to these attainments. Unlike dance or sport, these arts affirm and afford lifelong learning. Even if you eventually quit, the training, the learning, the potential for become more and better is endless. The experience resonates with everything it touches, changing how you think and act, perceive and feel. The beginning of power, knowing what your body can do, is the imagination of power, daring the experiment, and, only in that way, becoming more consistently who you are."