The core of talent in martial arts is not dependent on the presence of remarkable attributes but rather the absence of limitations imposed on yourself by society and your subconscious. Society and self-interference can hinder your mental, physical and emotional performance and the four principles which embody this lack of obstruction are non-resistance, accommodation, balance and the natural order. All humans are naturally born free of all obstructions, and it is only through external influences of society and our upbringing that we unconsciously develop these restrictions that stifle our development as martial artists.
These four principles can all be witnessed in the natural world and explained in proverbs with which you might already be familiar. Trees that bend in the wind are examples of the principles of non-resistance, a gentle stream that can cut through stone is a case of the principle of accommodation, life thriving in moderate cycles is an example of the principle of balance and the regular changing of seasons is an example of the natural order. Nature can reveal these principles in action, but they are all psychophysical forces that transpire both equally in the human mind as well as the human body. It is said that training in the martial arts is 50 percent physical and 50 percent mental, or as former UFC heavyweight champion Bas Rutten would say it is 100 percent mental as you have to use your brain to want to get out of bed and go to training. A connection between the natural environment, the human psyche and body that creates a psychophysical hurdle that can be overcome by the four principles mentioned. Including these principles in your martial arts practice will change your training from a mere repetition of physical movements to natural movements that are influenced by your mental state, energy and environment. Embracing these principles can lead to reawakening your learning abilities and create benefits that will be developed through martial arts that can transfer to your daily life.
The Principle Of Non-Resistance
The forces of life will impact upon people in various forms, yet the ways to deal with these effects can be broken down into four different ways. You can disregard these forces them and risk having accidents that are caused by your ignorance; you can attempt to resist them in a manner that is inefficient and turbulent uses of energy, or you can implement the principle of non-resistance and use these forces to naturally blend with and energise your life. H is like building a sail that catches the wind to cross vast distances or how a bird can use that same wind to fly or a fish that swims with the current. All are examples of working together and in harmony with natural forces as resistance is not found in nature but is constructed in the minds of humans.
“Non-resistance is the key to the greatest power in the universe” – Eckhart Tolle
It should be clarified that non-resistance is not merely passive inaction in the face of life events as anyone with a lack of motivation can resign themselves to do nothing of consequence. Rather non-resistance is actively cultivating a sensitivity and intelligence to discern and interpret life’s subtle forces and then be able to naturally flow with them in peace. Problems of day to day life can be handled using the principle of non-resistance, but martial arts training and competition will also benefit from this concept. Through non-resistance, you use an opponents movement to your advantage and you can understand your opponent is a teacher that will educate you on your weaknesses and help you to improve and better yourself. Redirecting an opponent’s force to use it against them is a common theme in martial arts and is an excellent example of the principle of non-resistance in action.
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Master Yoda
Unfortunately, most actions of humans are endeavours to push or pull on the river of life rather than flow with it in harmony, and this constant resistance is what causes physical and emotional anxiety. Anxiety or tension are subtle signals that something is amiss and should be carefully listened to so you can take responsibility for actions that may be causing this pressure and not resist by shifting the blame onto circumstances out of your control. The most common way a martial artist will experience resistance is by “trying” because the moment you begin to “try” you are immediately assuming a weakness to the challenge ahead of you, and this will cause tension. The tension created by “trying” is entirely a mental construct generated from trying too hard instead of flowing with nature.
“Aikido is the principle of non-resistance. Because it is non-resistant, it is victorious from the beginning. Those with evil intentions or contentious thoughts are instantly vanquished. Aikido is invincible because it contends with nothing.” – Morihei Ueshiba
A talented martial artist will never “try”, they will instead be smooth, relaxed, calm, confident and have a naturally continuous and flowing approach when training and competing. Trying to make or force things to happen creates turbulence and will be met with direct opposition, you can still achieve your goals by working with nature and flowing. Let things transpire naturally based on the complexities of circumstance and train without tension and resistance. For an example of this, consider placing a balance beam on the floor and walking across it and you will find the task relatively simple. But if you place the same balance beam across two skyscrapers you be in a different mental state that can cause tension despite it being the same physical task you have to perform. As soon as you begin to “Try” in martial arts you have created a mental opposition to your work instead of flowing, this psychological opposition will then create physical symptoms causing muscles tense and breathing to be interrupted.
The Principle Of Accommodation
Placing demands on yourself to encourage growth in training will need to take the form of progressive overloading where you repeatedly demand a little more of yourself than you are currently capable of dealing with comfortably. Progressive overload will require patience and the ability to tolerate repeated failures as you continually push yourself and take risks to achieve your life goals. Tolerance for failure will come with an intuitive understanding that each failure is an opportunity to learn and to make accommodations for these failures and lessons. To be able to build tolerance for your inevitable failures you must make your expectations realistic and achievable, so you know that with patience and continued perseverance you can achieve the goals you have set if you make your goals unrealistic and unachievable you will create frustration at your repeated failures.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
Martial arts training then becomes a process of consistent development through an incremental progression of practical and sensible demands of your body and emotions. The principle of accommodation is much similar to a bodybuilder who wishes to increase muscle the muscle fibres must be broken down over time so that they can grow back stronger and evolve over time. Or think of grinding a rock into the shape of an arrowhead, this can be achieved if you grind the rock slowly and with patience but if you attempt to rush it and grind the rock quickly you risk breaking it. The demands you place on your body, mind and emotions must be gradual and within your capacity, taking one step at a time and this is the principle of accommodation. If you ever find yourself asking if you can become good at a skill, thinking that a particular skill would be too difficult you are not embracing the principle of accommodation. These question to yourself will create tension in your body and chip away at any motivation you have to achieve your goals. Instead, you must look at the gradual demands you can place on yourself and start making the steps on your path to whatever higher goal it is you wish to achieve.
“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” – Morihei Ueshiba
The Principle of Balance
Essentially the principle of balance can be summed up by stating “Neither too much nor too little.” and it is a principle that can be used in every aspect of your daily life, martial arts training and body and emotion. For a martial artist, balance is seen by not moving too fast or too slow, not being too aggressive or too tentative and not being too far high, low, left or right. The balance will control the pace and timing that every martial artist relies upon to be successful, and this will also filter through to your mindset in training. Understanding balance in training will allow you to accept that you will have good days and bad days and not become frustrated or impatient with an unrealistic expectation that every day of training should constantly be “good”. This understanding will free your mental state from the dependence of your outcomes of any particular training session and instead leave you to focus on the practical process of training and realise that the cycle of good and bad days will balance itself. Training becomes a balance of body, mind and emotions and any days where your physical performance is not excellent should be used to pay more attention to your mental clarity and emotional stability.
“Everything too fast is not good but everything too slow is also not good. You need balance. That’s why I like martial arts: it always tells you how to control your body, your mind, your heart. Balance. Balance can keep the world’s peace. I think that’s a very good thing.” – Jet Li
A martial artist will become centred and in balance with your physical body, mental and emotional states all simultaneously and notice how they all affect each other and are interconnected. The opposite effect of this can be seen in an opponent who is mentally out of balance or emotionally upset as they become much easier to defeat. Upsetting an opponent’s composure is what some prizefighters look to exploit when they trash talk an opponent in an attempt to emotionally unbalance their opponent so that their physical performance also becomes unbalanced. Physical balance and emotional turmoil are like fire and water as they do not mix.If you spend too much time thinking about your emotional problems, then you will become unbalanced, but if you meditate on your balance, then you will get rid of your emotional problems.
The Principle Of Natural Order
The principle of natural order is understanding the continual progressive development and changes that occur over time. For instance, the four seasons always stay in the same order and a tree always grows from a seed and never goes from a tree to seed. These processes cannot go backwards and cannot be rushed; it is human nature to want to accelerate the natural order, and this causes our mind to race faster than life is capable of moving. Although progression in the martial arts can still be seen as an equation of both time and concentration where you can spend less time to make the same progress if you concentrate your intensity, it still must remain in balance at all times. Training too long and too intense will cause you to overtrain, which is where your body cannot properly recover from the stress you are putting it under. Also not training enough and without any passion will cause you never to achieve your goals, so it is something that must be balanced and follow the natural order. A great sign that you have a balanced attitude to training is that you are happy and have a sense of humour, as you understand that no matter what achievements you make in martial arts they will not matter in the scheme of the universe or on the scale of the cosmos.
“There is no quick way to grow a tree that is strong enough to withstand a storm”
If you ever find yourself thinking that you should be doing better or you should be progressing faster, it is a sign that your mental state is not in the natural order as the word “should” has no place in the mind of the martial artist. As with the word “Try” the word “Should” suggest you are dissatisfied with your current state of being and will cause tension and emotional turmoil. Time is better spent taking action on what you can control rather than spending time thinking about the way things should be which can eventually lead you nowhere other than into neurosis. To continue your martial arts training with the principle of natural order, you must look to always be happy with your training and keep the enthusiasm and inspiration of a beginner.
These four principles of developing talent in martial arts will help you with your enjoyment and growth of both your martial arts practice and your daily life. You want to balance between the positive and negative aspects of life and practice nonresistance with whatever circumstances life will bring towards you. Do not get stressed if things do not happen fast enough for you and realise this it part of the natural order and instead embrace accommodation and work on the process of achieving small goes and make continued progress. You will use all these principles to transcend illusionary self-concepts, break down emotional obstacles and develop martial arts talent.
Reference: Millman, D. (1979). The Warrior Athlete. Walpole, N.H.: Stillpoint Pub.
Yoga would be the most important part of any evolutionary or spiritual practice.
No other skill in the entire arsenal of spiritual techniques will do more for you than meditation and yoga. These are the core techniques.
In modern terms, it is sold as a new age de-stressing techniques but this is only a very shallow teaching of it.
The more you meditate, the more resilience you build up against the little stresses of life.
It has to be a constant daily practice like showering and brushing your teeth.
The discipline built through meditation could also be the most important part of keeping you on point in life.
The 10,000 things.
The attention overload of modern society makes meditation more difficult but also more important.
The concept in Buddhism of the 10,000 things is the idea of the infinite distractions that life throws at us. These are the 10,000 things that are constantly calling for our attention and pretending to be what matters.
Meditation is the practice of disentangling from the 10,000 things and re-engaging with your deep self in the non-distracted silence of your mind.
There are the external 10,000 things that beg for attention in the physical world, but you also have 10,000 internal things like emotions and feelings.
Meditation is establishing order in your life to overcome the monkey mind and develop single-pointed focus. The mind needs to be trained to do this.
Western culture does not have any mind training as part of its core curriculum or values; It is all focused on logical, rational and alert processes. But mind training will strengthen the mind to make it perform better in all th3se alert tasks. Basic mind training in the West would be positive thinking.
A lot of distractions that people become involved with are attempts to quiet the mind that can be achieved through meditation without any harmful side effects and a constant process instead of swinging from branch to branch to find new distractions for the mind.
Meditation is more than just relaxing. It is a set system of steps for achieving inner peace and ecstasy.
Gurus, Cultural interchange, Cults and the dangers of transference
Meditation can be practiced without any religious dogma. But the fact is from a spiritual perspective meditation has been practiced by many traditions as a direct route to God. This is true with Hinduism, which is the foundations of yoga.
In the traditional Vedic literature, it does say you need a guru to complete the path of meditation. This is when the path is considered to be started from a young age and would take decades to complete. We cannot get hung up on this and instead just throw ourselves into the process.
But a student of real meditation will need to see someone who is the finished product to know even what that is. This is especially difficult as the world is full of frauds and charlatans. Both in the East and especially in the multimillion dollar new age industry.
There are still many legitimate Hindu or Buddhist teachers who live in the west or travel to the west so it might now be easier than ever to gain access to these people. But remember they are just people and many gurus get involved in scandals and cult behavior. While we go to the east and do not understand Eastern spiritualism many gurus can come to the west and not understand western materialism and it causes problems for them. People are people.
All expectations need to be managed. IN our western traditions, we will already have a stereotyped idea of what a holy person should look like. This can sometimes mean the expectation is set as high as Jesus. In the eastern tradition, holy people are not expected to be perfect. Even big deal gurus will not be perfect. They may have brought their divine nature to the forefront but still this is not going to equal a perfect person. People are people. Consider a guru or meditation master as possibly someone who has more expertise in the field but not as an excellent teacher or complete human.
Of course, this gets tricky as the eastern tradition does promote surrendering completely to your guru. This is fraught with danger in the western world with so many charlatans running rampant.
