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Topics - Enlightenment

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1
Hello and Goodbye / leaving...
« on: September 10, 2004, 06:33:41 PM »
*points to title*

I know you're all bitching, "no, not another fucking leaving thread"..well, yeah.  I've come to realize I have a loooong ways to go on my path--and I need to do some self-searching.  I do not see myself going anywhere in this community, I dont see myself expanding my abilities if I were to stay here; so I am leaving.  This leave was probably expected by some--as I had been thinking of doing so priorly.  But..right now, I have alot to get figured out; and I have alot of problems on my own..so it isnt so much the community but myself that is the cause of my leave.  I..have alot of inner issues and I have to deal with those accordingly--I trust this will be understood by the community.  This is my last post on the Academy.  I do not believe this place to be useful to me any longer.  As well, the only person writing articles on subject matter is Prophecy presently--and although I was interested in magick..I do not think I am ready to try treading that path.  I am going to stick to QiGong and soon will begin to dabble in Yoga.  I presently am best off staying away from the computer in general, due to personal problems.  I will post somewhat on TNM if I get the chance...so users there can look forward to a post or two from me.  I know that I was being considered for a Moderator position; and heard talk of a supposed teacher position from other members.  I would like it to be known that I hardly consider myself able to handle either position--especially that of a teacher if I really was being considered for that or not.  Veritas has helped me somewhat on my way, and I thank you all for plesant experiences and memories that I will keep dear.  If any of you still wishes to contact me..my contact information is as follows:

YIM (yahoo instant messenger): kung_f00l_411
AIM (aol instant messenger): ch1ld0fth3k0rn41
MSNMSGR handle (msn instant messenger): Unforseen_Tragedy
e-mail address: fighting_irish_411@hotmail.com

thank you for your time..

in the words of the Buddha,

strive on with diligence

2
Main Hall / My essay on American Hypocracy.
« on: September 03, 2004, 12:26:48 PM »
Disclaimer:  I do not push this off as fact, just observations I have made through conversations with people all over this country, via websites, instant messenger programs, phone conversations, letters and such.  This is my personal opinion made through observational study.

Hypocracy in America: The seemingly never-ending cycle
By Zakk Brown, aka Enlightenment

   Each day, as Americans we contradict ourselves.  There is an inherent paradox in all of us.  We are all hypocrites to some degree--and you may not think so, but look inward at your own actions, and you will see what I mean.  The essay, "Americans" by John Steinbeck gets out the points that I wanted for a long time truth be told, to get out--just didn't have the words for.  To be an American in this day and age is to be young, be it at heart or in age--to not care, to be wasteful, to be lazy, to be the cause of our own problems; this is as one normally steriotypes a young person--yet almost the whole world steriotypes Americans as this.

   Americans, for example, claim to be open-minded and not hateful; this is the so-called "land of the free", however homosexuality is outright condemned as being wrong.  We claim to be a place of understanding with regards to differences--yet we are treating a choice unakin to the norm in sexuality as a disease.  Family fundamentalist organizations condemn the union of a male and a male or a female and a female, as being against the bible.  Well, I wasnt aware that religious freedom only meant freedom to chose which religious path you wished to tread--if I am not mistaken, it also means that one is free from being controlled by other's religions.  Isnt that why the puritans left England?  To escape religious persecution, to escape being told what to do by someone who does not believe in the same religious principles as you yourself do.  This is an outright contradiction of what this country innitially stands for.  It was said once, that a citizen of the united states is entitled to: Love, property and the pursuit of happiness.  If you fell in love with someone--regardless of gender--wouldnt it make you eternally happy to have a civil document stating that you are together until you chose not to be; together forever as long as the love lasts?  One would think so.  Oh, but this country isnt full of too many people who are willing to support their cause either.  You may think it is..but honestly..just pay attention to what alot of people, age regardless have to say.  A good 80% of them will say that they support homosexuality and gay and lesbian rights--however when marriage is brought up..they bust out the bibles and start a-preaching.  As well, the common term for a homosexual, gay, is now considered a negative adjective; think about it--how many times have you said something bad that happened, and someone replied "aww, that's just gay."  It is rather apparent this country is one full of hypocracy, let's continue on to the next way this is apparent in today's society, shall we?

   We also claim to be ever-so prolific in our ability to promote peace, yet we must always find some way to do it via violence.  We claim to be such a respectful nation..yet what happens when we become angered?  We wage a war!  Because that just seems to solve all the problems--not.  Think about it, when 9/11 happened, did president Bush once say "we will end terrorism peacefully, without giving into the terror and violence ourselves."?  No--he waged the 'war on terrorism'.  Maybe people havent realized it yet, but violence is not always the answer.  Violent and/or negative actions only breed negative and/or violent actions in return.  If you throw a rock at someone, they will probably beat you up or just throw one back.  I am not saying that we should not defend ourselves, I'd be quite the hypocrite if I did--one talking about hypocracy apparent in the united states, and being a hypocrite in the sense that I am a martial artist, but that is not the point.  This is also not to say that no bad things will ever happen, because that is impossible--there will always be the cases of Sadism in people, or Massochism; those two disorders alone being enough to further agression and violence till the end of time.  I am just saying that violence only breeds violence--anger only breeds anger--negativity in general, only breeds negativity in return; if you do not respond with that negativity, then there is nothing anymore; if you defend yourself you are not responding with negativity, you are letting them know you are not one to mess with.  We as a country could have retalliated to the threat of terrorism by sifting out those terrorist killers through intelligence and hard work, instead we tried to pin the problem onto Saddam Hussein, we invaded Iraq and liberated it--or as far as liberation can go by American standards; and the guy who sparked this whole powder keg, the man responsible for this whole mess is still on the run.  What I am saying is, if we responded this way, the enemy will eventually get tired, lose, be found (in this case), or they will see the wisdom in not feeding a fire with hot coals--instead dousing it out with water.  

   As well, we claim to cling to the old traditional ways--the patriotism of days past.  However, we tend to forget the words of the father of our country, George Washington.  He told us not to get involved with foreign entanglements.  That they would be nothing but trouble.  Yet we constantly find ourselves being the police force of the entire planet, doesnt that seem a bit odd?  It seems this is apparent in alot of Americans who seem to enjoy sporting the title of a 'proud American', however when it comes to filling the shoes--they just dont cut it.  Americans these days try too hard to fit the appearance; as a country we are obsessive of appearances if you think about it.  The constant celebrity crazes, the never-ending fashion conflicts, the unnecessary diets, the newest way to shape up.  It seems to me to be one big beauty contest, with the vast majority of the people of this country.  Whether it be with politics or with fashion--America as a whole is full of sheep who are easily lead around.

   Which brings me to my last point for this essay, we claim to be such a skillful, conservative, right-wing fundamentalist nation.  But yet none of us really are all too skilled.  As the essay by John Steinbeck states, "almost all of us own an automobile--yet hardly any of us know enough about them to know to check the gas if the engine fails."; this guiding logic is apparent in alot of areas, not just automechanics.  We claim to conserve so much, yet we run out of natural resources seemingly faster than we can find them.  Wasnt it just a few years ago we were having an oil problem, near crisis, because of a shortage in the middle east?  So we decided to find another area, and drill another pipeline.  The only right-wing fundamentalism I see going on is negativity (e.g.-going against homosexuality, as well as more or less forcing religious beliefs down others throats)--there is no pushing of the "love thy neighbour" or "thou shalt not kill".  Now, I am no Christian, but I once was, and as such I remember some of the commandments. As well, the only things we conserve as a nation--or as far as I've seen--is respect for one another.  Respect for one another's cultures, their sexuality, their beliefs, their personalities--in essence, what makes them, them.  

   I know, I was once this way as well.  I have changed myself..but I suppose for every one of us who does change, who does understand that certain things dont work; that decision does matter--no matter on how minute a level; that understands the mainbase of what it was to be an American versus what it is to be an American now as a whole, there are two who just disagree or do not wish to be involved.  I understand that there is always going to be opposition--however it should be apparent to most that the ways we have been going about changing them have done nothing but cloud our judgement, cause us stress, leave us empty inside, and out-and-out ruin our lives.  I dont know when this world will end, but it is obvious this cycle isnt seeming to stop anytime soon, maybe it will strike us when we take so much that there is nothing left to give; or when we wind up policing around the wrong nation, who knows?

Disclaimer:  I do not push this off as fact, just observations I have made through conversations with people all over this country, via websites, instant messenger programs, phone conversations, letters and such.  This is my personal opinion made through observational study.

3
Martial Arts / Introduction to the martial way
« on: September 01, 2004, 07:03:32 AM »
Introduction to the Martial Way

By Zakk Brown, AKA Enlightenment, with additions by Frozen.


   To begin, I would like it to be noted that I am not a master.  I have only a meere 9 years of martial learning under my belt; so if I am only touching on subjects that others believe to be more conclusive if I were to elaborate further; then I apologize.  I do not claim to be a master of martial arts, I do not claim to be even close to that--I know I have alot of fighting experience, so therefore I am able to speak from a knowledgable viewpoint as far as practicality is concerned..however compared to others, I am meerely a novice in the martial way as far as my years of experience *points above*.  With that being said, I would like to begin to piece together what I hope to be a very constructive and useful guide to the newbie of the martial way as to how to go about things.  This is not, by any means, a do-all end-all guide to finding 't3h l337' martial art.  It is the artist that makes the art, not the other way around.  This is just to help point someone who is interested, but..possibly confused as to how to start off.  Now then, let us begin...

