Darts: a game where participants compete with one another by throwing small arrow like devices at a target that is round and has numbers and sections and an inner bull with an outer bull and so on. Darts now refer to the standard game with a specific bristle board design and a set of rules. Rules that are general to the game and rules that govern games like, “501,” “301,” and “Cricket.”

Darts is a traditional pub game that was and is commonly played in the United Kingdom as well as other places in Europe and across the pond here in the America’s.

Wikipedia tells hits history in a terse form, i.e., “The dartboard may have its origins in the cross-section of a tree. An old name for a dartboard is "butt"; the word comes from the French word but, meaning "target". In particular, the Yorkshire and Manchester Log End boards differ from the standard board in that they have no treble, only double and bullseye, the Manchester board being of a smaller diameter, with a playing area of only 25 cm across with double and bull areas measuring just 4 mm. The London Fives board is another variation. This has only 12 equal segments numbered 20, 5, 15, 10, 20, 5, 15, 10, 20, 5, 15, 10 with the doubles and triples being a quarter of an inch wide.”

There have been a variety of darts created over the years but the most common today is the tungsten dart. There are electronic darts but for this blog and for my efforts in tossing darts I remain a steel dart fan and enthusiast. I am recommending a book for novice darters but only because it appealed to me and my studies and rest assured most of the dart books out there are outstanding. In short, find one if this one does not fit your needs and get it. I can tell you when I started to play over twenty years ago, before I laid down my darts in 96, I tossed darts for several years without knowing some very important and critical mechanics, etc., of the dart game. As I take up once again my steel darts I have found a fountain of information to help make the game both enjoyable and competitive. Enjoy, diddle for the middle and let the darts fly!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Darts: Milestone Markers

Dart Arts Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

Those progressive points you wish to set and pass on your way to mastery of the Dart Arts.

My latest milestone is to toss a perfect double on of 170, I.e., one double bull and two Treble 20's.

This is not setting goal for goals are an end point while limestone markers are those points you pass along the way to a state of mind, body and spirit - Master Dart'ist.

It is best to contemplate 🤔, "All of life is a journey, we are carried along at nature's pace, whether we choose to run, walk or sit still. Along the way we can create markers and we shall pass them in good time."

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mastering the Dart Arts Mind

Dart Arts Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

Shoshin, Mushin, Fudoshin, Zanshin and Senshin are martial arts and karate terms on the stages of one’s spirit or in direct relation to the mind-state one works through to achieve mastery, or at least expert proficiency. 
  • Shoshin (残心)(Beginner’s Mind); Shoshinsha no Kokoro [初心者の心]
  • Mushin (無心) (No Mind); no thought or emotion, innocent. A state of mind with no emotions or no thoughts. 
  • Fudoshin (不動心) (Immovable Mind)
  • Zanshin (先心) (Remaining Mind)
  • Senshin (先心) (Heart) Purified spirit; Enlightened Attitude
  • Heijoshin (平叙心) A transcendental state of mind created through the blending, morphing and mutual connectedness of the five states or stages of mind in the dart arts. 
Shoshin mind is that of the initiate, the novice or the beginner who for the very first time takes up the darts and approaches the oche line to toss out the first three darts. It is an attitude that one must maintain even after mastery because it is the removal of all preconceptions that makes for a present moment no-mind, the next level, that when mutually coupled with the other mind-states brings about a level of mind that can conquer all things. 

It is a mind that expands to better see, hear and act, to achieve understanding and ability beyond mere practice, training and competition, a spiritual aspect not of religion but of heart. 

Mushin mind is a state of no-mind, a place of trust in the self, a faith in our innate potential and the fidelity to get the job done. A degree of action that goes beyond what the mind originally conceives in the dart arts as in life’s trials and tribulations - all tools to learn, grow and expand the mind and understanding. It is about achieving a no-mind that is present in this moment, the only moment when it all comes together and is expressed in the perfect dart toss. It is the removal of all mental and physical obstructions, distractions and interruptions. 

Fudoshin mind is one mind and heart that is imperturbable, steadfast and cool in the heat of battle under conditions of adrenal stresses and effects that all work hard to block and break the ability to toss the perfect dart, the perfect score and the perfect game. It is achieving a state of mind and motion in heart, mind and spirit that takes the negative and tosses it out and allows the positive to create, act and achieve all the milestones toward mastery of the dart arts. 

Zanshin mind is that state of mind provides balance in all things, that is left over from all the hard work, trials and tribulations that speak to the process toward mastery. It is that mind one achieves leaving behind the ability to move and act freely as if in a state of primal reflex conditioned mind where all our dart mastery resides waiting to be awakened. It is achieving a natural process and way to expertise and mastery. To achieve flow, rhythm, consistency, patterned processes, and a cadence like music that speaks to the heart of the dart arts. It is the creation of a creative mind through awareness and experience thus achieving a true state of zanshin. 