People are people.
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yoganada
That being said a good starting point for an additional study if you are looking for more is the “Autobiography of a Yogi”. Gandhi was a student of this teacher. Of all places, this would be the safest place to start. He was not over the top; it was the simple cut and dry meditation. The organization was continuing the work known as the self-realization fellowship.
Distinguishing Vedic vs. Buddhist vs. New Age meditation and Raja Yoga vs. Hatha Yoga
This information covers Vedic meditation from the Hindu tradition. This is not the same as Buddhist meditation even though they are often thrown in together.
Hindu meditation posits that there is a core self that is covered by the personality and Buddhist meditation posits that there is n9 core self.
You do not want just to mix up a bunch of random meditation techniques as they all have specific functions and have different theological underpinnings.
Meditation has now been filled with common misconceptions about what meditation is from the modern western culture. It is not merely positive thinking, this idea came out of the new thought movement in the 20’s and made a resurgence with the secret and Oprah. Meditation is concerned with turning off the mind and not thinking positively. Meditation is not just sitting comfortably, burning incense, playing new age music and feeling good. This is play acting meditation, it may be calming, but this is not the hard-core work of meditation of shutting off the mind. The hard-core work of meditation is a lot drier and boring then what is popular and sells to the new age movement,
Hatha yoga, where the body is contorted into different body positions, is not meditation. There are lots of different Yoga’s, the exercise yoga being taught is hatha yoga. Hatha yoga is not even a traditional step in the meditation process.
Raja yoga , the king yoga, is the eight fold path of meditation. This is the real yoga and although it does contain physical postures these are for sitting still for long periods of time. Hatha yoga still has many benefits but it is not the hard-core work of meditation. Hatha yoga can still be a good base to prepare for entering into Raja yoga.
“Mindfulness” is now very popular in the west. This is used in many different things in different contexts. It is essentially a Buddhist technique of being aware of your mental processes. It is now used by corporati9ns and politically correct conversations. It is not the hard-core meditation of Raja yoga. Eventually corporations might start to say people are not being mindful if they are not doing their jobs.
“Spiritual materialism” this is a concept from Buddhism which will be brought into this course. From a book called “Cutting through spiritual materialism”. If you go to a yoga centre, a new age book store or anywhere people are studying meditation you will see people with all the material objects to denote themselves as being spiritual. This is all ego satisfying, you cannot dress yourself into meditation, you cannot buy the right toys or necklaces or books to bluff your way into meditation. Just because your brought all the clubs and clothes that tiger woods uses will not make you as good as tiger woods. The only way to get on an oath to playing better golf is to commit yourself to a discipline of practice like tiger woods. If you are attempting to achieve peace and emptiness you are doing yourself a disservice by trying to fill yourself up with as many different spiritual artefacts, both material and internal will be a disservice to you. The techniques of meditation of simple they just require a lot of discipline.
How to set aside the right time and space.
Establishing a meditation practice requires daily prate. It has to be a daily practice. The best time is when you wake up in the morning , but if you have to do it at lunch or in the afternoon you can. But in the morning will be best as you will not be distracted by the day or have an excuse to miss it. But the most important thing is to start a consistent practice and do it every day. Pick a time and pick a length for meditation and do it every day. You can start at five minutes and increase it over the weeks. You first need to carve out a time that you devote for yourself. The most important thing when starting is not how long you meditate for but sticking to the daily ritual and carving out the habit.
You will need a space that is dedicated and setup for meditation. In the same way you may have a desk setup for work so that every time you sit down you know you9are there to work, or your bed is there for sleeping, have a space setup for meditation. It can be corner of a room and does not need to be grandiose. Ideally it should be quiet and good ventilation. The best thing to sit on is just a folded up blanket or a basic pillow, Feel free to put thing that are inspiring to you in your meditation space.
The best meditation posture is cross legged on the ground with a straight back. If you physically cannot do this and you have to use a chair it must allow you to keep a straight and upright spine.
A simple clock to keep time of your sessions may be needed and you may like to keep a simple journal of your practice.
First limb of yoga – Yama
These are the moral scriptures of yoga. This is the type of life you want to be living to be a yogi. This is to be living a non-chaotic life. A simple and calm existence. You can look up the specifics of what was written but this was in the 14th century.
A stable income, a stable living, a stable home, live a good moral life, speak the truth. Lead a moral and upstanding life as much as possible. The practical reason for this in regards to meditation is if you live a shady life you are giving yourself many more worries to weigh down your mind.
Lead a relaxed, moral, non-crazy, non-chaotic life. Boring is good Boring externally but a free mind full of ecstasy. Go to bed early, wake up early, eat well, have healthy relationships, work a job. Get rid of chaos. These are basic tenants of a Yogi to make the meditation practice easier.
You can also just look at living a life that is most in tune to you that will lead to a drama free life, In your case a boring existence may create some drama, so just look at living a chaos and drama free existence,
Second limb of yoga – Niyama
This is really z list of don’ts if you want to practice meditation. Can be summed up as don’t do bad or immoral stuff. Don’t cheat, lie, steal or kill. These will all create disturbances in your mind to deal with.
Don’t do stuff that weighs on your mind and heart as this creates obstacles for meditation.
Also don’t be a smoker, this will disturb the breath which is crucial to meditation. Along with all the other health detriments, Your mind is a by-product of your breath so if your breath is disturbed so will your mind.
Drinking alcohol is also a no go. Meditating hungover will be very difficult. Avoid drugs. Live a clean life. You do not want substances disturbing your equilibrium.
Since Hinduism is a vegetarian culture traditionally the consumption of meat is considered to cause anger, hostility and cause disturbances. A vegetarian or even vegan diet will allow more mental clarity but in the western world this is widely practiced. Make an individual choice with this as nutrition is another topic. Vegetarianism is still probably the best diet for meditation. Also avoid stimulants like energy drinks junk food, etc.
You do not want to eat before you meditate you want to meditate on an empty stomach which is why meditating in the morning is a great time You do not want your body’s digestive functions interrupting your meditation.
Again you can look up the specific by the book rules on this. But again it is written in the middle ages.
Managing lust of result: Focus on the progress and the discipline itself and do not focus on the end result. Just practice it daily and do not focus on if you are enlightened yet. It will take a long time to get good at anything including meditation. Enjoy the journey and do not focus on the destination.
Siddhis: In the yogic literature it is listed that you can achieve magical powers through meditation This can include growing in size and shrinking and certain magical powers. As you get deeper into meditation strange and trippy things will happen in you9r mind but do not get hung up on the idea that you are going to gain magical powers. DO not make this the goal of your meditation. The siddhis are likely just different states of consciousness. Do not get wrapped up n chasing after these, If strange things start to happen just ignore the and let them pass.
Do not become obsessed with things that are not the goal.
The third limb of yoga – Asana
This is just a stable position you can hold your body in for a long period of time this ca just be cross legged on the floor with a straight back. Not to be confused with the many various postures of Hatha yoga.
Alistair Crowley also came up with some good postures for this. Lotus position is also good if you are flexible enough to do this.
Generally the Asana is just a position where you can hold your body without fidgeting. Don’t get to complicated at first so just start with a simple sitting position. But you do want to be able to hold this for long periods of time No fidgeting or scratching yourself or adjusting your weight or stretching. You want the body to be completely still. Still the body and then you can still the mind.
A large list of Asana are available to look up and were codified in the middle ages. It is most important to just start out by finding something simple that works for you so you can build the practice.
The fourth limb of yoga – Pranayama
This is basically breath control, the way of breath or the energy of breath. There are many Pranayama techniques that can get quite difficult and complicated but we just want to start with a steady relaxed state of breathing.
Start by establishing a regular, rhythmic breathing practice. A good basic one is a 4 count while y9 are inhaling and a 4 count while you are exhaling. You can up this to an 8 count if you want.
Focus on deep stable breathing, rhythmic and regular.
We are stabilising our environment, stabilising our life, stabilising our body and n0w this will stabal9se our breath to lead us on the way to stabilising our mind.
This is taking care of everything that might disturb our meditation be it our life, body or breath itself.
You can learn more advanced pranayama’s but it is more important to establish your practice and keeping it simple makes this easier.
Eight Limbs of Raja Yoga
The fifth limb of yoga – Pratyahara
It is basically withdrawing your senses from the exterior world. You are not focusing on anything external to you, This is where all the previous stages will have assisted in eliminating these distractions. Earplugs are your friend if you live in the city.
The sixth limb of yoga – Dharana
This is basically concentration. We now need an object of focus that is internal. This is where chakras can be objects of concentration. But for our beginning steps the best point of focus is our “third eye” or between your eyebrows about an inch behind.
Focus and concentrate all of your energy to this one point. This is a lot more difficult than it might sound and is most of the work of meditation. All kinds of thoughts will intrude and attempt to distract you. Just let the thoughts go by and keep your focus, DO not try and aggressively fight the thoughts away as you will become entangled in them.
As you progress your mind may even come up with what you think are intelligent thoughts or insights but this can just be your mind being more sophisticated at distracting you. Still let these go by as it is not the goal. We are meditating to quiet the mind.
Start at 5 minutes a day and increase over time. Consider it like going to the gym and working up the amount of weight you can lift. Eventually you want to up this to 30 minutes a day, If you are able to keep a strict schedule of 30 minutes a day then you are well on your way. Ideally you could get this to an hour a day which will be of great benefit but just stick to your daily practice and get as much time in as you can.
The seventh limb of yoga – Dhyana
This is the actual process of meditation. It is going to take a long time to get to this point but will decrease with practice. This is when your mind goes quiet. It calms and is focused on your internal point and you are completely still. You have single pointed concentration. This is when you start meditation proper. You are not disturbed by the world, your body, your breath, your mind and you are now meditating.
This is a victory you ca make over yourself that few people ever make. It is not easy. But with discipline it will get easier over time. The more meditation you do the easier it will be to get to this point. But in the modern world any more than an hour a day can be very hard to achieve.
When you start your practice you may not reach this point in a session or you may only get here briefly but just persist and keep working on it,
The eighth limb of yoga – Samadhi
This is when you achieve unity. This is extremely difficult to talk about without using imprecise language as It is always regarded as mystical and religious terms like a unity with god.
A broad way to describe this would be a break between a sense of subject and object. We have concentrated on an object in step six; we are meditating on the object in step seven and Samadhi the distinction between those two things vanish. There is no meditate or object, and it bec9mes the same thing.
A COLLAPSE OF THE DUALISM BETWEEN SUBJECT AND OBJECT.
Also referred to as the disintegration of ego. Obviously this is a topic that can get very complicated and mystical and spiritual but again just focus on the process of meditation and you can investigate this further when required.
AS you go further there are different levels of Samadhi. Again you can investigate this later.
Further research and practice
As you can see the benefits of yoga meditation itself are immense and it has many knock on effects in life.
Yu can go much deeper but the most important part is to start your practice and be disciplined in it.
The self-realisation fellowship is a great resource if you go deeper into this and want to research further.
The notes you will read below are taken from “The Deepest Truth in Human Existence” Eckhart Tolle lecture:
Humans have been trapped for many thousands of years in an egoic sense of self. They derive the sense of who they are from the content of their mind, It begins with your name, your name is “The basket into which further experience and content to which accumulates content” it becomes the receptacle for experience and knowledge that is accumulated, for successes , defeats, suffering , relationships, all those things gradually from the whole , that is the me, that is a mentally derived sense of self.
Imagine for a moment that you don’t have a name. How does that feel? Imagine that “basket” doesn’t hold together anymore. What is there if you are not the name and that which is accumulated in that receptacle?
A name is just sounds, an image in the head, that is me? What is left when that goes and you are comfortable when it goes.
Left is simply a field of awareness.
The story you have been telling yourself in the head of who you are becoming unimportant, you do not give yourself an identity from what is based in the head. Which is accumulated experience and knowledge and sense of self-derived from the mind?
The feeling of not being complete is an essential ingredient in the fictitious sense of self.
The attempt to “finish” yourself on the level of the story in your head is futile.
You don’t need to wait for your death approaching to know who you are beyond your mental image of who you are.
Why are we here? To undergo voluntarily the death of the false sense of self-based on the mental picture.
Allow the story of “me” to come to an end, the sense of identity is no longer formed by the contents of your mind.
You are no longer a though based entity, thoughts still happen, but they no longer give you an identity.
The thought stream is only problematic if you derive your sense of self from it.
