Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Improve or Else...

Trying to master a technique is a journey that continues to reveal a deeper purpose for those with the will to continue their exploration of the arts. What begins as learning how to strike, quickly transforms into learning how to think. We are scientists of combat, researching for betters ways to avoid and deal damage. Although there are thousands of reasons to pursue the arts and all of the objectives may wear different skins, the goal is quite simple: progress.

Through analyzing a punch or a kick you have to utilize all of your senses. First we are focused on how it looks, then how it feels, but even how it sounds will come into play quite often. Personally I've found that every time I've practiced a technique ten thousand times, it changes in nature. Something new emerges and old flaws are revealed, humbling me while inspiring me to stay focused with hopes of eventually obtaining some sense of martial satisfaction.

For those who are clever enough to crack the code of martial arts, we realize that it's an eternal tool to teach us how to reach for perfection in all parts of our lives. What starts as a blog grows into a book and then a song. What begins as a song grows into a painting and then a blueprint. Within the study of each skill we are forced to learn more skills to continue our journey and after each challenge we are only presented with another greater challenge. In short, all of our hard work is rewarded with the chance to do more hard work.

Initially our motivation may stem from superficial ideas, just as I used to tell myself that after I learn Chinese I will be able to make more money. I also used to convince myself that if I kept rapping maybe one day I would be "discovered." Even though I have leaned close to 10,000 Chinese characters and have done over 300 musical performances, I am honestly no better off in terms of the physical world. Every one of the goals in my life have been awarded with more goals. Each project takes more skill and I am forever improving in areas that the world will never know about or appreciate. After 10,000 hours in multiple crafts, externally not much has changed. The question for many people who are on the path of improvement is WHY.

Even the people who have been awarded great fame, eventually are betrayed by the audience that once loved them. Or worse they become isolated in their world and surrounded by strangers who never see who they are. Money attracts great distractions that would only attempt to pull you away from your path of improvement into a life of self admiration, separating you from the struggle that makes you truly human. Everything you can buy will become something that you eventually tire of and any place you go, will soon be a distant memory. Any accomplishment, no matter how great, will  be forgotten by the following generations.

Knowing that all of the objectives are rewarded with temporary forms of joy and that each challenge is rewarded with a greater challenge, it is easy to become discouraged or unmotivated. While dealing with each challenge you will be met with painful personal issues of injury, betrayal, isolation, loss and more. Anyone who continues to improve in any form will eventually find themselves alone because improvement is not the nature of the world. The ones who choose to get better will never be truly understood.

Among all of my quests and life chores, I find it most important to help those with like minds and people who have yet to find their purpose. The question I hear from kung fu brothers, students, bloggers and friends is always Why do you do it? or How do you keep going?

First, I would say to anyone who finds themselves in a rut in terms of self development is that life is hard no matter which path you choose. Many of us are disillusioned into believing that somehow following your path is going to be more difficult than doing nothing. You still have to pay bills, deal with hard relationships and get yelled at by  your boss for things you didn't do. But when you are on your path, you are aware that the issues that you are faced with are not who you are. A kung fu master who is also a janitor, is still a kung fu master in his heart. The janitor that gave up on his dreams, is not a janitor, but a quitter in his heart.

Our personal reality in most cases is not entirely related to truth. We all hold certain ideas of people even if we've met them for the first time. We believe we have understandings of things that we've never personally experienced. How many people hold strong opinions about what we know about the moon? The only thing that is actually real to us is our own personal experience. Who we are and how we see ourselves will be based on how we spend our time. A man who has written 20 novels has been on more adventures than most people, even if not a single person buys his books. So you must follow and finish your ideas, for a sense of self-respect.

Next I would mention that if you are not moving forward, you are moving backward. One of the easiest things to take for granted is that life is always changing. Every tree, rock and mountain are on their way somewhere. Nothing is ever still and even as you read these words, the world continues to rotate and revolve. By not accepting the challenges presented to you, you have chosen to accelerate your own decay. If you don't exercise you will get weaker, if you don't challenge your mind, you will become less intelligent. No matter what you do, death will eventually have its way with you, but why surrender before completing your mission?

Lastly and most importantly, you must know that you were designed for your dreams. The dream in your heart is God's promise that it's already been given to you. Much like watching a movie on a DVD. You may only be in the middle of the movie, but the DVD is already completed. You merely need to continue watching in order to discover the ending. Yet if you choose to stop watching the movie, then for you the film has already ended. Not because your story was a sad one, but because you did not have the faith needed to reach the good part. Every difficulty, no matter how tragic, is only an obstacle to gain strength and momentum.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

There are somethings that will always be on your mind and what you decide to do will bring you closer or further from that reality. Because you can never stop thinking of these ideas, you are forced nourish them into fruition or attempt to quiet them and drown them in distractions, which will only leave you more confused about your purpose. Undoubtedly avoidance of your purpose is the avoidance of self and a pathway of subtle insanities.  

You can not choose to want or not want the things in your heart no more than you can choose what type of food you like or music you like to listen to. By accepting your mission and developing the necessary skills needed for your quest, you are not only improving yourself, but raising society as a whole. The world is now moving into a direction of aimless ideas and spiritual retardation, which promises chaos and destruction. If you haven't done your best to improve the quality of your being, you are partially to blame. 

You must always do everything good thing  that you are capable of. The more skills you learn, the more your life will be enriched and you will be able to solve problems that people haven't even begun to understand. Each time you reach a new objective, you unlock a secret within yourself that is directly connected to the  evolution of the universe. The truth is It will be difficult and there will be times that you won't have the strength to stand. Feel free to cry, scream and yell, but then stand up and keep going. Then you will be able to teach us how you did it. Your self improvement is a service to the world, not just a good idea.

I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me". Philippians 4:13.

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