Absorb What is Useful

June 30, 2012

 

Absorb what is useful

Reject what is useless

And add what is specifically your own”

                                – Bruce Lee

With these words, Bruce Lee defined the driving principle behind both his martial art and his personal philosophy.  Although he introduced this idea in the late 1960s, it is in fact a timeless principle that transcends generations.  It encompasses a progressive concept for self-growth and personal evolution and as such it can be a powerful and life transforming tool to help us live a life without limitations.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the martial arts, Bruce Lee was the founder of Jeet Kune Do, or The Way of the Intercepting Fist.  JKD, as it has become known, was perhaps the first non-traditional martial art, a hybrid of styles and techniques that were hand-picked by Bruce and his friend and training partner Dan Inosanto.  On the surface JKD might appear to be nothing more than an eclectic mish-mash of techniques and training methods, a misunderstanding that has led many would-be Bruce Lees to believe that they too could create their own martial art style.  JKD isn’t simple eclecticism however; it has something more…intention.  The intention behind JKD is what brings the techniques and styles together, it’s the guiding energy that takes a raw collection of tools and unifies them for a greater purpose.

What is that purpose then?

Nothing less than the truth in combat; or put another way, to win a street fight.

With this intention as the criteria, Bruce and Dan analyzed, formulated, modified, tested, experimented, and arrived at a new expression in the martial arts, a new expression that would turn the martial arts world on its head.

In essence, they absorbed what was useful, rejected what was useless, and added what was specifically their own.

This principle was therefore the guiding force that helped give birth to Jeet Kune Do.  But the beauty behind this concept lies in its universality.  It doesn’t apply just to the martial arts, it applies to life.

Upon closer examination, this principle reveals a methodological process to discover the most efficient and effective means to accomplish a goal.  However, before we can begin to absorb or reject anything we must take a crucial first step: honest self-examination.  This step is absolutely essential.  We must be willing to honestly assess our abilities and skills, discern our weaknesses and shortcomings, and arrive at a baseline of functionality in any given arena of our lives.  It can be difficult to look at our weaknesses, but until we’re ready to acknowledge those areas of opportunity, we will never be able to take responsibility for them and make improvements.

In the case of Jeet Kune Do, Bruce recognized the inherent limitations of his original martial art of Wing Chun following a challenge match fought against a rival martial arts instructor.  While Bruce won the fight, he realized that the restrictions of the Wing Chun along with a lack of physical conditioning contributed to the fight lasting much longer than necessary.  He could have walked away and thought nothing more of it, but that wasn’t Bruce’s way.  Instead, he took a hard long look at his situation and realized something needed to change.  This must have been a hard pill for Bruce to swallow, but for him, the truth was far more important than the most cherished illusion.

Having determined our point of departure, we can begin the process of absorbing what is useful.  It’s important to note though that this step isn’t purely about accumulation.  The absorbing of new material into your life matrix has to be aligned with a specific purpose.  Rather than adding new material willy-nilly, the addition of elements must be congruent with your intention.  What is it you wish to accomplish?  What will this serve?  What is the greater picture that these pieces will contribute to?  Without this clear intention, we will resort to mere eclecticism in which we stockpile new pieces without direction.  Consider an all-you-can-eat buffet – an eclectic approach would be one in which you visit the buffet simply to load up a plate with your favorite foods again and again.  These foods may not necessarily be healthy and/or easily digested.  There’s no rhyme or reason; it’s just a collection of random bits and pieces that you happen to find appealing combined into a 10 megaton calorie bomb.

Now, let’s look at the same situation from the perspective of intention.  You grab a plate and make conscious choices with a specific goal in mind, perhaps to have a nutritiously sound meal.  You select items that are in harmony with that purpose.  Those foods complement each other; they are easily digested, are high in nutrition and low in calories.  In the end, the food creates the desired result – you are comfortably filled and know that your body has received a healthy and balanced meal.