  • That myth uncovered...are martial arts practical?
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   I'm sure you've all heard this before.  And the answer is..it depends on how much time you are willing to invest.  You see, the martial arts..on their own, are useless, and are nothing more than..heh a dance.  If you really think about it, no one martial art is perfect, no one path is unpaved with obstacles.  Overcomming them is the hard part.  I am sure you have heard from people, however, that martial arts are unpractical, not useful in current real life sittuations.  And my response to that is...well, it depends on the practitioner.  I mean, if you are unwilling to spend the time to perfect a technique, and look at it from all possible vantage points as far as it's strengths and weaknesses, then yes..the technique could very well be useless.  This is not to say that ancient techniques dont work; just..that with time, things change.  And as such, a certain technique may take more time for you to develop it's usefulness and practicality.  No one way of fighting is invincible, every one of them has strengths and weaknesses.  THIS INCLUDES STREET FIGHTING.  So one cannot say that street fighting is the do-all, end-all to fighting.  A street fighter is usually only good if he/she has intimidation, strength and fear on their side.  You see, street fighting is in essence, a polar opposite to martial arts.  The martial arts were created over time, it was a slow process and with the creation of each style, each method; the good and bad was recognized within each system.  Whereas street fighting was really (as far as I know) only around since the mid-to-late 1950's, during the greaser period.  Street fighting, really, is meerely very agressive fighting.  Now, all fighting, in essence is agressive because it is fighting!  lol.  But..street fighting, I should say, is moreso barbaric and brutal than martial arts.  Street fighting, includes, but is not limited to: head butting, knee strikes to the face, chest, and stomach; elbowing in the back, tackling, mounting, etc.  Street fighters are bastardly known for the mounting process.  This, is the act of rushing in to your opponent, generally throwing your shoulder into them, and taking them down.  From here, you simply begin hacking away at their face with punches, slaps, whatever.  That is the only real viable technique that is different completely from martial arts.  

   Any street fighter who tells you martial arts wont work against street fighting is wrong.  You see, martial art is kind of like a pet.  If you treat it well, it will become beautiful and it will protect you.  But if you just ignore it's needs and mistreat it, it will be weak, stagnant and not useful in the least bit.  To be a good martial artist, one must understand that the martial arts are not about kicking everyone's asses.  They are about learning more about yourself, they are about building from within.  Through diligent study, work, practice, trial and error, the martial artist sifts from what he/she learns the bad from the good.  He/she realizes what will work, and what will not.  A technique that will not work for you, should be discarded completely.  This is not to say that if a technique meerely 'doesnt feel right' it should never be used; but that if you have experimented on numerous occasions, and yet you still have yet to see any practicality.  Then, and only then; may it be discarded.  The martial arts are about promoting peace, both internally and externally.  They are about realizing that..say, if someone is getting on your nerves, that you cannot just kick the shit out of them.  Regardless of if they bother you or not.  One must rise above such petty things as insults, for they are only that, words.  This is something that you will learn eventually as a martial artist; that you are to promote peace.  The martial arts are to be used for self defense purposes; they were not created in the mentality that you are just going to fuck --everyone who pisses you off or just generally looks at you wrong-- up.  One must realize that the techniques you are learning are not for any other purpose but to defend yourself, they were not created to be weapons of destruction, but rather, a way to find and again, promote peace.  Just becaus the martial arts are ancient, does not mean that they are impractical.  That being said, onto the next myth...

  • The next myth...all martial arts are oriented around a certain religious paradgim..
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This, also, is another thing that is both true and untrue at the same time.  It really depends on where you practice.  One must bear in mind, that most asian martial arts were created upon the principles of religious and spiritual growth from within.  As such, the further one goes into learning, say..Kung Fu, the further they will realize that alot of the techniques and teachings are from a Buddhist perspective.  Ninjutsu is another one; certain ninjutsu schools have been known to teach Shintoist principles.  One must analyze the history and teachings of the martial art they are going to practice before they get into it.  Alot of martial arts that are of Indian and Asian decent are spiritual; and as such, if you are a devout Christian, chances are Shaolin Kung Fu is not for you.

   This is not to say that martial arts are some sort of mystical, spiritual cult.  Just that the traditions and origins of the brainchild of ancient Chinese, Japanese, and Indian martial masters were --and are still to this day-- kept sacred over the many centuries past.  There are alternatives if you are not willing to divulge into another religious and/or spiritual paradgim other than your own.  One must meerely search relentlessly.  If you are willing to look hard enough, you will find what you are looking for.  I cannot meerely describe a martial style that is unattatched; for certain styles meerely because of who is teaching them presently in your area, are attatched to the founding beliefs that they (the martial arts) were created upon.  For example, if your teacher for Pentjuk Silat is a firm believer of Indonesian religious beliefs, and wishes to teach them to you..you will either have to learn, or leave their school.  It is that simple, as your teacher, they are allowed to impose suggestive religious themes onto you.  Now then, onto another myth...

  • The next myth...the only good martial arts teachers are ones with ethnicities of that art
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   I am sure you've heard people say "only asians can teach karate", or "unless the school has someone who looks asian, I'm not going!".  Both statements are that of absurd and complete stupidity.  How could the martial arts be subjective to ethnic decent?  They can't.  Now, I am aware that alot of very good martial art schools are in China and Japan, however, that doesnt mean that a white guy cannot teach just as well as someone who learned and grew up in those areas.  Again, it comes down to understanding.  How well did your Sa Bom Nim/Sifu/Sensei understand what he/she was learning?  How well did they pay attention when they were a lowely white belt?  How well did they progress?  All these questions and more, are what you should ask yourself while learning.  You see, if your teacher has 40 years under their belt, yet they do not have a concrete understanding of what they claim to 'teach', then how can you trust them with your money to help you learn the martial way?  A teacher/student relationship should be moreso about a bond than anything else; it should be about love and understanding.  And no, I am not talking about romantic love; but a friendship kind of love.  A feeling that they can turn to their teacher for guidance on certain issues if need be--even if they are not subjective to the martial arts.  There should be a feeling of welcoming, a feeling of open and kindheartedness within your dojo/dojang/kwoon.  If not, then I would advise you to walk away.  Which brings me to the next point.

  • How to spot a McDojo...
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   Firstly I will explain WHAT a McDojo is.  A McDojo, is a martial art school that is created simply to make a profit.  The teacher there will generally not be very welcoming, or open to you.  They will also jack up their prices to an amazingly high amount in little time.  As well, McDojos generally are known, to push the belts.  Now, belts are nothing more than a piece of cloth, they mean NOTHING aside from experience and devotion to what it is they are/were learning.  Black belts are no better at fighting than you are.  They just have shown more devotion to that one set path or style.  If they are obnoxious, and unable to defend themselves; then they have failed at both perspectives of the martial way--internal and external growth.  Now then, that being said..the following is comentary exchanged in paragraphs between myself, and Frozen about martial arts schools.  As well, with a follow-up from myself on McDojos, and my own personal analysis on the styles that I have practiced.

  • The Conversation...
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Spartan62: Does anyone that uses chi and martial arts a lot in training ever use it in actual situations? In my area there aren't any places where things like this take place (chi schools etc.)
Frozen: Chi schools? You mean a dojo. Just look up like... "Karate" or "Martial arts" in a phone book, and see what's there. If you want to work in chi, then check out some internal martial arts. There are a billion of them where chi and Martial Arts are mixed together. Post what you find or just ask someone. We'll help you out in picking a place to go.

~Frozen
Spartan62: Cool, there is a weaopons class and a tae kwon do school near me but that is it. ( I am a first degree black belt, and I actually earned it unlike some of the loser school around here, it took me almost nine years and a lot of hard work to get it too I NEVER FAILED A TEST woot!)

Enlightenment: Firstly, if I were you, I'd try to look elsewhere for a martial arts school. Possibly in the outer cities, or anywhere within driving distance. Most weapon classes that are unnamed, and just called 'weapon class' are utter shit and generally are *NEVER* going to help you out on the streets if you really had to protect yourself. Speaking of martial arts that are hard to make work for you on the streets...let's talk about that Tae Kwon Do school nearby you. As my Jeet Kune Do Sifu says "taekwondo schools are like little chinese restaurant chains, they pop up in areas where people dont know jack shit about the subject area, then they charge horrendous prices and leave you penniless, with a bad taste in your mouth; because generally it *isnt* real chinese food, just people immitating the part." That's just it, most taekwondo schools are nothing but cash cows. They pop up in areas where nobody really knows that much about martial art. From here, they just do fancy moves that are eye pleasing whenever someone shows up in person, and taekwondo is KNOWN for that, the high flying flashy air-fairy kicks. I should know, I am a first degree black belt in taekwondo as well, and I must say that I HAVE made taekwondo useful for fights..but you can ask frozen or anyone else here who has done so..it takes alot of work and figuring out to make TKD work in real fighting, not to mention you really have to have your technique down or it's pointless from the get-go. It is incredibly hard to do so, and you're far better off in a martial art that is actually useful. Now, I am all for the phrase "the artist makes the art, the art doesnt make the artist", however if you are learning a P.O.S. art, how can you gain much from that experience? Another risky thing taekwondo schools tend to be bastardly KNOWN to have...CONTRACTS *evil music plays* dun dun DUNNNNNN....yeah, contracts. They'll get you saddled in for a multiple year contract, for two reasons. One, to make a fuckload of money. Two, because they *know* what they are teaching is shit and wont help you out in real fighting, and they get you saddled in because you pretty much have to stay there until the howmany years you're signed up are up. From there, you'll probably be a blackbelt, and people will think "oh, she's/he's a blackbelt, that school must be really, really good! ^_^." and they'll take their kids there, and they'll get saddled in as well. And the hiddeous cycle will keep going and going and going. Which brings me to my NEXT (yes, there's quite a bit more to this post) point.

Secondly, the belt means nothing, so even though it says you've shown that you can put the time into martial art, a black belt is only that: a pretty black piece of cloth around your waist. Don't understand yet? I'll explain. Basically, what I am getting at is, the belt is meaningless. If you get into a fight, is that belt going to just magically come to life and start bitchslapping your opponent or something like that? Fuck no. If you get into a fight, your opponents dont give a flying fuck about whatever belt you have, they dont care what style you practice. And if they do, chances are they are weak willed and you could manipulate them so you didnt even have to fight in the first place, which would be the best solution. Unless you are doing martial arts solely for competition's sake, any school that presses a belt around as the do all end all, the ultimate achievement, will just provide comedy relief on the streets, fighting-wise. The belt, is meaningless, I've seen white sashes (belts) who could fucking pwn all of the other black sashes in my kung fu classes. It's really who can respond better that decides the outcome of a fight. If your opponent tries a cross to hook combination to your face, and you bob and weave out of the way, then uppercut them in the stomach area, then knee them in the groin...THEY'RE FUCKIN GONE. It wouldnt really matter how long you spend in your dojo/dojang/whatever, just how you respond to things. You see an opening, you take it, that simple.

I have more to add, but I have to go now, when I get back, expect an add-on to this.

Be Well.

