Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ category

Changing people’s religion

October 29, 2014

A few paradigm changes in belief.

It’s not a change via logic or debate, but a change in a person’s faith based beliefs. That is far more difficult to change, especially when people like to cover it up and call their religion their ‘Politics’. There have been various rebellions of this sort in black communities, although they are often ignored or crushed into disappearance.

After all, with the IRS on Tea Parties, it’s not as if Republicans or Democrats have not used the national force to get rid of competition before.

Reviewing the movies of Akira Kurosawa

October 8, 2014

After the Rain made quite an impression on me. After I watched some other Japanese movies, I didn’t get the same feeling so I did some research to find out why.

The war now ended, Kurosawa, absorbing the democratic ideals of the Occupation, sought to make films that would establish a new respect towards the individual and the self. The first such film, No Regrets for Our Youth (1946), inspired by both the 1933 Takigawa incident and the Hotsumi Ozaki wartime spy case, criticized Japan’s prewar regime for its political oppression.


Kurosawa’s is a heroic cinema, a series of dramas (mostly) concerned with the deeds and fates of larger-than-life heroes. Stephen Prince has identified the emergence of the unique Kurosawa protagonist with the immediate post-World War II period. The goal of the American Occupation to replace Japanese feudalism with individualism coincided with the director’s artistic and social agenda: “Kurosawa welcomed the changed political climate and sought to fashion his own mature cinematic voice.”[204] The Japanese critic Tadao Sato concurs: “With defeat in World War II, many Japanese … were dumbfounded to find that the government had lied to them and was neither just nor dependable. During this uncertain time Akira Kurosawa, in a series of first-rate films, sustained the people by his consistent assertion that the meaning of life is not dictated by the nation but something each individual should discover for himself through suffering.”[205] The filmmaker himself remarked that, during this period, “I felt that without the establishment of the self as a positive value there could be no freedom and no democracy.”

I wondered why so many Americans liked the Seven Samurai movie. As well as why some Japanese like Wild West Westerners from the US.

The idea of the individual hero fighting for or against society, however, does explain many things. After all, it’s something I myself came to a similar conclusion on after a voyage on learning about evil.

Japan is still a nation moved by group politics and social consensus or social Will, but it still has a great amount of individual will in certain sub cultures and entertainment venues. Far more than is the case in America herself these days. It’s somewhat reversed. In America, our Hollywood entertainment, education, police, and political circles are all corrupted for one reason or another, leaving only certain types of groups (gun owners) to have the requisite experience and virtue to act as individuals. Everyone else is too afraid of their Boos or Social Authority to disobey. In Japan, individual private ownership and will can be seen in the otaku culture as well as Japan’s educational corporations and schools, but submit to the security of the group via the Japanese Defense forces and the local police units. In America, we rely on personal arms and other warrior esque training to protect ourselves, our families, or our communities. The police doesn’t really do much except clean up the bodies. Even the deadly Marathon bombings a few years ago were stopped by a citizen that escaped his captivity at the hands of Islamic terrorists inside the US and reported the location and vehicle type of his captors, resulting in their death/capture. Meanwhile the police were shutting down entire city sectors and finding nobody useful.

So I don’t think Kurosawa failed. To him, living in a Japan ruled mostly by social rules or authority laws, it might seem that nothing much changed. To an American that can tell the difference between individual strength/freedom and social obedience, Japan didn’t turn out too bad. Certainly when compared to China or modern US culture. With patriots like Kurosawa working to improve their culture and people, there’s always life and thus hope for improvement.

The problem is always when evil manifests and works against life. Then evil must be killed. Who is going to do it when American generations can’t even defend their own pathetic lives against murderers and serial killers?

You can read more about this on those links. After the Rain brought to me a lot of the individual heroic qualities I saw in Seven Samurai. So I’m just going to view all of them, if I can.

Western science studies Tai Chi

October 12, 2013

Taiji Chuan, the school of universal/supreme boxing.

I’m not surprised by the scientific (real science, not Gaian religious eco terrorist cults) results, since I’ve researched the art on my own and decided to take up its study. I discovered many mysteries and many benefits associated with Taiji Chuan, which gave me a personal motivation to find out its secrets. As is the case with any scientist when presented with an unexplained natural phenomenon.