To return once again to the example of Jeet Kune Do, when Bruce Lee and Dan Inosanto assembled the elements that comprise the art, they weren’t just picking the styles and techniques that they liked or preferred.  The approximately 28 different arts that comprise the original JKD were meticulously studied and dissected, experimented with and tested for validity.  From Western Boxing to Fencing to Wing Chun to Thai Boxing to Western Wrestling, each art or concept that was adopted was based upon its ability to function in an actual fight.  JKD isn’t about an endless buffet or “technique accumulator” mentality.  At its heart, JKD is about simplicity.  More isn’t necessarily better.

As a natural extension of this testing/experimentation process, rejecting what is useless operates side by side with the absorption of new material and experiences.  While it sounds simple, the rejection of useless elements is fraught with challenges, many of which are the result of psychological or emotional conditioning.   This is where we once again return to our honest self-examination.  We must truthfully evaluate the effectiveness of what we are doing.  If it isn’t working for us, if it’s not serving the overarching purpose or intention, then it is our responsibility to jettison the old, the outdated or no longer relevant aspects of our training or beliefs.

Rejecting what is useless can be extremely difficult due to the fact that it’s our human tendency to grow attached and persistently cling to methods or beliefs from the past, even if they no longer serve us.  As a species, we crave security in the known.  We feel safe in holding onto the way things have always been.  Unfortunately, as eastern wisdom traditions have shown us, much of our suffering is rooted in our inability to let go of our attachment to the past and old habits of thinking and behaving.  Ultimately though, the only way to grow, to become lighter and less bound by our old conditioning is to cut the cords to those things, behaviors, and thoughts that no longer support our growth.

For Bruce Lee, this step was accomplished by discarding the useless elements of his original art of Wing Chun.  Elements of footwork, mobility, and angles of attack were no longer relevant to the matrix of the art he was creating.  Further, the arts that were being added were not absorbed in their entirety.  What was useless was removed, no matter how much personal appeal it may have held.  Only by clearing away the extraneous could the path to simplicity be glimpsed.

As you may have noticed, absorbing what is useful and rejecting what is useless reflect a scientific methodology for discovering what works and what doesn’t.  These two steps function on the objective level.  In other words, we are looking beyond our personal biases to behold a more universal truth. These steps aren’t about what we want; they’re about what works, plain and simple.

Finally we come to the last step, adding what is specifically your own.  From the objectivity of the first two steps we now move into the subjective realm of personal experience.  Here we look at ourselves to understand how we can make this experience unique and personal.  What are your own strengths and weaknesses; what skills and unique talents do you bring to the table; and how can you use them to enhance the overall experience?

We all have unique abilities and talents, and part of life is learning to express these in an honest way to serve the greater good.  When you add your unique perspective to the blend of this process, you create something entirely new and special.  What do you have to add, after absorbing what is useful and rejecting what is useful, to make your expression unlike any other in the world?

In the synthesis of Jeet Kune Do, this was revealed in the unique expressions of Bruce Lee and Dan Inosanto.  Bruce Lee was a one-of-a-kind martial artist.  His physical prowess was unlike anything that had ever been seen before (or since) and those abilities gave rise to his unique expression in JKD.  His speed, timing, and reflexes were the hallmark of his fighting style – a unique expression of his body in combat.  Indeed, Jeet Kune Do will be expressed differently for different people.  While the paints and canvas remains the same, each artist is different and will therefore create an image that is a reflection of their personal experience and interpretation.

Dan Inosanto, on the other hand expressed JKD in a different way.  Following Bruce’s death in 1973, Dan’s JKD absorbed elements of his native Filipino culture in the form of Kali and Escrima as well as other arts and techniques.  He added these concepts to the curriculum he taught at his martial arts academy and continued to evolve, adapt, and innovate as a martial artist and teacher.  To this day he is still a student, absorbing and integrating new ideas such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kettlebell training and other concepts into his unique expression.

As individuals, we each have something to share with the world in our own unique way.  This is how we give flavor to the experience of living.  Ultimately, no one has a monopoly on the truth.  We are all speaking the truth from our own perspective, each valid, each worthy of being heard.

As a student of Bruce Lee’s art and philosophy for over 25 years, I can’t imagine a more direct and efficient path to self-mastery than absorbing what is useful, rejecting what is useless, and adding specifically what is my own.  These are the guiding principles of my personal philosophy and they continue to serve me in every aspect of my life.  I have adopted them in my own expression of the martial arts, my spiritual journey, my relationships, and my teaching style.  They have been irrefutable principles in my growth and evolution.  While they sound simple, they are profound and life changing steps for living a life of transformation.