Frozen: (What he said)

One, TaeKwonDo makes me want to puke. It's not a good martial art to begin with. You basically have to have flawless technique and reflexes to succeed in TKD. After a month you're like, two belts from a black belt in most TKD dojos... Not mine, but I've seen kids with 3rd degrees that are like 5 and trying to do all this jumping back kick shit... Yeah. Go ahead... try and jumping back kick me while I'm standing up. So what I'm ONLY a first degree, I'll still grab your fucking foot, twist you around, slam you onto the ground and THEN when you start getting up... THEN I will jumping back kick you lol. Most TKD places are generally, (lol Kouji) McDojos. TaeKwonDo can sometimes be good for you. It was my first martial art, it was a "pay as you go" plany thing... and I went for seven years before getting my black belt. Merf. TKD is generally tournament shit. Along with No-Contact classes and sparring matches where you have so much padding on that you can't lift your foot above your kneecap. I would recommend that you begin with a different martial art, and then take on TKD if you want to. I've been looking around for new MA places near me, and I found this dojo about an hour away. I saw a uh... advertisement for it and I was like O.O. There's this local instructor who I've met a few times, and he works under a direct student of Dan Inosanto. I was like AHHH! So I went, and watched a class. I spoke with a few of the older students and they were all like, "Yeah... this place is great. Not too expensive, and they teach everything you could imagine. Like six different kinds of MA's." I'm starting in a few months. Gotta get the cash first. What I'm saying is that you should look into your schools. Go ahead and watch a class. Speak with some people from there. Investigate it... then choose.

As for belts... Here's my opinion of belts. They're pretty pieces of fabric that get in the way during EVERYTHING, are wayyyyy too big sometimes, and smack you in the legs when you're sparring. Belts are just for showoffs. People don't need belts to show rank, they simply need skill. Believe me... About a month after being a black belt in TKD, I was paired up with a white belt kid who had studied Kung Fu and a few other Martial Arts. The instructor at the time had told me to, "Take it easy." Yeah... I got thrown, kicked, and smashed up against the wall so many times it wasn't funny. It was the best fight I ever had there. We fought for the entire 2 hour class. He gave me a bloody nose by accident and I gave him a black eye. We were both suspended for head strikes. Yeah... that was the last time I set foot in that dojo. I sought out somewhere better. And yes, after four months on the "pay as you go" system, I was... as E has named it, "Saddled." My advice to you, is not to judge a book by it's cover and make sure you're going somewhere worth going.

~Frozen

Enlightenment:
I'll just further this from where Roz left off. Well, to put it bluntly, I am going to use this post to help you realize what a McDojo is and how to look out for one, because there are a FUCK LOAD of them out there. I will then analyze the martial arts I have practiced and or do practice now so you have a brief understanding (at least from an ex-practitioner or continuing practitioner of said art). So let's begin, shall we?

First off, McDojos. Yes I'm sure you are well aquainted with that term by now. What is a McDojo you ask? A McDojo is a martial arts school that will pop up like a McDonald's fast food chain. Now...we all know McDonald's is bad for you, neh? We all know compared to real food, McDonalds is nothing and will probably hurt you in the long run. It is the same with martial arts. A McDojo offers everything the easy way. Instead of telling you that you have to keep working on a technique, they will probably say "that was great!" and you can tell when what you're doing is shit. Every time you see a technique practiced or you practice one yourself, think to yourself clearly (because you are always your best critic), "will this actually work, will this actually help me if I ever have to fight?". For example, if you see someone preforming a kick, and the kick is aimed any higher than the stomach level, I can almost guaruntee that alone should be a warning signal going off in your head that it is a McDojo. Also, fast food is getting increasingly expensive these days, and you can tell by the price and paying system of the school. Think to yourself, are they trying to get me involved in an activity and lifestyle (martial arts is a lifestyle), or are they trying to sell me a product? Are they trying to help you be able to defend yourself, or are they trying to get you saddled in? You should be able to tell by how they articulate themselves in their speaking. And if it doesnt appear to be a sales ploy, ask them to let you watch a sparring match between the 2 of the highest ranking students that are available there at the time. You should be able to tell by how much padding they use, and how they fight. From the get-go, you should be able to see openings in their techniques. If one throws a punch, is it a good punch, is their guard up? Are there minimal openings (because no defense is fool-proof, no attack is ultimate), or are there gaping obvious ones? If one of them throws a kick, is it a spinning kick? Is the kick flashy and unnecessary? Does it require turning around? If the answer is yes to any of the questions regarding the kick...then just get up and leave. Why? Because...any idiot knows you dont turn your back in a fight unless you are moving REAL fucking fast. Want to know why? A punch to the kidneys hurts like a fucking BITCH, as does any other hit to the internal organs, which just happen to be poorly defended on your backside. As well, they could just choke you from there if you arent fast enough in your spinning. Because any idiot knows that a flashy kick wont work, what's the point in looking pretty when you fight if something else will get the job done better and/or quicker. Do you have to turn your back (e.g.- the back kick), then the same principle applies. By now you should understand my point. As well, how old are the black belts there if they offer belts. If they do, how old are they, are the black belts age 11 or below? If so...again, just get up and leave. Why? Because a black belt generally means you have spent AT LEAST 7 or so years in your school. Now I know I have said the belt means nothing, but hang on for a second to hear me out. I am not being hypocritical, however this will make plenty sense. So here goes, a black belt or just a highest ranking student in a school is an expression of how well the school teaches. And you can be able to tell if it is apparent in more than one of them if you cant with one, that the school is bad at teaching. There is an old saying that makes plenty sense, "If the student does not surpass the teacher, then the teacher has failed". The student is an expression of the teacher. If the teacher has been pouring absolute shit into the student, then how can the student know otherwise? If the student has been around for about 8 years...and is horrible at fighting still, doesnt that indicate that the teacher isnt one you'd want? Think about it, if they are that dedicated to have stayed there for that many years, then do you personally think that they didnt pour their entire heart into what they are learning, and as such if they are horrible, then it is a screaming indication that the teacher is probably that of a less than decent quality (to be nice...something I hardly ever am, but meh.)

Now, second point: The martial arts I have practiced first, then the ones I still practice. The second list will have a few additions obviously, and a few things taken out.

Past Martial Arts Training:

Shotokan Karate- Experience 5 years. Belt Rank- Red
Judo- Experience 8 years. Belt Rank- First Dan Black
Tae Kwon Do- Experience about 7 years. Belt Rank- First Dan Black
Aikido- Experience4 months. Belt Rank- White

Current Martial Arts Training:

Xingyiquan- Experience about 4 months. Sash Rank- None
Judo- Experience 8 years. Belt Rank- First Dan Black
Liu He Ba Fa- Experience about 3 months. Sash Rank- None
Northern Praying Mantis Kung Fu- Experience about 4 months. Sash Rank- White, soon to be Yellow
Wushu Weapon Forms- Experience 2 months. Sash Rank- None
Hung Gar- Experience 5 months. Sash Rank- Yellow
Pak Mei- Experience 5 months. Sash Rank- Yellow
Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do- Experience 1 month. Sash Rank- White
Shoi Chiao- Experience about 4 months. Sash Rank- White
Chin Na- Experience about 4 months. Sash Rank- White
Pentjuk Silat- Experience about 2 weeks. Rank- Beginner
Kali/Escrima- Experience about 1 month. Sash Rank- White

Now then, I will analyze the past ones for you, so you have a better understanding of where I am comming from.

Shotokan Karate-

Strengths: Explosiveness, weapons training, overall fluidity.
Weaknesses: Lack of practicality, arial attacks.

Judo-

Strengths: Powerful, fluid, excellent overall.
Weaknesses: Lack of attacks outside of grappling.

Tae Kwon Do-

Strengths: Class is very disciplined.
Weaknesses: lack of practicality, fluidity, explosiveness, WAY too many arial attacks, moves only made for competition's sake.

Aikido-

Strengths: internal training, good exercise, practical
Weaknesses: takes quite a bit of mastery to attain noticeably street-worthy results.


Present Training Evaluation:

Xingyiquan-

Strengths: excellent interal training, movements rather easy to learn, many fluent combinations.
Weaknesses: very philosophical and may take a long time for the average student to get the hand of, formations hard to remember and very complicated, needing much training and practice to make it street-worthy.

Judo-

Strengths: See above explanation of Judo
Weaknesses: See above explanation of Judo

Liu He Ba Fa-

Strengths: excellent internal training, movements easy to learn, very fluent, an add-on to Xingyiquan and other internal styles.
Weaknesses: very hard to handle at first, movements seem out of nature and/or akward, movements take much training to be street-worthy, extremely philosophical, and needing relatively large amount of knowledge in at least one of the following internal styles: Xingyiquan, Baguazhang or Tai Chi Chuan.


Northern Praying Mantis Kung Fu-

Strengths: practical, useful, explosive, fluid
Weaknesses: hard to get at first, although with time it becomes second nature.


Wushu Weapon Forms-

Strengths: fluid, graceful, good way to learn how to handle chinese weapons
Weaknesses: VERY hard to make practical, takes much training and alltogether VERY VERY high maitenence

Hung Gar-

Strengths: practicality, fluid, explosive, intelligent in overall approach to fighting
Weaknesses: movements may seem akward at first to newbie practitioner

Pak Mei-

Strengths: fluid, practical, intelligent in overall approach to fighting
Weaknesses: tends (in my opinion) to use too much of a fighting from a defensive position persepective; and is hard to assume the attacking role with Pak Mei

Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do-

Strengths: fluid, practical, explosive, intelligent in overall approach to fighting
Weaknesses: it is very new, and to some may feel akward.

Shoi Chiao-

Strengths: same as Judo
Weaknesses: same as Judo

Chin Na-

Strengths: same as Judo
Weaknesses: same as Judo

Pentjuk Silat-

Strengths: intelligent in overall approach to fighting, practical, concept of using entire body as a fighting tool
Weaknesses: may seem akward to others and may freak out parents/guardians as far as the uniform goes, but as Amgard (forgive me for misspelling your name, it's 7 AM and I have yet to sleep...just cant yet.) pointed out the uniform may be different among schools.

Kali/Escrima-

Strengths: intelligent, practical, fluent, including weapons
Weaknesses: stressing the reliance on weapons, only weapon taught is the kali stick fighting.

