Meditation Point #89

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing,
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A window of opportunity won’t open itself.
– – unknown
I got this little jewel of wisdom in a fortune cookie along with some Lucky numbers. Well the numbers didn’t turn out to be all that lucky for the lottery! But they did get me thinking about what the cookie said. Well not literally of course since cookies can’t talk! But how often do we sit around dreaming about success of some sort. If only I was rich, if only I was smart, if only I was strong, if only I was thin and the list goes on forever. If only conversations are usually the reason we are all those things! Now that isn’t completely fair but in the big picture it is true. If only is a statement of regret, regret kills. I remember another saying I heard once that has always stuck with me…No man is old until he knows regret…if only… Perhaps we should focus on the next small step we need to take to succeed and attain our goals. Perhaps in taking action we can change if only to I remember when! Now there is an element of luck to some if only’s and remember when’s but mostly there is action and forward movement. So open a window, do something and maybe tomorrow you’ll be a little bit richer, smarter, stronger, thinner… But don’t look for immediate results, give it some time and perhaps sooner then you think you’ll be saying I remember when…

Inner Peace, Martial Arts, and Others

Sensei Posted in Articles of Interest,
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It seems increasingly difficult to find a kind word or gesture when dealing with others these days. What many of us forget is that a kind word or a gesture usually starts with us. We tend to forget that everyone has a busy and stressful life, not just us. Everyone ( almost;) ) is looking for a kind word or gesture. There are two paths to creating such a world. These paths are not mutually exclusive. The first path is through our actions, start with yourself, reach out to others in kindness and goodwill. Usually the kindness will be returned, though occasionally you may be treated with suspicion, if this happens apply more kindness! Other then offering your kindness you cannot change they ways of others that is up to them. This of course can lead to frustration which leads us to be one of the cranks! The second path helps to combat this from happening and is directly related to the Martial Arts. No I am not going to suggests a quick thrust to the gut or face! …though…just kidding. πŸ˜‰ The other path is that of inner peace because when all is said and done we are responsible for how we feel 99% of the time. It is often how we react to others that determines how we feel. That demonstrates a lack of control over yourself. As a Martial Artist you should seek self-control. Only in controlling our emotional responses to situations can we stay in control of our reactions to them. The first step to self-control comes from finding inner peace. Luckily merely practicing the Martial Arts can help to find that inner peace. Physical activity helps to focus the mind while releasing negative energy. Physical activity improves out mental health and in many cases cures depression. So practicing the Martial Arts helps to create the positive environment your body and mind need for your spirit to find peace. But what about when we are not practicing or engaged in a physical activity? This is the most difficult thing to learn. Like with anything we start with practice. You must learn to relax to be peaceful. Here are some tips on how to learn to relax and gain control of yourself. Practice while you workout, practice while you are in a safe positive environment and eventually you will remain in this state regardless of the situation.
1. Breathe, Really Breathe!
Learning requires the brain, the brain requires oxygen. To often students forget to breath which leads to mistakes. Most often we forget to breath because our minds are so consumed with the task at hand. Breathe and trust yourself let your movements or actions flow without being forced.
2. Silent your mind
A silent mind is not an empty mind. A silent mind is a focused mind, without the distractions that are all around us. This can be confusing though because a truly silent mind observes all of the distractions around us but it only processes what we are interested in or focused on. For example when you are sparring against multiple opponents your focus is everywhere you need 360 degree awareness but your senses cannot do that actively. However if your mind is silent your brain can process a larger battle space because it ignores what isn’t needed but alerts you to what is, like movement. This lessons is difficult to teach and often needs to be experienced.
3. Be Introspective
Only through understanding ourselves can we begin to understand others.
4. Observe
Only through observing others can we begin to appreciate their perspective. Through perspective we find the best course for dealing with others.

Meditation Point #88

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing,
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A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective.
– – Sun-Tzu, The Art of War. Strategic Assessments
Think sparring! This is probably one of the harder lessons for many students to learn, they must deceive their opponent to make an opening. Nothing is harder to do in real-time, then a good feint. SO practice, practice, practice and then practice some more. There is good news, the more comfortable you get in the sparring ring the easier this element of the game becomes.

Karate Dog?

Sensei Posted in Fun Stuff,
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Well I have given enough time to cats around here, of course Karate Dogs are much harder to find as they don’t like the attention. Here is one in action…against Ninjas!!