While China has many internal arts that utilize gravity, bone structure, and various other things inside the human body in order to decrease the reliance on muscle pulley systems to exert external force, Taiji Chuan is a combination of two tried and true methods in ancient history: the circle and the line.

This forms a spiral, with power manifested in such phenomenon as the drill, the tornado, the hurricane, the black hole. Daoism, or the metaphysics of ying and yang, is a human concept of the Wu, or unlimited energy of the universe (Big Bang), split into two opposing and interconnected forces. In Western terms, an analogy might be anti matter and matter. While constructed of the same fundamental material, the properties are different due to the way the energy matrix is aligned (positive or negative).

Tai Chi thus seeks to use the human body as a focus lens, a funnel, a mag bottle, in order to contain these forces of the universe, mix them together in a spiral, and then harness the explosive power that results. Everything after that point is just an argument over techniques, which aren’t important.


Two popular entertainment shows that utilize this concept are Gurren Lagann (infinite spiral evolution) and Naruto (Rasengan). The Eastern entertainment matrix is based upon educating youths (in societal harmony) and expanding their minds, contrary to current Western notions of entertainment which produce better sex workers and HBO porn stars. A difference of priorities, perhaps.

On Killing: What is it good for

September 25, 2013

Unlike social games and domination, which is good for manipulating human resources to get things done (your way), killing does not accomplish social goals. It just destroys the existence of something you don’t want to exist: namely the free will of this proto bio form of life.

Atrocities, propaganda, psychological warfare before or after killing, like the way Palestinians mutilate the live or dead bodies of IDF soldiers, is useful on a social level, in intimidating or manipulating enemy morale. But the killing itself only serves the purpose of terminating something. There is no need for negotiations, no need to cooperate with an enemy that does not exist, and thus no need to talk to or understand that which does not exist.

Dave Grossman‘s On Killing presents a number of claims with a number of different variations and examples backing his concepts up.

This relates to H2H training in a few ways. First, you have to be accustomed to making the right neural links in your brain for the situation at hand. By that I don’t mean conditioning your body to hit or use techniques. The pure intent is what your body pays attention to in life and death situations. That which you truly value. If in a fight, you truly value your life and wish to avoid hate and conflict, then you will avoid it. You will walk backwards as you try to punch forwards, accomplishing nothing productive as 1 cancels out 2. In a life or death situation, if you are forced to make the decision between escape or fight, and you choose fight, what happens when you don’t want to fight, have never thought about killing another person, and view killing and violence as evil? If those are your true beliefs, then your instincts will stall, you will freeze, because your survival instincts will try to override your identity. (Like a hard disk reformatting itself) If you value survival more, the survival instincts kick in and we have killing. If you don’t know, you freeze and have an internal debate until you are dead. If you decide that society’s rules are more important than your life, then you may discard fighting and try to escape or use only “proportional force allowed to you by society”. So you will be getting murdered, while the police come up afterwards to clean up your body: assisted suicide, essentially.

There are also other responses like hiding/staying still to avoid death: submission postures that tell the other human that you surrender and offer no threat, hoping they won’t kill you then. Generally that is supposed to work, but these days belief and conditioning have made it easier to pull the trigger.

Generally speaking, humans, me included, feel stress when other humans reject our humanity or have come to hate us, even though we have done nothing against them. Many people abhor this kind of conflict and friction so much that they do anything to avoid it. Women are notorious for not rocking the boat and agreeing with the group, even though they don’t like what the group is saying. This kind of sensitivity, though, in males can cause the male to challenge people to duels and try to kill them, because people who are hostile to you are enemies. Human fear and anger is contagious. When people are hated, they worry about their social status and whether the group will exile them and rob them of their chances to survive. So that’s why people care about “what other people think”. If you think humans hating you in society doesn’t affect you, consider what happened when the KKK lynched blacks for voting Republican and some religious village leaders burned and drowned witches. Do not underestimate what the mob will do when they feel like it. They are much more than you, as an individual, can counter.