Hope this is helpful, because it took me a LONG time to type, as well I was/am still tired as fuck...bye.

Be Well.
   
  • Conclusion
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   I hope that this has served to be a helpful guide into the martial arts for any of you beginners out there.  Hopefully you will now understand things better, and be able to from here create your own decisions as far as where you intend to go on the path of the martial way; or if it is even for you.
Be Well.

4
Projection / run-in with Christ via meditation and almost an AP.
« on: August 31, 2004, 08:45:20 PM »
ok, so the title says it all.  When I was meditating today, in the seated full lotus position, I started to feel vibrations and I felt warm all over.  Now, despite that I have been meditating for a long time--if for nothing else than just to relieve stress--I havent once ever astrally projected.  To be honest the thought never interested me until today when I was reading Solstice's articles on psychicbody.com.  So while meditating after my workout today, I felt vibrations, heat and then I started to lose consciousness.  It felt like I was dreaming, and..for a very brief moment, I saw what appeared to be Jesus Christ; I cannot explain how or why, but I did.  His presence was very immenant, I felt his energy vibrating rather strongly and quickly, and I heard "Hello, my son.".  At this point, I felt myself get alot more warm than before; and I felt his hand and saw his hand stroking my cheek, smiling at me.  Then it all dissapeared and I blanked out for a few moments, then opened my eyes and I was in my room again.  From here, I felt really cold, got up and got something to eat.  This was...Really, really weird.  I'd like to hear all your thoughts and opinions on this.  Anyone else ever experience something like this?

Mods: feel free to move this to spirituality or other; I wasnt sure where to put it, so I figured since it felt like it was almost an AP, to put it here.  *runs back to the Martial arts forum*

Be Well.

5
http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com

that website is full of articles and the guy who writes them makes alot of sense, although he is rather biased against the martial arts, I feel reading them will give a much needed wakeup call to the 'net warriors' who claim that martial arts will save them at every turn.  Martial arts are very useful, and I am a very devoted martial artist so do not get me wrong, I just agree with him that it is not wise to think that spending how many years at a dojo/dojang/whatever to get a certain rank will mean anything, and that we must look at our training with a sense of realism.  Because face it, we all probably have started martial arts for the purpose of self defense.  Well how are we going to defend ourselves if we are up against a thug who doesnt really give two shits about our well-being?  We cant unless we use insight and realize things for what they are.  A criminal who is trying to kill you is just that, and must be treated that way.  I've seen plenty of newbies here try to IM me saying they have the key to self defense or they are the 'l33t n1nj4 h4x0r', while their techniques may be potentially deadly, they are useless if they cannot apply them.

I just wanted to share this website, as I stated, I feel it is a much needed wakeup call for many newbies here.  This is NOT to discourage people from the martial arts, it is to help them gain further understanding of what it is they are training to be up against.

Be Well.

6
Main Hall / Eternity?
« on: July 20, 2004, 09:29:45 AM »
Eternity to me has always been an interesting subject.  Although at the same time, it always kind of freaked me out.  I'll elaborate a bit, I always thought that all things would have to have some sort of an end to them.  I never, ever thought that we would continually be 'aware' I guess is the best choice of words, although we would always exist for you cannot destroy energy and you cannot destroy matter, just move it or change it.  

I do not think we can be aware of what is around us forever, maybe I am wrong in my thinking.  I do not claim to be knowledgable in much of anything outside the fields of psychology, philosophy, martial arts, and just art (self expression IMO) in general.  I have what I would call 'average' knowledge outside of those bounds.  However, I do have theories and beliefs on certain things (I *AM* human after all  ;) .).  I havent read up on any ancient belief systems saying this will or that.  Because I think that is really a thing of opinion, as far as what eternity really is, and where we go (and yes this somewhat does entail religion into the mix).  I want to know all of your, the people of Veritas', opinions on this issue.  So, post away, I hope to see some good points made ^_^.

As well, I dont know if this is a discussion already made, I searched the forums and didnt find anything so I hope not :\.  This has just been something that's been always on my mind, always there, so I'd like to see other people's opinions on the subject.

Be Well.

7
This is not an article, rather a debate I wish to start, on things that once deeply confused me.

ok, so I shall begin the discussion.

I am a christian, yet my beliefs moreso correlate to daoism and zen buddhism than anything else.  This was due to how self-sufficient and whatnot I became through the martial arts; and how through my training, my skills became more than just movements to fight, they became as Bruce Lee says "tools to destroy the ego", I now have a rather deep understanding of the philosophies of the kung fu styles I practice.  I very much so like how things have gotten, I do not wish for them to change.  I have reached the skill base where, in my articles I had only thought I was touching base with.

This being, in a fight..being completely calm, free of all distractions, disturbances and whatnot.  I cannot explain how I did it, I just did, whilst I was going through my class in Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do.  I remembered many of Bruce Lee's (the founder of Jun Fan, if anyone didnt know) words in the book "the tao of jeet kune do", and everything began to click.  Not just in Jun Fan, but in every other style I practice (Xingyiquan, Praying Mantis, Liu He Ba Fa, Shoi Chiao, Wushu); I grew a very deep understanding.

Now then, after that is all explained, I wish to start the debate and see you people's opinions.

Debate Topic:
Is it possible, to be self-sufficient (something that is against teachings of the old testament if memory serves), to bring forth your own peace through teachings of other philosophies (something also against old testament teaching, relying on the human understanding.), through martial arts (another degree of self-sufficiency), and still remain to please God, in all of your opinions?

I know not if I worded this all correctly, but I tried   :p

Be Well.

8
Martial Arts / Pain
« on: July 01, 2004, 12:25:33 PM »
Pain

By: Zakk Brown, AKA Enlightenment

   Pain, what exactly is it?  Pain is a response nerves give off when they are trying to tell you a certain area of the body is in danger, that is a simple approach to the definition...well, as far as physical pain anyway.  Emotional Pain is another thing entirely, it is the act of feeling hurt, due to whatever reason, loss of a loved one, ending of a relationship, whatever the cause may be.  People will feel both kinds of pain, although, at least in my view, one is harder to neutralize than the other.

   Emotional pain, to me, is nothing but a meere thought process brought upon when your feelings are hurt, again for whatever reason.  So, in my view, shruging emotional pain is alot easier than it is to neutralize physical pain.  Everyone feels depressed at one point of their lives or another, nay, sadness is something we all feel.  Now, being hurt emotionally brings forth many bad emotions, not just sadness; although sadness is the main one that most people feel more than any other.

   Physical pain, however, is like I stated the body's warning signal that it puts up every time you are in harm's way physically.  So, how does one go about overcomming this?  Well, there are really 2 approaches that I know of, aside from complaining that it hurts :P.

   One: To simply endure the pain, persevere through it and develop a tollerance, to somewhat embrace it so that your body can get a feel for the pain, and it wont hurt you as bad next time.

   Two: To close your eyes, breathe properly (in with the nose, out with the mouth), and then calm your minds, and quickly realize that there is no pain, your mind is just panicking because there is a disturbance in your body, something harmed your being and your body is telling you this; but that is all, the rest is caused because either your body anticipates it and your minds are nervous and full of anxiety for the pain, causing it to hurt more because the nerves are racy due to your nervousness; or because your mind becomes frustrated with the fact that something hurts.  In either case, you neutralize it, and you calm the nervous and frustrated mindsets, and realize that there is no pain, just warning signs going up due to your body being in harm's way.

   Or, you /could/ follow my personal approach to begin neutralizing pain, and that is to first follow the first method, so that your body develops a tollerance, making it easier to neutralize it later on once you have become moreso adept to the pain; and from here, follow the second approach, and neutralize the pain, seeing it for what it really is, just your body's warning sign going up because of a disturbance in your being.

   To me, this is one of the more important things to not lose sight of, especially during a fight, due to the fact that your pain threshhold can sometimes be the determining factor in a fight if you approach an opponent who is absolutely equally matched to yourself.  It is said that everyone, has a twin in this world.

   That is all for now, hope this helped, and refer to my articles on calmness, water philosophy, self-confidence and fight psychology; those 4 especially, of my articles will help you.

Be Well

9
Other / Assertion, and lack of it in today's society.
« on: June 28, 2004, 01:50:17 PM »
Assertion

By: Zakk Brown, AKA Enlightenment

6/28/04~

Why must people so incessantly be focused on attaining happiness through material possessions, or popularity, society's acceptance and whatnot.  The norm steriotype for these attributes is that of a teenager, yet these characteristics carry forth onto adulthood; and 7 out of every 10 teenagers has them to begin with.  Well, firstly how does one go about analyzing where and how these traits start?  Simple..if you want a blatant example, then think of it this way..when someone criticizes you, do you take it increadibly seriously (e.g.-thinking "er..maybe I should change"), remotely seriously (e.g.- thinking "maybe I should modify my technique a bit.."), do you accept it for what it is, a way to build upon yourself, or do you simply shrug it off completely (e.g.- thinking "they're fucking retarted..), if you think that it has alot to do with your quality as a person; then chances are you have somewhat of a weakness emotionally, perhaps an insecurity built up from whenever, be it childhood, puberty, going through the teenage years, or even beginning in adulthood; in either case it matters not, the point is is that a problem was started.  

   Now, how exactly do you create a solution for this problem?  Well, you could do what alot of people do, and go to a specialist, or if you cannot afford it, then simply try to think about it analytically yourself.  How, exactly did this problem begin?  You most certainly do have memories of virtually everything that happened to you over the course of your years, some people I know are able to pull out memories from a few days after their birth even.  You firstly analyze the sourse of the problem, and from here you try to extract all possibilities of a solution, and possibly a way to cope with it from these memories.  Think of it this way, if you were bullied most of your life..you can locate when the problem started.  It was probably something relatively small, like allowing people to take money from you when you were in 2nd grade, because you probably had a rather passive nature.  Passive people are generally the ones to be hurt the most in life, due to the high amount of rude, cruel, assanine and hurtful people.  There are certainly more obnoxious people than there are decent.  But I am straying from my point to an argument of morals, something better left for another article.  There is nothing wrong with being assertive of yourself.  In fact, it is a very good thing, otherwise you will be quickly overrun by people who are obnoxious in nature.