The world is full of miserable people who are looking for more unhappy experiences to strengthen their sense of self.
The mind pattern: “Please give me more future and time so that I can know myself”. It is a delusion to believe you need time to find yourself. Once this delusion is firmly established all further action, thought and aims are coloured and distorted by that delusion and all become an expression of that delusion.
Stress is when you are in conflict with this moment.
When we see the madness in self-seeking though future, of self-seeking through further content, then we are one step closer to freedom.
You can not “figure out” what presence is. It is a state of consciousness not based on the content.
Presence is the sense of space that surrounds whatever content their is in your life. The truth is not in the words, the words only point, do not accumulate the phrase, you can’t take them home with you nor do you need to, you are the truth. The words only point to that spaciousness inside of you.
That spaciousness you bring to every sense perception, but you don’t “bring” it, it is already their. When you look at something, and their is no mental noise around it when you look at something like a flower and do not label it, just notice it is there. Notice how still it is. The mind has no knowledge of stillness; the mind is noise. See the flower lives in a state of profound stillness when you see it in a flower then that deep stillness in you. The noticing of it in a flower is the arising of that deep stillness within you. It is formless that arises in you. The formless consciousness.
In many things you DO need the mind, EXCEPT for knowing who you are.
You must see the spaciousness and silence around anger, this is more difficult that noticing the same things around a flower, but the same principles are at work.
Become aware of the now itself. Become conscious of an undercurrent of stillness in which everything happens. You sense it. You realize you ARE it. You ARE that deep undercurrent of stillness. The world is no longer problematic.
The future is no longer threatening or promising you deal with it, without seeking an identity within it. Its a simple, effortless doing.
When you are no longer seeking yourself in past or future, you can honour and embrace the now, what is. Through that embrace, you know the spaciousness that is around the form that is there.
When the new consciousness arises you do not become unique, you become quite ordinary. The need to become extraordinary is self-seeking.
If you are unhappy, say yes to your unhappiness, it’s not that bad to be unhappy. I don’t mind being unhappy. This is the power of surrender, the power of the yes.
Nothing that is is rejected denied or complained about, then more and more you will know who you are beyond that which arises in the now.
You are the spaciousness around all the events that occur in your life, and that state is peace.
The miracle is once you know who you are, and you cannot necessarily say anything about it, you know your essence and you know the nature in every other life form because you are one in your essence of every other life form. Then you look at the flower and recognise your soul in the flower. Then you see a cat and understand your nature in the cat. You know every life form as yourself manifested in a different form.
“The kingdom of heaven is within – Jesus, it is not “there” in space or time.
When you know each life form as yourself, that is called “love. That is an essential part of the new consciousness. You are then continually in a state of love.
Not the clingy egoic form of love, but the love of knowing the other as yourself.
Words spoken in the present have an energy that are charged by the energy of presence.
Spiritual discourse does not come from a person or accumulated knowledge. You know it when you hear it.
Things that arise from within allow it all so thoroughly that you can sense the now itself in which it happens as yourself. That’s the open secret.
I hope you enjoyed reading these notes and can put them to good use!
The Warrior Athlete – Body, Mind & Spirit by Dan Millman
Self-transformation through total training
The natural warrior athlete in action.
You can find the natural warrior athlete in any nursery, we often only think of athletes as highly trained Olympians but remember all infants are born with natural athletic ability.
Infants have an incredible ability to learn with a mind that is concept free and therefore entirely receptive.
You were once a natural warrior athlete with unlimited potential, but then the socialisation process gave you fears, associations, beliefs, attitudes and concepts
Your mind learned to criticise yourself and to be afraid of failure. You began to develop emotional constrictions and inhibitions that resulted in physical tension, and as you grew and struggled with gravity, you developed psychological and physical imbalances and compensations.
Athletics and the Game of Life
The simultaneous development of mind, body and emotions will only happen if you perform a task that puts a demand on all three centers.
But most people’s lives, jobs and hobbies are very specialised and only place a claim on isolated portions of our full capacity.
To return to the state of the natural athlete, we focus on the balanced development of all three centers. In turn, this will have the best carryover effects on all parts of your life.
Most people just look at athletics as purely physical exercise and recreation with only a casual or random look at developing the mind and emotions. But you can gain far more from athletics and develop your total capacities for life.
You can create a harmony of body and mind to become a new breed of warrior athlete. Gaining access to your original state as a natural warrior athlete that will help you succeed and excel in athletics and daily life.
Understanding the game.
You can represent the experience of training as that of the journey up a mountain path.
Everyone has their personal mountain to climb, and the peak of the mountain represents your highest potential. If you are going to climb the mountain, it is best to have a map, so you avoid drifting or wandering
Know precisely where you are going and your what your checkpoints and goals are along the way and what obstacles may lie in your way.
THE LESSONS OF NATURE
Rules of the game
The essence of talent is not so much the presence of certain qualities but rather the absence of self and society imposed obstructions. Young children are free of the mental, physical and emotional obstructions that we unconsciously develop in our later years.
This form is seen in nature. Trees bending in the wind shows the principle of nonresistance. Gently running water cutting through solid rock displays the law of accommodation. All things thriving in moderate cycles shows the principle of balance. The regular passing of seasons shows the natural order of life.
These laws are all psychophysical and apply to nature and equally to the human psyche and inseparable from the human body.
The principles of training are not just concerned with physical exertion but are a psychophysical challenge. That accepts that the world is not just a static physical environment but is filled with energy, movement, and subtle things found in nature and universal laws.
Through training that incorporates these principles, athletic development will reawaken our innate ability to learn, and the benefits will spill over into our daily life.
Principle 1: Nonresistance
There are four ways to deal with the forces of life. Surrender to them fatalistically, Ignore them and have accidents from ignorance and Resist them which will waste energy and create turmoil.
Or you can use them and blend with nature. Like birds that fly the wind or fish that swim with the current. We can make use of these natural forces, and this is the real meaning of nonresistance. .
Nonresistance is not passive inaction as any rock can do that. Rather it is a great sensitivity and intelligence to flow with the natural laws.
There is no resistance in nature only in the mind of men. The natural warrior athlete has dissolved all resistance.
The natural warrior athlete will see an opponent in competition as a teacher who will show them their weaknesses and help them improve, and they intend to do the same for the opponent.
Through nonresistance, an opponent’s movement can be used to your advantage.A well known martial arts principle is softness in the face of hardness, absorbing neutralising and redirecting force.
Problems of daily life should be handled in the same way.
Nonresistance: psychophysical applications
“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,” – Most actions of socialized man are attempts to either push or slow down the river of life rather than flow with things as they are.
This resistance causes turbulence that is physical, mental and emotional tension. When you fall out of the natural pattern, you will feel the tension. Tension is a subtle pain and a signal that something is wrong. You have to listen to this message and take responsibility for your actions rather than blame life or circumstance.
The most common way warrior athletes resist by “trying”. The moment you “try” you are already tense and assume a weakness in the face of challenge. Trying is the primary cause of the error. When you feel under pressure, you begin to “try”.
This pressure is not a physical object that you could show someone. It is entirely your mental creation as a result of “trying” too hard.
To see this consider walking a small plank between two chairs on the ground and now place the plank on two skyscraper buildings. It may be the same physical task, but you will have a different mental state.
The law of action-reaction causes this mental effect as it will set up mental opposition when you “Try”. Warrior Athletes, who try too hard to stretch, will only feel the muscles tensing in resistance.
The natural warrior athlete never “tries”. They are smooth, relaxed and have a naturally progressive approach. They avoid internal resistance by carefully sneaking up on things, being very subtle and gentle and smoothly flow along with no sudden or jerky movements.
If you play golf don’t swing the club , instead let it swing. In life let things happen naturally based on fortune and the complexities of circumstance. Trying to make things happen only sets up turbulence. This is not just semantics but harnessing the force of nature.
By no longer trying you are free of tension and by no longer resisting you can train in full natural ease.
Principle 2: Accommodation
Athletics and life develops what it demands, No demand, no development, small demand, small development.
Demand requires motive. Without motivation to energise a demand it will not be persistent.
Motivation requires meaning. The motivating factor must correspond to your values in life.
Demand must take the form of progressive overload. You must repeatedly and consistently ask a little more of yourself than you are comfortable or capable of dealing with easily.
Development through overload requires a tolerance for failure as it will entail lots of little failures on the way to your ultimate goal .
Tolerance for failure comes from an intuitive grasp of reality and of the natural laws of learning. Unreal expectations produces frustration but realism produces patience.
Training therefore is a process of development through a gradual increase of demand. If realistic, gradual and sensible demands are made on the body, mind and emotions development will take place in these centers.
The human organism will adapt to demands made upon it. This is accommodation which reflects a law that has seen humans evolve and survive through time.
Learning knowledge and building muscles are two kinds of accommodation.
You can grind a rock into a shape but if your grind too quick it will break. The demand for change must be gradual and within our capacity, one step at a time.
Accommodation: Psychophysical application.
Accommodation is a law but we have learned to not trust it by asking ourselves questions like “Can i become good at this?”. These questions and doubts only create tension and weaken motivation. Trust in the natural law at least as much as you trust your own mental noise.
Once you recognise the inevitability of the principle of accommodation you become responsible. You know that your success depends on the demands you are willing to make on yourself. You will get clarity and psychic security because you will know that if you decide to do something it is without doubt within your capacity.
Principle 3: Balance
Balance is a great principle informing every aspect of your body, mind, daily life and training. Simply stated it is “Neither too much nor too little.”
An athlete who is balanced moves neither too fast nor too slow, too aggressively nor too passively, too high nor too low, too far right nor too far left.
Balance determines the correct pace, timing and accuracy that any warrior athlete depends upon.
Applying this to training you become immune to impatience and frustration.You accept that you will naturally have an “up” and “down” cycle because that is balanced and it would be unrealistic to expect a constant “up” state.
This means you are not enslaved by the mental highs and lows of training. Your realism makes you mature, stable and free. Once you learn to accept, ride and enjoy the these cycles they balance themselves.
The natural warrior athlete knows to balance development of mind, body and emotions. You can focus on physical training for periods but never to the exclusion and detriment of developing emotional stability and mental clarity. Slow and sluggish days are used to pay more attention to mental and emotional weaknesses.
Balance: Psychophysical applications
When your training is a psychophysical process, balance is even more profound.
You discover that physical imbalances are only symptoms of mental and emotional divergence from the natural pattern of living.
A natural warrior athlete is centered and in balance with the physical , mental and emotional all simultaneously. These are so interconnected that they affect each other.
The martial artist knows that if an opponent is mentally distracted or emotionally upset they will be much easier to defeat.
Physical balance and emotional upset are like fire and water as they do not mix. If you meditate on your upset you will lose balance easily. But if you meditate on your balance you will lose your upset.
When you play with both sides you can find your middle again and regain your balance.
Principle 4: Natural order.
Natural order accounts for progressive development through time. In nature the seasons always occur in the proper sequence and a tree grows from a seedling. The process never goes backwards and it can’t be rushed. It is the natural order of things.
Only the human being is in a hurry caused when our minds race faster that life and ignore the natural order.
We know that progress is function of both time and intensity. You can spend less time and more intensity but this must be balanced .
Training too long and intense will lead to overtraining but too short and little intensity will lead to not achieving your goals. Instead you must keep these in the natural order.
Humour is a great sign that you have a balanced perspective that reflects your alignment with the natural order of lifes flow. After all not matter how grand your achievements in the scheme of the entire universe it will be tiny and hardly shock the cosmos.
Natural order: Psychophysical applications.
You have probably previously thought “I should be doing better, i should be achieving faster”. This is an indicator that you not thinking in the natural order. Just life the word “try” the word “should” has little place in the mind of a natural warrior athlete.
“Should” implies a dissatisfaction with the current state of things. The ultimate contradiction and the trembling foundation of neurosis.
Your time is too valuable to spend stewing over things that are not.
A good measure of your alignment with the law of natural order is how much you enjoy training> Certainly you can have a good or bad period but in general if you push too hard you will lose the original sense of joy you had as a beginner. The natural warrior athlete is always like a beginner, full of inspiration.
Following the natural laws is essential for full enjoyment and natural growth in daily life. The consequence of breaking these laws is you are trapped in a prison of ignorance.
Balance between pleasure and pain and become sensitive to the natural order of things. Practice nonresistance with whatever fortune brings to experience personal success.