But don’t take my word for it…Absorb what is useful 😉

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Just One Thing

June 14, 2012

Can you do just one thing?  Without distraction, without interruption, can you use your attention to do just one thing?  My guess is that doing so would be extremely difficult for most of us.  With countless distractions competing for our attention, doing one thing at a time seems to be pointless and unproductive, if not downright impossible.  Our attention is assaulted on all fronts – television, radio, computer, phone, mobile devices, email, internet, social networks, YouTube, video games, responsibilities at work, family, children.  The list is endless.  Never before has the human race been so inundated with information.  In the last few decades the sheer amount of mental stimulation we are exposed to daily has increased exponentially, and it continues to grow with no end in sight.

But even if we didn’t have these distractions, why would we want to do just one thing at a time when we can be so much more productive by doing several things at once?  After all, if you can eat your breakfast, call your mother, and drive to work all at once, why not make the most of that time and kill three birds with one stone?

We are rapidly becoming a multitasking culture in which we have grown increasingly comfortable with performing several tasks simultaneously.  We talk on the phone, check our email, scarf down a sandwich, and text a friend all in the span of a few seconds.  Who amongst us hasn’t seen a fellow motorist fly by us on the highway at 70 mph or more while chatting on a cell phone and sipping a cup of coffee?  Or perhaps we’ve been that person…

Don’t get me wrong, I stand in awe of the human nervous system and its ability to manage (or juggle) the multiple and complex tasks that we assign to it in order to complete our daily to-do lists.  A neurologist would have a field day trying to list and categorize the processes going on in our nervous system as we perform even the simplest of everyday jobs.  Yet we continue to stack task upon task upon task in order to save time and accomplish more.  We have less time and more to get done, so it only makes sense to adapt to the challenge by finding ways to perform more efficiently.  Multitasking has become a highly valued trait amongst employees and employers in all fields.  The more you can accomplish in the shortest amount of time = the greater your productivity = the more valuable to the company you are, right?

Maybe.

As a meditation instructor and a student of consciousness, I’ve noticed a growing trend in our society.  Fewer and fewer people are able to pay attention.  I hear it regularly from my students that they can’t seem to pay attention like they once could.  They complain of foggy thinking and difficulty in recalling names or events.  Overall, they feel as if their minds just aren’t working the way they used to.  Then there’s the rise (dare I say epidemic) of ADD/ADHD throughout the country.  When I was a kid, ADD and ADHD didn’t exist, certainly not in their present form.  Children who couldn’t pay attention were labeled as hyperactive and it was a result of too much sugar in their diet, plain and simple.  Now, more and more adults are being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, or a lack of attention.  But where’s this trend coming from?

I’m not a doctor, so I won’t go into the potential genetic or dietary causes that might be at play in these conditions.  However, I will speculate based upon my experience as a meditator.

Consider that each day we begin with a given amount of attention to use as we choose.  We use a little here, a little there, or maybe we use a lot spread out over a multitude of multitasking opportunities.  As the hours wear on, we find that the quality of our attention begins to get a little thinner.  More multitasking, more distractions, and our attention continues to wane until we wind down our day parked in front of the TV or computer.  Finally, our attention hits bottom as we lose consciousness and fall asleep.  Sadly, this cycle is all too familiar for most of us.  We drain our attention “Bank Account” to the bone every day, never making a deposit.  Over time the bank statement only gets worse as the cycle becomes a habit.  This habit not only reinforces itself, but conditions our minds and bodies down to the cellular level.  We become chronically attention deficient.

Once we’ve become used to this watering down of our attention, we are living in awareness poverty.  It’s a sad state that more and more of us are finding ourselves in, and worst of all; we consider it to be normal.  But it’s not normal.  Normal is using our awareness economically, investing it in one thing at a time and giving it our complete attention.  Doing so focuses our awareness like a narrow beam of light and allows us to really experience the object of our attention.  We can see the details, hear the nuances of the sounds, feel the textures in what we touch, smell the aromas, and taste the flavors.

