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
Time is Relevent
I cannot say when I stopped considering time but instead just practiced and trained daily, in the moment. I just suddenly realized one day due to some event I undertook that suddenly I had spent thirty some odd years in practice and training. It is like when I think of my first day at MCRD Parris Island, 1972, I find it interesting that this occurred forty years past - incredible how time flies when you pay it no attention, i.e. focus on the minutes, hours and days.
I look forward to retirement from work. Why? Because I intend to take my watch and throw it in the back of the closet. I will try my utmost to convert my body and mind over to time as dictated by nature, i.e. night to day to night, summer to fall to winter to spring, etc. I hope to leave the calendar off the wall and simply track movement by the moment in accordance with nature.
In karate-jutsu-do in the beginning time was something one tried to get past quickly as time was attached to the award of levels or rank or colored belts. To say I took only one year to achieve a black belt was pretty impressive and today it is more the meaning of the black belt and the time has fallen off and out of the mind. It is more important to remain true to the meaning of black belt then to actually wearing one or saying I am one or saying I achieved this distinction in only a year or so.
Shifting paradigms is another important aspect of following the more traditional/classic way of the empty hand. We begin as one thing and if we are successful we shift into something else - continuously for change is forever, moving is forever and thinking of practice and training as ephemeral is the way.
Think about the successes. Think about the failures to guide you toward the successes. Think about the moment, remain present and in that moment for all training and practice. Far better than focusing on the time, i.e. the time to the next class; the time to the next tournament; the time to the next belt test; the time to reach black belt.
What does it require inside yourself to achieve the level that benefits your practice and training? Some considerations as you travel the way of the empty hand!
There once was a young man who practiced hard for over ten years on just one kata. He just couldn't get it but he forgot about all else but learning that one thing. No matter what was done and how hard all the dojo worked diligently and continuously this young man just couldn't get it down. He came every class with few exceptions. He gave one hundred fifty percent of his time and effort with motivation and desire, every single session. Now, that to me is a black belt! He hasn't quit yet and this was around 1991 to 2001.