   Instances of lack of assertion generally are what creates this build up of self pity, woe, lack of self confidence and whatnot.  These will generally entail a good portion of one who is passive's existence up till now.  Correcting this is key.  Now, to correct this, one must analyze what happened exactly in every memory you extract from yourself in those memories... let's go with the story about being robbed in 2nd grade.  They took money from you, and you did virtually nothing to stop it, maybe said "stop it" but they laughed and did it anyway.  You probably built up a bit of anger towards them...but then you let it go.  You figured since they wouldnt listen to your pleads to stop, why would they respond to anything else you may do to stop them.  So from here, you begin the spiraling behavioral pattern of being weak emotionally, and allowing others to walk upon you.  From here, you continue to be bullied for a few years, and by now you have gotten quite a reputation for being the one everyone picks on.  Everyone in the school knows you are relatively harmless, so it just gets worse.  You probably have a few friends, but even they, will pick on you from time to time..although if you complain about it to them, they will generally excuse it as just joking with you.  But, the problem is, is that you do not see it as that..and your mind further will associate getting picked on with your nature, and you will continue to take the abuse, be it physical, or psychological.

   This lack of retalliation on your part against the abuse, will spark a process of your mind getting used to the depression, lack of self confidence and other horrid emotions that follow the abuse.  Your mind will associate this all with normal behavior, making it harder for you to continue going on.  You see, nobody can continue this way of life forever, the mind eventually gets sick of it, at least in every case I have seen, which brings me to my next point.

   There comes to be a point when you get tired of it, and you try to counter-attack, when someone cruel tries to harm you.  However..now it has become such a drawn out thing that you cannot respond without getting MASSIVE distaste for your retalliation.  People have become so used to your lack of retalliation before that fighting back to them is unacceptable.  They will not accept it, and if you strike back at them..they will probably go harder on you.  This will, as you probably know, continue until you continue pushing at the opposition.  

   Once you get them to lay off, and prove that you were a force to be reckoned with all along, people will tend to be turned off by your presence.  This is something you have to shrug off, because you will have worked rather hard to get where you are, they have no right to tell you to stop.  You have just as much of a right to assert yourself as anyone else does.

   People will pick on you for whatever reason, and it really again matters not because the bullying is the problem, not the reason they do it.  People tend to be very opinionated, especially when they are in massive groups; in their bullying.  The more people, the more opinionated they tend to be, as well as they have somewhat of a family-based mentality.  They look out for another, and you standing up to one of them will usually result in all of them comming down upon you.

   Although there is no need to fret on this.  People will be people, and people come and go, if you are insulted by a group of people; and they are intollerant of your wishes to be equal to them, then you simply find a new group of people to hang out with.  There is NO reason to hang around with people who treat you badly, unless you for whatever reason get some kick out of being abused, in any context of abuse.

   Self-assertion is very, very important in this day and age.  With the rising amount of people being cruel to one another, generally out of fear.  And there has, and is, a rising amount of fear among people today.  Mostly due to the mass-social paranoia sparked by the events of 9/11, and whatnot.  It starts like I said in small things.  People get paranoid of terrorist attacks, and the possibility of it happening, so they mistreat others out of confusion, fear and lack of knowledge.  I see it all around me, every day.  And then, because of that there is a growing hatred toward middle easterners, and then horrible atrocities such as the events of the Lynndie Englang scandal happen, why? because of the hatred many americans feel towards the middle-easterners in general.  Something most readers of my article know I feel strongly against.  And it's not /only/ due to 9/11, it has to do with alot of things that go on in today's world that spark fear.  Although the war on terror and whatnot seem to be one of the more large contributors to such states of mind.

   Through the thick clouds of depression, self-doubt and whatnot, it is rather difficult to see the solution to the problems created by your own lack of self assertion.  The key to dealing with these events is, next time someone treats you badly, stand up to them.  If you think they are going to hurt you, take up a martial art or some form of self defense; and then stand up to them.  There is always a way to deal with harsh people.  And chances are, the big bad bully who everyone is intimidated by, isnt that much to begin with.  Most of your problems are brought upon by your own mistaken thinking; be it in lack of self-assertion, or in insecurities of your capability to defend yourself, stress, depression, lack of self-confidence, or whatever it is.  The problems once you can see them for what they truly are are virtually nothing.

   Finding inner strength, is something that should be far more relished than getting a new possetion to fill the void you feel due to being treated badly; or getting society's acceptance for whatever it is.  They are just that, things and opinions.  Things and opinions you do not need, nay not in the least bit.  That new video game, that person's support..they don't really matter.  Sometimes, you just need to build up inner strength before you depend on things/people from the outside, in fact you NEVER should have to depend on anyone but yourself...but if you ever have to, you should look within before outside for the help you so desire.

Be Well.

10
Body Energy Arts / Self-Confidence
« on: June 27, 2004, 01:12:47 PM »
another article of mine I dug up from my archives that I havent shared yet..Enjoy! :).

Self- Confidence

By: Zakk Brown, AKA Enlightenment

   Confidence, what exactly *is* confidence?  Is it belief in the self, is it knowing what you're capable of, is it being sure of your abilities, or is it all of this and more?  The importance of confidence is, that it holds the keys to victory in a sittuation of self defense.  Or rather, it is one of the major 'key-holders', I have made another article that deals with Fight Psychology, one of those key holders I had been talking about.  Confidence, controls our real inner- power, because we could have the strongest body ever, internally and externally and yet still not be able to use it to its fullest abilitiy without confidence.

   Confidence is what allows you to be sure of yourself.  If you are not, then you *could* throw a very hard punch, but rather you'd be too scared of it doing not enough damage, or the opponent blocking it, whatever your thoughts may be, and you therefore would not have made the strike.  This is bad, for a number of reasons.  The first and foremost being, if you have not the confidence, then you should not be fighting in the first place.  If you cannot be able to believe in your abilities, even if the best in the 3 areas of the fight, you will fail.  If you havent the proper fighting spirit, then in the words of Bruce Lee, "lead a less aggressive life, or hire a bodyguard."

   Now, you all must be thinking, is there such a thing as too much confidence, and the answer is yes.  Too much  confidence can mean a dominant personality in life, it can mean lack of humbleness and respect for others, it can lead to what is known as getting a 'big head', being too sure of yourself to the point where you start to think you're better than everyone else.  It is a rather thin line to walk, in all honesty.  Because, as a martial artist, you will one day come to the point where you are so confident in your abilities, you know that no one can harm you, and that you will, somehow find a way out of harm to yourself in a fight.  The martial artist will get to this level.  I myself am, but if you let yourself think that you can beat everyone up, that is different.  

   How is it different you ask, a good question.  Well, for openers, the belief, the proper belief, I should say; is to know that no one can illict harm upon you, because you will not allow it, and will always find some way to overcome that.  The wrong belief, is thinking you can kick everyone else's ass.  This means that you are engaging in violent behaviour, mentally which will in most cases lead to physical application of this violent behaviour.  In this thinking, you go beyond just having alot of belief in yourself to having so much that you think it is your right to hurt others, because you are so confident that you know they cannot harm you.

   That's just it, the difference between a confident warrior and an overconfident asshole is the way they use their confidence.  In all reality, both have a relatively high degree of self confidence, and believe in themselves wholeheartedly.  The problem is, one will be content enough, knowing they cannot be harmed.  The other, will want to start harming others because they know they cannot be harmed themselves.  This then leaves them open for attack because they are so full of themselves that it is unhealthy.

   Unhealthy? yes, not just in the sense that if they acted like that towards most, they would get hurt rather badly, but also in the sense that they become to be rather obnoxious.  This in turn causes bad social health.  This as well, is bad for you.  Thee martial artist knows he/she is able to cause great harm, but does not, for they have ascended to the level of understanding in which they know that force is not needed, only in self defense.  They refuse to harm others unless they absolutely have to.  From here, the martial artist may live a rather peaceful life.  Unlike the overconfident one, who is most likely often getting into fights, hurting others and causing many to fear them, or just harm them..usually the two go hand in hand.

   In turn, this causes much bad fortune for the overconfident one.  The overconfident one must now deal with others fearing themselves being harmed if they meerely approach the overconfident one.  The ones that do not fear him/her usually are the exact opposite, they wish to cause harm to the overconfident one.  Depending on how the fight goes, the overconfident one learns a lesson from his/her getting their ass kicked; or they beat the other one up, and this only re-inforces their overconfidence.  From this point, we see  the overconfidence just running deeper into them, into a point where it is near-incurable.

   Overconfident people tend to be ruthless in their actions.  They usually care not for things such as ethics, philosophy, showing mercy and compassion to others, the environment, and whatnot.  They only care about how many people are bowing down to them yet.  Overconfident people will then using someone who doesnt bow down as an example to others even thinking about it, that they will be surely harmed.

   It is from here, that you, the martial artist begins to do one of a few things.  You either conform to them, and accept dominance out of fear of being harmed, you confront them or you leave them alone.  If you confront them, then you must keep a cool, clear mind.  Because any distractions will set you off, and you will not be  able to act accordingly to every attack upon your person.  This in turn will leave you to lose the fight, rather quickly I might add.  No matter how big the person is, no matter how strong they are, and no matter how fast they are, or how much they know, they will never be able to harm you if you can keep a certain mindset during the fight, one of the key pieces to this mindset is the inner-confidence, the inner-power.

   The martial artist if they do not fear the other person, generally can co-exist with them.  If they must get into physical conflict, they usually can defend themselves against the overconfident one, provided they do not lose the proper ideals during a fight.

   The emotional mind, the Xin must be free of all mental clutter and emotions towards the person.  If you feel anger towards him/her, you must surpress it and not allow it to exist within you.  Otherwise it will just become a contest of strength, as fighting whilst angry almost always becomes.  As well, frustration is something you must remove from your Xin.  If you are frustrated because a hit didnt work or whatever, you must also discard those feelings as well, or you will only continue to lead yourself down a path of failures in the martial arts.  Doubt is also another, which is somewhat related to Confidence really, one must release feelings of doubt from the Xin, or else there will be no confidence, only a strong lack of.  Think of these things as poisons to your Xin, you must keep the poison out of your Xin at all times.  The martial artist, must also have a clear Yi, or wisdom mind.  The martial artist must be able to focus clearly on his/her objective in the fight.  Then, and only then can victory be achieved.