Senshin mind is a compilation, connectedness and mutually balanced whole of all the four parts that harmonizes with the Universe or the physical manifestations of our world as expressed in these ways. It reconciles the four and presents the final, senshin, that leads to a final state of body-mind-soprit that gives peace of present moment mind called, “Heijoshin.” 

Heijoshin mind is that mind that flows, that gets into that state of flow where the body reacts and triggers the primal reflex conditioned mind of action often thought of as, “Instinct.”  It is that which creates the matrix of the mind to achieve a state of Zen and the Dart Arts mind. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Iron Man Rules

Dart Arts Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

Bet when you read the title the music for iron man played through your head, you know - the song from the sixties that they use as the theme for the IronMan movie from Marvel Comics.

Anyway, last night's Dart League they allow one player to compete against a team and they call that, Iron Man competition.

In this league we play nine rounds of, doubles 301, then two single 301 games. This is followed up with the same for cricket and on to 501.

Of the nine the single iron man forfeits three single games leaving 6 rounds.

The doubles matches the single IM competitor throws three darts against, wait for it, both the other players total of six darts. Kind of s handicapped set but not.

There are doubles of 301, cricket and 501 along with a less handicapped of two to one, I.e., I got to play some single one-on-one games.

In the end I won some double and singles for three wins to the other teams three wins.

Because it was an Iron Man the other team got three wins on forfeit so they won the match with six wins overall while under Iron Man rules I eked out three wins.

Actually, considering how well I played - not bad, not bad at all.

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Standards of the Dart Arts

Dart Arts Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

Standards are defined as: “A level of quality or attainment; a required or agreed level of quality or attainment; an idea or thing used as a measure, norm, or model in comparative evaluations (principles of conduct informed by notions of honor and decency).”

European dart arts have consistently taken the art or darts to higher and higher levels in the last decade while American dart arts has actually fallen, or at minimum, remained static and somewhat low. Yes, this is a personal opinion and I expect to hear many say that it also has risen but to date I have not found one iota of proof. 

This disturbs me as one, “Old Timer,” dart’ist and promotor of local events said, “the dart’ist today relies heavily on the drink to maintain their ability to toss arrows. I believe that even the European’s do the same with one exception, they don’t do it on the televised events.” This is discouraging and coupled with the elitist attitudes often described to me seems to put the dart arts into a category that the general public uses the minute one says, “Darts.” 

Personally, the only drink I have when the “Game is ON” is coffee and water. One to remain awake as most dart arts are played after hours, evenings, and along with other obligations makes for a very tired practitioner after certain hours pass. Most locals I play with tend to imbibe through out the evening as would any social drinker which is not a bad thing. But, as long as that remains regardless of its perception of others it will always trigger the perception of local workers drinking beer and tossing a few darts for fun in a more social context. 

If the dart arts is ever going to achieve the same high standards of social acceptance and participation this attitude, perception and distinction of the discipline is going to need a paradigm shift. The real question is, “How the heck are we in the dart world of America going to make that happen when things like cognizant dissonance and confirmation bias are triggered every time one hears the word, Darts.” 

Dart arts quality with honor, respect and standards commensurate to that of European Dart Arts must be raised to those levels or beyond. We Americans have a history of being seen as the underdog who when challenged tend to pick up that big stick and beat that belief into submission and oblivion henceforth and beyond. Again, how do we do that, that is the real question?

My first thought is promotion, we must use influence and compliance principles to create an atmosphere and communications model that would promote and influence everyone toward a more honest view of what the dart arts are and what those same dart arts can achieve - think, Olympics!

Some suggestions to start the ball rolling:
  • Read the PDC rules as set forth by the, “Darts Regulation Authority.” 
  • Research the growing pains of the dart arts of England that led to its European acceptance and continued growth.
  • Research the dart arts progression from a pub game to the televised events drawing in the entire European Nations and the larger than life earnings those dart’ist earn.
  • Research the processes used by the great dart artists who have taken the dart arts to such high levels of expertise and play never before seen in the history of the dart arts tantamount to how the game of golf has reached such heights of play, professionalism and acceptance by the world. 
  • Use the proper and appropriate means to change American attitudes and perceptions of the dart arts. 
  • Research the world of American Darts and compare them to European Darts to find those concepts, ideas and standards that would elevate our discipline to be competitive with theirs. 
This may be a start and we can hope but … 

Practicing in the Dart Arts

Dart Arts Article/Post Caveat (Read First Please: Click the Link)

The system you create in your dart arts practice will mean the difference in constant and effective improvement where you milestones are all about achieving a system that meets the standards of effective practice. This does not lessen the importance of experience in shooting arrows against your contemporaries. 