The multitasking mentality takes the narrow beam of awareness and widens it to include more and more, eventually resulting in what I call flood-light consciousness.  In this state the subtle layers of experience fade into oblivion as our attention rapidly jockeys from one thing to another.  The overall quality of our awareness plummets and we become detached from the world we live in rather than feeling and having an experience of being alive.  In the long run we become less perceptive, less awake, and a foggy shadow of who and what we could be if we weren’t lost in the swamp of distractions and multitasking madness.

So what’s the answer?  How do we wade out of this murky fog that we’ve come to call home?  Outside of medication which can provide relief in the short term, but may have detrimental side effects, I would like to offer two options for making regular deposits into your awareness bank account:

1) Meditation

A regular meditation practice can work wonders for increasing the amount and quality of attention you experience in your life.  The mind is not unlike a muscle that through regular exercise can be strengthened.  By repeatedly bringing your attention back to an anchor such as a mantra or a candle flame, you build and strengthen the neural pathways associated with paying attention.  The more such behavior is reinforced, the stronger that connection becomes.  What was once difficult becomes easy.

When I tell people that I meditate, I often hear the response, “Oh, I could never do that, I just have too many thoughts.”  But this is a common misconception because thoughts are part of the meditation practice.  You have a thought; you bring your attention back to the anchor, repeat.  That’s the practice.  Each time you bring your attention back to the anchor is similar to performing a repetition when you lift a weight.  The muscle doesn’t get stronger after just one rep…you have to keep training.  So it is with your mind.  But with repeated practice, your mind and brain will respond.  In fact, recent meditation studies have clearly demonstrated that with as little as 8 weeks of meditation, the physical structure of the brain actually changes in response to the practice.

With regular meditation, awareness increases.  Best of all, the increase in surplus awareness isn’t confined to the meditation itself.  It gets carried over into your daily activity.  The world is brighter, fresher and more vibrant.  This is due in part to what in the Yoga tradition is known as Pratyahara, or withdrawal of the senses.  When you meditate, your senses are taking a time out.  Your eyes are closed, the room is quiet (hopefully) and your other senses are at rest.  The sensory repository of your mind gets some time to restore and integrate your most recent experiences.  Following this period of restful awareness, you re-emerge into the world renewed, your eyes and ears sensing the world from a fresh perspective.  You are able to focus on the here and now of the one thing you are attending to.

2) Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a practice by which we simply and deliberately put all of our awareness on what we are doing, moment by moment.  It is essentially, doing just one thing.  As opposed to a formal sitting meditation practice, mindfulness is about embracing the fullness in every moment of the day.  Walking, eating, breathing, working, speaking, all of these activities can be mindful practices.  Mindfulness is just another word for awareness; consciously choosing to pay attention to what we are doing.  It’s the opposite of the mindless multitasking mentality that is so common in our world.

An average day is filled with opportunities for mindfulness.  Driving to work can be a mindful and meditative experience.  Turn off the radio, put down the cell phone, and simply drive.  Feel the experience of the car beneath you, the steering wheel vibrating in your hands.  Listen to the hum of the engine or the wind passing by outside.  Just drive.  Initially, this might seem dull or boring.  But this is only due to our conditioning that has taught us to believe that we must have constant and continual stimulation.  We’re so used to sensory overload and immediate gratification that we’ve lost sight of the amazing wonder in each moment.  Or as William Blake says so eloquently,

To see a world in a grain of sand

And a Heaven in a wild flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.

As with meditation, mindfulness retrains the brain to embrace the fullness of every moment, helping us put our complete attention on the richness of this experience.  Continued practice gradually reconditions our nervous system, strengthening connections in our brains for living more mindfully.  We learn how to feel our way through the world rather sleep walking through it.  This is what it truly means to “Be here now.”

One of four great paths to union in the Yoga tradition is known as Karma Yoga, or the Yoga of Service.   This path is especially powerful in cultivating one-pointed, present moment awareness.  It reminds us that we are all instruments of the eternal and infinite being.  As such every breath you take and every action you take is a divine movement of the infinite.  I have come to understand this concept in recognizing that if everything we do is in service to and belongs to the infinite field of consciousness or God, then our actions will automatically be impeccable.  Imagine, if you were to perform every action as if it were for God (whatever you idea of God is), wouldn’t you want to do it with your full attention, totally focused on doing your very best in this moment, here and now?  This is mindfulness.  This is doing just one thing with your whole being.

