Posts Tagged ‘State of Mind’

5 things you should never say or think…

ktadmin Posted in Karate, State of Mind, Training notes,Tags: , , , , , , ,
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We live in a sensitive world. That doesn’t make it right. Below are 5 things people say almost daily that most people find “acceptable”. That doesn’t make it right. I was raised in a sticks-and-stones household. I went to a sticks-and-stones high school. For some the term sticks-and-stones may be a foreign concept, that is sad. For you, it means that “sticks and stones” (and fists and feet) will hurt me. Words only have the power I assign to them. It means be a Man and get a thick skin, actions speak louder than words. It also means be truthful, honest and responsible or you will be called out.

Sadly this is a nearly dead culture in America today, I would guess in most of the world too. Still not understanding what I am getting at? Here are 5 things you should never say or think, but they are very prevalent in society today. If you are a Karate practitioner, you should be familiar with this list, if you aren’t your training may not be complete or your Sensei finds them acceptable.

“I can’t do that.”

If somebody had said this he would’ve found himself challenged and forced to the attempt and success. Unless a physical handicap is present, replace your “can” or “can’t,” with “will” or “won’t.” There’s always a way. Find it.

“Sorry I’m late.”

You don’t hear this in a culture of accountability because expectations are set, and if they’re not met then there are repercussions. Not to say that expectations don’t change, but it’s not for a lack of effort in fulfilling them.

“I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.”

Seriously, Feelings? What’s that?

“I don’t know.”

While admitting uncertainty is perfectly fine, the statement alone leaves much to be desired. Instead, try saying “I don’t know yet, but I’ll find out and get back to you.” This latter part is what demonstrates a proactive mindset and a willingness to work, rather than leaving your ambition open to interpretation.

“Let’s talk this out.”

stop-be-a-manThere is nothing like the camaraderie. Nothing else even comes close to paralleling the tight bond, unity and cohesion found amongst men you train with. Having said that, some people just need a good whoopin’ once in a while to keep egos in check, and fellow students and friends are no different. Confronting difficult issues and learning from them is what turns mediocrity into greatness.

Thanks to this article for giving me the basis for this post.

The Way

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Religion, State of Mind, Video,Tags: , , , , , ,
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The Way we should live but usually don’t. As Martial Artists we are supposed to be role models, we usually are not.  Like so many we do things for selfish reasons.  We miss the multitude of opportunities God sends our way to do those small (and big) things and improve the lives of our fellow man.  Selfish.  Any discipline requires some denial of the self, be it diet to lose weight or not watching TV so you can practice that kata or technique a few more times.  If only we would apply that same sacrifice in our dealings with others.  The noise of the modern world seduces us so we can ignore those small important acts of kindness and love which help us grow and find internal peace.  What surprised me was the fact that it was a TVC Thai Life Insurance commercial/public service announcement that inspired me to reflect on this very fact…

Who did you help today?

Following isn’t just for Twitter…

ktadmin Posted in Religion,Tags: , , , ,
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follow-me-really

A Little Crazy is a Lot Scary

ktadmin Posted in Fun Stuff, Self-Defense,Tags: , , , ,
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I aways tell my students to do the unexpected in a dangerous situation, as surprise is your best ally. Sometimes you have to get s little crazy to gain the surprise advantage, plus it can help calm your panic through action. I saw this and thought (for men) it doesn’t get more scary than that!
the love defenseThis is not a suggested self-defense method!!

Why we practice

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Karate, State of Mind, Training notes,Tags: , , ,
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Often we forget why we practice so much.  When that happens we become complacent and that is when bad things happen.  To often we think we can put off our training until tomorrow.  We practice today so we are prepared today, not tomorrow when it might be to late.

I am reminded of this truth today as I anticipate surgery I will have this coming week.  I have been complacent lately mostly because of my injury; but that is no excuse.  We live in an increasingly dangerous world, tomorrow is not the time to prepare.  This graphic reminded me of that.  Even though I may be limited in my physical training over the next few weeks, I can continue to train and will strive to do so…

sweat_or_bleed

Afraid of what?

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Awareness, Quotes, State of Mind,Tags: , , , , , ,
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You can do anything if you’re not afraid.  – from the movie “Daredevil” (2003)

Well almost anything.  Let us remember this is a quote from a movie.  And not a very good movie either starring Ben Affleck.  Regardless the quote bares further contemplation.

Everyone is afraid of something, unless they are insane.  Some are afraid of the dark, some water, some spiders or snakes.  Even the most fearless warrior is afraid of something, even if he never shows it.  There is a difference between being afraid and appearing afraid.  Each has its place.  Fear is a normal response to things that are new, unexpected or we have been conditioned to fear.  I’ll admit it, I am afraid of spiders.  My fear stems from being forced, by my parents, into a spiderweb filled storage crawl space under my childhood home 2-3 times a year.  I had to crawl into the 3 foot high, dirt floor space a good 4 feet to reach the chain on the light.  There were spiders everywhere.  Even though I know where my fear comes from and I can mostly control it, and I understand spiders aren’t usually the bad guys, the fear is still there.  You won’t know it if you throw one in my lap, but my pulse will elevate!