You will use all these principles to transcend illusionary self concepts, break down emotional blocks and develop whole body talent.
The power of awareness
Hearing lifes lessons.
Life is a school and nature is a teacher. But without awareness you can’t hear the teacher. Awareness translates lifes lessons into wisdom. Awareness is the beginning of all learning.
Learning is a response of a demand to grow. This will naturally involve errors because you do things you couldn’t do before.
Errors are not the problem only ignoring them or misunderstanding them is. In order to correct an error you must be fully aware of it.
True awareness is a sensitivity of the entire organism as a whole derived through sensory feedback , mental clarity and emotional intuition.
In life and training errors are always with us. You could even say that learning a skill is a process of refining errors to the point they no longer hinder a desired goal.
You should also be aware of strengths as well as this will give you confidence , inspiration and motivation but it is only awareness of weaknesses that will allow you to strengthen your foundation and consistently improve.
Awareness, disillusion, and success.
Growing awareness is not a pleasant process. t is in fact a disillusioning process and requires the spirit of a warrior.
The more aware you become the more you will realise your tension. A sure sign of growing awareness is to “feel” as if you are getting worse.
Awareness is literally a process of disillusionment. As it cuts through delusion it will cause a momentary drop in our self esteem, a dent in our self image. No one really likes to look at their weaknesses and therefore tend to resist awareness.
It is important to understand the phenomenon as people can become discouraged when they become aware, imagining that they are “getting worse.”
Whole body awareness
Most warrior athletes have the courage to see and overcome physical errors but the way of the natural warrior athlete is to see and overcome errors in all three centers. The physical , mental and emotional.
When becoming aware and disillusioned of mental and emotional weaknesses you must be willing to lose face as you will momentarily see yourself in a less flattering light than you would normally wish.
Everyone has mental and emotional traits from childhood that are maladaptive, immature and downright silly. In most cases. But in most people these are hidden from their own awareness only to surface in times of upset, pressure or crisis.
If resist physical weaknesses a little we resist mental or emotional weaknesses a lot. Physical errors are much easier to see. whereas mental and emotional errors are more subtle and we identify more with our mind and emotions than we do with our bodies.
What we identify with we tend to defend. We defend our self image more than something we perceive as separate from us. People are much more comfortable talking about a physical problem rather than a mental or emotional problem .
If you are to become a natural warrior athlete aligned with the natural laws you must bring nonresistance to awareness. You must open your eyes, cut through illusion and achieve whole body and mind awareness.
The growth of awareness.
Awareness itself will develop in accordance to the natural laws. Think of your own growth as a self sculpture. First you determine the shape you want to bring out of the stone. You then begin hacking away and these rough cuts are your general awareness. Later when you are ready for the detail work and polishing is the most subtle awareness.
The beginner is someone who has not refined his awareness of errors relative to a particular skill.We are therefore all beginners because no matter what their will always be new refinements for which we are yet to develop a subtle awareness.
An old samurai warrior knew his time on earth was near an end, and wished to bequeath his sword to the brightest of his three sons. He designed a test.
He had a friend hide just inside a barn, above the doorway, and gave him three bags of rice. He then invited each son inside, one at a time.
The first son, after feeling the rice bag fall on his head, drew his sword and cut the bag in half before it hit the ground.
The second son halved the bag before it hit his head.
The third son, sensing something amiss, declined to enter the bard – and so earned his fathers sword.
At first you will have no awareness of what you have done wrong and will rely on outside feedback. As you then become more aware you will be able to say what was done incorrectly after the errors have been made. You will then be aware of the errors as they are happening. Finally once your awareness is integrated with body, mind and emotions you will correct errors before they are made and perform beautifully.
A habitual error must be felt, not merely acknowledged verbally, before anyone will generate the motivational impulse to change.
Teachers who understand the progressive growth of awareness are never impatient with their students. They realise that telling a student of his errors is addressing only his mind. These teachers know it takes longer for full awareness to pervade all three centers and give the emotional impulse and motivation to change.
Realizing the natural growth of awareness allows you to be your own gentle teacher and then you give yourself sufficient time in which to learn.
Feedback aids to awareness
Sometimes you will know that you are making an error but not know what it is and in this situation an aid to awareness can be helpful.
The errors and successes of other students and warrior athletes can serve as lessons and as inspiration.
Nothing serves the growth of awareness so instantly as seeing a film or videotape of your own movements. Even a mirror can help.
A teacher can pinpoint the specific errors in order of priority. The teacher is an intelligent feedback aid who can analyze errors and effectively communicate ways to correct them.
If you do not have access to videotapes or teachers and want a shortcut to awareness then you can deliberately exaggerate your errors. This will make the errors very obvious and your awareness will grow instantly and you will also make your errors conscious and deliberate which is under your control instead of making them unconsciously. Deliberate error is no longer an error.
A key to success
Preparation is the foundation for success but most warrior athletes however do not prepare for their journeys. But most athletes do not prepare and instead learn by Darwinian survival , pure trial and error
All things in nature have a gestation period they must go through with proper stages until they are formed and the natural warrior athlete makes use of this natural way by beginning with thorough preparation.
Complete preparation is the most difficult but most important part of the learning process. What would a cars paint job look like if you don’t sand and fix any dents in it first ? It would look like the usual athlete uneven and quick to show wear and tear.
Any obstructions you have encountered or may someday encounter are a direct result of insufficient or improper preparation. Think of an athlete who has developed strength but ignored suppleness and compensates for the lack of flexibility with with more strength. This will work for a while but eventually be a roadblock.
The part of an iceberg above the water can represent your visible skills while the larger part below the surface is your preparation. Like a house you have to spend time laying down quality foundations. It is not flashy but vitally important.
For any movement activity you must align with the proper laws of nature and first understand the qualities of suppleness , strength, speed, relaxation and the learning of proper fundamentals.
If you have been stuck on a plateau you can work through it and get on the path of the natural warrior athlete by going back for a time to do intense work on your talent foundation and fundamentals.Allow yourself to progress slowly at first but then your progress will accelerate passing your old level.
Step by step preparation.
All problems including physical, mental and emotional problems can be solved with a step by step plan. Each broken down into a series of small steps, gradually and methodically till you achieve the final goal.
Focus your energy on the smaller steps and the process will be manageable and enjoyable and without noticing you will be moving closer to your goal. Without breaking things down to step by step you may just look at the large goal and procrastinate on where to start.
The illusion of difficulty.
Difficulty has no objective meaning as it is only relative to your preparation. With proper preparation nothing is difficult.
A common experience for athletes is they will initially find learning easy but that it gets harder over time. This is not natural and is just the result of improper preparation and planning.
Athletes may fall into that trap if they don’t appreciate the importance of thorough preparation, do not know what preparation consists of , may be in a hurry and seeking shortcuts, lacking confidence or have a teacher that has any of these tendencies.
Many teachers allow shortcuts in order to keep the students interested or because its more practical for them is they have competitive pressure or deadlines.
An intelligent and patient teacher is worth there weight in gold and one of the most important aspects of your training.
Choosing a teacher
The teacher is your guide along the mountain path to your goals. You want a guide who knows the path very well, is aware of all his own weaknesses so he can show insight into yours, can show you obstacles, can point out interesting sideroads and beautiful scenery along the way and asses you and find the best path for you.
You do not want a teacher who will make you travel the exact same path they did without taking into account any of your unique qualities.
A movement teacher can have a profound impact on a students self concept and outlook on life. They are able to impart lessons on life through teaching movement. An average teacher just teaches skills only.
Note that a knowledgeable, skillful teacher can develop a winning team but at the same time smother the fundamental enjoyment and freedom of athletics. Think of Drill sergeants, you want to avoid them.
You want to pick a teacher with the same care you would pick a surgeon. You would not pick a surgeon just because they were a nice person, the operated close to your house, or charge a few dollars less. You would want to pick the best.
Teaching is the art of communication.All the knowledge in the world means nothing if they can’t effectively communicate it to their students.
While a great competition record or lots of degrees can be a great positive and inspiration to the students what matters more is what the students know. Not what the teacher can do but what the students can do is more important.
A great teacher can speak the language of intellect and can clearly communicate with words. They can speak the language of the body and show the physical movement of muscle and bone properly.They can also speak the language of emotions and can inspire and motivate and make you love the activity.
The master teacher does all three of these at the same time. Master teachers are out there and may be found in unexpected places. Remember that the not only teach a subject they convey principles of life through a subject.
The preparation of children: a note to loving parents.
… and a time to every purpose under the heaven – Ecclesiastes 3:1
In the modern time sensitive world everything tends to be in a rush or a hurry and this can lapse over to your children as well.
For young children and even infants you want to introduce them to movement play. It will stimulate them, exercise them and open their vital bodies to enjoy and discover the natural laws.
Skills are not the most important aspect for children to learn.
It is more important that they learn to feel good about their bodies, to feel success in these early stages, to learn the enjoyment of active movement and accomplishment and to develop core confidence in completing tasks.
Success for a child is measured by their smiles and happiness not by the parents goals or aspirations.
Children need to be allowed to be children and play with others on child equipment of size, softness and safety. As one early injury,fear or failure can have a lasting impact on your child.
Private lessons may not be the best way to teach your child e, especially if mum or dad is the teacher. And even a well intentioned , patient and skilled will be perceived by your childas larger and infinitely more capable than what they are which gives them no hope that they can emulate their success.
The best learning environment for children is within a small group of other children which will inevitably have some more and less skilled than your own.
Early play prepares a child for development later on, but the focus should still remain on play which feels good and not intense training. You also want to avoid an emphasis on competition too early and keep the value of this for later on in their development.
The main determining factor to what movement training and what age your child should start is their development of bones and joints, attention span and natural interest.
If your child is interested in anything then let them try it and see if they remain interested for at least three months. Do not force your child to do something only you are interested in as this will not work out in the long run.
Overinvolved parents who are pushy and want to help their child a little too much end up doing more harm than good.
You do not want weaken their core confidence. being unsure if they are living their own native interests or a parents fantasy.They are very sensitive, can see through social lies and will feel emotionally contradicted no matter what is said to assure them.
You are best to offer your child financial support, transportation to classes, mild interest and emotional support.
It is great to go watch them play every now and again but if you go over the top when they win they will think that you are equally disappointed in them when they lose.
A child’s athletic training has enormous benefits but it must follow the natural principles to get them. Preparation is key.
A common belief is that talent is inborn and therefore the foundation of potential is too often overlooked as people make do with what they have.
Physical traits cannot be changed but other key qualities can be developed. These develops can just be left to develop overtime but it is much better to do the proper preparation and develop a well rounded talent base rather than just emphasizing your strong points and allowing weak areas to develop.
You may remember times that you have been absent minded, not paying attention and missing out on things, your eyes and ears may be open but your attention was captured by thought.
Your attention can fundamentally go in two directions, outwards towards to the world of energy and inwards to the world of thought.
A psychotic would be an individual who gets lost in inner thought. Most people are able to bounce between the two at a healthy rate, but even a normal person can sometimes get caught in episodes of obsessive thought.
The natural warrior athlete has learned to focus his attention on the matter at hand and be in the present moment. Their thoughts may come and go but they do not get caught up by inward distractions of any kind.
Most people are subject to the pattern of random attention with thoughts floating back and forth between the inner stream of consciousness and the outer world. Problematic thinking takes the form of worry , fear and anger and will cause tension in the body.
In athletics and life the source of our discontent is this primitive habit of allowing our attention to be reactive to thoughts instead of being mindful.
You may try to convince yourself that it is external factors that cause lifes discomfort but on closer inspection you will always find that it is actually your mental resistance to the present moment.
Mental talent emerges as you gain facility in dissolving archaic habit patterns so that you no longer feel compelled to pay attention to the obstructions and limitations which are primitive creations of your own mind.
All rigid mental patterns will end up manifesting themselves as tension in your body. Whilst the usual reaction to this tension would be to work on the physical symptoms by stretching but you should really deal with the mental source of this stress.
An effective way to see your mental state more clearly is by comparing it to the state of mind of a baby. A baby will process tons of new information but because the have no complex beliefs , opinions or associations they will accept the information without judgment.
A baby will not ruminate, stress and philosophise over new information as their attention is entirely in the present moment. Because of this they manage to stay away from complex fears, plans, expectations and self criticism that can get caught up in an adults mind.
Consider a baby’s mind state as that of a natural warrior athlete in its clarity, relaxation , sensitivity and openness to the environment. They are free of mental reaction or resistance and have a direct approach to life by being in the present moment.
