One of my long term hobbies- I think even longer than practicing shamanism- is, hold your horses, everyone- playing foosball.
Of course, playing Foosball is a lot more fun when you win. The winning itself is very enjoyable, but it also raises your social status, and there is the added benefit that there is a social consensus that when you just won a game of foosball, you are allowed to pull otherwise cringeworthy stunts- like performing a moonwalk- while bystanders and losers alike have to pretend like what you are doing is completely normal. There is no joy quite like assimilating and then subverting the tribal customs.
Now I'm a reasonably strong player just by virtue of doing it a lot. For the most part, the people who beat me are competitive players, but occasionally, I'll meet my match. Normally I play simply by intending to win, and letting my subconscious mind take care of all of the playing. This results in fluid maneuvers but also unconventional and downright infuriatingly lucky shots.
Last week I faced off with a friend of mine who is much less experienced than me, but has built in himself a tremendous mastery of the energy around him by working in sales. I dived in expecting to toy with him a bit and then go for a quick win, but suddenly I could feel him taking control of the ball and even the table. That took me by surprise and I couldn't respond in educating my ku about dealing with this new challenge before he had beaten me down ten to zero and general gloating ensued.
Now today, I faced him off again and I concentrated rather hard trying to figure out something I could teach my ku in order to counter his unconsciously applied magic. A couple goals behind again, I found myself staring at the ball rather intently, and I observed that he couldn't get it into the goal. So I did nothing different- I just concentrated really, really hard on the ball, noticed details about it, and then added my conscious intent to charge the ball with as much energy as possible, and won handily.
Energy really does flow where attention goes, and when you're competing for something, having a lot of that energy coming from you is a really, really good idea!
I didn't nudge the ball, I didn't twitch his wrist, I didn't do anything specific- I just concentrated on the ball until I could feel a charge.
This goes to show how every good coach is teaching energy manipulation, but as shamans we have a working theory of why it works. Keep your eye on the ball, they say! The wisdom of that is much deeper than knowing where the ball is. You don't keep your eye on the ball to know where it is, you keep your eye on the ball to charge it with energy and cause circumstances to arrange so that you are the one who is, literally, in charge of it. If you have the most energy on the ball, your intentions will influence it, and everyone else, the most, and you will win! It helps, of course, to teach your ku valuable techniques to work with, but don't overdo that one. Ku will figure out how to win.
Maybe next time I'll add a little energy breathing, and I most certainly will concentrate more fully on my opponent while I perform my victory dance.