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
Zen vs. Gen (Guhn)
While this practice originated from China, the Chinese practice/practiced a broader, older and more common practiced known as "gen (guhn) or meditation (keeping still), for more broad application in life.
I quote, "Gen basically means stilling the mind to the point that you can focus objectively on your innermost desires and needs as well as your surrounding and immediate situation. It is primarily a technique for narrowing the focus of one's thoughts down to the essence of what is uppermost in importance at the time." The objective, to create, achieve and maintain inner peace and to be a more centered person in all of their thoughts. To accomplish this one must calm the mind from all the monkey chatter we experience at most or all times. It is also about conquering the ego so your thoughts and resulting actions are unrestrained, pure and appropriate.
Such practice seems to my mind to be more apropos to our practice today or any practice of a martial system. Even if not directly similar to Zen practice this type seems to address the many times I have personally heard, read or viewed comments and teachings about escaping the ego along with its sometimes resulting price and to achieve enlightenment. It seems that if the truism of the monkey chatter mind is true that this is a more reasonable practice within a martial system such as karate-jutsu-do.
Gen (Ghun) means something like, "Stilling the mind," which presume is possible. I often speak of my response to the question, "What are you thinking about?" with the answer "nothing." In reality when one thinks they are thinking of nothing it is merely that they are not consciously being aware of what it is they are thinking for the mind is in monkey chatter mode a lot when not focused on a task or specific thought.
As can be seen by this short, terse, post on Zen and Gen we begin to realize the importance of studying the cultures and beliefs of a people who create these long-lived practices for this may also have been the precursor to the practice of Japanese Zen. There are a lot of similarities in Asian culture and belief systems and why I believe in this as a part, intricate part, of our practice. It shows that the differences between Japan, Okinawa and China are not all that far apart.