This is the challenge then.  In a world gone mad with mental distractions and chaos, can you bring your attention home to the core of your being?  Can you return to your true nature of stillness, of mindfulness?  Can you do just one thing?

Today I would like to share an article I submitted to Black Belt Magazine a few years ago.  It’s about the powerful contributions martial arts training can have on both the individual and society.  While the article didn’t make it into print, I still believe it provides some insightful commentary into how martial arts training can make the world a better place.  Hopefully you’ll think so too.

 

-Adam

 

Why the World Needs Martial Artists

 

Our world can be a dangerous place.  Violence, conflict and aggression have become common fixtures that seem difficult to avoid in our society.  We need only to flip through a local newspaper or tune into a television broadcast to be confronted with stories and images of fear and horror that argue convincingly that the world is falling to pieces and that the end may indeed be near.  Assaults, theft, murder, brutalization, and wars make many would-be parents question what kind of world they would be bringing their children into.  Even the most optimistic and progressive thinkers would have to agree that we, as members of the human family, have a big problem.

 

In a very real sense we stand at a crossroads in our species’ evolution, facing what some experts consider to be a precarious choice between a plunge into self-destruction on one hand and a rise to self-awareness and transformation on the other.  I think we can all agree that the world doesn’t need any more aggression, anger, hatred or violence.  What is called for now is a new paradigm – a shift away from those old behaviors and into a new model for the future in which compassion, balance, moral strength, and integrity are its hallmarks.  As students or teachers of disciplines that can be (and often are) interpreted as nothing more than methods of inflicting physical harm, we find ourselves in a unique and pivotal position to be either a part of the problem or part of the solution. 

 

When one is sailing on the surface of the ocean buffeted by waves and currents, it can become easy to forget about the depth and magnificence that lies beneath the surface.  In a similar manner, recent emphasis on Mixed Martial Arts and Reality based styles has drawn the attention of many martial artists away from the wealth of knowledge, tradition, values, and untapped potential that lies beyond the mere act of damaging another human body.  It has become easy to forget that there is far more to the martial arts than fighting itself.  This is not to say that the combative nature of the martial arts isn’t important – far from it.  Rather, it is the view of this article to demonstrate how important and beneficial a fully integrated martial artist is to the world.

 

Martial Arts (Re)Defined

 

While Martial Arts literally means “arts of war,” or “traditions of training for combat” the term has come to represent far more than the mere skills used to defend oneself or others from physical threat.  Without doubt, the most noticeable characteristic of any martial art is the physical component.  However, the Martial Arts have also come to be regarded as a reliable and powerful practice of Self Improvement.  Indeed, this non-physical facet of the arts, while subtle and intangible, may in the final analysis, be more profoundly transformative than the physical qualities alone.

 

These seemingly opposite aspects of martial art training – Self Protection and Self Perfection are actually two sides of the same coin which, at a fundamental level cannot be separated.  That doesn’t mean we haven’t tried.  Hundreds of martial arts exist that focus exclusively on either the physical or mental/spiritual aspects of training to the detriment of the other.   Nevertheless, this split must be healed if we are to embrace the wholeness of Martial Arts training and use the knowledge we gain to make the world a better place.

 

Often, focus on one side of the equation may serve to develop its polar opposite, but this is still a fragmented, hit/miss approach.  To really cultivate mastery in the martial arts and in life, we must work to consciously develop all the qualities that lie at the heart of martial arts training be they physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.  While hard-line advocates at either extreme may reject the idea of expanding their boundaries to become more comprehensive, if we are to become complete martial artists, who benefit themselves, their art, and the world, only the broadest vision will do.

 

Let’s take a look at some of the characteristic attributes developed through martial art training on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels to better understand everything martial art training has to offer.

