When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:
I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me
I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me
I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull
I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death
I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed
I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes
I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados
I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers
The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn
Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung
WARNING, CAVEAT AND NOTE
The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.
Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.
“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated.” - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources
“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames
“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne
Open Monitoring or Active Awareness
Mindfulness is the key, learning to concentrate the mind internally to achieve a level of focus/concentration that leads to an ability to mindfully take in many things in the present moment. Meditation, both moving and sitting quietly, are the practices that will train the mind. Once a level of competence is achieved then it can be incorporated into your practice.
I like to meditate on the breathe. My focus is on it and its processes, feeling it not just mentally noting it. I try to achieve a concentration/focus on the breathe and the processes as well as feeling my body, parts or in general, for tensions, etc. I have learned that if you can achieve a proficiency of brining your mind, and body, back to the moment this way it can lead to the practice of open monitoring.
This is merely the focus/concentration of the singular anchor and graduating to a meditation and practice of wide-n-spacious attentive focus/concentration of many things. It takes the singular to the multiple awareness of thoughts, emotions, sensations, and sounds that surround you where ever you go and at any moment of the consciousness of daily activities. Think of this like active listening but as active awareness. You are present as each moment unfolds in the present. You open your attention/focus/awareness to an array of experiences without getting caught up in either the content of the moment or those past/future stories it may trigger once experienced. Your instincts are allowed to see and hear the moment and in practice you train the mind to act if needed or just experience.
This is the training method you need to achieve a level of proficiency that can transcend the stationary meditative present moment practice into one that incorporates movement then on to such practice as karate or any system, martial or not.
"Be Aware ... of each experience ... as it enters your moment, your consciousness ... bring it the attentive focus necessary to "experience" the feeling and effect ... whether a sight, sound, image, thought, emotion, or sensation."
Regulate your attention from singular to wide-open, note the activity and its relevance, and then start to regulate it actively. Being actively aware means bringing the appropriate concentration/focus into play correctly and at times needed. Controlling the monkey.
You need a focused-attention for some things like listening to Sensei as Instruction is conducted the a more open-attention to allow all awareness to flow in the present moment to achieve a more creative awareness.
Meditative practice is the fundamental and moving meditative active awareness practice, such as waza and kata, are the extensions to the fundamentals that one can tweak as they progress along or parallel to Sensei's instruction.
This will lead us to a type of awareness that is important to a karate-ka. It is a type of awareness that flows between these two and achieves an awareness that promotes the ability to "see" and "hear" a situation "clearly." It allows the mind to have an appropriate response when trained and connected properly in practice. It becomes a discriminating awareness where the mind can naturally and instinctively achieve action without thought. It is a relaxed state with a trained active awareness that flows with each moment. Sound familiar? Isn't this a trait often discussed with traditional training of un-encumbering the mind so it can do things quickly and naturally and instinctively?
Focused singular awareness (micro awareness) + all encompassing wide-open awareness (macro-awareness) = a discriminative awareness (balanced-awareness?). Yes? No? Any suggestions?
Smalley, Susan L. PhD. Winston, Diana. "Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness." Da Capo Press. Philadelphia. 2010.