   The only way I know how to boost confidence is to meditate, and this may sound funny, but...  go up to the toughest kid you know and talk to them, possibly argue even.  Make yourself not get intimidated by them, if you do then you have lost and you may as well end the conversation.  Try your best not to be intimidated by anyone's presence, try to focus moreso on tougher people; or people known to have a violent history.  Something about them intimidating, and focus on them, and try your best not to be intimidated.  If you fail in this, you will probably feel the normal feelings you do when you are afraid, shocked, frustrated, full of doubt, etc.

   Confidence is a major thing in self defense, and if the practitioner does not keep a high degree of confidence in themselves, then they will fail in their art.  This is something that can be disputed, although I am talking about the vast majority.

Be Well.

11
Other / An old article I wrote
« on: June 27, 2004, 12:57:52 PM »
ok, I wrote this a few months ago..dont know where to put it..so..enjoy!

Choice, and Knowing The Self.

By Zakk Brown, AKA Enlightenment

people make choices every day, some without even knowing them. you wake up in the morning, and you chose to go to school or your job or whatever, you chose to get ready or not to, you chose to make a difference or not to. people neglect choice and really dont understand the full meaning of it, choice is not to just..do something you want to, but yet from some peeople's perspectives, it may be. see, choice is belief, and belief is choice. you chose to beleive in something, and you put belief in your choices. the two coinside with one another. if you chose to be an atheist, then you will only remain an atheist if you put faith into the principle that there is no God, no higher being. confused yet?

ok, i explained it simply, lets try a more complex approach, shall we ^_^. you chose to hate someone, but why exactly do you? you dont really know, most people dont know and use the term hate so casually; as they do its opposite, love. people for the most part use both terms rather losely, that could be disputed, just not that well ;). take groups like the KKK, do they have a reason to hate...relatively everything now that isnt white? no, most of them just do because it helps them find comfort in knowing they're part of a group..because face it, for most people..if something is 'trendy' with their peers..chances are they're going to do it, no matter how stupid, immoral or unhelpful to themselves it is. do they honestly care? no, they dont..because they chose to follow the heard. the context of how you use those words is what really matters, because when it all boils down..how you use a word is really for the most part how it is taken by your audience. if you tell someone that you hate them..meerely because they outdo you in something, or have better fortune; pretty much out of envy..you're saying for the most part "i'm so mad at you for doing better than me, and im so frustrated with my own seemingly lower self worth, that i am angry with you to the point of wanting to kill you!!!" but do we really mean that, no we dont..we just mean that we wish we had their fortune.

but we cannot say that, no..sometimes the most obvious answers are the best ones. hell, even my old seventh grade teacher for writing, Mrs. Hammond told me that..that my first instinct will usually be right, those are words that since i have taken rather seriously. think about it, if you make a decision..there's usually a little voice in the back of your head, but chances are he only speaks when you're doing something utterly stupid. "you shouldnt do that..you'll only wind up harming yourself somehow" and all of you know that that voice is..eh, 70-90% of the time right. that little voice's name is your subconsious, and he/she is for the most part always right. i dont know how the subconsious works, and i really dont care to know either..because an accurate description of how it works cannot be fully derived, for nobody really knows how everyones' subconsious works, or will work in the future; so a 100% truthful answer cannot be derived, but i can..however help whomever reads this (thank you by the way for actually taking the time to read. :).) make the realization that they should obey their subconsious, and no it doesnt always speak in words..most of the time it will relay images or even hints or emotions of what will happen if you make the bad choice, and in all honesty..go with it, just to see what happens..if it tells you not to do something, then dont do it and see what happens..then think to yourself, what would have happened if you hadnt thought that way..think about it clearly, and know yourself..

Mazu jiko wo shire, shikoshite tao wo shire
'First know yourself, then someone else.'-Japanese Proverb

In all honesty, to know how to react to something, or someone..you must know who you yourself are first. you must dig deep within yourself and get to know..you! it sounds real hard at first, i know; and to some it may sound easy..so here's the trick: those of you who think it will be easy..it will be hard as hell, and those of you who said it will be hard, it probably will come easy to you with some practice..*notices people suddenly acting like its hard* heh heh...doesnt work that way.

having confidence in yourself is the key to knowing yourself, or one of them ^_^. but there is a difference between having enough confidence, and having too much..wha..? too much confidence??!?! yes i said it, and there is such a thing, being overconfident means thinking that you can do anything you want, and wholeheartedly believing in it, but not believing that you need to change anything presently to do it.

all for now,

Be Well.

12
Body Energy Arts / Calmness, somewhat of an add-on...
« on: June 22, 2004, 11:08:21 AM »
Calmness-
Somewhat of an add-on to Fight Psychology and Water Philosophy


By: Zakk Brown, AKA Enlightenment

   "Great Spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds"-Albert Einstein.

   
   Calming the mind, freeing the minds of distractions.  Keeping the Xin (emotional mind), and Yi (wisdom mind) clear is key.  A Xin, devoid of things such as hate, greed, anger, frustration, thirst for revenge, depression, fear, and doubt namely is essential to being able to defend yourself in a way that is unlike the way of the stubborn brawler.  Remember, the stubborn brawler acts in ways that focus on these actions.  Acting in pure anger, hatred, frustration; all aspects of the stubborn brawler's fighting style.  Now, remember, the stubborn brawler is usually the one who acts in ways that would be basically characterized as bully-ish.  The stubborn brawler generally has a dominant personality, and doesnt take shit from anybody.  That being said, when they get into a fight, they generally are very pissed off and do not care about your well being, or their own in some cases.  Rather they just want to beat the ever-living shit out of you, instill a sense of fear within you and remind you exactly who's the boss.

   A stubborn brawler, as I like to put it, generally will not have any form to their technique, rather they will simply try to bring you down as quick as possible, with the most damage done to you prefferably.  It may seem appealing to act in this way, but in all honesty, what will it accomplish?  not much, is the answer.  If you act as the stubborn brawler, then you will only continue to feed this constant stream of aggression that seems to be in constant these days.  You will never truely break the cycle and the aggression, dominance, the "I'm-better-than-you" ideaology, as well as the depression that follows.

   Stubborn brawlers tend to not be the most intelligent of people, they generally are rather weak minded, deep down.  They cannot cope well with stress and in most cases use aggression to vent it.  Stubborn brawlers are hardly ever martial artists.  And if they are, in a martial art, they still have not embraced the mentality one needs to be successful at the martial arts.  So in reality, they still are not martial artists.  Their 'style', if you can call it that, generally is just regular street fighting.  They embrace the few concepts needed to be successful in a fight, generally taught exclusively to the martial artist; but that's about it.  These concepts arent too complicated, they really are public knowledge if you think about it carefully; they're just...only hitting with the front two knuckles, never kicking with the toes..things of that sort.

   Most people, in general who arent stubborn brawlers have at least once in their lives feared one, they have known the way they act and they often are scared of falling to them in conflict of self defense.  Stubborn brawlers, even if they cannot back up these claims, will say things to enstill that sense of fear into their opponent.  Saying things like "I'll kick your ass if you don't stop; I can bench this much weight...I've been in this many fights...I kicked this kid's ass...yadda yadda yadda.", all things that generally would scare off any would-be opposition.  In all honesty though, it isnt that intimidating when you look at it from an intellectual standpoint.  Stubborn brawlers generally themselves have a fear of getting their asses kicked, but see this way of acting as the easiest way to stop those feelings from consuming them.

   People just dont generally act that way unless they're given a reason to do so.  And usually, it is the product of a bad emotion; namely fear.  This is not to say that hatred, anger, frustration, thirst for revenge, greed, and other bad emotions are not playing a part of this, because they most certainly are.  Just, in most cases I myself have seen, the beginning, or rather the spark that drives them to be this way is fear.  Now I have touched base thuroughly with fear, so I will not go into it; for further refference, check my article on fight pyschology, which has a follow up post by Talyn on the other emotions that cloud your minds within the fight.

   However, how they became that way bears not relevance.  In a sittuation of self defense, generally you are not going to think "Hmm...he/she may have had a bad childhood...." no, you're trying to defend yourself.  Which gets me back to the whole reason I started writing this article.

The meditation..

   Every day, when you feel anger, doubt, fear, frustration, hatred, depression, greed, and insecurity enter your being, simply clear your mind and dispell them.  Breathe in with the nose, out with the mouth; this is how you should always breathe anyway.  Clear the minds (Xin and Yi) and begin to try to create a sense of calmness and serenity within yourself.  Make it your goal to eliminate all disturbances in the minds.  By now you either have a clear mind, or just got moreso frustrate; if so, just continue, it may take a few tries.

   Harboring these emotions is very bad for you, no matter what others say to you.  Some may say that it is good to have these things, espeecially anger.  But how?  I mean, anger may be able to drive you, but then that anger will just stick with you, eventually leading to much frustration and MORE anger.  This will just make you run into more bad than good.  How to deal with this? simply enact that meditation technique, as well as try the very useful "escape from chaos" meditation technique that is on the POTA website.

   I consider this meditation to be most useful in the beginning of ridding yourself of bad emotions, not just in a fight but in all aspects of life.  You see, a true master of an art is one who can apply all aspects of his/her art in everyday life.


There is no Anger, there is no Pain, there is no Bad Emotions...

   Heh, I know..it sounds like something one of those old men from the kung fu movies would say.  But in all honesty once you reach a certain level of calmness within yourself, you will be able to realize that.  Notice also how I added pain in there; mainly because I have noticed in fights, when someone incurs serious pain upon you; you tend to get rather pissed off about it.  This also leads to your minds being clogged with bad things, such as anger (one of many many bad things), and common sense, and calmness go right out the window; and you soon become the stubborn brawler.  And in a fight, you WILL get hit at least once or twice, so allowing a bit of pain to ruin you like that is pretty sad.

   When you experience the pain though, just keep in mind, that there is no pain.  Yes, a crazy concept, I know..but, just think to yourself..there is a strike made at you, and that you have to persevere through it.  The pain you feel is just your body telling you how bad you are hurt.  Anything more than thinking this will just make the pain worse.  Because pain, is neurotransmission, pain is your body telling you that you are in harm's way.

