Or just watch it because, well, things are exploding…!
What do Unity, Truth, and Goodness have to do with the Martial Arts? That is perhaps hard for many to see, especially those new to the Martial Arts. Here is a quote to start the conversation with:
Franciscan John Duns Scotus says that when the one, and the true, and the good are operating in unity, whatever is happening will always also be beautiful! This is his de facto definition of beauty: the harmony between unity, truth, and goodness. When you can see all three, or even one, you will always be delighted. Beauty is experienced precisely in our ability to hold together the oneness, the truthfulness, and the goodness of things—despite all the seeming contrary evidence (which is always there!). –Richard Rohr, Catholic Franciscan and Founder of the Center for Contemplation and Action
Now that may not seem to apply to the Martial Arts but I hope you will find that it actually does. When we begin to train in the Martial Arts there is nothing beautiful about it! We are awkward because we lack understanding and knowledge, we lack experience necessary to perform the basic movements of the Martial Arts. Our mind and body do not have Unity, they both resist in relinquishing control to you, the student. The more you practice the more Unity you gain, things begin to become natural and flow.
If you stop your training there, you have accomplished much and it will serve you well in every aspect of your life. But you will be lacking. As we continue to train the Unity of our practice becomes comfortable and smooth, but is missing something. With continued training you will begin to experience moments of epiphany when you see the Truth of your perfect execution and the True uses of that particular technique. You will even see the Truth of using a particular technique in ways you were never taught. You will feel confidence and power swell in a type of calm pride.
If you stop your training at this point you will be a formidable opponent who can handle most situations that would call for Martial Arts skills. But you would still be lacking. Because at this point you have only seen the partial truth of your training. You have the Truth of each technique but you have yet to assemble them to their true ending. Goodness. This training part of your training is difficult to be taught, because you feel your training is complete. Your physical training is, but we are more than physical beings and the Martial Arts at every point recognizes that. I will try to explain this next step in your training, most ignore it, few understand what they seek, and fewer discover it (I am not professing that I have). Goodness comes from the picture and feeling of the Unity and Truth you have gained. The Goodness comes from understanding that all your training, all your sweat was not leading where you thought. You thought you were training to be a Master Warrior near indestructible! Instead you start to see the Goodness, the Truth the Unity that in training and honing your body and mind to fight, you no longer desire to. You seek Justice through peace not strength or will or power of what you could do. Rather your skill and power is only meant to be used in a reflective manner, defensive only.
If you stop your training here, you have much to teach the world of students who await you.
This is the secret of the Martial Arts that most have forgotten or chosen to ignore for a multitude of reasons. Live in Peace (Goodness). Live in Awareness (Truth). Live at Peace with yourself (Unity). You will be the calm, unmovable Stone at the center of a raging river of life.
OK, I have a life and I am not an obsessed person, which means …I have a life! I do not live to eat nor do I live to be in perfect shape. Pathetic some may say but they probably don’t have a life. Or they are independently wealthy! Yes we all attend Karate class at least once or twice a week but that isn’t enough.
Balancing job, family, chores, and the a sundry other tasks and commitments in your life and there is precious little time left for sleep let alone a 10 mile run (ok 5 mile run)! But that doesn’t mean we can’t stay in shape we just have to make it part of your day where you can spare a few minutes here and there. Here is what I do through out the day to help stay in shape.
3 sets of 30 second planks (or 30-50 situps)
30-50 lunges (each leg!)
15-30 squats (add a jump when coming up for some additional burn)
On days when I haven’t had any time I do these all before bed as it helps me sleep (I know that doesn’t apply to everyone). I also find doing these before bed seems to help me burn calories when I sleep or at least the scale seems to reflect that in the morning.
Obviously this should not be all the exercise you get but it is a good start to staying/getting toned. If you have access to stairs I like to do 10-15 flights for a quick cardio workout.
Start with this, add in as much of your Karate workout as room/time allows for and you will find that you look forward to your little exercise breaks more with eash day. If you commit to doing this 6 days a week for 3 months it will become part of your daily routine for ever…!
“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.” —Mark Twain
In life we are told and taught to be prepared. Mark Twain’s quote states the obvious, no one knowingly gets up in front of a crowd to speak without preparing! We prepare for everything from presentation to disasters. But what about Karate? Do you prepare to defend yourself? Honestly, the best you can do is practice and practice some more. Because unlike a test or a speech, a fight is dynamic, you must rely on instinct and the skills you have practice and hope they are enough. I guess that is the reality we don’t like to admit, you can never be to prepared and you will never know if you are prepared enough! Some would take that as license to never prepare, which of course is pure folly. Some will try to prepare for every possible situation, again pure folly, since I am pretty sure the chances are pretty small I will be fighting a bus load of midget ninja’s any time soon!
The moral of the story is prepare, train, but relax. If you are training well, when the time comes you will handle any situation with a grace and skill, that will surely surprise you; since I guarantee, you will not have trained or prepared for the situation you encounter!
Train hard, train often!