What Martial Arts Is Really About…

I haven’t posted in a long time, but I wrote about this recently because it was both shocking…but also avoidable…

As a Martial Artist in several disciplines, I take my responsibilities very seriously – the aim of what we do is to NOT use the physical techniques that we learn. When a situation turns sour, there is no room for ego or bravado. (I’d like to hope that neither exist for any “true” Martial Artist).

Contrary to superficial belief, Martial Arts isn’t primarily about hands-on, physical skills. The more (and I’d argue most) important tools we are given / learn are: 1) AWARENESS, 2) COMMON SENSE, 3) SELF CONTROL. It is my responsibility to employ all of these at all times (keeping in mind we don’t need to be at red-level, ultra high awareness all the time). I owe it to myself, to my family and friends, and to anyone who might be in my vicinity.

A friend, fellow (and well accomplished) ninja, and instructor posted a jarring video yesterday. I won’t share here due to the graphic nature (full disclosure, I had nightmares as a result myself), but what happened is valuable to note…and worth sharing. A Maryland woman was causing a disturbance at a Taco Bell (ranting about the service). A bystander engaged with her by telling her to stop, perhaps thinking it might diffuse the situation (fully well-intentioned, coming to the defense of the employees). The woman left the restaurant, secured a knife, returned and inflicted a severe and horrifying wound on the man.

While we may have good intentions when we engage, we might also be asking for a whole host of trouble. There is a time and place, and it is not always an easy call whether to speak up…but to get involved with someone who is clearly upset (whether slightly so, to incensed), can be incredibly dangerous – both to you, and anyone around you. This could have been avoided – there were indicators. The woman was clearly enraged, and after addressing her, the bystander let his guard down. In a normal, sane world, one should be able to, right?

It’s not always a sane world…

Awareness allows us to constantly assess a situation, and to determine our level of safety. Common sense means we learn the art of biting our tongue and steering clear, even if well-meaning (and even if we feel upset as well). What consistently shocks me is that some individuals think they are impervious to violence and accidents (you aren’t), or that getting involved will necessarily make it better (honest, kind-human mistake we ALL make).

Martial Arts teaches us that staying safe can be as simple as knowing when to avoid a situation. That might even be 95% of it. Awareness allows us to determine what’s happening, and to take the action of avoidance when required. You never know who you are dealing with – an individual may be harmless…or entirely unstable and violent. Whether in person, on the road, on the phone…wherever…second guess your urge to get involved.

The physical components of Martial Arts should be a last resort…but using our brain (our most powerful weapon) should default to ON.

Awareness + common sense ===> safety.

 

MBTI (Myers Briggs) Types As Moods

This gave me a hearty laugh, at least for my own INFJ part…  Instagram is chock full of humorous memes!

The Last Day and The Best Ever

I believe in this sentiment almost more than any other.  I believe that life is beautiful, and also that it is a (rather precious) gift.  So too are those we love most – we have all known the pain of loss.

I’ve had my fair share of bad moods, but I’ve always tried to remember this principle, especially with those closest to me, and especially when things aren’t going right.  When I was young, my parents used to say it was important to adopt this attitude, and to do my best to move past an ill temperament, because you really never know… So when someone in my family was traveling, or moving, or heading off to school…it was important to part on a happy and loving note.  Always.

Because life can also be a challenge (understatement), it’s easy to forget how fleeting our time is.  I saw this wonderful post on Instagram this week and it reminded me of the above idea…as well as the importance of fixating more on our blessings (because, again, there are many), and we never know when fate will come to greet us, or those we love.

I can only hope to live until an old and grey age…and to maintain a happy, thankful attitude along the way.  I know that struggles will come, but I want to be the way the lovely Lydia is (at 112)!!!  That’s my honest goal – a peaceful, happy, grateful life, filled with the people I love most (who know I love them most)…  Here we are at the end of the first month of the year, no better time to revisit my goals and dreams!

The Sun And Moon

A lofty goal, indeed, but one the empathetic INFJ in me has always endeavored to attain for those in the deepest recesses of my heart. . .

Forever

The temporal confines of the human existence are but man-made constructs. . .

Depending on what is happening at any given moment in our lives, a single instant can feel as an eternity – both a gloriously utopian endlessness, or a perpetual hell.

Let not the prospect of enduring some abhorrent permanence frighten you, though… We DO have some choice in the matter.  (Certainly the White Rabbit would say we do)!

Regardless of our situation, or the fervid pursuit your deepest fears make upon your wavering mind…we have the choice to still ourselves and focus on the positives in our lives.  (And I’m willing to bet there is much to be thankful for).  When we take a moment to breathe…to recognize we are still able to breathe…we give our system a chance to value “time.”  We can tap into the present and either enjoy the pure bliss of it…or ground ourselves in the midst of fury, allowing our hearts, minds, and bodies to recognize “this too shall pass.”

I personally believe we are where we need to be, that life is ever presenting us with gifts in the form of lessons and experience.  And though some moments are tougher than others, we find a way not only to survive…but to be stronger as a result.

Sometimes a moment is but a second in the eyes of – or at the hands of – the great clock. . .  Sometimes a moment is so beautiful that we wish to capture and bottle it whole, to cherish for every new day we are given.  Others are so dark we try to hold our breath in a prayer that it will vanish as quickly as it came…

In either case, the “deep breath” and a positive thought can help us to attain either… The elongation of the beauty, or a swift, but manageable end to tribulation.  All in one split second.