Posts Tagged ‘Awareness’

Gun Control

ktadmin Posted in Self-Defense, Weapons,Tags: , , ,
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This is all that should *ever* need to be said about Gun Control…

Hitler:”This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!”
Chancellor, Germany, 1933

Results – Get Some

ktadmin Posted in Awareness, Questions, State of Mind, Training notes,Tags: , , ,
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The image says it all.  Think about it and then truly ask yourself if you are doing the work to get the results you want?

Pearl Harbor Day

ktadmin Posted in Events & Holidays, History, Self-Defense,Tags: , , ,
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This is a day should be remembered by everyone but especially Martial Artists as a reminder to always be vigilant.

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VqQAf74fsE[/tube]

 

Life is Fragile

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Events & Holidays, History,Tags: , , , ,
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Given that this is the anniversary of the Sept. 11th attack, I thought this image would be appropriate.

This is a sticker I found from when I was a kid, a long time ago.  But it reminds me of what we any of us that were old enough probably though on 9/11, life is fragile.  As time recedes we tend to forget these lessons, we tend to forget that life can change in an instant.  Honestly we live in a very safe society, but that does not mean there is no danger or we do not need to be vigilant in our protect of the fragile life we hold so dear.  So remember to handle your life and the life of others with care, because life is fragile and none of us know how long we will have it.

Happy Thoughts

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Awareness, Quotes, State of Mind,Tags: , , , ,
2

To think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world. If you leave your mind to itself it will spiral down into ever increasing unhappiness.
To think good thoughts, however, requires effort.
This is one of the things that discipline – training – is about.

James Clavell, in his novel “Shogun”

I read this book as a young man and have to say it is still one of my favorite novels.  At the time I was training very hard in Karate and this novel steeped me even further in the history and culture of old Japan, brutal, savage yet elegant.  Today I teach students in the art of Karate and hopefully Life.  I am an avid observer of the world and I see increasing negativity in general.  One of the aspects of how I train my students is control of themselves and their minds.  The above quote goes to the root of my teachings (though I never connected the two) in that we control nothing in the world without first controlling ourselves.  Negative thoughts are destructive to yourself, your world and those around you, it is like a disease.  Our thoughts are ours to do with as we please.  Yes our thoughts can be influenced by the things around us.  That is why it is a bad idea for an Alcoholic to hangout in a bar with his/her friends.  Ultimately though we have ourselves to deal with, the environment or situation we are in are only as influential as we let them be.  This all sounds so easy but it is a lifetime of work and practice and failure to become proficient at.  The world is dynamic but our inner world’s are infinitely more dynamic, to infinity and beyond!  But like any lesson it starts small, baby steps, with awareness.  We cannot change or control anything we are unaware of, become and observer of the world.  First we need to see the small things most people never see.  We can find perfection in the small things, the cut of sunlight through a cloud or the beat of a butterfly resting on a flower, or even the silence of being totally alone in a room.  Some of the things you will notice may make you uncomfortable in a strange way, that is your body fighting awareness the way you fight waking in the morning (if you are like me!).  What does this have to do with not being negative?  Everything.  You could start by focusing on not thinking negative thoughts, however your success would be short lived.  You have to have something to fill the void left by the negative thoughts you eventually will banish.  Why?   Because your brain never stops, it is always churning away, in the computer world we call that paging.  Paging is moving information into and out of usable memory, if you page to much you can’t do any useful computations or make any useful observations.  Observing the little things in the world require you to stop thinking so much, to quiet your mind or in computer terms to limit or stop paging so we can take in new information.  As you do this you are increasing your positive memories and thoughts and reducing your negative thoughts without trying to force it.  You will eventually get to a point where you will be able to control what your brain is processing positive or negative and more importantly know when you are paging negativity because you are more aware.  Awareness is one of the keys to good thoughts with its byproduct, happiness.  As an observer you often find yourself in a calm state of acceptance like someone watching a play…but that is a topic for another discussion.
‘Stop and smell the roses’ are words of supreme wisdom which few of us ever understand until it is to late.  Stay positive, train hard, train often.

Is Your Jar Full?

