Monday, September 05, 2005

Finding yourself

The path along the Way is often described as a journey of self-discovery.
Although it can also be described as a journey of self-control and discovery of the innate whole of the Universe. One cannot know another until he knows himself. Abandoning preconceived notions of strength or weakness are paramount. Brushing your hair is optional.

"Meekness is great power under complete control."-unknown
In our context, one cannot become a competent martial artist without discovering those things about himself that he must strengthen and what things are strong. When one becomes strong, he or she has the moral obligation to exercise meekness. What's more, there is the duty to better others either through service or teaching.
There are a few things to consider when trying to discover yourself.
1. everyone has a gift- although you may not know what yours is, you have a gift and a special strength that may be unique to you! For example, I know a martial artist who has a very good sense of ground fighting. No one has ever taught him how to ground fight, he just instinctively knows how to do it.
2. find your gift- finding a gift is easier than it sounds. All one must do to discover one's own strength is test one's self. You will find out pretty quickly if you are a good high kicker just by trying it out. If you don't get it right the first time, don't beat yourself up. If you learn to do something quickly, that may be a strength to you!
3. find your weaknesses- while trying to find a gift you will eventually discover what weaknesses you may have. For example, I am not a good high kicker. Unless I practice a lot, I will never be good at kicking high. This is something that I know about myself. If I want to improve I have to overcome it. In the mean time, I shouldn't rely on high kicks in a fight.
4. work around your weakness- when you discover that you have a weakness, find ways to work around it. If you are like me and can't kick high, focus on working low or focus on punching. Everyone is different so it is crazy to assume that everyone is going to fight the same way. That doesn't excuse us from needing to make those weak things strong, but it means that while I improve I need to use other karate moves and methods to get my point across.
5. continue developing your strengths- if you stop practicing those things that are easier for you, pretty soon you'll find that what you think is easy to do has actually become a challenge to you. If you don't train it, you'll lose it. When I became a pacifist (it only lasted a year!) I found it to be next to impossible to remember how to do a kick, even though I had practiced for five years prior!


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