   You must keep in mind that the pain is just your body telling you something, and that, is all it is.  Once you can overcome this obstacle..or even during just concieving the concept, you must be thinking..."Hey! what if you got kicked in the 'nads..or if you got cut; what if something SERIOUS like that happens", well then the same principle applies to this.  Your body is just at this point, more or less SCREAMING at you "SOMETHING'S WRONG!!! YOU'RE IN DANGER, YOU NEED TO GET SOME HELP!!!!" , it's just sending a moreso urgent message to you.  But that is all it is, is a lot of urgent messages being sent to you.  You musn't become overrun by these messages.

   Now then, the next aspect, the anger.  There is no anger?  yes, there is none.  You must keep your mind calm, and realize that there is no reason to be angered.  If someone has done something to insult you, unless it is a rather heavy insult, you can ignore it.  And if it is, in fact a heavy insult, you can always do something to show them that you are not a complete push-over, such as what the Iaido master in the story in my other article did, he caught 4 flies within his chopsticks, with ease, and then let them go; still a smile upon his face.  In the story, the men bothering the Iaido master never bothered him again.  So, instead you can always press onward beyond that all.  There is no need to get violent until they strike you first.  You musn't ever strike them, EVER until they strike you first.  By the time they had striken you, they had taken the possibility of you fighting back into consideration; and they do not care.  So, you simply fight back.

   Once you can get these states of mental ability, you will be able to overcome your opponent rather easily, and if you are skilled enough, with the least amount of harm to them (only if you are skilled enough.).  Projecting the intent is also a key concept, something I had mentioned in my original article on Water Philosophy; this is just an add-on to all of that.  

   For now, this is all.

Be Well.

-Zakk Brown AKA Enlightenment, 06/22/04

13
Martial Arts / My views on Fighting Psychology
« on: June 14, 2004, 07:26:42 PM »
ok, this is one of the things my summer's training has been focused upon, the mindset of training.  I will not be on often now, because my training has *finally* begun, but I will pop in every once in a while, to post articles like this, and to state my views, who knows..even talk in the chat once in a while before my training is up ^_^.

anyway, here goes..

                          Psychology In The Fight

                                    By: Zakk Brown, aka Enlightenment


   Now I am sure when reading the title alone, you think..."Psychology, in a fight?  You gotta be kiddin' me!"  Nay, I kid you not.  Fighting is 70% mental, and only 30% physical, another shocker I am sure to many.  But, it is true, however much you wish to deny it, fighting is much more mental than it is physical.  Do not believe me, then try fighting someone as if all you did were throw punches and just let your emotions and such fly free.  I am guarunteed you would find yourself in predicaments such as getting paralyzed with fear the moment a real battle ensues, or just having doubt in your abilities.  This is something that is not optional, you CANNOT allow yourself to fall victim to these common instinct factors when it comes to self defense.

   You could have learned from the highest shaolin monk, you could learn virtually every skill and had gotten a blackbelt in everything there was a blackbelt (or sash) for.  And still, if you hadnt the proper mindset training, you would fall to practically anyone.  This is a common problem for the current day martial artist, because despite however much love you may have for the martial arts, nobody, and I mean nobody wants to get their asses kicked, sorry, it's just a fact.  Nobody wants physical harm brought onto them in a sittuation in which they have to defend themselves.

   The mindset is key, and I cannot stress this enough.  But, what exactly can one do to ensure they keep the mindest, and aren't just working on something they'll lose sight of the second their dukes go up?  Well, the answer to that is simple, yet hard to comprehend for many.  All I can say is, you just have to do it.  There is no other way around it.  If you read this article, or even opened it up, that shows that you have some interest in the psychological aspects of self defense, which means you *do* want this, even if only to a miniscule degree.   So then, if you want something, you can attain it, granted it is not a crazy goal.  A crazy goal, mind you is trying to do a Dragonball Z-type attack (e.g.- the attacks when they scream like they're trying to shit their pants, then shoot a big lazer beam out of their hands, mouths, eyes, whatever.), a power up, trying to fly, etc.  etc.  THOSE are crazy goals, and if you have those, then you obviously aren't mature enough to grasp the concepts I am trying to teach to you.

   I say trying, because not everyone *can* and/or *will* grasp it, some wont, some will think I dont know what I'm talking about and some it just wont work for their style; 'work with their style'? what does that mean? you ask.  Well, some people's fighting style that works best for them is a crazed style (e.g.-drunken fist kung fu.) in which logic is purposely abandoned.  There is no need for logic in those styles because their strength is the lack of logic, they have the potential to throw a logical fighter off guard and then thrash them.  That is the goal of one of those types of art.  The ape style of kung fu is another example, however there is still logic in that style, to a relative degree of course.

   Anyways, back to the lesson I am trying to teach.  Psychology is a key point in a fight.  If you cannot keep a cool head during the fight, then what good is anything you learned, what good is any strength you built up, what good is any speed you built up, what good is *anything* you worked for in terms of self defense?  Nothing, that's what.

   All of that is worthless if at the moment you get struck you get scared.  Fear is a very, very bad thing to have during the fight.  It can paralyze you, almost literally to be honest.  If you get scared to a high enough degree, chills may shoot up your spine and you may find it hard to move out of the way of the strike even.  If this happens, you're Toast because then you fear your opponent, something that is hard to shake off or yourself.  Not to mention it boosts up their confidence, making it even harder to clear your mind long enough to forsake those thoughts of fear.

   Keeping yourself without fear of the opponent, wherever, homever they are at all times is good.  There is a difference between thinking rationally, and fearing things.  Fearing something, is bad for you because it is the act of being changed considerably psychologically due to the actions of another, when put into the context of a sittuation of self defense, anyways.  Rationally realizing there is a possibility of harm is a different thing, because that then you can work around to achieve your goal (e.g.- if your opponent has a knife, getting scared of it and giving into their will is fearing something; and rationally realizing the possibility of harm being at a considerable percentage, but still finding a way around it would be the proper approach.).  Fear enerally creates sittuations in which your problem seems 10 times bigger than it actually is.  If the person you're fighting seems so bad to you, and you just sit and think to yourself clearly, you will find that they arent as tough as they seem.  You then can rationally decide a way to deal with the conflict.

   For example, you enter a conflict and they throw a basic jab to your face level.  If you were fearful, you would probably hold your hands up and get scared, probably taking the full force of the hit.  As well as you would probably tense up, causing the hit to hurt even more.  If you had stayed calm though, you would see the shoulder's movement, to throw the jab, and put up your hands quickly.  You then would have pushed the blow over easily, and from there you could have done a reverse-wrist lock, and done numerous variations of combinations to that, one would be a shoulder grab linked to that reverse-wrist lock, then a knee strike to the groin area.  From there, you could take your other arm and dislocate their elbow, for it would still be in reverse-wrist lock.  From here, they would be clearly immobilized and you would no longer need to harm them.

   You get out, and they do.  The aggressor is harmed, yes but at least you are out safely.  In sittuations of self-defense, unless you are incredibly skilled, you will generally have to use intense pain as a negotiative skill.  For example, locking the leg when they try to kick you, in a painful lock so that they cannot move to resist, then saying "I'm going to break this if you dont leave me alone", chances are they'll be too startled to even think of harming you, should you release their leg.

   Anyway, now that I gave an example of how this is useful, I will begin to aid you in stopping yourself from getting these bad things to happen to you.  Before I begin though, I must warn you that you musn't mistake lack of fear for total fearlessness, for total fearlessness is stupidity at a high degree.  TOTAL fearlessness is basically thinking that nothing can harm you, and running into a car because you think you're tough enough to withstand it's impact.  A good degree of fearlessness, however is knowing there is a chance of harm, but not letting that get into your way, and logically finding a way around the car, if you absolutely have to get through.

   Now then, simply meditate upon this to begin with.  Meditate upon not fearing someone, and knowing that no matter how strong they are, no matter how fast they are, no matter how good their technique is, you can still overcome them, because you can.  Nothing is for 100% certain.  Does this mean you should get cocky about it and pick a fight with the captain of the high school wrestling team? probably not.

   What I am trying to teach you is to be modest in your abilities, to be confident yet humble.  You must only fight in defense, because doing so otherwise interrupts the delicate balance needed to succeed in having the right mindset to defend oneself.  If you are being thuroughly insulted, you must defend your pride, but on the same token you do not have to use violence to do so.  Only when you are being attacked, may you harm them.


   Once upon a time, in a Japanese bar
Three men were making rude comments towards their neighbor.
Their neighbor was known to be highly skilled in Iaido.
They wished to duel him, so they continued their verbal onslaught.
Until, the jokes got rather severe and deep-rooted.
The Iaido master, then quickly raised his chopsticks, and caught 4 flies by the wing.
He sat there, smiled and then released the flies.
The 3 men left scared, and shamed.
The Iaido master wasnt troubled by the 3 ever again.

   
   The moral of this story is that when being lightly insulted, you may ignore it, only when it gets to the point where it is severe, may you act.  And when you do act, act in a way that re-inforces your fierecness, and power; that makes them respect you, but so that you need not violence.  If they are still ignorant to your abilities, then ask them to stop, and if they ask you to force them to, then you do not.  If they throw a punch at you, then and only then may you strike back.

   Otherwise, you may as well stop reading now, and go off and continue being the crazed brawler street fighter type.  A martial artist who cannot see the wisdom in what I am trying to explain is no better than a stubborn brawler.  Anyone can punch, anyone can kick.  Anyone can learn an advanced system and anyone can gain physical strength.  Male, female; black, white, asian, latin; christian, buddhist, hindu, whatever.  Your differences matter not, you are able to accomplish all of this.  It is not something you are inable to do.

   One who can keep their confidence, yet not abuse their power is someone who surpasses one who beats them in any attribute of the fight, the 3 attributes of the fight include Speed, Power and Technique.

   If you can keep a cool head, then you may always find a way to outdo them.  Even if it is not there in front of you, maybe later on.  But it will come to you.

Losing this mindset is something that haunts, or has haunted every martial artist at one point or another, and if it hasnt yet, it will eventually.  This is just a common response to danger.  It is understandable, but it by no means, means we must accept it.  You cannot always make things go your way, but sometimes you can bend them a bit to add your own touch to them.

That is all for now, I hope you had enjoyed my writing, as I had enjoyed writing it.

Be Well.

