Friday, August 24, 2012

The Whole World?

I was sitting at starbucks catching up on some of the latest kung fu novels that I love so much when a few MMA guys sat in the seat right behind me. They had just finished a recent fight and were trading war stories about the different events that took place during their fight.

"I think my eardrum is busted." One of them said while looking at the other three.

"Stop complaining, you only think your eardrum is busted, I KNOW my ribs are broke." The other one said while they all snickered.

They listed off different personal injuries and even made mention of some other fighters who weren't there that happened to be knocked out or beaten to a pulp. I listened and I felt bad for them as I turned and asked, "How long do you guys plan on doing martial arts?"

"Oh it is just a young man's sport." One of them said. "The longest anyone can survive is about 10 years." One of the stronger men responded as the starbucks waitress brought him a bag of ice for his elbow.

I felt propelled to look up some of the stats of other fighters who people titled as the best martial artists in the world. Normally a statement like that might make me feel a little upset or irritated, but now I found myself only filled with sorrow and sadness. These people participate in martial arts for ten years and then they retire? That's not even enough time to get good. The worst part is they don't only retire from the sport, looking at the list of injuries they are retiring from exercise all together. They leave the sport much worse than as they came in. The art of destroying yourself.

But continually you will hear them claim that some new young fighter is the best in the world even though he has only trained for 3 years. He will only last until his injuries add up and then he will be retired as well. Even the champions walk around with limps and bad hips. Can you even win?

I usually do my best to understand the different paths that we all choose to take in our life, especially in regards to martial arts, but I have to draw the line somewhere and just say it. "This is not a martial art."

I know there are many different forms and styles of arts through out the history of time. I even count boxing and wrestling as a martial art. Yet the goal of martial arts in my mind is to teach the individual to protect themselves from danger. If you can not protect yourself from danger, then you are not a good martial artist. Well this sport does the opposite as it puts itself in the pathway of danger and sees how long it can withstand the turbulence. This is what you can call an extreme sport, just as skateboarding or  skydiving. But the people who sat at the table behind me were left completely unprotected. Both mentally and physically they had sustained enough damage that they would never function properly again. All of this for a few cheers and a couple bucks. What a waste of potential warriors who could change the world in a far greater manner than just entertainment.

What if someone had learned the piano for 3 years and claimed that he was one of the best in the world? How would people respond to the idea?

Granted I am a slow learner but after 3 years I was only learning the basics of how to defend myself. After 10 years I was getting a hang of mental manipulation and strategy. After 15 years I  finally discovered the art that I wanted, and began to learn its language. After 20 years I began learning about the true source of power and on and on....

After 30 years I feel that I am only a beginner and wouldn't dare say I am the best in the world at anything within my art. I am just glad that I am still able to learn and practice daily. To even suggest that you are the best in the world at anything truly exposes your ignorance that you have no idea how big this world is.

This is natural because everyone naturally believes that the world is actually as big as their country...or even there neighborhood in some cases. While in Taiwan they continually show all of the music stars of the local people and every billboard, poster and TV show exposes you to more of the Taiwanese pop celebrities. You can go into a video store and they have never heard of many of the celebraties in America or the Western  world. Their world is only as big as their TV screen just like the rest of us. In Hong Kong I see only the Hong Kong stars and so on. But every station in every country is offering the contest to see who is the best in the world.

It's not that these people aren't good, talented or even skilled at what they do. It is the ignorance that surrounds the entertainment that is a problem. By saying these MMA fighters are the best martial artist in the world you have given Americans a false education about martial arts. You have stripped children away from learning real self-defense and discipline and created the idea that fighting for a crowd's approval is somehow the highest form of martial arts. In actuality if you need the approval of others then you are still at the lowest levels of your art.

