Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Don't Be Held Back

This is a topic that is a little harder for me to express because the nature of martial arts and life is patience. To grow stronger we must first go through the process of enduring discomfort for a period of time. The longer the time period, the more fruit that can be harvested in the end. Even if we want to become more patient, we must first be tested by situations that will test our patience. Therefore if things are going good for you, it is much harder to develop character. The unfortunate sayings, " No pain no gain," or "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," are just as true today as they were years ago.

On the other hand there is a time when you are no longer enduring and you are only tolerating. Therefore you are wasting time without the benefit of developing character. In fact you can begin hindering your character development with feelings of frustration and disappointment.

A friend of mine has been training with a "kung fu master" for the past 3 years. He has been very diligent in his training and really works hard to better his technique. The only problem is that the master has only given him a few techniques to learn over such a long period of time. Of course in the martial arts world this is common for all beginners. But every master knows that you teach the student at the pace he is able to handle. If he is lazy, no need to teach him much. But if he is true to the technique, then bless him with knowledge. This master gave him the same techniques for 3 years without ever giving him the explanations needed to understand the meaning behind it all. Mindless techniques practiced in repetition without purpose for years on end.

Not everyone can be trusted to be your master. Just as not everyone can be trusted to be your employer, or spouse. We must remain humble so that we may find the answers that we are in search of, but we must always respect ourselves enough to know when we are being taken advantage of. At that moment we have to draw a line in the sand and move to a surrounding that we truly can develop. Just as my friend waited patiently for a long time for more techniques we can find ourselves hoping for our situation to change. Sometimes even if we know we are on a path that leads nowhere, we persuade ourselves into believing that we are still moving. Just like laying on your back in the grass and watching the clouds go by. You may feel like your moving, but the world is just moving around you.

If you have fear to leave a situation that you know is not right for you because your afraid of losing.....whatever. If you make any decision based on fear it is the wrong decision. Just because this guy is your master, boss, best friend etc. It doesn't mean that he is more special than you. It doesn't mean that his purpose is more important than yours. We all must play our role to the fullest. Never let anyone make your path harder than it already is.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Make time

Often times I meet people who say, " I want to learn martial arts but I don't have time." I think its funny what we say we have time for and what we don't have time for. If you sleep for 8 hours a day and live to be 75 years old, you have spent 25 years sleeping. I imagine that the majority of us who work 9 to 5 spend another 25 years at work alone. Which means in 75 years of life you have only had 25 of those years to do something for yourself. If you are lucky you will live to see 75 springs. How much of this time goes by being wasted making excuses. I am not saying that everyone has to do martial arts. Martial arts is my path, it's what helps me refine and develop. At the highest level of any expression we can find our worth. In China once a person reaches a certain level of achievement people refer to them as master. It doesn't matter if they started as a martial artist, a teacher, or a cook. The end title is master.

Every path that you may choose to be successful in will be hard. You will go through great frustration, pain and hardship in ALL walks of life. The most important question is, "Do you like the direction you are going in?" Are you doing a quest that is something that lets you enjoy your journey. Even if you practice martial arts and your goal is to become great, but you don't enjoy the process of training, you are on the wrong path. We are bound by time and forced to plan our day to day activities. Save money for this, get my degree for this, etc. But in the process of reaching for these "worldly" possessions, we must have something of our own. The gift of self development can help us reach a real understanding of our purpose.

Try not to use "stuff" as a way to gauge your progress. Its the same as someone feeling that they need to have a black belt in order to be good at martial arts. The only thing that is real is your own effort. Just imagine if all the stuff that you "needed" to survive just disappeared. No house, no clothes, no money. Many people in these circumstances actually find peace of mind without the distractions of finance. Yesterday and tomorrow don't exist. There is only now. Right now you make the decision of what you want to do and who you want to be. If you want to learn to learn martial arts, get out of the chair, go outside and do it......Now.