The mental state is responsible for a babys amazing learning abilities and it is only when their mind becomes immersed in preconceptions and judgments that the natural learning is inhibited.
Illusory Self Concept.
The self fulfilling prophecy describes how our results in life tend to follow our expectations. If you expect or believe in something which can be either a positive or negative trait you will set in motion many psychological processes that make your expectations come true.
Self concept is a fundamental self fulfilling prophecy. If you expect to do poorly you will be less interested, less motivated, have lower energy levels and therefore end up performing poorly and making you self concept accurate.
You have a different self concept for all different areas of life which will generally dictate how you behave and perform in these different areas.
But self concept is an illusion , manufactured in your own mind and is no more real than a ghost. Yet you have imposed it upon yourself a long time ago and you would have let it overshadow every athletic endeavors you have undertaken.
You need to see your self concept for the illusion it is and cut through and destroy it.
Once you gain insight into the illusory nature of your own self concept you can then transcend your self imposed limitations and give your training and techniques real momentum.
In order to gain insight into the illusion remember your own childhood when you were completely free of self concept and had the belief that you could learn anything within the grasp of human knowledge because you were pure potential.
It is obvious that having a low self concept would be undesirable but having an unrealistically high self concept causes its own unique set of problems. Setting your self concept to high can puts immense amounts of unnecessary pressure on yourself to perform.
The best self concept is none at all. Like a baby or childs mind you want to be free from exaggerations of praise or blame and simply take a direct , realistic, experimental and persevering approach to your endeavours.
If you are ever feeling pressure to do well you can be sure that an arbitrary self concept is imposing itself upon you. When this happens you can surrender to it, you can try to resist it or you can use it.
If you try to resist or ignore it you will find it will still have a subtle effect and influence on your performance. Instead you are best to use it and experience its psychic force and then cut through it by changing your act.
You want to learn to do what you thought you could not. To have control over your self concept so you can benefit and try new possibilities in your life.
Positive statements and affirmations can be used to have a positive effect on your mental state and create a beneficial mindset.
Continue to persist in this and all your illusory limitations will dissolve and you will transcend them .Remember that the law of accommodation is stronger than your illusory self concept
Fear of failure.
Failure will always be part of the learning process. In order to learn you must see where you fail and take it into account. But most people learn to fear failure and avoid it at all costs.
Some people will even develop defense mechanisms against having to experience failure. A common form of this is to “not really try”. To deliberately be unmotivated so that your ego can protect itself if you don’t succeed by thinking “Had i really tried i would have done well”. By not believing you are giving your best effort the fear of failure is relieved but you will never reach your potential.
Fear of failure is a vicious cycle and like the self fulfilling prophecy it will often result in the occurrence of what you most feared. Fear produces tensions which obstructs blood flow, reflexes, breathing, muscles and eyesight which will all stifle your effective movement and increase your chances of failure.
To break the fear of failure cycle and rise above it you need to make peace with failure. Know that failure is not your enemy , that you can actually appreciate it for the lessons it can teach you and once you appreciate it you will find it stops distracting you.
The natural warrior athlete laughs at failure. Balancing success with failure is nature’s way. The greats have all failed many times.
An exercise to learn this is to fail on purpose and have fun doing it . Make mistakes and do not stress over it but rather just enjoy the process.
If babies had the same self criticism as adults they would never learn to walk. But rather babies are free of self criticism and treat failure the same as success and just continue to persevere. Self criticism is a habit pattern that you learn while growing up
There are only 3 causes of error in the world: negative or unconscious habit patterns, lack of information or experience or the fact that no one is perfect all the time.
There are only two kinds of criticism: constructive and destructive.
We use destructive self criticism on ourselves as a form of punishment with the inaccurate belief that if you punish yourself you will improve.
Rather than punish yourself if you make an error you must take responsibility for it and not criticise yourself.
Give yourself the same constructive advice that you would give your best friend.
One pointed attention
You have tremendous power if you are in the present moment and place all your attention to the matter at hand. But unfortunately this can be a relatively rare occurrence.
This experience can be when you feel “in the zone” and are able to flow effortlessly. You cannot reach this state if your thoughts are diffused and you are mentally distracted or daydreaming.
Focus on being in the present moment and keeping your total attention on the task at hand.
Hypermotivation is when you can manifest extended physical and mental capacity and comes from one pointed attention and being in the moment.
Placing your attention in the present frees you from all self concept, criticism, fear and inhibitions. Conversely any subtle distraction can have a negative effect on the body.
Athletic training is the best way to develop this one pointed attention as it does demand your full attention be placed in the present moment.
You may discover that your attention follows your eyes. What “Keep your eye on the ball” really means is “Keep your mind on the ball”.
Being in the present moment and free from internal distractions and problems will help you to master any game you choose including the game of life.
You want to make your mental training conscious and systematic otherwise your mental qualities will only be developed at random.
When you have no mind or no thought you can naturally harmonise with the body and with a clear mind you have your body at its peak efficiency and awareness.
Using your brain for internal thinking can still be useful for gaining a conceptual understanding of your sport and in analyzing the fundamentals of movement. But during the moments of action you should not be thinking but keep your mind in the present moment.
Fueling the fires.
Even if your body is ill , with muscles drained and lacking vital energy you can still have another source of energy that is burning strong. This is emotional energy.
Emotional energy we call motivation. Emotion is what moves us and when your emotions are open and free of obstructions then motivational energy will be natural and remain strong even when the body is drained.
An abundance of emotional energy can help an athlete push through seemingly insurmountable obstacles but a lack of emotional energy can see a physically gifted athlete routinely underperform.
Motivation is emotional talent and is the key to training as without it you would never even turn up to train. Motivation smothers fear and overcomes obstacles.
Becoming a natural whole body athlete will demand and require tremendous motivational energy.
Most people relate to motivation passively as if were something we have no control over and that may by chance be with us one day and gone the next.
But all the motivational energy you will ever need is within you and emotional talent is your capacity to stimulate and draw upon your natural fountain of energy.
Through mastering your emotions you have the capability to produce your own motivational energy.
Anger,fear and sorrow are not true emotions , they are actually obstructions to the natural flow of motivational energy.
Again when we were babies motivation was completely natural to us and constant. Everything was interesting and our body and mind were in their natural relationship with our mind free of thought and our body free of tension. This was the state of pure energy when we produced our own motivation that gave us the energy to move, explore and learn.
But as we grow older and become aware of rules, meanings, psychic turbulence, social turmoil and human frustration. As our minds build up these traumatic memories our bodies begin to store tension. This tension is a blockage of the natural flow of energy.
Only with a mind free of judgement and expectation can allow the free flow of emotional energies.
Emotional blocks are normal but they are not natural.Fear, sorrow and anger are reactive patterns of subconscious learned behaviour.
To become a natural warrior athlete you must gain insight into the minds influence on emotional tension so that you can be free of involuntary reactions which block the natural flow of emotional motivational energy.
Breaking the circuit of tension
If you have to worry you must apply nonresistance and mindfulness so that your thoughts will not impose tension on your body. Let your river of thoughts float by and do not let them get stuck. Be mindful and practice mindfulness.
Whatever arises in the present moment just let it be interesting and do not judge it as either good or bad. This will awaken your true emotional energy which will allow your life to begin to flow.
If you don’t use a muscle is atrophies and becomes weak. The same is true for reactive emotional habit patterns, if you stop using them you will eventually make them obsolete.
Mastery of athletics will require transcendence of all you unconscious reactions that may interfere with the smoothest and most harmonious functioning of the body and mind.
It is very important and useful to practice mindfulness and non dramatize situations that would otherwise have you tied up in knots.
Non Dramatisation is the immediate recognition of your psychophysical reality, accepting any physical or emotional tension you may feel and then consciously letting it go.
Negative thoughts do not have to mean negative feelings or tension.You need to become proficient in letting go of thoughts so that you can transcend the usual reflex of unconscious tension in the face of difficulty.
You do not have to bring a thought or its corresponding tension to life, you do not have to give it power. You may notice a fearful thought but you dont have to act afraid. You are able to short circuit what would be the regular habit pattern.
Until you have mastered all emotional obstructions you will still encounter situations that stimulate negative emotions but what you do in response to them is always under your control.
It is not easy but you do not need to surrender to the reactive pattern. It is not helpful to pretend you don’t feel it but rather learn to translate your responses into positive energy and action. ‘This will develop true emotional energy in the form of relaxed motivation.
Breath and feeling
Breath is the key to your emotional state because it both reflects and controls your level of tension. The natural warrior athlete breathes naturally from deep in the body and produces his own inspiration with balanced and relaxed inhalations and exhalations.
To gain mastery of your emotional state it is essential that you gain conscious control over your breathing. This is a central teaching of many ancient spiritual traditions.
Breath unifies the mind and body.They are intimately related through the feeling of breath.
Eventually you will feel your breath move your body and it will naturally become a part of your athletic movement. Control of the breath will give you command over your otherwise random emotional reactions.
Building the foundation
There is no greater miracle of nature than your own body and with mental clarity and emotional energy you give your body the power to take action.
The mind and emotion can be difficult to observe and change but the body is more easily adaptable to change. So developing and changing your body can also help develop mental clarity and emotional energy.
Conscious physical training is using the visible to mold the invisible.
Consider your body’s relationship with gravity when it is straight and naturally aligned. If the body is out of line it will need extra energy to keep it stable.
Misalignment of the body can be from incorrect movement patterns but also from emotional trauma which has caused stored tension.
You want to first work on your body posture so that you are naturally aligned and not using any excess energy to support your body against gravity.
Resistance to change
The body can still be resistant to change as it settles into certain movement patterns that can only be changed with conscious effort.
A body that begins in balance tends to stay in balance and a body out of balance tends to stay out of balance unless acted upon by an outside force. The outside force you can generate are your motivations.
Your body was born in balance, but psychological and physical forces over the years would have generated imbalances in mind , emotion and body.
Any change requires an initiatory period of discomfort until the body adjusts to the new demand. There is no way of getting around it .
It may take three to four weeks to change a habit but 6 months to stabilize it and keep it. Be patient and persistent as it will take time for old patterns to be made obsolete.
When mind and motivation work in harmony what is created is real will.
Feeding the body
Your body is fed through food primarily but also sunlight, air, peaceful environments and interactions with friends and family.
How you eat is just as important as what you eat. You want to eat with emotional calm.
It is best to stay away from process and preserved foods and stick to fresh produce.
Eat food full of nutritional value and free of man made additives.
Eating patterns should reflect your body’s needs and not your minds cravings.
Fill your body with vitality and this will in turn give you power to develop your physical talent.
The natural warrior athlete is free from all tension and learns to recognise any tension and release it in the moment. Many people carry subtle tension for so long they forget what real relaxation is.
Genuine relaxation is not temporary but a continual enjoyment of muscular release and high energy at the same time.
The more you become familiar with deep relaxation the more you will notice tension in your body that you have carried unconsciously and you will be able to relax that tension.
Consummate athletes and artists in every field have ease of movement through efficient use of muscles with no wasted effort and energy.
Muscular strength increases in proportion to the effort of training.But to use strength properly it must be in balance and with relaxation. Strength is the overall ability to control movement.
Effective strength is the ability to relax the proper muscle groups while consciously tensing others. This is something that babies do naturally.
Strength cannot be free to work unless balanced with relaxation. Too much muscle can mean too much tension so you can reach a point of diminishing returns with developing just muscle mass.
Balance the demand on your muscles between sheer power and the ability to be loose and relaxed.
Develop the capacity for relaxed power so your movements are effortless.
A baby needs no stretching exercises because it carries no tension.But as you grew you activated habitual tensing of muscles in response to physical and psychological factors which have made your body less naturally suttle.
You need to notice your stored tension and use appropriate measures to dissolve it.
The naturally supple body is the reflection of a relaxed mind.
stretching should be relaxed and intelligent not enthusiastic. You do not want to inflict more pain on your body by stretching. Consider that when you are relaxed you become more supple without doing any stretching.
Simply relax into slightly more extended positions than you are used to and make sure that stretching always feels good.
Suppleness means a state of full articulation of all movable joints including wrists, shoulders neck, the entire spine pelvis , hips , thighs, hamstrings and ankles.
Suppleness should be given priority over strength since the more supple you are the less energy you need to expend in order to move the body.
