True Enjoyment

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Diet, Fitness, Quotes, Recipes and Health Facts, State of Mind,Tags: , , ,
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“True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body;
the two are united.”
Alexander Von Humboldt

Given the recent posts on diet and exercise I thought I should find an appropriate quote to exercise your mind as well.  As a Martial Arts student you should have figured out by now that your mind and your body are connected.  Check, that was easy.  But which is stronger?  I mean can your mind get you off the couch and make you exercise?  Can your mind stop you from eating those fatty brownies your co-worker brought to work?  If not then your mind and body are not on the same page.  Think about that.  Your mind isn’t in control.  Isn’t that one of the first lessons you learn when you become a Martial Arts student?  That your mind is not in control of your body.  In this case your body is the spoiled child who just wants what he/she wants!  Give me those brownies…or else!!  Because your mind is not in control, your body wins, eat the brownie.  Oh, your mind thinks it’s in control!  You are an adult, you can eat what you want, you are hungry, you are stressed, you will exercise this off later, and the seductive list of excuses goes on and on…  They are excuses that make your mind feel better for letting your body run the show.  Your mind is deluding itself so it doesn’t have to face reality, it isn’t in control!

Luckily we Martial Artists learn to control our bodies, to master them, to help the mind to take control.  So prove it, find true enjoyment by uniting the two with the mind in control and the body in motion…exercising!

As always have fun, stay safe and be well.

Loser

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes, State of Mind,Tags: , , ,
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I realized today that I am a loser.  It struck me just like that, no doubts just a sudden clear understanding that I was a loser.  Oh I could make a million excuses for being a loser, they would make logical sense, but it wouldn’t change the fact, I am a loser.  Now that I know this I can see it in the way I walk, the way I carry myself, the way I compensate in so many ways.  But I wasn’t always a loser.  So why now?  Well if I wasn’t a loser I could probably tell you, or better yet write a book and become a rich non-loser!  Hmmm…  Seriously though, I think my loser state has to do with not taking any chances.  Somehow I have become frozen like the proverbial deer in the headlights.  When faced with a decision I choose…indecision.  I think it is for fear of being wrong.  Like I said I can think of a lot of reasons for this but they all sound like excuses, which of course is what losers do…  I guess I need to stop making excuses and start believing in myself and taking some chances.  I know writing this that, that is a long way from happening… They say the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one…Maybe that is enough for today…

— Anonymous

The above got me to thinking about my own life, about how caught up we get in daily stress and minutia.  So much so that we kind of stagnate, I think I like that term better than loser.  Stagnate: To cease motion, activity, or progress; to cease to advance or change; to become idle or cease to flow.  I think that is what life does to us if we let it and sometimes even if we try not to let it.  It is important to remember also that success can be defined in so many ways, not knowing the reference point of the above writer makes it difficult to gauge the depth of their ‘loser-ness’.  I think many of us place goals that are to difficult to achieve, we set ourselves up for failure.  I am not advocating “settling” or having an ‘this is as good as it gets’ mentality!  But similar to setting a New Years resolution you have to set realistic goals you can achieve.  I think that is where success comes from, setting achievable goals that move you towards some much bigger goal.  It is easy to get lost along the way, to stall in your efforts, to stagnate.  It is easy to rely on excuses to keep yourself in a state of stagnation.  The easy way out, is to feel like a loser, that is the path of a quiter, not a loser.  I think becoming a loser comes from quiting once to often.

So what about you?  Have you given up on your goals because they are to hard or there are to many available excuses?  Where you to busy or tired to workout this week?  I know, you’ll start next week or someday.  Someday. That’s a dangerous word. It’s really just a code for ‘never‘.” [source: Knight and Day].  It is never to late to change but that change has to start some where…some time.  Don’t stagnate, take a chance, move forward, small goal by small goal…

Am I off base or full of it?  Let me know in the comments section!

Happy Constitution Day!

ktadmin Posted in Events & Holidays, History, Quotes, Video,Tags: , , , ,
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Today marks the establishment of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. America’s birth was truly a miracle. The Founders knew their mission had a divine destiny to produce the first free people in the history of the world.  These principles are based on the success of a moral and religious society.  Think about that, when the Founders drafted the Constitution every other nation on the Planet was ruled by a King of sorts!

It is important for all Americans and I’d argue non-Americans to understand the Constitution beyond memorizing the words.  We want civic minded citizens that take their responsibility seriously.  After all you don’t want to look like this when asked about the Constitution!…take a look:

[zdvideo]http://karatetraining.org/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Barney_Fife_and_the_Preamble_to_the_Constitution.flv[/zdvideo]

Some may not realize the whole story of the Constitution, the thoughts, sacrifices and self-less devotion to a higher purpose that helped forge the greatest document ever written.  This little ditty is helpful in getting a better understanding and it is catchy too!