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Articles of Interest, Quotes, State of Mind,Tags: , , ,
2

When things in your life seem almost to much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar……and the beer.

A Professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.  When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.  He then asked the students if the jar was full.  They agreed that it was.

So the Professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar.  He shook the jar lightly.  The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.  He then asked the students again if the jar was full.  They agreed it was.

The Professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.  Of course, the sand filled up everything else.  He asked once more if the jar was full.  The students responded with an unanimous “Yes.”

The Professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty
space between the sand.  The students laughed.

“Now,” said the Professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things – your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions – things that if everything
else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car.  The sand is everything else – the small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first”, he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.  The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.  Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.  Play with your children.  Take time to get medical checkups.  Take your partner out to dinner.  Play another 18.  There will always be time to clean the house, and fix the disposal.  Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter.  Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

When he had finished, there was a profound silence.  Then one of the students raised her hand and with a puzzled expression, inquired what the beer represented.

The Professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked.  It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend.”

— I couldn’t have illustrated it better myself since the sad truth is most of us spend all our time dealing with the sand in our life.

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.

A New Hero

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, OffTopic, Politics, Video,Tags: , , , , , , ,
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The following video is off topic but worth sharing for the clear and truthful picture given of our current relations with China and our economic picture.  I have a new hero because of how truthful, honest and unabashed the presentation is.

In this following video clip, Wolf Blitzer is called out for pandering, he isn’t none to happy, no more so then the Wizard was when the curtain was pulled back!  What is surprised me was who did it…The Donald!  No, not Donald Duck, Donald Trump!  I am posting this video because every word that Trump says in this video is pure GOLD.  The man didn’t pull any punches and he does it in a way we should all strive to do, truthfully and honestly without the mean spiritedness or sarcasm that is to often born out of ill motives and/or fear.

[zdvideo]http://karatetraining.org/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Video-BreakingNewsTrump-tromps-Wolf.flv[/zdvideo]

Point and match…

No Atheists on School Boards

ktadmin Posted in Awareness, News, Politics, Religion, Self-Defense, State of Mind,Tags: , , ,
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At least not when a gun is pointing at them!

“He was as close to me, almost, as this camera is and it was pointed right at me,” Husfelt said. “I was trying to turn kind of sideways. … It’s just all reactionary. Who knows what you do in a situation like that? We were all scared and doing a lot of praying, I can tell you that.” CNN

The story of the gunman at the School Board meeting struck me as ironic.  Here we have an institution (School Boards) which typically route out any semblance of religion or religious expression, including the Pledge of Allegiance, …praying.  Of course the article doesn’t say who they were praying to, but I think it is safe to assume it is a higher power.  I wonder if the School Board members were concerned that they might offend someone while they were praying?  It is understood that we do not know anything about these men, they all could be Church going men, but the irony in life is sometimes so striking it cannot be overlooked without comment.

Many dispute the fact that there are no atheists in foxholes Or at the wrong end of a gun… regardless it is doubtful there are any atheists afterwards…

On a more self-defense oriented note, the female board member that reentered the room and tried to disarm the gunman was brave and very lucky.  Luckily the crazy gunman seemed to have a problem with shooting women and let her go.  Her actions may have stalled is shooting spree enough to allow the security guard/retired police officer to get there in time to help. It did not seem that she had any formal self-defense training or martial arts skills, just a purse!  Her situation truly illustrates why everyone should have some exposure to formal training in a defensive art, you never know when or where you may find yourself in need of defending yourself.

Stay safe.

A Time for Self-Defense

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, Self-Defense,Tags: , , ,
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In good times people don’t think about bad things but as times become more uncertain people think about planning for the possibility that things will get worse.  With apparent turmoil in almost every aspect of our lives, people have begun to think about and even prepare for the worst.

With a worsening economy, perceived threats to our freedom, rising religious extremism, a perceived demoralization of our populous, many are led to conclude that a more dangerous future might await us.  Right or wrong we as a society seem more aware of the dangerous world we live in and our need to prepare for the worst so as to avoid it.  An ounce of prevention type of reaction…  As a result self-defense sales of goods and services have soared in recent years.  This increase supports the reality that people feel they may need to defend themselves due to ever increasing dangers.

