Afraid Of The Dark

Once upon a time, in the wee stages of life, the darkness felt too vast and terrifying to bear – my heart would shudder at the thought and I needed some external source to light the way.

And yet, as I grew older, I began to realize there was nothing within the inky blackness that had the power to hold sway over me.  For indeed there was a light inside of me that shone brighter than the sun and moon…and it is a light that does not extinguish, no matter what night…neither life…has to say.

Know Your Worth

I was taught this lesson many, many moons ago…but I failed to actually learn it until much later. I suppose, though, it doesn’t really matter how long it takes to learn…just that we are willing to do so, and that we move in that direction consistently. 

Any day can be the day we break a cycle or release what no longer serves us – but it is ultimately up to us. This is a powerful bit of wisdom that takes not only a willingness to learn it, but immense courage to take those steps. When we trust ourselves, and that life always finds a way to work out for the better, we can more easily take the leap. It is one that – in the end – is well worth the bravery.

Know your value, recognize your contribution, raise your head high, and claim the life you deserve. We are not bound to any limitations but those our minds contrive.

 

A Good General

There is so much wisdom within this quotation… It captures the true essence of leadership, no matter in the circumstance of war time, nor the context of a battle troop. This is the kind of attitude that transcends space and time.

7 – 5 – 3 Code – For Life, Relationships, and Martial Arts

The 7-5-3 code is essentially an amalgamation of ancient principles, heavily influenced (and beginning with) the heroic, notoriously stringent way of life – or Bushido – of the Samurai.  The moral codes and principles by which these fierce warriors lived continues to guide many modern-day Martial Artists, whether taken as the 7-5-3, or in segments.  The values within, however, can apply to all people in all walks of life – they are scarcely relegated to the Arts and I daresay the world would be a better place would that we all followed suit. . . 

The 7-5-3 Code as a sum total purportedly originates with the Valente Brothers, three generations (same family) of Jiu-Jitsu practitioners who have learned from Grand Master Helio Gracie directly.  Though I am a practitioner of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu myself, I confess that I’d not heard much about the family prior.  That said, each of these points are ones which have been at the core of the five Martial Arts I have practiced (Hapkido, Taekwondo, Ninpo, Japanese Ju-Jutsu, Brazilian JiuJitsu (some Kumdo in addition)) in one way or another – they provide the framework and foundation not only for us as Martial Artists, but again as human beings.

7 Virtues Of a Warrior

  • Rectitude
  • Courage
  • Benevolence
  • Politeness / Propriety 
  • Honesty / Sincerity
  • Loyalty

These seven virtues relate to the way in which we interact with one another, on the mats, or off, whether with training partners, strangers, coworkers, husbands, wives… For the Samurai, there was an intense focus on how one conducts oneself, the values to which one would ferociously adhere, and the overarching respect and appreciate of life in all circumstances, with all people.  The maintenance of moral integrity was at the heart of the code, strengthened further by honest, and loyal conduct.  The Samurai were infamous for their fearlessness, and though known for their strength in battle, they asserted a level of compassion and kindness towards fellow man.

5 Keys To Health

  • Rational Nutrition
  • Sensible Exercise
  • Efficient Rest
  • Proper Hygiene
  • Positive Attitude

The five keys to health are incredibly important for everyone, particularly the modern-day Martial Arts practitioner or athlete. Without the proper fuel, our bodies will not function at their best.  Without rest, and a positive attitude irregardless of the circumstances, we cannot meet the challenges with our full capabilities.  Hygiene is an incredibly important point not only for our own health, but out of respect for our fellow training partners.  And sensible exercise requires that we push ourselves in a healthy way, knowing our limits, respecting our bodies, and backing off when necessary (often much harder said than achieved when dealing with athletic minds!)

3 States Of Mind

  • Zanshin – Awareness, Alertness, Preparedness
  • Mushin – No or Clear Mind
  • Fudoshin – Emotional Balance

The three states of mind are the principles by which to guide our personal, inner relationship.  These states not only preside over our physical bodies, but are at the core of the Arts which we practice – in some cases they feel like elusive, impossible concepts, but they are the endpoints to which we strive.  In fact one of them was at the heart of Hatsumi Sensei’s Ninpo theme this year!

Zanshin requires that we are always alert enough to accurately assess our surroundings, relying heavily on our muscle memories – this is where the hard training, and meticulous repetition comes into play. Mushin, a key theme among the Ninja for 2017, is, in essence, the ability to clear the mind of all techniques, to flow with the opponent’s movement, and to create.  Fudoshin is the emotional balance which we all endeavor to reach – with the turbulence of life, this balance fluctuates, tipping the scales to one end of the spectrum, and perhaps back to the other.  It takes hard work and self-reflection to achieve this balance, but the goal is ever-present.

Taking It Together

These 15 principles are – for all intents and purpose – ancient ones.  They are neither novel, nor particularly difficult to understand.  But to achieve these 15 singularly, or particularly in harmony, is a skill in and of itself – the pursuit of these virtues is a noble one, and gives a structure to Martial Arts practices, but also to life.  These are the foundations on which we can build our relationships with ourselves and others, on which we can build our strength of body and mind, and the principles that govern our mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being.  

The Seven Virtues Of Bushido

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Take What You Need

I’ve shared these time and time again, but am tempted to print them and post them around just because…

screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-7-41-01-am

Some days a tiny, random nudge of encouragement can make h u g e difference.

Share the goodness.

“This Armless Woman Can Literally Kick Your Ass” by Sophia Rosenbaum

My heart is brimming over with emotion seeing this story

http://nypost.com and Barcroft photo

http://nypost.com and Barcroft photo

Jessica Cox has accomplished feats too challenging for those withOUT physical disabilities, never mind those that she has had since her birth.  She is – for lack of a stronger word – and absolute inspiration, facing her own fears (of which there are few) with a can-demolish kind of attitude.

http://nypost.com and Barcroft photo

http://nypost.com and Barcroft photo

It never ceases to amaze me that those in my Life (or those I have read about)  with the greatest “disabilities” – a word they generally do NOT use, by the way – manage the brightest smiles, the bravest attitudes, and the most positive outlooks.  I feel honored just to hear about what she has done in the face of an adversity that seems insurmountable.

Amazing, Jessica.  ❤

 

 

Be…

Wavering in truth not only gives reason for others to distrust you, but a shadow of doubt within your own mind – one falsehood is one too many.  Maintaining honesty in all your endeavors is to live with integrity.  

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-1-31-39-pm

Air on the side of kindness.  Because we cannot know another person’s battles – even when it feels hard to do – take a deep breath, and find some compassion.  Even a little will do.  If that is not available, let go completely – better to move on than to allow someone to bring you down.  Life is challenging enough than to allow a small thing to derail your happiness and peace of mind…for any amount of time.

Be courageous, because no-thing is impossible.  There will be whisperings of discouragement, but forge ahead, and follow your passion – for in so doing, you follow your truth.  You can achieve anything you set your mind to.  ANYthing.