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The Zen of Soaking

"Without a good reason why, one will never fully understand how to soak." - Z.o.S.

Why does one choose to soak? :.

If one soaks just to drench another, this is too mechanical. If one soaks hoping to humiliate another, this is merely cruel. If one soaks solely for one's pleasure, this is too self-serving. If one does not know why one soaks, one cannot progress further towards Water Warfare enlightenment.

However, if one soaks to learn, then one is well on the path towards becoming a true enlightened Water Warrior. Every successful soak delivered teaches one on countless subjects; one gains by learning more about the performance of one's water blaster, the responsiveness of one's body, the ability to guide the stream towards one's opponent, and, without doubt, one also learns more about one's opponent. At the same time, one may also be teaching one's opponent, showing them the mistake in their way or a weakness they can improve upon. Granted, it is up to the opponent to choose to learn from the lesson, but the fact remains the opportunity, the lesson is still there.

Additionally, every failed soak or if one gets soaked oneself is an opportunity to grow and develop as a Water Warrior. Not every attempt will be met with success, but every non-attempt can never succeed. As one's skills improve, the rate of failure shall diminish; this is the unspoken reward of experience. Experience is the path towards wisdom and enlightenment. As such, to improve progression along the path of the enlightened Water Warrior, it is wise to look for ways to incorporate aspects of Soaking into every day activities. However, this topic will be covered further in another article.

3 Ripples

The Lessons :.

Countless variable are in motion during a water fight. It becomes the goal of the Water Warrior to absorb all the information around himself, filtering out the noise, and focussing on the tasks at hand. Listed below are but a few of the things to bear in mind while soaking.

The Feel of One's Blaster :.

Do not focus upon, but rather sense the essence of one's water blaster in one's hands. Grow accustomed to its size and weight; how its balance shifts due to its water content when walking, turning, and running. Feel the resistance of the trigger pull to gain familiarity with how much force one requires to unleash the stream. Grip the pump and learn to gauge without needing to concentrate how many pumps are required to achieve effective stream performance and how long does it take to accomplish this. Watch the stream; observe how it behaves under different environment conditions. Mentally note how the stream moves compared to how the blaster moves; how it arcs and when or where it fragments.

The Responsiveness of One's Body :.

One's mind may tell one's body to perform one way, but one's body can only move as well as it has been trained. Pay attention to how well one's mental thoughts end up matching one's actual performance. When one's mind pulls the water blaster's trigger, get a sense of how long it takes before the stream actually materializes. When one chooses to run, feel quickly can one actually move and how one's range of motion changes depending on the speed one is travelling.

The Feel of the Environment :.

One does not soak in a vaccuum or void; how the environment that surrounds interacts with oneself and one's actions ultimately decides whether one achieves a successful soak or not. Feel the firmness or softness of the ground beneath one's feet as this will inform one of what motions are feasible and what actions may prove hazardous. Feel the air / wind around oneself; with the wind, one's streams can go further while against it and one may end up in the path of one's own shot. Listen to the variety of sounds around; different sounds will give clues regarding shapes of surroundings, potentially revealing locations of objects that cannot so readily be seen.

The Facets of One's Opponent :.

One needs to know oneself to harness one's innate full potential. However, one needs to learn more about one's opponents to be able to identify their weaknesses, limit their strengths, and avoid exposing one's own weaknesses. Observing how an opponent moves when at a further distance can give insight into their method of approach and their sense of observation. Taking it a step further, see if one can feel the essence/qi of one's opponent in one's mind; beyond watching actions, but more sensing thoughts and intentions of others. Successful soaks are much more likely if one can accurately predict the actions of one's target and adjust one's directions accordingly.

These are but a fraction of the numerous lessons to learn from while soaking. It is not expected or even feasible for most to consciously learn so many things simultaneously. However, each lesson, each experience, even if not consciously learned, still ends up contributing to one's overall knowledge. To always be seeking to learn that which one does not know and gain good experience whenever possible are the keys towards becoming an enlightened Water Warrior.

In the end, one should remain open, willing both to teach those wanting to learn as well as accepting teachings from those who know more and are willing to share parts of their wisdom. Even if one ends up soaked, this, too, should never be shameful; being soaked is a reminder that there is still much that one can still learn. Neither dwell on accomplishments nor on failures to soak; each soak is but a step towards pure Water Warfare enlightenment.

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