ID Theft In-Depth

Sensei Posted in Identity Theft,
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Identity theft is a real problem today and despite all of the information out there on how to protect yourself and all the new laws people still fall prey to these crimes. This is one crime that is difficult to protect against. But there are things you should be aware of to limit your exposure. One thing to watch out for are unexpected or unsolicited phone calls or emails. Now we all get sales calls but you shouldn’t get a cluster of them on the same topic. For example let say you suddenly start getting calls from lenders when you have made no inquiry about a new loan. This should raise a red flag! When get these calls pay attention, see if they reference a recent inquiry or use your name or someone else’s. If they do start asking “innocent” questions, don’t interrogate the caller as you want information from them and they may hang up on you. Feel free to share your concerns about their call they will probably cooperate with you. If the source of the inquiry seems fraudulent then report it to the caller, get a number for their fraud department and report it to the source of their lead, follow through. The second thing you should do if this occurs is to check your credit report. A credit report will not only tell you what credit you have but who has checked your credit recently. Follow up on any unknown of new credit (debts) that appear on your credit report with the company listed AND the credit bureau.
Another at risk area are ways we may not realize we are exposing our own information. Some identity thieves literally dig for our information by going through our garbage! Using common sense you can mitigate most of this exposure, shred anything like a statement and remove your name and mailing address from catalogs before getting rid of them. Why worry about the catalogs? Because next to your name and address is a code which may be valuable (depending on the company) as a way of learning more about you. If the company has your credit card data stored then the ID thief could potentially finesse the sales person to put the sale on that card. So remove the name and address off the back cover and don’t forget it is on the order form inside too.
Mail is becoming another vulnerable point as some ID Thieves will go to your mailbox before you do and take some or all of your mail. This seems to happen more in rural areas but is something you should still be aware of.
Shopping is the most dangerous because we have a sense of security when we shop. We gladly give our credit card to strangers and trust it is safe. Now normally this is safe but there are a few things you need to watch for. Card skimmers, this is a device that is attached to the normal card reader that makes a copy of your card while your charge is processed. When you get gas make sure the card reader looks normal. The good news is that as long as you are physically in possession of your card you are not responsible for fraudulent charges. But make sure you look over your statement every month. The last thing to be aware of when shopping is that some restaurants put personal info on receipts. By law, businesses are supposed to truncate credit card numbers on the customer’s copy of the receipt. But recently many businesses from retailers to restaurants have been found to not be following this rule. Effective in December, Congress banned companies from putting complete credit card numbers or expiration dates on the customer’s copy of the receipt. Most receipts should only list the last four card numbers. Yet, more and more companies are being hauled into court, accused of not complying with the law. Some of these businesses include businesses like Bose, Max & Erma’s, Texas Roadhouse (my favorite) and others. Some of this fault lies with the banks/clearing houses that provide the businesses with their register equipment. The important thing is to look for these types of identifying information and take appropriate steps to protect your identity.
Now some people want to make everyone paranoid and afraid of this problem, that is not my stance. My stance is the same stance I suggest for your physical safety, be aware and think. The bad guys tend to prey on those who are NOT aware and who do not think or think it will never happen to them. To be clear though like all crime your risk is fairly low of falling victim to this crime due to any of your own actions, so relax, go shopping, grab a bite to eat, then get to the Dojo and work it off!!
Stay aware, stay safe.

KarateTraining.org Forum goes Live…Again!

Sensei Posted in Site_News,
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Our first attempt at offering a discussion forum for you our trusty users met with mixed results. On the one hand you made some great posts and the forum was really starting to take off and become popular. There in was the problem, we came under attack from every spammer in the world. It became a full time job to thwart their efforts and roughly a year ago we shut down the discussion forum. πŸ™
Well fear not! We’re back for another try at this (as we promised we would be). So with any luck the new Forum software we are using will be better at stopping the @#$%@ spammers and we will be able to keep the discussion forum going for you.
Please take a moment, check out the forum and let us know what you think!

Rrrrr Avast Matey, Type Faster!!

Sensei Posted in Fun Stuff,
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A Pirate Keyboard
Shiver me timbers, me thinks mes seen one too many Pirate Moovies of late!

πŸ™‚ !

Meditation Point #87

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing,
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The aspects of things most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity.
– – Ludwig Wittgenstein
To put it another way, don’t take for granted the gifts you have been given. Let those closest to you know how you feel about them. Savor the food you eat as if it were your last meal. Smile like your eyes were blessed with sight after a lifetime of blindness. Get it?

Meditation Point #86

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing,
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The establishment of inner harmony is to be attained neither in the past nor in the future, but where the past and future meet, which is the now. When you have attained that point, neither future nor past, neither birth nor death, neither time nor space exist. It is that NOW which is liberation, which is perfect harmony, to which the men of the past and the men of the future must come.
– – R. H. Blyth
Harmony is something that most of us have had a glimpse of, a moment in time that is frozen without background noise or the normal static of life. Like a perfect sunset shared with your soul mate or in contented solitude. Harmony is not something that comes easily but it just happens. Harmony is one of life’s oxymoron’s in that we must work hard to attain it but it cannot be attained through hard work. Why is Harmony so difficult to attain? Because we are so often obsessed with what comes next or what went before. We obsess and dwell, we relive and second guess, all the while we miss the now. For only in the now can we find Harmony, we may reminisce about some tender memory but that is not Harmony, for harmony is a feeling, a perfection. And while we can reminisce about such things, Harmony is a feeling and a feeling remembered is a shadow and as such is hollow. So live in the NOW empty your mind and LIVE and in the living you may just feel at Harmony, you may just find perfection.

Friday the 13th Silliness

Sensei Posted in Events & Holidays,
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He needs a haircut but did a nice job with a non-gruesome Friday the 13th video, enjoy.