Suppleness is the embodiment of non resistance. Suppleness, strength and relaxation are intimately related.
Suppleness developed through awareness of tension, conscious relaxation and proper stretching will improve your game and decrease injuries.
You will feel more awake and alive in daily life.
Sensitivity just means an enhancement of senses and can refer to sight, hearing, taste etc. But for the athlete the most important are the kinesthetic senses that enable effective movement. This includes balance, coordination, vertical reflex,timing and rhythm.
All these areas are interrelated so if you concentrate on one they will all develop.
Sensitivity enables you to learn more rapidly as your body picks up cues faster. You can feel errors easier and correct them consistently.
You can cut through old compensations as you won’t be deeply locked in patterns of reaction.
Tension interferes with your sense of balance, timing, coordination and reflex.
The natural warrior athlete is capable of unleashing awesome power yet is so soft , smooth and sensitive that they pick up on subtle cues.
No athlete ever becomes an expert without investing time and energy therefore stamina is a vital aspect of physical talent.
It takes stamina to perform any action over an extended period of time and can be both mental and physical .
Stamina is a natural response to training and is best developed by training in your chosen sport. It is also a function of relaxation , strength and suppleness.
The natural warrior athlete who is free from tension requires less effort to build stamina.
You do not have to hurt yourself in order to feel good and should be kept in mind when developing stamina. Learn to develop it gradually
Athletic injuries and how to avoid them
A single injury can be devastating to an athlete and undo a lot of good work.
Injury is always the result of fundamental weakness in a mental, emotional or physical area of talent.
Accidents aren’t really accidents. You were not paying attention, were upset or were not prepared.
Therefore mental clarity, attention, emotional stability and physical preparation are the best insurance policies against injuries.
The natural warrior athlete acts on clear intuitions and therefore injuries are rare in the natural process of training
The three centers of whole body talent
Natural training cannot be approached by attention to the physical body alone your must take notice of subtle realms that make up the foundation of our lives.
Absolute stability can only be achieved through combined focus of mind, emotions and physical practice.
The state of being centered with a quiet mind, open emotions and a relaxed / energized body will literally give you a better connection to the earth and your environment.
All forces you exert come from the earth, you are only the transmitter.
The natural warrior athlete knows that physical ability alone without development of mental clarity and emotional energy is a hollow accomplishment.
On The Road
Moving with spirit
Once you trust in the natural laws you will experience an internal guide that will show you the way to your aspirations. You just have to be patient and wise.
The natural way is ordinary, easeful and gradual with no need for heroic struggle but rather to just flow with the natural laws.
At the very least you are potential energy and you will need to apply the principles through perseverance, grit and hard work.
TECHNIQUES OF TRAINING
Smart, fast and fun
All training techniques are just shadows of the natural laws. With natural alignment gained through conscious practice you can become the master of all techniques.
Techniques of training are fundamentals of learning every form of movement.
Life will be filled with cycles and periods of transition. Life is a series of changes that can be smooth or chaotic, minute to minute , day to day and year to year.
You life will be enhanced as you recognises these periods of transition otherwise they will be scattered and unconscious.
Transitions can be in between major life events or transitioning from work to home while driving. You need to learn to enjoy these transitional periods and keep a flow running between them.
Create conscious transition rituals for the hours, days, months and years of your life.
Warming up in athletics is a transition ritual that is crucial. A proper warm up prepares you for the demands of your sport and is important for the body, mind and emotions.
The mental warm up consists setting goals for your training session and placing your attention on your training area and cultivating gratitude and respect for your practice.
Emotional warm up might begin with some deep calming breaths and remembering the initial excitement you felt for the sport and generate the emotion that gets you excited to train and imagine yourself succeeding at your goals.
Mental and emotional warm up can take place simultaneously at the speed to thought. You could complete this warm up in five deep breaths.
The physical warm up will have to take longer to get your body fully awake and relaxed.
Always make time to warm up and never rush.
Learning how to learn
Learning a skill requires creating a neurological pathway and motor response to the movement pattern of the skill and then stabilizing the pathway for consistency.
This applies to any movement pattern if it is simple or complex.
Your first attempt at a new skill is the most important because you have no previous pathway formed and are likely to somewhat follow the new pathway you create.
Every Time you take the same neural pathway you will stabilize and reinforce the motor response whether it is correct or not.
Every Time you practice a movement incorrectly you increase your ability to do it wrong. Therefore you want to repeat the correct movement pattern as much as possible and avoid repeating incorrect patterns at all costs.
A fundamental rule is : Never repeat the same error twice. Errors are of course a part of learning but in order to not make them a habit you must consciously make different errors each time and move them towards the correct pattern.
Do not habituate yourself to one incorrect movement pattern. This is very important as you do not want to get accustomed to incorrect movement as it will greatly slow your learning process.
Consciously make each attempt different so you explore the many possibilities for error on your way to the correct, straight path without forming bad habits.
Awareness and practice
The times you practice only really count when you are paying attention to them.
Remember only perfect practice makes perfect.
You have to pay attention so you attempt the correct pattern and avoid the incorrect one.
Be fully aware in your mind and body during every attempt at practice. If you make an error never just repeat it again without thinking, take a moment to be aware of what went wrong and then consciously do something different.
The stages of practice
To learn a skill you don’t need to repeat it countless times but rather to repeat it just enough times with intense concentration and real interest. If this fails then stop practicing as you do not want incorrect patterns to develop.
Practice is like gambling in that you need to know when to quit. This way of learning is aligned with the natural order. If you try to speed it up it is too easy to pick up compensations for bad technique.
When you practice stop for a moment between each to attempts, breath deep and relax and feel fully aware. Feel your connection to the earth and its power.
Therefore learning should not just become a process of endless repetition but rather a strategy of training should be employed that contains insight and concentration.
If you learn to perform an incorrect pattern over a long period of time then when you attempt to correct it the correct way will feel strange. When you are wrong , what is right feels wrong. Making it much harder to fix an old habit than to form a new one correctly.
When correcting an old habit you may need to overcompensate as your steps towards correction will feel weird you are unlikely to go as far as required. Recognise the law of balance, and find the middle where you can effectively learn.
If you are making an error you can deliberately over compensate and make the same error but on the opposite side or direction. This will allow you to find the middle faster.
If you wish to learn successfully and rapidly you must be more interested in learning a movement than you are afraid of crashing.
Ideomotor action and mental practice
Clear mental imagery , even without actual movement can develop correct muscular responses.
The ideomotor response proves that when you visualise a movement you will have a corresponding muscular impulse.
Mental practice is a very useful supplement to physical practice and can give you the natural edge to learn techniques seemingly effortlessly.
You can dream about moves and perform them in your head all day so that even if you try something for the first time it will feel as if you have done it before.
Mental practice is safe, you can do it anywhere, there is no fear of failure, it costs nothing and it means that you are automatically concentrating. You have to develop your capacity for visualization and imagery but once you do you will reap the rewards.
Mental practice can be used if you are ill or injured or at odd moments when you have not much else to do . It is far better than worrying about your problems.
It can be a great tool to troubleshoot techniques that you may be having problems with, take a break and mentally visualise the correct movement without any errors.
Mental practice is more efficient than physical practice but it is also more difficult.
Slow Motion Practice
Slow motion practice gives you time to be aware of every part of a movement..You can sense the complex parts such as weight shift, coordination of the body and small muscle movements.
Most unconscious errors will occur in the middle of a movement sequence, therefore slowing the movement down can make unconscious movements painfully obvious.
In moving slowly you can become aware of tension and are able to let it go and then once you begin to move without tension you will be able to move faster than ever.
Slow motion practice is like studying slow motion replays except you are feeling it not just looking at it.
Slowing down practice expands your awareness and eliminates blind spots you encounter in rapid movement. Slow motion practice can be a form of moving meditation.
Also focus on a perfect beginning and ending of your technique with perfect follow through When you start and end in the proper position the middle will begin to flow.
Any skill is made of component parts. A good way to learn or teach a skill is to break it down into its parts from beginning , middle and end and then you can put the whole thing together.
Analysis can be applied to specific drills and make learning an entire movement much easier.
The programming principle
Programmed learning books are available to allow you to learn many subjects through programmed texts.
They follow the natural principles that we learn in small steps, we take an active part filling in the blanks, we get immediate reinforcement and feedback and we feel successful because of the small simple progressions.
Good programmed learning texts are designed around common sense principles. and make learning easy and fun.
Programmed progressions allow a constant feeling of success in which the process of learning becomes the goal.
You can also make up your own programmed progressions.
Imitation: The ultimate technique
At the end of the day we return to the way children learn, by imitation and copying.
Copying is the most instinctive, simple and natural way to learn. You may have learned that it is bad to be a copycat but really it is fine to copy people as long as they have qualities worth copying.
Look for the good in everyone and that person can become a teacher. That way everyone you meet can become a teacher to you without knowing it.
To do this you have to push envy aside as you have to admire the qualities that someone else possesses. Envy will only isolate you.
Learn by observation, appreciation and imitation. To learn a skill, find someone who is skillful and watch them carefully. As you watch, feel yourself moving the same way then practice your ability to imitate.
Imitation is the master technique of learning as it bypasses intellectualization by creating learning in action. Find qualities you admire in others and imitate them until they become your own.
You do have to be sufficiently prepared to copy well, you could experience unconscious resistance to copying someone because of a belief that you have to be original, you can also copy the wrong people or the wrong qualities. If any of these are true you are not making the most of imitation.
Using awareness as a lever you can use all these principles and strategies to learn how to learn.
Success in the moment of truth
Three primary attitudes seem to exist towards competition, people admire the competitive ethic for making it on your own and taking credit for your own successes and failures. Some people who are inclined to peaceful coexistence avoid competition as dehumanizing and want to avoid an “us” vs “them” mentality. The third group cares little either way.
Positives of competition are that it is the ultimate test of reality, it demands full involvement and energy and can be a source of self reflection that you cannot find in other areas of society.
Strengths can emerge and be reinforced and weaknesses can be eliminated. It is one of the last ways we can face a moment of truth in society.
It can also be a form of movement meditation in which all your attention is forced to be focused on the present moment and in a flow state.
The negatives of competition is that there are always few winners and many losers and competition will reinforce this polarisation.This can breed negative opposition where you can be encouraged to hate your opponents. It can reinforce simplistic black and white thinking.
But competition does not always have to be a negative it can also be viewed as a cooperative mutual teaching session where your opponents are helping you to learn.
If your opponent is your teacher and you are there teacher then you are both doing each other a service by trying to win and once you view competition in this way you will always try to win but without hostility and negativity.
Winning and losing can also be a completely arbitrary experience and only able to judge who was better on the day.
The moment of truth in competition itself is a stimulus to excellence. But once it is over it has little meaning left. The natural warrior athlete will forget the games outcome the moment it is over but remembers its lessons.
A natural warrior athlete cannot afford to dwell on the past, the only lasting value of competition is the experience and the lessons learned from it that can be kept alive.
In the competitive arena there will always be people above or below you just make sure that you use competition to stimulate your own efforts and not become preoccupied with the other athletes. Keep to your natural pace and all that matters is if you have done your best.
Physical preparation for competition: overload and cutback
In the moment of truth you are forced to focus all of your capacities of mind, emotion and body on the present moment.
The natural warrior athlete The natural warrior athlete can play as if their life depends on it yet also laugh at the outcome. With humour and intensity you can harness your fullest energies.
Under the pressure of competition you can see your body exceed its everyday capabilities and you must be prepared for that.
The way to prepare for this is to overload the demand before competition during the leadup and then cutback just before it arrives.
This will not only help you prepare your body but your mind will gain confidence.
It is entirely normal to be anxious before a competition. Everyone will feel some level of anxiety you just need to learn to understand it and overcome it.
Remember that competition is a ceremony where you will be tested and have every right to be nervous. Your body will release adrenaline and your heart will beat faster.
You should not fight this, these symptoms will help you during competition so you have to learn how to use them. If you feel them coming before the time you need them you can control the flow of adrenaline by doing some basic movements.
All of these nervous responses are designed to make you forever faster and stronger.
If your mind is filled with negative emotion then you will experience these symptoms as fear but if you work on positive motivation you will experience the nerves as excitement and anticipation.
If you are relaxed you can learn to channel this extra energy. You will gain a perspective that the results you get depends upon preparation so you will gain more respect for your training.
