Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Correct Path

My first contact with martial arts began with Taekwondo. At four years old my father had me and my two brothers go into a heavy regiment of training both kicks and punches that were geared for real combat situations. There were often days that we would practice over a thousand kicks just to make sure that the techniques were all done properly.

It was nothing like the Taekwondo that you would see in the olympics today, where falling down is a part of the strategy in order to avoid getting hit. We knew that while fighting against a group of opponents that falling down would surely be the end of you. We used low licks, takedowns, footwork and an arsenal of hand techniques to do whatever was necessary to keep our attackers at bay.

We never kept track with the amount of fights we had gotten involved in, but as a family it is safe to say  before leaving Ohio our total was in the hundreds. It seemed that when we beat one bully, two would take its place. Through every grade they became bigger stronger and more determined to put the black boys in place.

Weight eventually became a factor and the three of us encountered the very same situation on different days.

My brother Eddie, the oldest, was in a fight where the opponent had grabbed his leg and slung him to the ground. When he hit the ground he held on to the heavier boy and was able to out wrestle him and achieve victory choking him out.

My brother Aaron, the second oldest, had the same exact situation occur. When he was thrown to the ground he quickly stood back to his feet and switched to hand attacks which overwhelmed his heavier attacker, knocking him out.

When I was met with the same encounter and thrown to the ground, I decided the problem wasn't my kick, but my attack was too direct. I then through a feint kick causing him to reach and when he did I snapped my leg right into his face knocking him out.

All of us had began with the same routine of training. All of us ended up dealing with the same situation. Each of us chose a different path that would change our art forever.

My oldest brother, Eddie, now teaches Hapkido, which focuses fully on grappling and manipulation of the wrist, limbs and head.

Aaron now teaches Wing Chun (Yong Chun) which is completely focused on the hands and controlling the center.

I as you know, teach Bagua, which is the art of change and misdirection.

It's easy to see that it is not the encounter with the problem that made us change the way we fought our thought, but revealed the truth of what we always felt. Even as we practiced Taekwondo together none of us used the same movements the same way. This is evidence that no matter what we decide to learn, it is only a medium to help us discover what God already knows of us. Each day and activity that we involve ourselves in is another opportunity to see how we think. By understanding the source of our thought process and interests, we find our power. A unique power that I can only explain as a mutant power.

I then began to follow the thoughts of Bruce Lee meaning the more styles I touch against the more I can learn and that I should shed the leftover material so that I can better understand myself. By the time I was 20 I had practiced 13 different martial arts styles. Though I had become more effective than ever, I felt that I was somehow deteriorating from my true strength. It was as if I was trying to grow many fruits with out a root of my own.

After learning Bagua I found the reasoning of my weakening, and the truth of my own source of energy. The more I learned about Bagua, the more I dissected each movement and harnessed the nature of its movements within myself. Every time I dissect a movement, I found more to train and understand.  For me my training feels as if I am splitting atoms of information that continually deliver explosive new concepts into my mind.

Bruce Lee was the exact opposite in the sense that he became more powerful by bumping into more ideas from other styles that helped him complete his growth.

Not comparing myself to Bruce in aspects of skills, but only in learning methods. It is the same difference between nuclear fusion vs. nuclear fission. As much as I admire Bruce for everything he has done. If I would have continued on his pathway, I never would have grasped an understanding of myself or my art.

It is important for us all to know our art, but there is nothing more important than knowing ourself. This means that whatever we are involved in we must be able to distinguish ourselves from the situation. If you become your work, you will never be good at your work. What's more you will never have joy in your life because you are continually starving yourself from yourself. We can not have any form of self satisfaction until we have first found self.

This of course is where a lot of people go into mediation, isolation or whatever -tion helps them to achieve a sense of "self". Yet you must not forget the most important ingredient of self. The one who loves you more than you could ever love yourself. God.

Have you ever loved something so much that you made it exist? Of course not. This is why it is impossible for you to ever truly love yourself. Through knowing you were created from this love we realize that our desires within are not of our own. You want to learn martial arts because God wants you to learn martial arts. He speaks to you through your desires and you must be confident as you take into every good curiosity in your heart.

I got lots of questions from people who are looking for there path. Although I love answering questions from anyone who contacts me. No one can tell you better than the man himself. Close your eyes and ask him.


Shane Emerson said...

I hope you post on your trip!!

Jason said...

Very well said.