I have many students that are involved in competitive sports martial arts so I am not saying that it there is no value in it. Just as middle school is valuable for people to get into high school competitive sports can help you better understand where you are going. But if you think that you can stay in middle school for your whole truly have mental issues. Graduate and move on to a higher level where the problems are not so simple and people are no longer choosing your battles for you. More importantly fight someone that matters, not someone choses for you. When I was younger and I had my fights with the KKK or skinheads it was a much different sensation than an MMA competition. Someone who is trying to take your life and hopes no one will witness it is much scarier than fighting with someone for the amusement of others. That is when you will really be tapping into your ability. It doesn't matter how many opponents you beat with gloves, if you can't beat the true demons that live in our area and within ourself. But if you win that kind of fight you are making our world a better place. If you are injured fighting a child molester then it is a badge of honor. If you only know how to fight for trophies, then you have never actually used your martial arts.

A great warrior must know how to think in addition to fight. Stop letting others think for you. Decide yourself what your abilities are for, that's the first step to true kung fu.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Alley Cat

Recently I have been busy with many personal activities such as traveling and my wedding. I have learned that the most important kung fu is to enjoy every part of your life, for it is the way we say thanks to the lord for the daily gifts. I get excited for the tiniest details because I know in the long run they fit perfectly in to God's masterpiece. When something spectacular happens in my life, I am actually calm and at ease because I know there is nothing that my father is unable to do. 

In the process of inhaling the daily joys that surround me I make sure to continue training daily. I never take a vacation from training because my training is a vacation within its self. Especially because I believe that every time you train in an new area you absorb the energy from that particular environment. This means that you should try to train in as many different places as possible to see more options of both yourself and your style.

The other day I was practicing Xing Yi on a balcony, I looked across to see an alley cat making his way to the roof leaping from one air conditioner to the other. He was already four stories high and one fall would be certain death to every single one of his nine lives. There was a great distance between each leap and plenty of room for error. Yet the cat would stare at the air conditioner he needed to reach intently for a moment and suddenly he sprung forcefully to the next air conditioner. It was like watching a circus act as I gazed and tried to understand the secret of his amazing kung fu. 

I watched him as I held my stance and as my legs began to quiver in discomfort, the answer began to rattle around in my brain. Even though the cat barely made some of the jumps and was only an inch away from dying at times, he never looked down. He didn't even look down to adjust his feet to make sure he had room for the next jump. He watched his target so intently that it was as if the ground didn't even exist. When he reached the roof top he almost smiled at me as he stretched out to enjoy the sun. 

I have already discussed in a previous blog how to become one with your technique. You must not be thinking about the technique you are going to throw or the technique that you have thrown. The only thing that exists is the single attack or defense that you are doing. But in regards of balance and life it becomes important to not only become one with the technique, but also to never look down.

Before I came to Taiwan I had to make a similar leap. I only had a little over a hundred dollars in my pocket and I didn't know anyone. Yet I was intent on understanding the feeling that God had put in my heart and I continued to focus on how wonderful things would be once I arrived. I had just found a job at the bank in Seattle and many people thought I was foolish to leave a good job for a dream that I was uncertain of any of the details. 'What if you get lost?" "What if you get hurt?" Everyone asked me all of the questions that would cause me to look down and see how high the risks were. Yet in my heart I needed to see what it was that God was calling me to do. Leaping into Asia is easily the best decision of my life. If I hadn't jumped, I wouldn't even be me. I would be the brother at the bank who speaks Chinese. Or maybe even the brother at the bank who used to speak Chinese.

Even the alley cat's natural instincts are smarter than most human beings. The truth is that many people fall down all the time and get hurt or even killed. The reason being that they were looking down before they attempted to jump. Where you are looking with your eyes, is where your balance is. Therefore if your mind is on the fall before you jump, you will more than likely fall. Sadly enough our entire life is an accumulation of everyone telling you what to do in case you fall. Making you focus on all of the details of what will happen when you hit the ground. The result of course is a world and an economy that is left in shambles.

A man goes to work in the morning. Eats breakfast, lunch and dinner and then goes to bed. Has he had a bad day? He had three square meals, interacted with the world and rested well. But if this man first watches the news or whatever source of media information before he goes to work his day is heavily influenced.