An experienced athlete treats training and competition with the same respect and intensity. They train with the same mental focus and determination as if they were in competition and when they compete they are as relaxed as if they were training.
Psyching up and psyching out: the mental game
Physical skill is only part of what is tested in competition , mental skill also plays a big role. A physical expert can be weakened and distracted is they have not mastered the mental game.
Ancient samurai warriors recognised that a razor sharp mind and emotional calm must precede physical skill.
It is a psychological duel where you test your calm as much as your reflexes.
It is perfectly fine to psych out your opponent as it is part of the psychological nature of sport. You can teach them about the inner game.
Sport is psychological in nature so if you are going to play you may as well play in the psychological realm.
But never get so involved in psychological strategy that you lose your own center. The best strategy is to have unshakeable confidence and calm and be a tower of strength. this in itself can distract opponents.
THE EVOLUTION OF SPORT
New games for new athletes
Sport can reinforce ways of acting and have a carry over into daily life. An influence that is so central to our life should therefore be approached with sever respect. The benefits of sport can outweigh the negatives but you should look at ways to enhance these benefits.
You should ask if your sport contributes to your own physical and psychological well being ? And if it helps you develop a better capacity for daily life ?
Many sports make primary use of one side of the body and can debilitate the symmetry of the body which is vital to have natural alignment with the earth gravity.
The rule of symmetry if applied to one sided sports would have a lot of health benefits and would be aligned with natural laws.
Some research shows that learning a skill on one side increases learning facility on the other and can eliminate old bad habits.
You can evolve your thinking of sports if you begin to view your movements as energy awareness. That you are sculpting energy at you move. As you learn to to shape the direction of energy flow you begin to play on natures team with the air, water and earth as teammates.
In order to benefit daily life the world of sport must be a way of life. Certain key elements should be incorporated into total athletic training as they will be of great overall benefit.
Mental training encourages the attitude of blending and harmonising rather than collision. Enhances ability to see the flow of energy. Develops sensitivity and demands full attention. Contains pressures that must be transcended and creates growth.
Emotional training encourages cooperative interaction rather than self preoccupation. Is a laboratory to understand yourself and others.
Physical training balances development of the body, demands suppleness, develops cardiovascular fitness and stamina. Aids muscular symmetry and postural alignment. Enhances the bodies connection to the earth.
The natural warrior athlete is no longer anxious , struggling or eager for victory at all costs.
At Journeys End
All the teachers of mankind have acknowledged the same thing. That to truly grow we must reintegrate the wisdom of life experience with the open eyed innocence of childhood.
To Achieve unity with the universe you must first achieve unity within yourself by harmonizing body, mind and emotions.
Esoteric practices such as Sufism, Qabala, Taoism and Zen are major spiritual traditions that represent whole body teachings.
Athletics is the yoga of the west you just need the right perspective of using training as a means rather than an end.
To become a natural warrior athlete you have to become a natural human being. You must build a life of positive energy and discipline without extremes. Love in principle and action.
your training can literally change the quality of daily life as you abandon old habits and self preoccupation to become free.
Rebirth of the master athlete
It is still possible for an athlete to have expert skills in their sport but be undisciplined and unstable in mental and emotional affairs of daily life.
But the master is the product of psychophysical training. A whole body natural warrior athlete how has a well rounded capacity for life in any environment.
An expert may shine light in the arena but a masters light shines everywhere.
A master of one art can master any art because they have mastered themselves. The masters physical skill is a byproduct of internal development.
The movement master in daily life
The movement master does everything naturally and has no desire to standout. They would always seem relaxed, calm alert and open to circumstance.
Every movement they make receives their undivided attention with a presence and certainty which radiates security.
The master creates a ceremony out of every moment.
The master has the warrior spirit, bathed in humour.
The lessons of sport
WE tend to play at sports the same way we play at life. Our training offers many lessons about life.
You must relax and blend with the little problems of daily life ,slow down take it easy and make sure to enjoy life.
HIdden within every experience is a lesson. in learning to move you are also moving to learn.
Create your own inner warrior athlete
It is difficult for anyone to see their own imbalances clearly as we normally use ourselves as a measure of what is appropriate and therefore see our own actions as justifiable.
The natural warrior athlete needs a more comprehensive perspective to be able to grow. You must learn to observe yourself realistically in your functioning. You have to first notice and understand that where you do not have the perfect balance of qualities so that you may transform those areas.
A way to give yourself a comparable model that you create from your own natural intuition is to imagine the perfect athlete. This ideal then becomes your inner teacher and guide. A source of constant inspiration.
You need to sculpt with you mind what the ideal natural warrior athlete looks like, how they stand and move, how relaxed they are and what their mental traits and emotional calm is like. Give them a personality and create an ideal balance using any models you know.
Once you have created your inner warrior athlete you then have a teacher for life that you can take with you anywhere. As you develop your qualities in comparison to your ideal natural warrior athlete you will gradually move yourself closer to this ideal.
The art of living ,,,, with good form.
Your life is something you create moment by moment. You are ultimately responsible for what you are, who you are and what you are doing. You can create something fine and useful with your life or you can throw it away.
You can make your life as you choose but to many people get fearful and surrender too soon to a second rate way of life.
Good physical form is the most efficient way of blending with the natural laws. It involves proper alignment with gravity,No unnecessary tension, unified musculature, Awareness, Coordinated response and timing.
Good mental form is the releasing of thoughts as they arise and directing your attention to your movements.Good emotional form is breathing consciously with feeling.
The natural warrior athlete strives to apply good form in both sport and within daily life. If you maintain whole body good form in daily life your discipline will transform you.
THE WARRIOR ATHLETES MEDITATION
The nature of spiritual training
Spiritual training is whole body training. When your mind , body and emotions are in complete harmony the world will literally change for you becoming less complicated and more interesting.
Unified states frees your attention so that you can become aware of subtle mechanisms and intuitions you had rarely seen before. While immersed in the moment of truth an athlete will experience extraordinary effects.
These experiance point to the meditative demand of sport. Athletes must meditate on every move and give totaal attention to everything in the environment and silence any internal noise.In the moment of truth the athlete is like and indian yogi.
The warrior athletes satori
Satori is a japanese zen word that describes the natural harmony of mind , body and emotions. When the mind is completely in the present moment.
When you emotions a free of obstruction and manifest as pure motivational energy and when the body is fully relaxed and open to life..
When all three centers are in harmony you will feel a click that is satori, it is a state of being in the moment, of pure flow, and every artist drops in and out of it on many occasions.
Satori will feel great, it is the natural state of natural warrior athletes and a state of dynamic meditation. Being completely in the present moment and free of problems and complications by immersing ourselves in the flow state.
Satori is the hidden goal of all our aspirations Its a preview of spiritual life. You were born a natural warrior athlete and you can be again. Approach your journey with all your mind and feeling and spirit. Approach training and daily life in the same way.
Dedicate your training towards the development of the spiritual experience. This will be the culmination of your journey.
As you align yourself with the rhythms of nature you will bathe in satori. You are the master.
You have the university , the gymnasium and the temple all inside of you. You just need to reconnect all centers so they operate in harmony as one whole.
The last frontier is the inward journey and the total athlete can discover the laws of the universe within their own body.
Peace, love and raging waters,
The Warrior Athlete – Body, Mind & Spirit by Dan Millman
Notes on Beyond Technique Concept Focused BJJ – By Kit Dale and Nic Gregoriades
Beyond technique is a DVD of 20 BJJ concepts which can be summarized as follows :
Transitional Pressure When moving between positions, (sidemount, knee ride, north south, mount ) you want to maintain the pressure on your opponent at all times.At no point do you want to take the preassure off. Constant pressure and control.
Like lifting your fishing rod up in the air before you begin to wind the reel to help land the fish.
If you are in someones guard and they have grips on your sleeve stand up and posture with your legs and hips and then recover control of your sleeves by bringing them closer to your body. The opposite would be just trying to pull your arms in on their own.
Instead let your legs, hips and posture be the fishing rod lifting up and then pull your arms in
“A four legged table is a stable base, a two legged table falls of its own accord”
Consider an opponent on their hands and feet with each limb representing a table leg. Then Divide the body into 4 quadrants. With one quadrant representing the left leg, right leg, left arm and right arm.
To plan your sweeps you want to look at what quadrant of your opponent you have neutralised and that is the area and direction that they can be swept into.
A quadrant that is defended by a free hand or leg will be used to support the opponent if you try to sweep them into that quadrant. Instead immobilise a quadrant and sweep into that quadrant.
Post , Pressure and leverage.
Three principles used for sweeps. Either do all three or two really well for a sweep to work. Taking away the ability to post is the same as the quadrant concept .You then want to get a grip to take away the opponents posture. Once you have taken away their post and posture you need to create a leverage point on there body by getting a grip or using your foot and then sweep into the quadrant that you have taken away the post from.
The porcupine concept states that when someone is trying to control you , you should be “spiky” or “Prickly” like a porcupine by using harder parts of your anatomy against softer parts of your opponents anatomy. For example using your wrist bone or the point of your elbow against soft parts of your opponent’s neck or sternum.
Nullifying the guard pull.
For competition Jiu Jitsu against guard pullers. TO pull guard the opponent’s hips must come closer than their shoulders. To nullify this look to grab their lapel on their shoulder and break them forward so that their shoulder will always be closer to you than their hips.
If they pop back after you have broken their posture forward the will be susceptible to leg sweeps / trip takedowns.
Deals with how you push and pull with your arms. Do not push straight out , it is a more efficient movement to rotate your arm when you push out, similar to throwing a punch.
When pulling it is the same concept but in reverse, so when you pull in you will rotate your arm.For example if your palm was facing down when you grabbed your opponent you will rotate your arm so that once you finish pulling in your palm will face up . Essentially pulling and pushing as if you were throwing punches and rolling your knuckles over.
When guard passing you must always control your balance, base, center of gravity or else you will be easy to sweep.
Changing your center of gravity to the opposite of where your opponent is looking to sweep you will make it difficult for them. This will usually be controlled by moving your hips.
If they have taken a post away then you can use the quadrant concept in reverse by shifting your weight and center of gravity to the opposite quadrant from your compromised quadrant.
Collapsing and inserting structures
Using your body to strengthen and reinforce an area that your opponent may be attacking, for instance placing a structure of your elbows between your legs so that your opponent cannot squeeze your legs together. Or creating a structure by grabbing the outside of your own knees and placing your elbows on the mat to prevent toriander passes. Any area that your opponents is looking to squeeze or crush see if you can insert a structure to prevent this.
If your opponent is using a structure to attack , for instance spider guard where the structure would be the opponents legs. To escape the spider guard you cannot be rigid and tense as this will give strength to your opponent’s structure. Instead you should relax and take all pressure away which will collapse the structure.
This concept is for keeping your guard. Think of each of your legs as the barrels of a double barreled shotgun. When you shoot one of the barrels this is when you extend one of your legs out. Now in this concept you never want to have shot both barrels at the same time, that is you never want to extend both of your legs at once. You always want to have one bullet in the chamber so that even if one of your legs is extended you want your other leg with your knee to your chest so that it can protect you from having your guard passed.
Open and closed chain
Consider your limbs as chains that start at your torso and end at the end of your limbs. Your chains are vulnerable from being attacked when they are opened. Open is when they are not attached to the floor, holding into something or hidden away.
When considering the chain of your arms you want to protect the hand and the wrist because this is the end of the chain. For instance if you are feeling vulnerable to an armbar you need to hide or protect the end of the chain which is your hand and wrist. As long as you keep the chain closed, or hide the end of it away the opponent cannot finish the attack on the chain.
With leglocks your foot is the end of the chain. So a common leglock escape would be to clear your hip and put all your weight on your foot so that it connects to the floor . This is closing the chain of your legs by connecting your foot to the floor.
If you are passing someones guard it is helpful to make yourself feel as heavy as possible to your opponent. This is done by removing the opponents leverage points or levers so that they are not leveraging any part of your body and instead are carrying all of your weight. An example of this would be when in butterfly guard pinning both the opponents legs together so that the butterfly guards lever is removed.
Consider your spine and when it is in a neutral position it is at its strongest. But if it is twisted, bent or kinked it instantly weakens your entire structure. Always be looking to put a kink in your opponents spine or torque it in some way to weaken their entire structure. Conversely when defending you want to keep your spine in the neutral position the entire time to retain your strength. For instance moving your opponents hips one way but keeping their upper body pinne or even moving their jaw / head in the opposite direction.By torqing the spine by attacking and twisting the jaw you will even weaken your opponents legs.