14
Body Energy Arts / Shui (Water) Martial Philosophy
« on: June 06, 2004, 07:09:38 PM »
Shui (Water) Martial Philosophy

By: Enlightenment



"Be like water, because water is nothing, but when put into something, it quickly adapts to its surroundings, when water is added to a cup, it becomes the cup; when water is added to a teapot, it becomes that teapot, etc. etc., be like water, my friend."- Bruce Lee


   Water, why act as water? why would you try and immitate one of the elements?  Because water is fluent in its actions, water needs not worry about strength, water will always be able to overcome it's boundaries, because water can always parry an oncomming attack, redirect its movement and defeat its opponent with ease.  When you come in attacking, hurling your fists at an opponent, they can simply block the first hit, preform a reverse wrist lock, step over and throw you.  This is an example of the power of acting as water.

   People always think that strength is everything in combat, when in all reality it is second most important, out of the 3 necessities to a fight, and they are...Speed, Power and Technique.  When in a sittuation of self defense, Speed is the most important.  Why speed? because in a combat sittuation, if you are fast, you can dodge their hits before they make contact, you can keep a distance, and swoop in to strike a vital area quickly, then leap back into defense so you are not harmed.  Even the strongest man in the world will fall to a kick, knee strike, punch, elbow to the groin.  It is a good thing to have speed, but speed isn't everything.  Now comes physical strength, the power.  Power is second most important, because power not only makes for a good offense, but a good defense as well.  You cannot block every hit, 100% of the time; chances are you will get hit at least twice in a fight, now if you get hit and you have no strength to absorb the force of the blow, if you cannot take the hit..then the fight is already over, and you have lost.  You need physical strength to be able to take hits, and dish them back out.  Unless to a vital area, a strike is useless without power to back it up.

   Last but not least, technique.  Technique is very important when in a combat sittuation, it is what makes your strikes fluent, like water.  If your technique is bad, then all the strikes will wind up bad, you could even be as stupid as to kick with your toes, or throw a boxer's punch in a fight; bruising and/or breaking the toes and knuckles.  If you roundhouse kick and hit with any part but the instep, you will probably not cause much harm to the opponent, as you will to your foot.  If you are injured due to your own attack, it can harm many things contributing to your survival.  Failing a strike to the degree of hurting yourself by your OWN move may harm your self confidence, it may boost up your opponents; if nothing else, it will just hurt alot and dim your chances of making anymore good strikes.  Wonder why the REAL good martial artists are generally old men?  Because they have years upon years upon years of experience and time to build up good technique.

   These 3 principles work hand in hand, you need speed to deliver the blow, you need power to make the blow do any actual damage, you need technique to deliver the blow to the most efficient level, you need speed to evade their couter, power to withstand anything the counter does to you, and technique to counter their counter properly; and this could go on for paragraphs upon paragraphs upon pages upon pages.

   A haromony of the 3 common principles is key.  If you can keep a fair balance between every aspect of a fight, then you will have no problem defending yourself.  You cannot become weak, you cannot become slow and you cannot lose your technique.  If it gets to the point where your strength has now made you lose speed, then you have messed up.  If your strength is lacking because you relied too much on getting speed, then you have messed up.  And if your technique is horrible because you wanted to build strength and speed, then you have messed up.  You cannot defend yourself properly if you rely on one of the 3, or even two of the 3 principles alone, nay you need all 3.

   All 3 principles combined efficiently will allow you to parry an attack, follow up with a counter that is effective and dodge any counter they may have to your counter, et cetera, et cetera.  Water acts in this way.

"who will win in a battle between water and rock?, Water through perseverance and redirection of force will."

   One who acts like water doesnt rely on physical strength, speed nor technique alone.  Relying on one aspect of the fight is foolish, because there will always be someone stronger, faster and smarter than you.  You can never be the strongest, you can never be the fastest and you can never be the smartest.  You CAN harmonize your strength speed and technique to be able to defend yourself against someone who beats you in these attributes however.  You musn't allow yourself to become weak, slow or ignorant.  Because the moment that you do, you lose the essence of fighting like the water, you lose the ability to go with the flow, and you lose the ability to overcome the strong rock.

   Water can always overcome when the 3 principles are combined and used efficiently, no matter how the opponent acts, you can harmonize your skills to overcome the opponent.  If they attack with a stronger body than your own, then you redirect their power.  If they attack with a faster body than your own, then you reverse their movements.  If they attack with a smarter mind than your own, then you adapt yourself to their technique.  This must not be mistaken for yielding and evading, for it is neither.  Instead, it is parrying the attack, and following up with a well-timed strike.

   Because you cannot block all the time, you must be ready to instead act upon the opponent's movements, to rebound against their attack, using their energies to forge your own strike.  

Conserving Force, Instead of Wasting Energy.

   This concept is one I was introduced to at a young age, as far as the martial arts go.  I realized that making blind strikes in an attempt to throw the opponent off will simply not work, instead it is important to enact another principle of water, to be calm and fluent until the strike of the attack is made, then attacking with the full flowing force of a waterfall, tsunami, torrent, etc., etc..  This is both to conserve energy, and to make sure a strike is not wasted.  A focused attack is far more practical than a barrage of blind strikes.

   This requires a bit of precision on the part of the person trying to adapt water's tendancies, but worth while in the end.  It has to do with overcomming alot of primal instincts, such as the one to just rush into a fight, arms circling, throwing in as many blows as possible; this doesnt work.  You become the stubborn crazed brawler by nature, this is not good and chances are you will not be able to effectively defend yourself.  Now some of you reading my article may laugh, but I have seen plenty of these people...they talk all the trash they want and then when they get into a fight they act as a drunken brawler.

   That brings me to another point of mine, the psychological side of fighting.  Fighting is about 70% mental, 30% physical.  Alot of you will scoff at this as well, but if you think about it it's true, when you get into a fight you could be the strongest person in the world, and have nearly perfect technique, but if you have not the proper mindset, you will be overcame by nearly anyone, even an 8 year old girl scout :P.

   So, how can you change this?  Easy, you keep a cool head, you keep your Xin (emotional mind) clear of all distractions.  You keep your Yi (wisdom mind) focused and you keep your Shen (spirit) one of pure confidence, not overconfidence but with just enough confidence in yourself.  There is a broad difference between this kind of a fighter and an overconfident fighter.  An overconfident fighter will enter the battle as the stubborn crazed brawler, an overconfident fighter will treat others badly because they have the mindset that they will harm someone who doesnt conform to what they believe; in short, they are more dominant than confident.  This is something bad, and it is sometimes hard to distinguish the boundary line between overconfident and just enough confidence, walking too far on either side of the line is VERY bad for you.  How do you know, you ask?  Watch yourself, follow your actions and figure out if you are overconfident, or not confident enough.  Do you walk over people?  Do you let people walk over you?  Or do you do neither.  If you answered Neither, then you are just right.

   Now then, back to what I was saying.  You must keep a high degree of confidence, so high that it seems almost fierce to your opponent.  And believe me, if your opponent is already afraid to touch you, you have it in the bag.  There is a relatively low probability that you will be able to defend yourself once you are scared in the fight.  Not only does it boost their ego and make them stronger, it makes it harder for your mind(s) to focus properly on the task at hand: defending yourself.  Project your emotions, it's not hard to do.

   Many of you who are reading this article probably know what the traditional martial arts shout is, whether you call it a Kiai, a Kihop, a Gihop, or whatever; you know what I am talking about.  And no, it isnt just yelling.  If all martial artists were doing was yelling, then do you honestly think they'd last one class without getting sore throats and losing their voices?  Focusing on your intent, and projecting it outward is the way to preform a proper shout.  You keep your mind calm, and focus on the energy building up in your center, and as you breathe in, feel for the energy.  When you breathe out, focus on pushing the intent out with it, releasing the shout upon the energy and emotions you emit.

   Anyone can throw a punch, anyone can yell and anyone can kick.  These are things we all can do, but real talent is being able to stop a fight before it happens, and if a fight does occur, then real talent is ending it with the least amount of damage done to your opponent.  Now this of course excludes sittuations of life and death.  Anyways, the mindset is key to fighting.  If your mind is clouded by emotional baggage and insecurities, you will lose.  If your mind is unfocused, then you will lose.  If you are not confident, you will lose.  There are always exceptions, but I am talking about the majority of the outcomes.  Dont believe me? try fighting as if you fear your opponent, cannot think straight and have no belief in yourself.  Chances are you wont be too happy with what happened.

   Now what does this all have to do with water and acting like it in fighting you must be wondering?  Well, it has alot to do with it.  If you cannot keep your mind clear, how can you focus on acting like water?  If you cannot have confidence in yourself, how can your hits be effective?  You cannot accomplish these and the many other goals of one attempting to be like water if you have these kinds of problems.  Now then, moving onward, the intent of the blow is also a very important element of fighting.

Intent

   The intent of your strikes are critical.  If you can project the intentions of making the strike, then it will ensure an even further so lasting effect upon your opponent.  Next time you throw a punch whilst sparring, or even in a sittuation of self defense, clear your mind and focus on what you want to do.  Chances are, you want to punch through them and cause enough damage so that they wont get up, thus ending the encounter.  When breathing in, you slowly lead your energy to your fists, as well as through your midsection, breathing it in and out.  Focus on the intent with the shout like I said earlier.  When you let out the shout, punch forward into the opponent, breathing out your intent to punch through and/or cause harm so that they will not want to get up.  Project your confidence with the shout and let your intentions known.  They will most likely feel it alot more than a regular hit.  This wont work the first time, but practicing it will lead to better results.  For more information, see Kendamu's article on Kiaijutsu.

   When striking, think of yourself as water, be very calm before making any attack towards your opponent.  When attacked, reverse the flow of their attack.  When attacking, make the strikes fast but powerful and fluent at the same time.  This is adapting the "act as a calm, serene pool before striking; when striking act as a waterfall, torrent, tsunami, hurricane, etc. etc." concept.    
Adapting this concept is key to acting as the water.  Being able to adapt to any attack, but making your own attacks useful instead of wasting energy.

   Now then, once you adapt all of these concepts to your technique, I am sure you will see great improvements, as well as you will not need to fight nearly as often.  Projecting intent is key.

That is all for now,

Be Well

EDIT: had to fix a few gramatical errors ^_^'

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Martial Arts / any peculiar training tactics out there?
« on: May 30, 2004, 03:52:03 PM »
anyone have anything out of the norm, so to speak for sparring, and/or physical training?

wondering for my summer training

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