Someone posted this on the USFA boards. ( Sorry...I forgot who it was.) It is one of the things I love most about epee. I don't have it all the time...but on those occasions when it surfaces, it is what fencing is all about.
"Fencing tends to create this experience much stronger than most other activities. I assume it is because of the extreme complication, and attention. "
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Psychology professor at the University of Chicago, is noted for his work in the study of happiness, creativity, subjective wellbeing, and fun.
In his seminal work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Csikszentmihalyi outlines his theory that people are the most happy when they are in a state of flow--a Zen-like state of total oneness with the activity at hand and the situation (see Flow (psychology)). The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing. This is a feeling everyone has at different times, characterized by a feeling of great freedom, enjoyment, fulfillment, and skill--and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored.
Quoted from : "Mr. Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced chick-sent-me-high-ee)... describes flow as 'being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost.'"
To achieve a flow state, a balance must be struck between the challenge of the task and the skill of the performer. If the task is too easy or too difficult, flow cannot occur.
Also, the flow state also implies a kind of focused attention, and indeed, it has been noted that mindfulness meditation, yoga, and martial arts seem to improve a person's capacity for flow. Among other benefits, all of these activities train and improve attention.
In short; flow could be described as a state where attention, motivation, and the situation meet, resulting in a kind of productive harmony or feedback.