 

Physical Attributes

To begin with, the physical benefits of martial art training are somewhat familiar and easy to recognize because they are tangible and measurable.  Through training in the martial arts, you can feel yourself growing in strength, flexibility, speed, or endurance.  The feedback mechanism is awareness of your own body and can be evaluated through your senses.  Through continued training you are able to watch your abilities improve.  What follows is a list of commonly recognized physical attributes of martial arts training.  It is not meant to be exclusive or complete, but a representation of the more frequently observed qualities.

 

Speed

Power

Coordination

Timing

Sensitivity

Body Mechanics/Kinesiology

Flexibility

Strength/Conditioning

Balance

                                   

= Health, safety, security, Self Protection

 

Taken as a whole, these attributes equate to increased health and strength while simultaneously augmenting our sense of safety and security in the world.  As a byproduct of martial arts training, these are the abilities needed to facilitate effective self-protection.  We become more capable of defending ourselves or those we care about from harm by training our bodies for the possibility of a physical confrontation.  In addition, we can become healthier, stronger, and more physically capable of handling the challenges life throws at us. 

 

Unfortunately, many martial artists stop here and never take their learning beyond the physical level of development.  Doing so can often result in a serious imbalance whereby a practitioner dedicated solely to the physical aspects of his or her training, lacking the wisdom and good judgment that come from more thoroughgoing approach, foolishly or unintentionally puts themselves in harm’s way.  Take for example, someone who, trained in the martial arts, goes out looking for a fight in the hopes of testing his skill or simply administering a beating to another.  Doing so could lead to serious injury or death and is clearly not about self protection.  Rather it is about ego gratification, something that can be addressed through mental and emotional development.


Mental and Emotional Attributes

Next, let’s briefly explore the realm of the mental and emotional qualities attributed to training in the martial arts.  These characteristics are more subtle than their physical counterparts and can be difficult to measure and even more difficult to teach.  Often taught under the umbrella of “Life Skills” or “Self Development” lessons, the mental and emotional aspects of martial arts training can often arise spontaneously as students confront and learn to go beyond their weaknesses, fears, personal limitations and inner demons.  They may also be taught in a more concrete or structured manner such as a workshop or seminar.  Elusive and difficult to pin down as they are, these qualities are very real and should not be underestimated.  Like the physical characteristics, this list is a reflection of some of the most common mental and emotional traits associated to martial arts training.  

 

Discipline

Confidence

Patience

Humility

Focus/Concentration

Detachment

Receptivity

Courage

Intentionality/Will/Desire

 

= Emotional Intelligence/Maturity

 

The essence of these attributes really amounts to one thing – maturity, both intellectually and emotionally.  Often referred to as Emotional Intelligence, this collection of skills and character traits defines the personality profile of a well adjusted and self actualized individual.  Such characteristics are the hallmarks of people who have taken personal responsibility for the quality of their lives and their training.  They have been able to grow beyond a conditioned and reactive response towards conflict and are making choices that support their commitment to growth.  Through dedicated training in the martial arts these traits can be carefully cultivated, allowing us to realize our hidden potential.

 

Spiritual Attributes

Lastly, let’s examine the most elusive and abstract set of qualities – those of the spiritual dimension of Martial Arts training.  Much more challenging to develop and measure, these qualities are often considered the epitome of the enlightened warrior.   A few examples of these traits might be:

 

Mindfulness

Expanded Awareness

Compassion

Lightheartedness

No Mindedness/Mushin

Peace/Nonviolence

Unboundedness

Intuition

Unity

Empathy

Joy

 

= Self Perfection/Enlightenment

 

The sum total of these traits could best be described as self-perfection or enlightenment.  An individual who displays such qualities has used the martial arts to transcend ego consciousness and come to a higher sense of self.  As Bruce Lee might say, “Punches and kicks are tools to kill the ego.”  Such characteristics usually come only after many years of dedicated practice and training, often under the guidance of a highly evolved instructor.  Rather than a set of rules or moral guidelines one must try to uphold, these qualities have become the personality traits of a highly evolved human being.  For martial artists who have reached this level, it is the most natural way to be. 

 

Certainly, we could dedicate a great deal of time exploring each of the qualities described above.  This listing is only meant to provide the most basic overview of the more familiar benefits derived from training in the martial arts. 