“There are fundamental principles that give that discipline, in this case the discipline of practice, it substance resulting in mastery. This is what every practitioner and devotee of such disciplines strive for even if on a subconscious level. What follows is a simplistic description of the principles needed to practice, practice, and practice to receive the benefits toward mastery.” - cejames

The notes references can be viewed here, “How to Practice Effectively …” https://youtu.be/f2O6mQkFiiw

  • It is not just repetitive practice, it is more.
  • It is about programming and creating changes in the brain along with the creation of a mind-state and mind-set of practice.
  • Repetitive motions alone are not enough.
  • Practice is not about large amounts of hours spent doing the repetitions alone. 
  • Practice must be about repetitions of a quality and effective consistent focused intent
  • Practice is about a type of challenge to our current abilities
  • Practice must be an effective form of practice or its just dancing around with only fitness and health as benefit. 
  • You practice by diligently focusing on the task at hand; minimize any distractions; start slow and gradually increase “Correct” practices.
  • Practice is also about building coordination of correct repetitive movement.
  • Avoid long singular daily sessions of great intensity, use frequent practice sessions with allotted breaks spanning the entire day. Like proper eating habits, it is more productive and effective if fed to you over time, several times a day, etc., i.e., eating small meals throughout the day is healthier. 
  • Practice includes spending time on things related to the discipline you wish to master
  • Supplement practice outside of normal practice through visual-imagery once you have established the motion or movement correctly and effectively. Visual-imagery, a form of visualization, is also a form of self-hypnosis where the brain can achieve improvements, etc., of established motions and movements at the same rates as actual hands-on practices

Remember, you have to practice in this way to reach and achieve new heights in your master of the discipline involved. To maximize your potential and have it manifest at will in a masterful way is the end milestone of a, “System of practice!”

Consistent accuracy is key to the success of the dart arts. How we develop that consistency, efficiency and accuracy to master the dart arts is done through a, “System of Practice.” The bulleted items along with the highlighted sections describe how we go about developing such a system and all the dart-ist has to do is fill in the particulars of his best practices to reach all the milestones and attain mastery of the dart arts. 

As an example, here is how I practice:

First, I break it up over days and hours into either a one-half hour session or one hour with up to two hours on the weekend days. I also use visual-imagery during the day, at work or when doing other things on the weekend, since I have established a modicum of proficiency tossing arrows. Now, since intent is important, actually critical, in your practice I have laid out some practices I use at each session.
  • I toss only one set of niners, initial warm up of nine darts, then move into actual practices.
  • I use my score chalk board as a guide with me taking the, “Home” position then me also as the, “Away” position as if a competitor/adversary. 
  • I play three games of 301: away always goes first and I/we switch start position for each successive game. 
  • I play three cricket games: away always goes first and I/we switch start position for each successive game.
  • I then practice outs, basics first, by trying to hit the doubles with the first dart; if I miss and say hit the twenty pie I then toss the next arrow at the double 10 and so on; this proceeds from 20 to 19 to 18 on down until I reach double 1 then double bull. 
  • I then practice going for the treble 20 working to hit consistently the 180 score. 
  • I then practice a form of cricket oriented play by tossing three at the treble 20, three at the treble 19 and then three at the double bull. I continue for as much practice as I can up to twenty minutes.
  • I repeat the last but at the treble 18 and treble 17.
  • I repeat the last but at the treble 16 and treble 15. (all three of these has at least three arrows at the double bull)
  • I then go for the doubles, three arrows at a time, from double 20 to 19 to 18 down to 1 then double bulls. 
Note: I don’t really go for 501 simply because going for 301 double-in and double-out fits that model and going for highest scores with each three darts helps get the long game down to the short game of first score able to out of 170 (treble 20, treble 20, double bull). 
  • Final game, to put 170 score on home and away so that I can compete against myself to learning and taking a double out as high or as close to and including the 170 point out as possible. The game here includes practicing the mathematics required to refigure an out after each arrow is tossed at a target especially if you miss. 
Note: My intent is also to analyze each toss as to why it was successful vs. why they missed their targets. A lot of attention is toward how my body stands and tossing the arrows so that I can attain consistent tosses at intended targets with a growing accuracy that would lead to mastery of the dart arts. It is about removing distractions, achieving a deep and abiding focus on the perfect throw and finally to achieve perfect games in 501 single-in-n-double-in, 301 and cricket (the three games played in American local dart arts).

I do practice daily with minimal skipping of days but alas as with all of us other life endeavors and responsibilities often dictate a need to skip a practice or an event yet the milestones are achievable especially when you can practice to equal improvement with visual-imagery. A note about V-I, it is a self-hypnosis practice some call visualization so once you achieve a certain level of proficiency that form of practice actually contributes as much improvement as actual hands on practice. 

One area of practice you cannot get, experience really, in practice session is one that exposes you to the realty of the adrenal stress-conditioned triggered chemical dumps you get when tossing arrows against an adversary/competitor. 

Game ON!