In a situation where a criminal threatens your life, property, loved ones, or your health, you will often times need to use violence against them. But even if you decide to run, you may always regret that you left your kid or family to die. Or you may regret your powerlessness at not being able to protect your property, which is another way of saying you also won’t be able to protect yourself or your family. If your property is unimportant even though you own it, then is not your body also unimportant because you own it? Property can be replaced/repaired, yes, but rape doesn’t require the replacement of women either. Just because something can be repaired, doesn’t mean humans feel zero guilt from losing it, even if they know they can replace it. In a situation where you successfully fight back using violence, you may also come to regret being so successful, since society’s rules say that violence is only for villains and evil people to use. So you will have gained something from the tool of violence, but you now worry about society claiming that your actions were ethically wrong or illegal. You worry that you will be hated and treated as a monster, not a hero. So no matter what you choose, there will be consequences. Killology studies how this fear of society or social repercussions causes PTSD, making people resistant to killing (pulling the trigger), and ends up with good people dying because they were having internal monologue debates on the subject when they didn’t have the time to do so.

Humans are great at rationalizations, so people will always attempt to rationalize why their actions were just or right. If this rationalization veers too far from the facts or reality, then you have self deception. And if it is completely contradictory of itself, within itself, and with reality, then you have a larger problem.

In order to avoid all this mental and spiritual pain, the solution I recommend is that each and everyone decide for themselves, sooner or later, what they will kill for and what they will die. As simple as that. Make your decision before you need to use violence, before you get PTSD, before you get in trouble with society, your family, or the law. This way you can make objective, non biased judgments concerning your future. Trying to make it after feeling the guilt of killing people, or not killing them, letting your friends and loved ones die, or something else horrible, won’t do you much good. Having to repair your own soul is not as productive as protecting it in the first place. Just as psychologically treating rape and torture victims is not as easy as preventing them from being targets in the first place.

What and who are you going to kill? For what reason? Why is it correct and right to do so? Is it right only because society and civilization says it is right, or is it right because you yourself believe and choose to do so?

Humans function under a number of assumptions, chains developed by society to suppress and control human behavior. Taboos against sex, killing, cannibalism, etc. These are designed to protect humans and allow human cooperation and thus survival in the wild. If you do not question yourself, if you do not find your soul and spirit, if you merely follow orders and allow others to decide for you what is right and wrong, you may come to regret it when after you’ve done as you have been told, and realize that you want a second chance.

Don’t hope for second chances, get it right the first time. Use the time you have wisely, and try to avoid spending decades regretting what you did or didn’t do in battle, war, or a life and death conflict. Read about the experiences of your seniors, so that you can learn to accept your own emotions and forgive your own emotions. Learn to accept your own heart and forge your own identity, so you can weather the shocks of the enemy. Learn about what enemies of humanity do to humans, so that emotional shock doesn’t cripple your thinking and your reflexes. Instead of trying to deal with all this pain, confusion, and hesitation over killing and dying, do it now before you are forced to participate.

There are many methods for training people, but this one might be called operant conditioning instead of classical conditioning. Imagine an enemy, imagine what he would have to do before you consciously remove society’s limiters on you, and then act out + visualize your movements. Repeat as needed. While on a street, consider how you would ambush and kill the person that walked past you. Imagine and simulate it out, then insert your will and consciously decide not to do it because they are 1. not a threat and 2. have not crossed your lines (triggers). If you feel horror, if you feel uncomfortable, if you feel sick, if you are afraid of being blamed by society, this is the limiter working. This is what you would feel in a violent encounter, except 1000x worse. This is the combat freeze that kills many, who cannot bring themselves to pull the trigger because they are still debating with themselves over what is right and what is wrong.

Your emotions do not know what is right. Your logick does not know what is right. Only your survival instincts know what is right, in the time that exists now. Learn to trust your survival instincts. But remember this, your survival instincts don’t care about killing people, their feelings, your feelings, or any of that. You may find that your survival instincts is a “machine” and acts like one. Or you may find you have no memory of what you did and thus, if you can’t remember, how do you control it? How do you not just go berserk and kill your spouse when you black out? So people often don’t trust their survival instincts and thus get killed. Your survival instincts are part of you. If you are incompetent, it will take over using fear as the method.

So make sure you have no doubts, in your heart of hearts. Game out situations, game out rules and variations, and try to think. Think of what you will do and whether you will accept the consequences. If you don’t like doing something, then don’t. Accept the consequences of not doing something, just as you accept the consequences of using food as energy. That bacon was once alive and not wanting to die, you know.

