Meditation Point #96

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes

There is no I in Team, but there is a ME. – – Mitch Saba

It is important to be part of a team but it is more important to maintain your individuality.  Even in groups we must be willing to stand up for what is right and just.  While team sports and events are important and fun always remember that a great team is made up of individuals working together.

Real Martial Artists

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Training notes

Let me apologize for the lack of posts recently, I have been suffering from writer’s block. It happens ever so often and for the life of me I have no idea why. One of my readers took me to task yesterday on my lack of posting, mostly to see if I was still alive. It is nice to know you readers are out there so feel free to keep that up! Well I was doing some forum surfing and I came across something that inspired me, so I guess the writer’s block is over!!

Do Real men fight for peace? No, real men fight for what they believe in. Real men fight for those that cannot fight for themselves.
— Anonymous Author

The most important part of the above statement is the last sentence, Real men fight for those that cannot fight for themselves. I hold to this as a Justice minded individual, but it amazes me how many people (at least here in the northeast) do not. Standing for justice was the moral of the movie A Few Good Men. And it made a good point, no matter how strong you are, how superior or powerful, you must fight for the weak. While this idea may be presented to us in the movies it seems all to rare in real life.

In real life we get political correctness at any cost including sacrifice of the innocent and helpless under the guise of protecting them! The politically correct teach us that words can and DO hurt us! Words mean nothing, period. As Martial Artist we should all understand this yet I still see emtions run high when words are thrown around. If you are a Martial Artist and you get flustered or upset when someone calls you a name, please hang your head in shame. You have forgotten the adage, Sticks and Stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me. Words to live by. Words mean only as much as you value (or have to) their source.

As Martial Artists we are supposed to follow the truth. Who says? Me for one. The pursuit of the Martial Arts while physical in nature has a deep introspective nature to it. Call it spiritual, religious, self-growth, regardless it is there. To mature as a Martial Artist you must seek the truth and the order of things. The truth is a big word today, it use to be much more simple, though I think it still is. The danger of the truth is ours is often shaded by our experiences and our prejudices (we all have them). But in our gut the truth exists. And in that truth resides justice, honesty and righteousness. Notice I did not say self-righteousness, that has no place in the truth. In this place in your gut is also an understanding that we must fight. We are taught that fighting is bad and that is correct if we fight for ego or personal gain. But like the Author says, real men fight for those who cannot, for what they believe in. When was the last time you stood up for someone? I doubt it has been that long since you have seen someone who needed standing up for. If you didn’t, how did you feel? If you did?

Well if you did I can tell you, you felt good. If you didn’t, I can also tell you, you felt regret. We cannot be perfect but we can strive to be. If we take a moment from thinking about ourselves we find time to reach out and help our fellow man. Those are the moments we remember. Those are the moments that help us to grow as people and Martial Artists. And for the record, the willingness to fight when the truth is on your side usually negates the need to fight, but don’t bank on that!

Questions why and follow the truth, then ask why again. Reapply as needed.

Pessimist or Optimist?

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill

So which are you? Every day we all have to decide, how are we going to deal with the world today? Will we strive for our best? Or will we let life run us over? The one (and almost only) thing we can control in our lives is how we react. As Martial Artists we strive to maintain control but ultimately it is self-control we must perfect. If we wish our lives to change for the better we need to stop dwelling on our failures and complaints. Let’s face it, they are all in the past so there isn’t anything you can do to change what happened. This isn’t said to absolve you of your failures but to remind you that in life, we fall down so we can learn to get up. I think Alfred in Batman Begins said that. We need to be more like children in that way, fall down, get up, keep on playing. Live in the moment and you will conserve a lot of energy.  Energy you can spend in the present to build a better future.

Your pain and mine…

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Articles of Interest, Training notes

I had an interesting conversation with a very nice woman today about Yoga and the Martial Arts. Her name was Tammy and she teaches Yoga. As we spoke it seems we have a lot in common. We spoke about different training techniques and our experiences. We also got to talking about pain and Tammy said, “for some people pain is their existence, it is how they define themselves“. Now I may have remembered the wording incorrectly but that was the gist of it. I thought this was an interesting thought, and I had never really looked at it that way before. I mean we have all known people who love to be miserable but the reason never seems so clear!Now there are a lot of different kinds of pain, physical, emotional, psychological and combinations of these, take your pick! We were discussing physical pain but my thoughts apply to all of the above (with the exception of physiological, bi-polar, etc). But the reasoning holds for almost all situations. I use to work with a woman who was excessively over weight and that was all she ever talked about. She talked about wanting to loose the weight all the time. She made comments about her weight all the time. Everyone felt bad for her. Some of our co-workers all joined weight-watchers with her and she was the only one to gain weight while on weight-watchers! I figured out back then that she wanted to be fat so she had something to talk about. But I never really thought about her pain defining her, but it did.