[zdvideo]http://karatetraining.org/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/18_Pages_Jimmy_Joe_Lee.flv[/zdvideo]

Rather then expend my own feeble attempt at expressing my understanding and deep seeded loyalty to the Constitution there is one person who always makes a better spokesmen for America…well listen for yourself…

[zdvideo]http://karatetraining.org/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/What_Would_John_Wayne_Do_.flv[/zdvideo]

Why should we pay attention to the Constitution?  Because so many men (and women) greater then you or me sacrificed their fortunes, positions and their very lives to secure a better future for their fellow man.

[zdvideo]http://karatetraining.org/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/GoodPatrickHenry.flv[/zdvideo]

SO think about what the Constitution really means today and throughout the rest of the year.

Here is an additional history references for the kids that I know, especially those who love History: President Fact Sheets.

No fanfare for you…

ktadmin Posted in Quotes,Tags: , ,
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The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world.  There will most likely be no ticker-tape parades for us, now will there be monuments created in our honor.  This does not lessen our potential impact on the world and the people we share it with.

There are scores of people waiting for us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our encouragement, and who will need our unique talents.  Some one who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we have to give.

While these are thoughts typically reserved for the Holiday’s it is important to think of them every day, in every season.  The simple things in life, the smallest actions often have the biggest impact.  Take a moment and pay attention to those around you, someone may just need a helping hand or kind word, who knows, you may find you feel better too.

Loves Bonds Broken

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes,Tags: ,
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Love such a despised word
Shush before you are heard.
Its a great verb!
much better than any herb
So why the apprehension;
to relieve your emotional tension?
Don’t say admire or like you much,
for stifling to the soul are such.
For the sun never shined so bright,
As when relieved of this plight.
To speak as you feel,
is such a great deal,
Why do you say no?
Can’t you see I love you so?
But I do!
And I must let it show!
For to hide it,
not confide it,
would be to my soul, bait
and turn is slowly to hate.
So speak and feel great,
Don’t let it stagnate.
I love you so,
And I had to let you know.
Accept it or deny
My heart is now free to fly!

— Mitchell Saba

Meditation Point #131 – Grief

ktadmin Posted in Quotes,Tags: ,
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The tears I feel today
I’ll wait to shed tomorrow.
Though I’ll not sleep this night
Nor find surcease from sorrow.
My eyes must keep their sight:
I dare not be tear-blinded.
I must be free to talk
Not choked with grief, clear-minded.
My mouth cannot betray
The anguish that I know.
Yes, I’ll keep my tears til later:
But my grief will never go.

— Anne McCaffrey (Dragonsinger)

Grief is something we all must deal with eventually.  When I read any type of book I often find passages that provoke deeper thought, this is one example.  Often in times of grief we must stay strong and deny ourselves the act of grieving until another day.  But denied or not we still feel the grief.  It is funny how extreme emotions can change us and stay with us forever, like love or grief…

Meditation Point #130 – Less Self, Selfless

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes,Tags: ,
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He who stands on his tiptoes does not stand firm;
He who stretches his legs does not walk easily.
So, he who displays himself does not shine;
He who asserts his own views is not distinguished;
He who exalts himself does not find merits acknowledged;
He who is self-conceited has no superiority allowed to him.
Such conditions, viewed from the standpoint of the Tao,
are like remnants of food or a tumor on the body, which all dislike.
Hence those who pursue the course of the Tao do not adopt and allow them.

— Tao-Te-Ching

This passage seemed rather pertinent as I am currently teaching my students the finer points of free sparring.  What?!  I know many will wonder how this passage could relate to sparring.  The first two lines seem obvious enough, Stance!  The 4th through 6th lines are slightly more obscure.  This is a deeper level, it deals with ego and honesty.  When sparring we need to spend as much energy watching our own vulnerabilities and we do looking for them in our opponent.  We must be honest in assessing our performance.  Ego has no place in sparring, honesty must come first if we are to improve our skills.  Additionally, no one likes a braggart.  Hopefully that make sense and you will gain some new insights of your training.

There are many levels to this passage so I urge you to read this multiple times.

Meditation Point #128 – Success

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes, State of Mind
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Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.” — Reggie Leach

Reginald Joseph Leach (born April 23, 1950 in Riverton, Manitoba, Canada) is a retired professional ice hockey winger who played in the NHL between 1970 and 1983.