As for society, following the law is enough to grant you society’s forgiveness. But it’s up to you whether you want to put society’s rules above your own or ignore it entirely. Personally, society’s rules are too corrupt for me to consider giving it too high a position. If I kill or save someone’s life, it will be because I decided it is just to do so. It won’t be because movies, tv, civilization, or society’s leaders told me it was okay to do so. I will follow society’s rules up to a point. But suicide is out of the question. I will survive and also obey the laws, in order to prevent society from getting rid of me. Whether I lose to a criminal or to a prosecuting attorney, doesn’t matter. Both are bad ends. Strategy thus requires me to defeat all my opponents, no matter who they are. Thus that requires preparation, quick thinking, and tactical judgments.

If other people hate you at work or want to pull you down, humans will feel anxiety at the loss of their social position. This is natural. Only sociopaths have difficulties relating to anxiety over social status. But what if you conditioned yourself to think of such people differently? What if they were not human and thus not subject to human standards? Would not the stress disappear. This is how killers are conditioned. Killing is a mental exercise, it does not particularly require physical abilities, just the intent. Of course having tools does help the job along. Guilt and regret often comes when you do violence to a person, because you think they aren’t a person, then afterwards you realize they were a human just like you. Thus, regret and guilt occurs. So if a person isn’t human, does that mean we get to kill them without guilt, like we step on ants? That depends. What is the control, what is the limiter here if society’s rules do not exist? The limiter is merely this: your will. What do you decide to do and why do you decide to do it. If you find insects and animals, do you just take out your gun/sword and slaughter them for fun and giggles?

Why do you not do so, is it because of the law? Is it because of your neighbors? Is it because it is not fun?

For me, I don’t do so because it is UNNECESSARY. Thus expending my energy to kill life is a detriment to my own survival and resources. Hide what you got it, you might need it when they come for ya. If you have the power to do things, but don’t it, there’s a reason. If the only reason you have is because ‘other people stop me from doing so’ then the time you are not constrained by other people, you then become a sociopath. Which is technically not good.

Just because someone isn’t human, with an individual identity and free will (you can’t convince them or understand them), does not mean they need to die. It does not mean you need to hate them. It just means being hated by a pen (tool) doesn’t matter to you. Things that don’t have free will, humans don’t need to care about. They make rational decisions about them.

In this fashion, soldiers have been conditioned to do the job society and country gave them, blowing away targets merely because they need to be eliminated. That is the mission, that will protect their battle buddies, and it is what needs to be done. The targets are people, yet they are not human, just tools or objectives to be eliminated.

Because if you ever doubt this, look at the corpse you made and realize that it is no longer human, it is just a corpse. If you are going to kill someone, recognizing their humanity is the same thing as saying “I don’t want to kill them” or “I can stop now, they are still alive”. By refusing to recognize the humanity of your targets, you kill them in your mind, but refrain from atrocity cruelty known to war criminals. Even if you have never pulled the trigger, refusing to acknowledge a target’s humanity, constructing operant conditioning methods for when you pull the trigger, means you have already, in your mind, killed that person. He is already dead, thus not human, and will be merely a corpse after you pull the trigger. All the words are in the software, it only needs to be printed out. All you have to do is press the print button.

Of course there are other rationalizations and thoughts. You could think something like “he’s trying to kill us, so being human requires me to defend myself. I do not consciously hate him or want to kill him, but I do want to live and thus that requires his death. He may be human before, but since I can’t communicate with him and make him stop, he must be terminated.”

No matter how you choose to deal with the conflict, you have to have a reason. Your own reason, one your heart can accept. If you lack a reason or your reason is weak, your heart will destroy itself from internal doubts.

Killing a person means accepting all the hate, all the enmity, they will ever have for you, as well as the hate and forever enmity of their loved ones. Killing someone steals all that they have, all that they are, all that they will ever be, in order for you to benefit personally.

If that is not something you can accept, if you don’t wish to do so, then don’t do it. Train yourself in violence to a high enough level you can incapacitate someone without killing them. But to do so, you have to accept dying yourself. If you don’t accept killing them, then your will must be substituted by the will to accept your own death. Human actions require a will, from a heart.

The Ancient Sages killed when necessary, healed and saved lives when they could. It is precisely because they spent so much effort preserving life, that they could kill without regret or fear of divine/societal punishment. Sociopaths have killed their emotions and heart, but the rest of us are only allowed to temporarily drop those social limiters. They will come back, often times to haunt us, if we take them off without appropriate justifications.