Whether it is weight, or drugs, or debt, or fear, or physical injury we all hold some pain that defines us, even if for a short time. For someone who is defining themselves with pain there is little anyone can do to help them. So don’t try! Unless you are a paid professional. Perhaps I should refraise that, you should try to help them but the instant you see they are wallowing in their pain, run! All you will do is expend a lot of energy and life on a futile experience since that person has to want to change. I’ve learned that the hard way. But I don’t mean throw the person to the wolves, let them know that you are there for them when they get their act together. If you don’t do that and you stick around, well guess what you just figured out your pain! Yes you like to suffer the pain of futility so you can feel good!! Admit it.

Physical pain is the one though that can be tricky. I say this because it can take a person a long time to realize they have a physical problem, they can occur gradually. And the one thing that amazes me about the human body (no not that!) is how it can adapt to and live with pain. But that doesn’t make it define us any less, we just are not always aware of it. Here is the scary part. If we live with pain for a long enough time we can get to a point where we don’t want to live without it. For some people their only interaction with others is because of their pain. Mostly I am talking about physical pain but again it applies across the spectrum.

It is hard to break any habit in life especially one that defines who we are. You have to really want to change. The funny thing is I honestly believe everyone wants to change for the better, but not everyone wants to do the work to change. A lot of people want someone else to do the work for them (remember run!). Bu if you are still reading or you haven’t flamed me yet then you are probably someone interested in change. Change is good. Change is hard. And let’s face it, change is scary, it’s the unknown. What if I try to change but can’t? What will I blame everything on then?! In life there isn’t anything you can’t do if you put your mind to it, at least in the free world. So rejoice there is hope and you are it. But ditch the western mindset where you don’t eat a cookie and expect to look like a super model! No if you really want to improve your life, that is a life long journey and it starts now!

Here are the cliff notes for the above rantings…

Pain can be a mask we use to hide from life because living is hard and scary at times. Pain can be an easy excuse for our other perceived failings, it is the king of the “if onlys“. If only I didn’t hurt my ankle…I could have made it to that exam and finished college…if only… You get the point. But remember the most important if only… If only I had tried I might know if I could have!

Meditation Point #95

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing

My lifetime:

today it may appear

like the morning glory.

Opportunity is never expected and as such if we are not ready and waiting for it we may well miss it.

Meditation Point #94

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing

There are other things besides money


– – Irish Saying

These are words that we need to remind ourselves of everyday. To many of us (the fortunate) these are only words. The fact that you are reading this blog indicates that you are probably unfamiliar with at least two of these terms. As martial artists we must always remember our humanity for we should be seekers of truth and justice. Yes I place a high standard on the word Martial Artist. Many have forgotten that it is a way of life, a choice to take the difficult path. Our path takes us down a road of self struggle but that should never lead us to forget the real struggles of our fellow man. Another ideal that the martial arts promote is that one person can make a difference. They can effect their world, their situation, why else study to defend against oppression (remember your history!)? So please take today and reflect on the above saying and perhaps look upon the world in a slightly less self absorbed, self interested or judgmental.


Meditation Point #93

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing

How to compare this brief life?
This morning a boat crossed the harbor,
leaving no mark in the world. – – Mansei
SO few of us leave a mark upon the world that most of us can name these people going back a millennium. Yet we like to feel ourselves important. Perhaps this explains we some try to raise themselves at the expense of others? Or why wealth seems is the measure for some. We are like the wake of a boat, most will only be remembered for a short time after their passing. Is this as it should be? Yes. Ours is not to seek personal remembrance in this world when we are gone, or it shouldn’t be. Ours should be to improve the world in some small way that the lives of others are improved from our having been here. Some do this by raising good children, other through charity, but in my mind the biggest impact we can have is through small simple acts of kindness towards total strangers. To many have forgotten that it only takes a moment and a smile to make a difference in someones life, perhaps forever changing the course of their life.

Meditation Point #92

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing

“Those who really desire to attain an independence, have only set their minds upon it, and adopt the proper means, as they do in regard to any other object which they wish to accomplish, and the thing is easily done.” – – P. T. Barnum

Meditation Point #91

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing

In order to take one must first give.
I’m not going to offer any insight on this one, you need to figure it out for yourself…

Meditation Point #90

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing

Live the question now.
Perhaps, then, someday far in the future,
you will gradually, without even noticing it,
live your way into the answer.

— Rainer Maria Rilke
To often we obsess about the the question when the problem is we have not experienced what we need to or learned what is necessary in order to answer the question. Sometimes it is best to take a deep breath, trust yourself and let the answer come to you. That is the path to solving all of life’s hard questions.