the Path of Play

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The mission is to share the Word of Play! I envision a world that has dismissed our inherited tendency towards violence and has been transformed into a Playground as intended. The history books have been written by the victors whom, as it turns out, are not the best examples of how to love each other and accept another's perspective on how life is to be experienced. We know nothing of our past beyond what our current system wishes to share via antiquated "educational" institutions. We are amazing beings until we believe the belittling of others; it is part of the training in a dog-eat-dog culture. Intolerance, prejudice and ignorance are old school rules that no longer serve us; the time to change the paradigm is now. We need to Play together again, get away from our screens, breath fresh air (hopefully!), and connect. Let's purify our addiction to fear by transforming violence into Play and weapons into HACKiDO!s

HACKi = the foundation

Footbag, or Hacky Sack™, is how HACKiDO started for me. Play is universal and kicking around something is just one of the entertaining things that people do; Native American's would use the scrotum of a buffalo! Mindja the buffalo was already dead or the second kick wouldn't be as fun as the first, maybe a bit more exciting? The gathering of people in a cooperative competition community circle is truly magically delicious. Whether it is Playing solo or in a group, kicking around a little ball is pretty darn extraordinary for your body, mind, spirit... all that and more!

Traditionally speaking, in the mainstream, competitive modern version of the game, people use shoes when kicking it around and practice doing what is referred to as a "stall". I prefer the martial arts style of movement that evolves from taking stalling out of the equation, also I have a firm belief that barefoot is the way to go. Activating all of the muscles from the tips of your toes, up through your spine and connecting the front of your head, going sans shoes activates your entire body. While shoes may help give a little bit of a flat surface to play with, the extra weight and immobilization of the foot are counter productive to experiencing the full benefits of this simplistically divine way of Play. I respect stalling, however, stopping the flow of the muscles and training them to lock into certain positions is also detrimental for a fluid exercise. Not only that, stalling can be incredibly frustrating, taking away from the pure joy of kicking around the footbag, or in this case, the HACKiDO! If you remove stalling as an objective, people have a much easier time and have fun just going for it. I have many friends who are exceptional at stalling, however, they do recognize the benefits of barefoot and have switched to going without shoes whenever possible. 




What is HACKiDO?

Simply put, HACKiDO is the Path of Play; the HACKiDO is a self-made Ultimate Play Tool that can be utilized in infinite ways to proliferate the jolification. Although I actively promote HACKing/Footbag and Juggling as two staples for exercise and fun, the HACKiDO brings about endless ways to explore your Playfilled self. Throwing and catching back and forth, target practice something, bowling, use your imagination; I have even heard reports of couples beaning each other for therapy; do it with a group of friends and feel your adrenaline rush, so fun! Even solo, a HACKiDO squeezed in the hand is an amazing stress release. Is it good for babies? Please... nothing better than a mommy made, hemp-filled, crazy amazing for teething (freeze if need be), non-plastic, love-enveloped, build neurons, dexterity and sensory receptors for cute little hands . . . toy! By creating your own, you are not attached to something you had to buy in a store, you can share them with others and spread the joy of Play. 



Three Commandments of HACKing



When explaining that there are rules to HACKi, some people get pretty offended, surprisingly! I will sometimes get people who say, "I don't believe in rules", or "There are no rules to Hacky Sack™!" Well, I'm here to tell you that there are rules to Play here in the physical body, and even further, there are some rules to HACKi that most of the people around the world agree with; sometimes it does take some explaining. The Three Commandments of HACKing make sense, especially when you explain them in order. The third rule should be a rule of life, take responsibility in the "now" and sorry's become obsolete. And as far as the second one, you may only self-serve when you Play With Thyself; indeed, there is no other way to do it!



Once the HACKiDO is served and in Play, touching it with the hands is highly discouraged. Usually, any HACKi that can be touched by the arms can be playable by the feet or legs. The definition preferred by HACKiDO: the palms are red territory (not allowed), inside arms are orange (questionable), outside hands and outside arms are yellow (tolerable). It should be a pretty spectacular move to allow even a yellow touch to fly. When an unintentional violation occurs, the group will determine whether or not a foul was committed, it must be a unanimous decision.


If the HACKi is no longer in motion it is considered unplayable. It can then be picked up with the hand, however, the first throw is a serve to another player. Trick serves are permitted, where a HACKi is kicked into the circle, only if it is not dropped from the hand. If, however, the server is keeping the hack for a few kicks and not trying to serve it to another Playah they may be in violation of rule #2, group determination.


This is a big one! There is much controversy over this decree. For clarification; it is not the word that matters, it is the vibration. Slang or foreign words that have the same intention as “sorry” are included under this edict. If the meaning is an apology or an admittance of doing something “wrong”, you are guilty! – ahhh the paradox!


To put it simply, the punishment is a bean. The accuser who calls the offense is entitled to throw the hack at the offender. The guilty party must stand facing the punisher eyes open, hands down to the side and legs slightly spread apart, more ballsy!  Flinching, turning, or running away is not permitted due to potential loss of hack or causing a misguided throw that flinching can cause. On the surface this may seem an arbitrary punishment, however, training the brain to overcome the fight or flight instinct and find neutral is a rewarding experience. If there is any question to the accusation, the circle must decide unanimously with efficiency, keep the Play going! The receiver may state their case or merely explain that they are innocent without prejudice; cowardice, however, is highly discouraged!


I recently talked over the punishment part of hack with a Playah who was sharing it in a school environment. The bean thing is just not tolerated in our current, over-protective, school system. I get it, but it also shows how disconnected we have come from compassion on one end and how silly we have become about preventing our children from exploring their limitations. I still am a firm believer in the rules of Play, but if the beaning part is too much, it is not necessary (a good scolding is sufficient), and does not detract from the Play.



Another slight punishment adjustment is not forcing it. In fairness, if someone does not want to experience the bean, they have the option of receiving three warnings. If they witness a beaning and recognize the benefits, they can request to receive their penance prior to the third warning. If corrections to the behavior have not adjusted after the third notice, however, the punishment must be received to balance out the spirit of Play.



If HACKing is not an "us verses them" game, how do you keep score? Technically speaking, if you're having fun, you're winning... There is a way to keep count of how many "hack"s you do in a group, that is where everyone in the circle touch it. When there are 2 people, both players must control it twice. With 3 people, everyone must control it with one extra player having it. Four people, everyone controls the hack. Five people, everyone touches the hack solidly. Six or more, the last person just needs to touch it and it's good! Once you get one, go for two, three, four... how many can you do? If a circle gets to 7 or more players, typically, you can have one person jump in the center to get the slop, they are called "the savior". How very spiritual, yes???


Do you feel the calling? Help transform your world, follow the Path of Play...