If you find yourself in a stalemate with your opponent consider their spine, is it in a neutral position ? Or could you torque it by moving their hips or jaw. And conversely consider your spines position and make sure it is neutral to generate the maximum amount of leverage.
Size specific strategy
For when certain moves only work on certain body types. For instance if you are against a taller opponent playing spider guard will be really difficult as they can create a lot of slack in their arms by simply standing . For a tall opponent you want to use a short range guard not a long range guard as you want to neutralise the advantage of height that your opponent may have. Conversely If you are taller use a long range guard.
The same principle applies when passing. If you are going against a taller opponent you will have to pass by keeping close to their body or by using a half guard pass so that they cannot use the full length of their limbs.
Consider you have an invisible border running down the side of your torso and between your shoulder and across your hips. Think of a rectangle between your shoulders and hips.. You want to make sure your opponent never gets inside your borders if they are wanting to control you. Conversely if you are looking to control your opponent then you want to get inside this border. When defending your border you never want to let your opponent get there body in your border so your would jam a limb or knee between your border and your opponents body to prevent this.
Even when on mount this would be pulling the opponents elbows away from their body / border so that they become compromised.
Loading the spring
When passing the guard or sweeping you can accidently telegraph your move, consider this as loading up your punches or pulling back before you punch.
For example when attempting a pass when you would push your opponents legs in and then pull them out to pass the legs. You do not want to push the legs in suddenly as this is the telegraph to your opponent. Instead you would load the spring by driving your pressure in slowly until you feel your opponent start to push away and you would then pull their legs out.
If any movement involves a push / pull motion then loading the spring is not exploding into the push pull which would telegraph your intentions. But rather slowly forcing your opponent into the position where you would have pushed them (this would be when the spring is loaded) and then executing the pull.
Using a part of your anatomy that you throw through space that creates a pendulum effect to move the rest of your body.
For example when laying flat and looking to sit up you would not just raise your shoulders up , instead you would raise your legs to the sky and then throw them down towards the ground. THis would create the pendulum effect that would lift your shoulders.
Take down postures
A concept that takes your opponents posture into account to dictate what takedown you would use against them. If they are standing very upright then you would attack their legs with trips or leg picks. If your opponent is leaning forward then you would instead consider throwing them.If your opponent is really far back and leaning forward then you would look to snap them down.
With these three setups in mind you can rotate between them as the counters from one posture and take down will usually lead them into one of the other postures.
Hip centric movement
Often in scrambles you may reflexively move your arms to gain control over your opponent but it is instead much better to think of where you move your hips and use your hip position to gain control over your opponent. For instance do not reach or grab your opponent but rather move your hips closer to them which will give you much more leverage.
Like Judo whoever gets the dominant grips will most likely win. Misdirection is to get the grips you want without telegraphing your intention. If you want to grab their feet you do not want to look at there feet and move directly to grab them as it will be obvious to your opponent. instead want to see where your opponent is looking or paying attention to and use movement to misdirect them away from where you are looking to grip. This may be looking at their legs and grabbing the lapel instead and not easily telegraphing your intention to your opponent.
· The martial way of life practiced by warriors is based on excelling others in anything and everything.
· The exact science of martial arts means practising, and the in such a way that they will be useful at any time and teaching them in such a way that they will be helpful in all things.
· Efficiency and smooth progress, prudence in all matters, The body, does not drag the mind real courage, understanding different levels of morale, instilling confidence and the mind does not pull the body what can and cannot be reasonably expected.
· An essential habit is to have sharp tools and keep them well maintained. It is up to you to use them masterfully. Even when doing menial tasks.
· When you have developed practical knowledge of all the skills of the craft you can eventually you can become a master.
· The large scale is easy to see. The small-scale is hard to see. To be specific, it is impossible to reverse the direction of a large group of people all at once while the small scale is hard to know because in the case of an individual there is just one will involve and changes can be made quickly.
· Practice daily to attain familiarity, treating them as ordinary affairs, so the mind remains unchanged.
· Unless you understand others you can hardly accomplish your self-understanding.
· If you do not pursue an absolute path to its consummation in the mind then a little bit of crookedness in the spirit will later turn into a major war.
· No warrior should be willing to die with his swords at his side without having made use of all his tools.
· As human beings, it is essential for each of us to cultivate and polish our path.
· You should not have any special fondness for a particular skill or tool. Too much is the same as not enough. Pragmatic thinking.
On Rhythm in martial arts:
· Rhythm is something that exists in everything.
· In all arts and sciences rhythm is not to be ignored.
· There is an even rhythm in being empty.
· There are rhythms of rising to an office and stepping down, of fulfilment and disappointment or becoming rich and losing one’s fortune.
· Harmony and disharmony in rhythm occur in every walk of life.
· It is impossible to distinguish carefully between the rhythms of flourishing and the rhythms of decline in every single thing.
· The rhythms of the martial arts are varied.
· First know the right pace and understand the wrong rhythm. And discern the opponent’s rhythms from among the great and small and slow and fast rhythms.
· Know the rhythms of spatial relations and know the rhythms of reversals.
· These matters are specialities of material science.
· Unless you understand these rhythms of reversal your martial artistry will not be reliable.
· The way to win in battle is to know the rhythms of particular opponents and use beats that your opponents do not expect, providing formless rhythms from rhythms of wisdom.
· Be diligent, practice daily and night, the mind is naturally broadened.
Rules for learning the art.
Think of what is right and genuine.
Practice and cultivate the science.
Become acquainted with the arts.
Know the principles of the crafts.
Understand the harm and benefit in everything.
Learn to see everything accurately.
Become aware of what is not obvious
Be careful even in small matters.
Do not do anything useless.
· The science of martial arts should be practised with such thoughts in mind.
· You can hardly become a master unless you see the immediate in a broad context.
· Keep martial arts in your mind and work diligently in a straight forward manner. Then you can win with your hands; your eyes can also defeat people by seeing with your eyes.
· Furthermore when you refine practice to the point where you attain freedom of your whole body then you can overcome people using your body. And since your mind is trained in this science you can also defeat people using your mind. When you reach this point how could you be defeated by others?
· In whatever field of endeavour knowledge of how to avoid losing to others, how to help oneself and hoe to enhance standard honour is part of military science.
The Water Scroll
· The science of martial arts is not just a matter of reading these writings. Taking what is written here personally, do not think you are reading or learning and do not make up any imitations. Identify with them continually and work on them carefully. The field is king!
The State of Mind in Martial Arts
· The state of mind should remain as normal. Let there be no change at all – with the mind open and direct, neither tense nor lax, concentrating the mind so that there is no imbalance, calmly relax your thoughts and savour this moment of ease thoroughly so that relaxation does not stop its relaxation for even an instant.
· Even when still your mind is not still, even when hurried your mind is not hurried. The mind is not dragged by the body, the body is not pulled by the mind.
Pay attention to the mind, not the body.
· Let there be neither insufficiency nor excess in your mind.
· Even if superficially weak hearted be inwardly strong hearted and do not let others see into your mind.
· It is essential for those who are physically small to know what it is like to be large and for those who are physically large to know what it is like to be small. It is essential to keep you mind free of subjective bias.
· Let your inner mind be unclouded and open, placing your intellect on a broad plane.
· It is essential to polish the brain and mind diligently.
· Once you have sharpened your understanding to the point where you can tell whatever is good or bad. When you are experienced in various fields and are incapable of being fooled at all by people of the world, then your mind will become imbued with the knowledge of the art of war. It is imperative to master the principles of the art of war and learn to be unworried even in the heat of battle.
Physical bearing in Martial Arts
· Your face should not be tilted.
· Do not wrinkle your forehead but make a furrow between your brow.
· Keep your eyes unmoving and try not to blink.
· Narrow your eyes slightly.
· The idea is to keep a serene expression on your face, nose straight, chin slightly forward.
· Focus strength in the nape.
· Generally speaking it is essential to make your ordinary bearing the bearing you use in martial arts and make the bearing you use in martial arts your normal bearing.
Focus of the eyes in Martial Arts
· The eyes are to focus in such a way as to maximise the range and breadth of vision.
· Observation and perception are two separate things, the observing eye is stronger, the perceiving eye is weaker.
· A speciality of martial arts is to see that which is far away closely and that which is nearby from a distance.
· In martial arts, it is important to be aware of the opponents swords yet not look at the enemy’s swords at all. This takes work!
· Find the state where your eye focus does not change no matter what happens.
Gripping the long sword
· Grip neither tightly or loosely.
· There should be no slackness in hand.
· Let there be no change in the grip even when slashing opponents.
· Your grip when cutting slashing opponents.
· Your grip when cutting to test something and your grip when slashing in combat should be no different.
· Fixating and binding are to be avoided. Fixation is the way to death; Fluidity is the way of life!
· Flighty steps, unsteady steps and stomping steps are to be avoided.
· Complimentary stepping is essential.
· Do not step with one foot alone.
Five kinds of guard
· Whatever guard you adopt do not think of it as being on guard. Think of it as the act of killing.
· What is important in this path is to realise that the consummate guard is the middle position.
The way of the long sword
· Even when wielding the sword with two fingers you know just how to do it and can swing it quickly.
· The idea is to swing the sword calmly so that it is easy to do.
· Perfect the use of the longsword, sensing the minds of opponents, using various rhythms gaining victory in any way.
Having a position without having a position
· Even though you may catch, hit or block, or tie up and obstruct these are all opportunities for cutting the opponent down.
· It is crucial to think of everything as an opportunity to kill.
· Fixation is dangerous.
Striking down an opponent in a single beat
· Finding a position where you can reach an enemy, realising when the opponent has not yet determined what to do, you strike directly as fast as possible, without moving or fixing your attention.
The rhythm of the second spring
· This is when you are about to hit and the opponent quickly pulls back or parries. You feint a blow and then strike the opponent as he relaxes after tensing.
Striking without thought and form
· When your opponent is going to strike, and you are also going to strike, your body is on the offensive and your mind is also on the offensive, your hands come spontaneously from space, striking with added speed and force.
The flowing water stroke
· When going toe to toe and an opponent tries to pull away quickly you become expansive in body and mind and swing your sword in an utterly relaxed manner as if there were some hesitation and strike with a large, powerful stroke.
Striking and hitting
· Striking is a stroke you employ and make a deliberate and certain strike. Even if you hit an opponent and he dies on the spot this is a hit. A strike is when you consciously and deliberately strike the blows you intended to hit. TO hit is to “feel out” for a powerful strike.
Stabbing the Face
· When you have the intention of stabbing your opponent in the face he will try to get both his face and his body out-of-the-way. When you can get your opponent to shrink away there are various advantages of which you can avail yourself to win.
· No matter how many opponents you beat, as long as you do anything in contravention of training then it cannot be a correct path. When this principle comes to mind, you should understand how to overcome even dozens of opponents all by yourself.
The Fire Scroll
· In the course of practising how to kill opponents, little sissy things never occurred to me. When on is in full combat gear one does not think of small things.
· After training and refining day and night with he determination to eventually consummate it, after having perfected it, one gaining an individual freedom, spontaneously attains wonders and is endowed with incredible powers of penetration.
The Physical Situation
· To look down on the enemy understand that you should always take the highest ground, indoors the seat of honour is the high ground.
· When you attack with your initiative “Striking from a state of suspension. Steel your mind to the utmost, accelerate your pace a bit and make a violent attack as soon as your opponent rears.
· Pre-empt an enemy making an attack on you, pre-emption from a state of waiting. When an opponent attacks and you aggressively meet his attack, the moment you sense a change in his rhythm you can win.
· When you and your opponent attack simultaneously, “Pre-emption” in a state of mutual confrontation. When an opponent attacks swiftly you attack calmly yet powerfully, tighten your being to absolute resolve, when your opponent slacks, over come him.
Holding down the Pillow
· When you manoeuvre opponents around freely by whatever means you may.
· When your opponent evinces any sign of intending to make a move you perceive it before he acts.
· Stop an opponent at the initial outset, not letting him follow through.
· Let an opponent go ahead and do anything that is useless while preventing him from doing anything useful.
· Thwart your opponent’s very first impulse to try something thus foiling everything.
Crossing a Ford
· Sense the state of opponents, aware of your mastery, you cross the ford using appropriate principles, put the adversary in a weak position and get the jump yourself, then you will quickly prevail.