Caleb and I hit up the Verm this morning. I had just came from Midwest with my new Shogun paddle and was wanting to try it out with my creek boat. The Verm was moving at a good pace and the paddle was perfect for me! I had known for awhile that I needed a longer paddle for my creeker. Caleb and I had a really fun run...not too much play for us, but Donut had a little play with me for a bit. Just as I was leaving I ran into Paul turning off of 61 doing the "wave" at me. I turned around and headed back. All my gear was wet and I was froze from the wind so I didn't opt to paddle again but I watched and took some photos of John, Mike and Paul. The sports in my life that I have been drawn to have always combined mind and body. I spent many years in Shotokan Karate. Mind and body train together. The key to becoming good is to train your body to become automatic with your mind. Split second decisions can only be executed if the mind and body are simultaneously linked and react at the same time. Thought equals action. This is accomplished only thru many hours, days, and years of practice. When I used to fight I would try to see how little I had to shift to miss a punch. It was an adrenalin rush to be able to dodge a punch and have it so close you can see the hairs on his arm as it passed you by. A miss by an inch is as good as a mile. By now you're wondering what this has to do with kayaking. As with the levels of ability in karate there are levels of ability in paddling. Caleb and I had a great run today but watching the second crew run the river was an education. It's all a mental perception of the river. I've posted before that confidence is the strongest and the weakest thing on the river. It's like a bank account...training, experiences, partners, teachers and luck all add or subtract to your confidence level. I feel blessed to have the great paddling partners I have! In karate I enjoyed teaching and bringing the under belts up thru the ranks. In kayaking I see alot of new paddlers on the Verm and love watching them grow. You may be surprised to know that I didn't pass my first black belt test. I had the skills and could compete in the men's black belt division but I had a mental shift that needed to be made. Same as with kayaking. When I watched the comfort level and confidence level of the second group I was looking at where I want to be.