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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A 1st degree black belt in recess.

I always told the kids class that “they don’t award black belts for recess. Cause anybody can do that.” The biggest awards are reserved the stuff that’s the hardest to do. Marathons, The IronMan, Ultramarathons, Nobel prizes for science or medicine, the list goes on. Each of these endeavors had many moments of doubt, moments when the way forward seemed wrong or without merit. The people on these adventures all had a “midnight hour of the soul” when they were utterly alone with their pain, fear and uncertainty.
            Wow, so it seems that if you want to do something special on this Earth with the little time you have, that you will absolutely meet up with pain and anguish. In fact, unless you running headlong into fear and discomfort on a regular basis, you’d better check your pulse, you just might be the sleep-walking dead.
            The time is ripe at this very moment to make a decision. Do you know what a decision is? It is the removal of all other paths but one. Decide to face a fear today. Decide to take a step you have avoided. Decide to learn something to remove some specific ignorance. Decide to explore your own weakness. Decide to see your life experience and position as a result of your own behaviors and past choices.
            Remember, black belt (or higher degrees of black belt) is worth getting BECAUSE it is hard. It is worth having BECAUSE not everyone had what it takes to get one. By definition it means that there will be difficult parts on that journey. Difficult doesn’t mean “not as much fun”, it means difficult. So suck it up, it’s what you came for and what makes it worth staying for.

If you want to face one of the greatest challenges of your life, come to a seminar that will challenge everything you believe about your world.
Byron Katie ( will be at Unity Church on Monday at 7PM. Check out the event calendar on her site. In her site, go over to the “turn around house” page and click her picture to see the video I filmed during her last visit.  I can tell you that apart from Grandmaster Sin, she was one of the most genuine, PRESENT people I have ever met. I got spend 4 hours with her and she was 100% the person I met in the pages of her books and on her CDs. It is rare that a person can live up to your expectations. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Limiting beliefs

Here is a great quote
If you don't change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good?
W. Sommerset Maugham

Everybody usually gives some lip service to change. In fact, the holiday of New Years is dedicated to that empty practice. However, we are the sum and result of our beliefs. Our lives are the consequences of those beliefs carried out over time. When was the last time you changed your beliefs? Some would say that changing your belief is akin to a lack of integrity or character. There is nothing further from the truth. Your beliefs should be based upon perception of reality and discovery of fact. It is impossible to live your life, day to day, and not be exposed to NEW facts and NEW realities. Strict adherence to the opinions of the past, or to attitudes you developed in your teen years, puts you at odds with reality and at war with the changing world. The only way you can avoid altering your beliefs over time is to ignore everything that doesn't agree with your current belief. That is embracing ignorance and THAT is poor character.

"A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." The Sounds Of Silence
Paul Simon

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The 80/20 rule

IN the first few years of Kung Fu, a person must jump many hurdles to stay the course. In Kung Fu class, those hurdles are 80% physical and 20% mental. As time goes on this shifts towards more and more mental challenge. However, Tai Chi is the opposite. The majority of the challenge is and always remains weighted to the mental side. Every Tai Chi student will acknowledge this fact, but when they practice they are very often consumed with the details and demands of the physical. When are they going to tackle the mental hurdles? Unless a person works directly on a challenge they will not see long term success.
     When I direct the class to focus on being aware of their surroundings, their own body, their breathing, theiir posture or even something more abstract; the present moment, I can sometimes feel resistance from some of the students. I know that striving to get every detail of the physical movement down would be easier in many ways, but it would not be an internal art. If you are not comfortable pursuing these kinds of concepts, then you will certainly be miserable in my Tai Chi class.
     If you are resistant to doing every form with a focus on the mental state during practice, then you will NEVER achieve anything more than the mastering of the physical moves. If you agreed that 80% of the hurdles are mental, then when are you going to start jumping those hurdles? You can wait until you are an advanced rank and then feel guilty and scared due to your lack of inner mastery, or you can start the very next time you bow and start a tai chi form. Remember this can also apply to external martial art or even Karate forms.
Your choice, your future.