Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Mastering the Body in Martial Arts

Below is an excerpt from an article that Nic Asher's website. The full post may be read here.

I grew up loving Arnold. I lifted weights as a kid, played sports and practiced martial arts. I’d devour books and movies, watching hours of Bruce lee films and practicing my one inch punch on reluctant friends.
Quickly jumping from one sport or discipline to another, some would criticize me for not focusing and sticking to one thing. Unknown to myself at the time, this was exactly what I should have been doing. In fact, the more time I spent exploring different systems of movement, health, and training the better I got. At everything.
Think of it like this. If you want to write a song, but know only five words, you’re going to be in trouble. I was broadening my knowledge, and creating a strong base that would serve me very well in the future.
By stepping back and looking at the big picture, you can give yourself more freedom and room to grow. The ceiling is truly limitless and it’s completely up to you where it stops.

You Have One Shot. One opportunity.

You, my dear reader are awesome. Not only that, but you’re the proud owner of the most complex ‘machine’ in the known universe. Let that sink in for a moment… No really. The human body is a highly adaptive organism with a seemingly unlimited capacity to learn, create and express itself.
But there’s a problem…It’s too easy to neglect the body. In fact, if you look around any street in the western world you won’t see a mass of athletic bodies, moving with vitality and effortlessness. Which, by the way is the natural state of a human body. (If you don’t believe me go and watch some footage of tribes untouched by globalization.)
The problem isn’t laziness. It’s our genetics and a lack of knowledge. Quite simply, we’re born to be lazy. The world is easy for us now. If I don’t want to move much or eat healthy, I don’t have to and I’ll probably live to a ripe old age. This means we have to fight against our natural instincts to not expand energy. Without good reasons to do this you’ll lose the battle to motivate yourself.
Look, I don’t need to tell you that your body is degrading every day. And that you only have one. And that if you don’t know how to care for and protect your body that it may end much, much worse than you’d planned for. I don’t need to tell you all this, but I did, and its worth reminding yourself every once in a while.
Who owns your body anyway?

You are fully responsible for your body. So the question you have to ask is do you want to start the journey of real ownership. Do you want to commit to mastery? Knowing you have one body, that will one day be gone. I mean, at the end of the day nothing really matters anyway, we all die. By the way this isn’t supposed to sound negative. If you think deeply about it, you may realize that this is the ultimate freedom. You can do anything, or nothing, and it’s all the same…it is completely your choice.
Reasons For Physical Mastery

  • More energy
  • Ability to protect yourself and others
  • Complete physical freedom
  • Understanding of human nature (discipline, fear, success, failure, emotions)
  • Unlimited potential for play and creativity High levels of awareness and intuition
  • Deeper appreciation for life
  • Impressive feats of strength and flexibility
  • Knowledge of anatomy, training, nutrition and meditation, massage, injuries
And so much more…
Your body is an incredible vehicle for self-mastery, discovery and growth. From overcoming ‘impossible’ challenges, to understanding and exploring fear, creativity, and play. This all sounds great…But what exactly does mastering the body mean? And how do we go about this process?
The Big Picture

We human beings have a deep connection to learning and play. They are the building blocks of survival. Kittens will play for long periods, learning to hunt by chasing string. And dolphins, with coral. Not only that but within play is the ability to express our uniqueness and to share our art, which I believe transcends mere survival, touching on something deeper.
But we need to keep ourselves engaged. How do we do this? In one word. Progression. Our attitude should be a striving yet sensitive approach to continual and never-ending improvement. Or as the Japanese would say, ‘Kaizen’. If we approach the body in this manner, we are on the path towards mastery.

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