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 (this applies to this and other blogs by me as well; if you follow the idea's, advice or information you are on your own, don't come crying to me, it is all on you do do the work to make sure it works for you!)
“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 (note: you are on your own, make sure you get expert hands-on guidance in all things martial and self-defense)
“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
Internal Mindfulness Awareness
A person of good character, of morals, of balanced values, of integrity, and of honor is what we all aspire to as karate-ka. It is a brutal system of fighting that must be tempered with such qualities in order to use it for good, the benefit of self and others. So goes the underlying belief of martial systems. The holder of such knowledge stands upon the edge of a sharp sword, say a katana. On one side is the inherent good of humans and on the other the possible evil of man.
In order to achieve these aspirations one must first look to themselves, within, the true person within each of us. This may be the most difficult cultivation a karate-ka, a person, can accomplish for to do this means a person has to leave any comfort zones and open to both the good and the not so good of human nature.
As we can see in the quote, a person who practices mindfulness, the active awareness of the mind-body, must expose who and what they are and get past the facade we all build for survival sake. Survival in the world of man and the survival in the psychological emotional world.
Look at it as a mental training process that helps one to build upon the character they already posses, to take it to a level few can reach. It may be that the time for this practice has not been reached, it may mean years of practice and training to understand and know when you can actually "see" and "hear" all that resides within us.
Label them, remove the stories attached, let them be felt and know that the emotions triggered in the process are transient, they will go away, all things go away and the cycles are Yin-n-Yang, never ending and character building.
When I read, "We are creatures who constantly reinvent ourselves and our lives in order to survive the mistakes we have made and the failings we have exposed," I find that I too have my comfort zones and when they are exposed, directly or inadvertently, I am amazed at the emotional adrenaline dump crossing the monkey brain shuffle with anxieties, etc., they cause me even today.
Through this process I have identified those survival instincts I created as a youngster to survive that are no longer valid for today's world and my age now. You get caught in these habitual reactions to stimuli that if you are actively aware of them and their effects on the body you realize that this is something you can shed, be rid of, expose for what it is and make it go away. It works, its hard, but, it works!
We are all the same, fundamentally, and that reflects in nature so we can see it and then internalize it. The emotions cycle through our lives much the same as the Earth, Sun, and Moon cycle in and out of our immediate perceptions. Those laid bare habits and truths of ourselves can be either difficult or hard on us or they are easy or soft on our psyches.
If we ignore them they can unbalance our lives to where the negative effects turn our minds and bodies into hurtful, painful and sometimes disease infected. We must find these internal habits, traits, emotions, and such so that our lives, mind-body, achieve equilibrium, balance is the key, to control both sides of the emotional ride so it remains relatively smooth.
Our bodies have the great ability to change. The type of change be it beneficial or detrimental is up to us and we can take some semblance of control to achieve health and well being. We can achieve change of direction through the mind-body present moment mindfulness.
The time a karate-ka must seek this training of the mind-body in dependent on when the opportunity presents itself to each unique individual for it may not be now yet it may suddenly light the candle as they progress. We as Sensei can set the signpost but they must read and decide to follow it.
It is also a means to develop a personal ability to see and hear those things both obvious and those not easily perceived, hidden, waiting deep inside to rise and disrupt or benefit. To be totally aware of them is a way to allow them less control over our lives.
You may now be saying to yourself what the "*&^%" does this have to do with karate/karate-do. Application of any fighting system efficiently and correctly and proficiently requires the person have the correctness to use if for the benefit of self, others, and society. To know your inner self completely and with out shadows, curtains, and buried stuff allows for clarity of action with complete ability to apply it properly and within the expectations of our tribes, society.