 

At this point we need to make an important distinction.  In this context a martial artist is notthe same thing as a “fighter.” As reflected in the name, martial arts imply the skillfuldevelopment and use of techniques for self protection.  As we have described above, such training can lead far beyond the mere act of self defense.  When properly practiced, it can become a path that helps us become complete and integrated human beings.  Fighting, on the other hand, while making skillful use of the physical aspects of the combative arts, makes no effort to evolve past the violent, competitive and animal-like behavior that is typical of the most basic and survival-based biological responses human beings carry as part of their genetic heritage.  To some this might seem like splitting hairs, but in the final analysis, very fundamental differences exist between martial artists and fighters and it’s important to be aware of them.

 

Why is this?  As the title of this article reminds us, the world needs martial artists.  The world needs well adjusted, mature and compassionate people who are capable of protecting themselves and others.  It needs individuals who take responsibility for themselves and their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual evolution.  It needs people who can powerfully express their intentions in the world.  It needs people who see physical conflict as the last option.  It needs people that chose peace from a position of power.  What it doesn’t need is more violence, anger, or aggression.

 

Speaking as one who is making the transition from being a ‘fighter’ into a martial artist, I can clearly perceive the differences in these two approaches, most notably in the amount of time it takes to achieve mastery; it does not take long to become a proficient fighter, but it can take a lifetime to become a truly complete martial artist; a lifetime dedicated to becoming the very best you can be.

 

***

So in the end, despite the chaos, confusion and hostility that we’re exposed to every day, martial arts training can offer a ray of light into a world that is in desperate need of saving.  We, as martial artists can be the bringers of that light.  Regardless of what martial art you study, embrace it fully; find the hidden treasures within it and within yourself.  Allow yourself to be transformed by your training.  Become the person that you know you can be and share that with your fellow human beings.  As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

 

Hello everyone!

Welcome to my first RevisedReality blog.  When I re-launched my website a few months ago, I considered the idea of including a blog, but was somewhat hesitant.  What would I say?  Would it make any difference?  Would anyone care?  These were some of my initial questions, and I have to admit blogging didn’t appeal that much to me.  As someone who consciously works to keep his life on a spiritual path, blogging often struck me as a purely ego driven behavior, a platform for the little self to yabber on and on to an imaginary audience in the hopes of feeling significant and special.  This is what I didn’t want to do.  The world is filled with an overabundance of mindless static fighting for our attention and I didn’t want to contribute to that onslaught.  If I was going to say something it had better be meaningful and serve the greater good.   It would have to make the world a better place in the process.

So after some reflection I accepted the challenge I had given myself and decided to share some of my thoughts and musings on the things that are important to me.  Things like meditation, martial arts, yoga, higher consciousness, changing the world, and exploring this whole adventure of what it means to be human will be my initial focus, but I may explore other topics depending on what inspires me at the time.  I can’t promise to completely avoid the “hot topics” of politics and religion, but if I do go there, I’ll do my best not to flame out or go all thermal from my imaginary soapbox.  Regardless, I’ll strive to make my posts well thought out and worth your time.  I work hard to be a positive and uplifting person so I’m going to avoid griping and airing mindless grievances, because we all have enough of that in our lives and I doubt you would want to come back here just to watch Mt. Vesuvius blow its top….AGAIN. So I’ll try to follow the wise words of a great teacher when he said,

Before you speak, think – is it necessary?  Is it true?  Is it kind?  Will it hurt anyone?  Will it improve on the silence?”

-Sri Sathya Sai Baba

I’ll also do my best to not pull a grammar or syntax foul.  I promise to proofread before I post and will err on the side of brevity when I can (some topics may need some thorough exploration, though).  But with that said, know that years of journal writing in college spawned a somewhat oddball and creative writing style, so don’t be surprised if what I write sounds like I just bumped my head…

Anyway, I hope you come back to check my semi-regular contemplations and I hope they help to make your world a little bit better and perhaps even a little inspired.  I welcome your comments on my posts knowing that it is only through considering other positions are we able to grow and evolve, which in my opinion, is what this whole ride is about.

Peace out & Namaste,

-Adam