While self-defense activists applaud this trend, there is a significant responsibility for the average student that I don’t feel is being properly communicated.  Too many students come in for a short self-defense class and leave pumped and feeling invincible. Or students that purchase a self-defense tool like mace, pepper-spray, a gun or other self-defense tool with little or no training.  Notice I called these items “tools” and not weapons, because while we classify them as weapons that classification leads to the students misconception and thereby increases their danger.  Most people think of a weapon as something to be afraid of, which it is.  But how frightening is a pair of nunchakus in the hands of an amateur?  Honestly they are more of a danger to the amateur then they are an aid!  Honest, law-abiding people assume that everyone shares their fear of the weapon they wield; whether that is their self-defense skills or karate skills or their self-defense tool makes no matter.  How many movies have we seen where the good guy warns the bad guys that he/she know karate?  How often are the bad guys even fazed by this fact?  The reason, they have accepted that their chosen profession, being a bad guy, comes with the risk of injury.  I have seen it with inexperienced police officers, who assuming because they wear a badge that people will respect it and thereby do as told.  When they face someone who isn’t impressed with that little shield they carry, their perception of power can and does quickly evaporate.  Unfortunately many officers, like the honest, law-abiding citizen, learn the harsh reality of self-defense: vigilance and control.

It is a good thing that people are taking a more proactive approach to self-defense but the instructors must help the students understand that self-defense is a skill that requires practice and a state of mind.  Self-defense is not something you learn about and then put on the shelf until you need it.  If that is your approach then you have a false confidence.  Even the most seasoned and skilled fighter who is out of practice is rusty and thus vulnerable.  In the Rocky movies, Rocky doesn’t simply get back in the ring, he trains and prepares himself.  The difference is that Rocky knew when he was going to face danger.  For the honest, law-abiding citizen that eventuality is very abstract.  When I was growing up it was very unusual to meet someone who had *never* been in a fight.  Today it is unusual for me to meet a student who has ever been in a fight.  While some may feel that is a testament to our advanced civilization, (I have another article coming up about that topic), it leaves most ill prepared to ever face a conflict.  Anyone that has been in a fight and been hit, remembers that first hit they took, you really do see stars!!

How do we learn to defend ourselves?  Must a student enroll for life to stay sharp?  Unfortunately, No.  Must a student attain his/her Black Belt to have adequate skills?  Unfortunately, No again.  The student must understand that taking responsibility for their self-defense carries significant responsibilities as well.  The responsible self-defense student will train regularly to become familiar and comfortable with their chosen techniques, style or tool.  For most this is the fun part of ‘practicing’ self-defense.

Students can practice their skills all the time, staying aware and looking for the pitfalls that potentially await them.  In doing so this heightens their awareness and keeps them ready.  But doing this without practice of the physical skills is almost pointless as you will be aware of your dangers but unable to deal with them.  That is like owning a gun but keeping it in a locked safe in the basement, not much good if you are in your room upstairs when you need it.  Without practice you will find yourself in an ‘if only’ moment of dread.

This begs the question of adequate practice, what is it and how can it help you prepare?  That is a hard question and can vary from person to person.  My simplest answer is, you want to practice in an environment that is constantly challenging you to do better, that means it shouldn’t feel comfortably safe, but it should be comfortably safe…  I hold to the precept that students should take at least one refresher course once a year as long as they are practicing with a friend or loved-one throughout the year.

Without practice you will be ill prepared despite the most elaborate preparations.  Remember that physical practice is only about half of the battle, you have to be mentally prepared to defend yourself.  Practicing coupled with vigilance in your awareness of your surroundings will help to calm your mind in the event of a real need to defend yourself.  Vigilance and control are the keys to self-defense, vigilance in your practice and awareness, control of your body and mind.  Self-defense is something everyone should be involved in, young and old alike, it leads to respectful confidence (as opposed to false confidence) and a peace of mind that you no matter the outcome you have done your best.  No man is truly old until he knows regret, don’t regret your lack of preparation, learn to defend yourself today!

After all you don’t want this to be you when your loved one’s are depending on you…do you?