To often we wait for success to come to us.  We feel it is out of reach or that the success of others is based largely on luck.  We make excuses for our state in life or why we haven’t attained our goals, our dreams.  If you have ever done that, you are a loser.  I say that as a fellow loser who has made more than his fair share of excuses and who probably will make more in the future.  Regardless loser’s we are.  Of course there are legitimate excuses in life but they only go so far before they become crutches.  Everyone has tunnel vision when it comes to their own life and no one likes to admit they are the problem.  If you want to break this loser cycle you need to be a little harder on yourself, not abusive but instructor hard or drill Sargent hard!  Basically you have to stop making excuses, stop feeling sorry for yourself or inadequate and start trying your best and being happy with that.  If you do this everyday, every minute of every day then you will always be successful, for even in your failures you will grow and learn.

Only through hard work does success come, to bad we like to make excuses.  I just watched “The Cowboys” with John Wayne, there is a scene where a kid who stutters is trying to tell John Wayne his friend is drowning.  The drowning friend is saved.  But what happens next would make most people call Child Services and coddle the young stutterer, John Wayne belittles and humiliates him in front of his friends telling him he almost got his friend killed and asking why he didn’t speak up.  Of course the boy tries to explain he can’t help his stutter, Wayne doesn’t let him off the hook, but makes the point, if that had been him the the water he would of yelled loud and clear.  The kid gets so upset he swears a litany with nary a stutter.  He’s cured from that point forward.  My point isn’t that we should pick on people but we should hold them to a higher standard.  There is nothing wrong with expecting boys to become men when necessity calls.  There is also nothing wrong with telling someone they don’t measure up and that they can’t do activity X just because it would be construed as mean or discriminatory.

We all need someone like Wayne to put things in perspective for us, to make us mad enough to prove them wrong and in the process accomplish what we thought impossible.  Unfortunately those men (and women) are far and few between and will remain that way until we start to hold ourselves to a higher standard.  Expect success regardless of the outcome, meaning if you can look yourself in the eye and say I did my best, with no “if only’s” then you are doing well.  Expect more of yourself but never abuse yourself.

So what are you waiting for, go seek success it won’t come looking for you and it will never happen spontaneously!

Never Compromise

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes, State of Mind
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In her book, entitled Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal, Ayn Rand wrote, “In any collaboration between two men (or two groups) who hold different basic principles, it is the more evil or irrational one who wins.” In a compromise between life and death, freedom and slavery, good and evil, only the latter group can win. [Source]

I’ve been thinking about this topic for some time but when I saw the above passage the topic crystallized for me.  We live in a world of constant compromise.  Compromise is an important part of life as it helps us deal with others but is there such a thing as to much compromise?  Of course.  Compromising about what is for dinner or where we go on vacation are normal compromises.  But what happens when a situation or person requires you to compromise on your basic principles?

Hopefully you have formed basic principles before being asked to compromise it, though my experience has been, that most people do not form their principles until faced with a situation.  This of course usually leads to the path of least resistance where people end up standing on and defending principles or beliefs they have never truly contemplated.  They defend these positions militantly as to do otherwise would mean they were somehow wrong.  People avoid dealing with the uncomfortable which is the tool most employed by those seeking a compromise!  Discomfort is the primary tool of peer-pressure one of the most dangerous forms of compromise.  Peer-pressure usually moves a child or teen or even adult to act against the basic principles (or morals) of their families.

As a martial artist it is important that we introspect and determine who we are and what we stand for, only then can we stand with a quiet mind in the face of adversity.  As martial arts instructors we must help our students see that compromise of basic principles without serious consideration is a negative for it often leads to the wrong path.  Basically we want our youth to stand on a strong foundation so when faced with choice they are certain of what is the right path.  Someone once said, “Everyone knows what is right from what is wrong”  the problem is doing what is right is hard it is much easier to lie to ourselves or blame others for our choices.

There is nothing wrong with understanding your beliefs and principles and standing by them, in fact that is a quality to be admired.  One must also make sure their understanding is based on a solid foundation.  To often our youth choose the wrong path in life, whether it is drugs, promiscuity or delinquent behavior, simply because no one has helped them understand their actions, or even served as a proper role model.  The hardest part to teach is that often standing on your principles and against compromise is never easy, popular or outwardly rewarding.  But there is something to be said for leaving a room with your chin up knowing you faced compromise in the eyes and held your ground.  Remember you no one wants to be caught in a compromising situation!

Meditation Point #127

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes
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All that we are is the result of what we have thought.  The mind is everything.  What we think we become.” — Buddha

I am no Buddhist, to the contrary I am a Christian but this quote resonates within me.  Those that question this quote should think about the life of Helen Keller since her existence was almost entirely restricted to her inner space, her mind.  In reflecting on this quote you need to ask yourself, what do you think about?

I’ll leave you with this additional thought, every year, every 365 days we have an entirely new body.  It is true in the process of one year ever cell in your body dies and is replaced.  If our bodies are as dynamic as I think perhaps our thoughts can help to influence the outcome…

Think deep thoughts, employ critical thinking and seek the Truth…