Why is this?!
In Martial Arts we say we hope we never have to use what we learn – the idea isn’t about trying to prove something, nor to assert any kind of feigned dominance.
Along those lines, we are taught that ideas like “revenge” and “anger” serve only as injurious deviations from our true paths. The Universe finds a way to right things without the heavier, shall we say, karmic repercussions of going down that road.
To seek revenge or harbor ill will is, as Buddha says, holding the proverbial hot coals and assuming both that they will burn another…and also that we are impervious.
The truth is the reverse – to seek such things is to diminish our own self-worth. It is a disservice to ourselves as willfully negative actions and thoughts hinder the flow of “good” that has the potential to continually manifest in our lives. It is far wiser to let go of resentment, and to be as the Martial Artist aspires to be – free of the burdens that come with animosity and bad blood.
It isn’t always an easy pursuit, but it is a noble one and worth the aspiration. Neither human being nor circumstance has the right to turn us from the higher road.
I often see new skincare crop up overseas before it comes to the States, which means that I at least get enough time to read reviews and see if it’s worth tracking down (before our stores decide to give us the option!)
As a Martial Artist and athlete – not to mention, a fair-skinned woman who is as subject to time and the elements as we all are – skincare is a big deal. I’m pretty religious – and devoted – to my regimen and products, but I’m ever curious, as the skincare world is rapidly innovating (particularly with more and more exposure to other cultures and markets. I have a plethora of posts (and there are more!) about Asian skincare, a personal favorite topic.)
Anyway, the Garnier Skinactive Honey Flower range appears to be in the UK presently – you can check it out here on superdrug.com and a variety of other UK web retailers. I learned about the newbies via Reallyree.com, where you can also read what the products are like.
Why bother with this new collection? (Always the question I ask myself because I have a TON of products already. I am, essentially, my own store – but, ladies, the investment IS worth it. Trust me.) Per superdrug.com’s description:
Garnier’s first toner made of 96% ingredients of natural origin, enriched with Honey Flower, known for its nourishing properties.
These products, therefore, are designed to be gentle with your skin, and less filled with things you can’t pronounce – both are big pluses. They are also specifically helpful to dry or very dry skin – come the colder months, that might be really important for most of us!
That said, if you already use such products, and find that they work nicely for you, I don’t know whether these are totally necessary. But again, they’re out online at least, which means you can also snoop through the reviews and see if they make sense for you. More and more companies are going the more-natural-less-harsh route so you certainly have a fair share of options.
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
- Politeness / Propriety
- Honesty / Sincerity
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.
Duke Cannon Supply Co Bloody Knuckles Hand Repair Balm is probably the first hand repair balm I’ve ever seen developed for Martial Artists (or fighters, hands-on hard workers, and “world champions” at least.)
We often joke about the white marks we leave on heavy bags…because basically that “white” is our skin! While we aren’t making ourselves bleed (it happens from time to time, but this isn’t Blood Sport!) our hands do get very dry…as do our feet.
In Martial Arts, we are often in close quarters – for me that means we all need to be even more conscientious. Hygiene *should* (let’s hope) be a top priority anyway, but at the Dojo, it is especially so. Lanolin is one of those ingredients known to be ultra moisturizing, even in the tough cases – I wouldn’t use all forms of it on my face, necessarily, but for hands, elbows and feet, it’s brilliant.
Per Ulta (including the jab at Bag Balm):
Dry, cracked hands are like living testaments to a man’s hard work and ingenuity. And while hard-working hands are to be celebrated, let’s be honest; dry, cracked hands feel awful. That’s why Duke Cannon introduced Bloody Knuckles Hand Repair Balm. Made with lanolin, it provides much-needed moisture without leaving the hands feeling sticky or greasy (like that stuff in the green jar.)
At 5 oz., this is a hearty serving that will last a good long time. Formulated to repair the hands of workers, fighter, and world champions.
Training the way you want to fight isn’t always so easy. . .but in a way, isn’t that supposed to be the point? That we train in order to potentially defend ourselves?
The tough reality is that what your muscles remember under duress – which is going to be what you have painstakingly programmed them to do in class, lessons, practice – is what matters. If you train to hand the gun back to the perpetrator – even with mindfulness and the knowledge that you *shouldn’t* – it may happen in real life. Terrifying it may be, I’ve actually heard of cases in which just that has occurred… Scary.
The other day in class, our Sensei decided to do a drill combining old school (as in centuries-old Ninpo) traditional movements with a modern-day scenario and vibe. We had to disable our opponent with a distraction or strike, get away (using those traditional techniques), get to and behind cover, and then “draw” our weapon. The drill was one of the most fun I think I’ve ever done…but I was also so incredibly excited to have another opportunity to flesh out a possible, modern situation. No matter how old movements, or kata, or patterns may be, there are gems within them that can be adapted for, and applied to the times.
I don’t carry, for one thing…so I’m not likely to have a firearm at the ready. But the idea was what was most important here, and learning to do all of those things – without the stress – was hugely valuable. What makes it stick? Repetition! Memory needs to be formed so that when we ARE stressed, we can still perform those functions. Just one day of that particular drill isn’t necessarily going to help me out if something really goes down. But…the principles and techniques ARE ones we use every day…
We learn to strike, distract, disable…that’s number 1.
We learn how to efficiently get away, and to not injure our bodies (or injure as little as possible!) as we attempt to do so.
We learn to asses for cover and get behind it if that’s what the situation requires (versus getting away.)
In practicing those things, our muscles learn on such a level that we work on “autopilot” after a point. And that’s what you want!
The difficulty in this particular environment is that we don’t have real firearms, and we aren’t truly hurting our “attacker.” On a range, in a special type of training, an individual who DOES carry can certainly practice his or her ability to draw, aim, shoot, and make the weapon safe – frankly I think anyone in a job in which carrying a pistol is required SHOULD be doing that anyway!
For us at the dojo, we are working on handling whatever is coming at us as quickly and smartly as possible – but again, there are some strikes we simply cannot do. In Ninpo, strikes can be highly unorthodox and nasty – breaking fingers, ripping ears, gouging eyes…it goes on. It’s tough knowing we aren’t going 100% in this case, but we can’t exactly… So we have to keep in mind that in real life, were our safety on the line, we can’t play the but-he’s-a-nice-“uke” (opponent / attacker) game. It’s a challenge, honestly – how do we bridge the gap, then? I’m not sure you really CAN because none of us are out to break another classmate’s limb!
This is – for me – where the repetition comes in. Learning to master even basic movement can take a lifetime, forget years! But in the daily (or as many days as can be managed!) practice helps solidify as many of the effective ways in which to handle a particular threat. There are – keep in mind – an infinite number of movements available to us, and if we could study every Art and master it in a lifetime, we’d be golden. Not the reality, sad to say! Learning to even do a handful of “go-to”s is great – learn to do them properly, to do them well, and to do them with all shapes and sizes (some techniques are really tough with a HUGE partner!) If you want a real challenge, do them blindfolded.
It’s a very “wax on, wax off” concept – the drills help our bodies to do these things as involuntarily as possible so, should the need arise, we actually CAN do something about it. We don’t always have the luxury of training exactly how we fight – this isn’t the Colosseum, after all – but we *can* do everything in our power to focus, to drill, and to get our muscles so familiar with the movements that they will come to our aid when we need them most.