Before he goes to work he is informed of the crime and murder rate that is continually rising. Therefore as he gets in his car he is paranoid and locks himself in as he peers over his shoulder at all the possible danger. He is told that the economy is crashing and works nervously. He is worried about who will be the next president because it will decide the outcome of his life. He is upset that his favorite basketball team lost the game. He is ashamed because overweight. His wife tells him to man-up so he continually goes through this miserable cycle of working, eating and sleeping.

Now it seems like he is having a bad day doesn't it? But how much of what has happened in his day has actually happened to him? I know people who have lived safe lives for the past 30 years, but continually discuss the problems of famine, war, loss and failure as if it is their daily routine. How could you ever enjoy your life if you were always digesting such negative energy? Even if nothing bad ever happens, people still discuss the bad more than the good. Locked inside an invisible evil world that doesn't even exist when you go outside. 

A wise man once said, "I think, therefore I am." This means that if someone controls what you think, you are there slave. This relates to another important leap that I made in my life which was finding my wife. Has anyone ever told you that you are not man/woman enough?  Or even that you need to grow up and be realistic? 

Many of my ex's would tell me about the things they didn't like about my person. How I needed to take jobs that I didn't like more seriously or dress more "sophisticated" in order to be successful. What determines if someone is successful? What determines if someone is sophisticated? When I heard these words I realized that I was in the wrong relationship. I wasn't going to stop liking who I was because society had yet to identify my role. "That's not the way people do things!" I heard countless times through out my life. My response was always, "That's ridiculous. I'm a person and this is how I do it. Am I not human because I have my own method?" 

My wife on the other hand understands who I am and doesn't confuse it with the images of people on TV or in the books. Because of this she enhances the being of who I wish to become instead of hindering it. It is the first time in my life that I have actually have felt true support. Many people have tried to help me before but, it's not really help if they're helping you become someone else. 

 If we are the accumulation of our own thoughts then our society or "reality" is the collection of the thoughts of the masses. In short, when you are trying to fit in, you are imitating the ideas of everyone's imagination. If you have enough paper you should buy gucci because gucci is sophisticated. The best way to steal riches is to convince people they don't have any. 

From a marital stand point, if two people are both learning Wing Chun and they fight the same, one of them is doing it wrong! Just as a tree, we should not try to imitate the trees along side us because our root seeks nurishment in other areas. We should also search for sunlight away from others so that we may have room to grow and add to the depth of the entire forest. 

Even the economy is based off a bunch of numbers that are in computers. America has not lost any gold since the time of its being established. Therefore the idea that we have more or less than before is based off the imagination of the world media. Don't you think it's interesting that they want you to imagine yourself weakening? I have had arguments or misunderstandings with my friends or family in the past that had really got my blood boiling. I spent the whole day upset while I planned my strategy for the next encounter we would have. I sat there at lunch thinking" I'm going to say this....and then I am gonna bring this up...." 10 hours later when I saw them again we actually just said sorry and returned to normal. The end result was actually good yet I spent 10 extra hours upset about something that ended well. How is worry or concern about anything that hasn't happened productive? How is looking down going to help you with jumping up? 

It is vital for you to make the leaps that are important in your life without always debating the consequences of falling. If you do believe in God, then you should also believe that he wants you to be happier than you can imagine. The idea of falling is from a completely different source. It is also a priority to know the difference between yourself and society. This is difficult because the brainwashing of what is success begins when you are in grade school.

Do you remember the time you thought a girl was pretty and your friends made fun of you for it? From that moment you slowly stopped liking the things that were intended for you, and began reaching for the ideas of the masses. Do you think it is a coincidence that it is fashionable to degrade the self-esteem of women? Or that women are now telling men to man-up? These are only distractions that are trying to make you doubt yourself before you make the important jumps of your life. Let me be the first to tell you that you will not fall. You are going to get everything that your heart has desired because you are already designed for it. Just as God has designed the cat to climb walls he has designed you to make it to your goals. Not even your family can understand what you are trying to leap for so don't let anyone divert you from your target. Have faith, don't look down and jump!