Controlling fear is the key to success.  When we spar we begin with a fear of being hit, this leads us to flinch and thereby typically lose the match.  As we train and gain more self-control we learn to control our fear and thereby our flinch, so we might begin to win a few matches.  The fear however is constant as hopefully no one likes to get hit.  The fear will lessen but that is because we are masters of the fear instead of the fear mastering us.  The path to self-control and controlling your fear starts with an act of sheer will, the decision that you are not going to flinch or run screaming like a girl!  (Sorry girls)

There you have it, boil it all down and fear is a decision.  Following the Sept 11th attack on the World Trade Centers, many of the people trapped in the buildings chose not to be afraid of what they knew was about to happen.  Instead a few of them called loved ones to share a final moment, one such caller was described as calm.  I am sure others were consumed by fear, for themselves or their loved ones.  None of us can say with honesty or certainty how we would react in a similar situation.  We react to fear based on the situation, on our state of mind, on so many factors, but if we train to control our fears beginning in the sparring ring we will be better equip to face and handle our fears when they catch us unaware.

If you are a person of faith I would add fear, like worry, is a lack of faith.

Unity, Truth, and Goodness

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

A Different Mindset

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes, State of Mind, Training notes,Tags: , , ,
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“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!

Study to Train

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, Control, Karate, State of Mind, Training notes,Tags: , , , , ,
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Why do we train?  Why do we study the Martial Arts?  Why do we do all these forms?  Why don’t we just fight?  Why? Why?

It is the classic question posed in hundreds of films like the Karate Kid.  The answer isn’t as crystal clear and the payout isn’t as dramatic in real life.  In real life Daniel Larusso (played by Ralph Macchio) would have probably lost.  That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t learn the same lessons, but it wouldn’t be a box office success!  This is something however you can’t read about, you have to experience it, even then very few look past the failure to learn anything.  If you are one that does than I commend you, you are on your way to Mastery of, well anything.  Where am I going with all this?

Why do we say study instead of train with respect to the Martial Arts?  Because we train to learn basic skills and physical movements.  We study so we can learn to extend, to go beyond what training alone can teach.  Kind of like the difference between Po and Tai Lung (in Kung Fu Panda), Po studied where Tai Lung trained.  Tai Lung was limited by his physical self.  Whereas Po went beyond his physical self, allowing him to push beyond his physical limits and succeed.  I know that is kind of deep and to some it will sound like rubbish, take from it what you will.

The point is, the martial arts teaches us to look within; evaluate our motives, behavior, beliefs, mindset, in total, our self.  Unfortunately for some this becomes a religious experience, it is not, nor should it be.  The martial arts can exist harmoniously with religion but using it to replace religion is to train without studying.  Ultimately the martial arts teaches us control of the Self.  This is similar to Self-Control but not the same.  When you are angry you demonstrate self-control by not hitting or screaming at the person who angered you.  When you are in control of the Self, you see the anger but are not affected by the anger, you are calm, cool and collected.  Think about a situation, which is more frightening, an opponent who is red in the face with anger or one who is calm, cool and collected?  That is what I thought.  What is it about the calm, cool, collected that you find so unnerving?  When you attain it you will understand that there is nothing and everything to be feared.  Bruce Lee was known for his control of Self.

The Martial Way is not easy.  First come training, which leads to Self-Control, more training opens the mind to Study, which if pursued, leads to control of Self.  Sounds easy enough, just five “simple” steps!!  But the way is hard; the way we live our lives; the society we live in makes it even harder.  There is to much noise in most of our lives, even if we don’t engage it, the noise is all around us (in Western Societies).  The Martial Way is quiet, reflective and simple.  Quiet the opposite of the way the world around us suggests we should live our lives!  Self-control is the first major hurtle and honestly our society and values of instant gratification and worldly pursuits make it a difficult hurtle to master.  Do you have what it takes?  Will power and focus?

What I am describing is not the Martial Arts of the MMA or UFC.  That is not to say those are dishonorable pursuits or lacking in any way, honestly I admire their training and dedication.  But they where the trappings of the world, lots of noise and little control of Self.  Could you see Bruce Lee in a MMA or UFC commercial?  Perhaps.  Regardless of the path you choose, the path always starts the same…Training!  That’s right, get up, stop reading now and Train. (but when you finish training come back to read some more)

First comes Training, so Study to Train!

Can You Say Merry Christmas?

ktadmin Posted in Charity, Events & Holidays, Religion,Tags: , , , ,
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This post is a bit stream of consciousness and a bit reflection.  I was out Christmas shopping today, people were pleasant enough but not once did anyone say Merry Christmas, not once did anyone say Happy Holiday’s, it was kind of sad.  It didn’t make me sad, it just seemed sad.  Have we become so disconnected or are we so afraid of offending someone?  I wished everyone a Merry Christmas that I spoke with today and the majority reacted surprised but happy.  The only note of Christmas Spirit I have seen so far has been in two Salvation Army red bucket collectors.  One was so filled with the Spirit of Christmas that he still has me smiling more than a day later.  Why?  He was standing in the cold, singing Christmas/Religious songs, opening the door for people and wishing them a good day.  He had such an impact I almost wonder if he was an Angel to be able to impart such goodwill in such a casual way.  I hope everyone gets to experience that this season, but it will never happen if we don’t share a little cheer with each other.  Then while reflecting on these happenings I saw this video (see below) which has nothing to do with Christmas, it is actually an advertisement, it does give pause to the idea that even the smallest gesture can have an enormous impact.

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hzgzim5m7oU[/tube]

Remember that Merry Christmas is not reserved for the day or so around Dec. 25th, it the greeting we use during this season to say hello and goodbye, to help us remember the reason for the season and to spread good cheer.

May the Blessing of this season be upon you, Merry Christmas.