“Cause pain before you injure. Injure before you maim. Maim before you kill. And if you must kill, make it a clean kill. Squeeze every drop of life from the opponent. Because life is so precious, it cannot be wasted, even in death.”

“Let him cut your skin, and you cut his flesh. Let him cut your flesh, and you cut his bones. Let him cut your bones, and you cut off his life.”

The Japanese had a long time to deal with these things.

Decide sooner rather than later, what you will kill for and what you will die for. It will be too late once you are stuck in reach of the enemy. This is the armor of the mind and soul, when one’s mind itself becomes the weapon, and the body merely the external manifestation of an artist’s imagination.

Mental Focus

June 27, 2013

Martial arts instructors often talk about physical movements and techniques. I thought to talk about something else tangent to the topic: emotions and thoughts. What are the emotions and thoughts that I have when I exercise a technique and how does that affect whether the technique is efficient or not?

From early on I’ve been able to achieve a pure state of focus where I do not feel strong emotions one way or another, but an extreme drive to obtain a goal. This often showed up when my survival was at stake, at least from my personal perspective. Things dealing with water and high places when lacking oxygen. Reading what other people have wrote of similar experiences, leads me to think it is associated with adrenaline, survival instincts, the lizard brain, and various other names people call it (the machine mind). Since it’s not something literature speaks about, except indirectly and abstractly, each person has to find their own interpretation of what “it” means. Just as each person must learn what love is and how that relates to the words in poetry.

The Ancient Taoists promoted the concept that universal harmony and concepts like that are tarnished as entities when humans trap them using words. Yet how are we supposed to understand anything until we put them into words? And yet, we have to know that once we come to “know” something and are now communicating it with words to another person, we are no longer talking about the universe. We are now operating on human fallible levels of knowing and epistemology. In another way of saying it, those who know love understand the experience in some ways, but those who do not and only know love from reading words…. lack a full grasp of its power and depth. Something very simple and wise perhaps… but wisdom is of no use to those lacking the experience to use it. If children always obeyed their parents, they would never learn to think for themselves and if they obeyed wisdom, it would not be because the children were wise but because they obeyed the wisdom of another. Should a child not obey, they might be acting foolishly, yet it is only through recklessly challenging the status quo that one obtains real world experience and real wisdom in life.

To get back to the original point, when I cut something with my blunt steel sword, I first visualize the result. Then apply it to the problem and adjust my methods to suit the problem. Once I targeted a slim piece of plant growing 6 feet high for cutting, I swung the blade. Yet, it missed. Or rather, only the very very tip had cut one of the small branches, one of my targets. Why? I had aimed to cut the entire group of branches together, not just one leaf. When I had analyzed my technique, I noticed that my “kinesthetic awareness” of the blade extended to the very tip and stopped. And I was using that length as my targeting length. If I wanted to cut with more of the blade, I must reduce my kinesthetic awareness down a bit to adjust the targeting point. So instead of touching the tip of my sword (using my natural awareness of the length and range of things) to the target, I must touch the first third of the blade. In essence, I must step closer.

Most of my concentration is not on the technique, but the goal. At the time, I had construct the goal as “hit the target at maximum range”. By changing the goals, my methods automatically adapted. Whenever I have problems figuring out what to do, I clearly visualize my goal and then focus on my methods last.

In terms of thinking or OODA, I observe the target, I orientate on the target by collecting range and movement relative to me data, I decide what the goal is, I act to accomplish the goal. Then next loop I observe whether I have accomplished the goal or not. Then I observe what went wrong or what went right, decide what to do next, and act upon it.

Emotions like fear or anger, they can be useful at times to motivate me into deciding and acting, but they are not things I feel much when I decide to act. Pain is also illusionary as a feeling. It doesn’t feel real or rather it feels like someone else is feeling it and you’re just dreaming their thoughts. When I have come up with a plan and act upon it, fear goes away. I presume since it has already accomplished its task of kicking me into gear. Fear also is a sign that I need to drop my social restraints and go for the kill. Or to put it another way, release one’s own personal limitations and activate one’s full potential. When I feel no fear, I know I am confident of the situation and can afford to be merciful or compassionate. Fear, in this respect, feels very different than the common person’s reaction to it. It is supposedly the same thing from person to person, yet people treat it differently and use it differently. Or are used by it differently.

Emotions are a great source of power. They allow me to focus very well. I can ignore other people more easily. I can concentrate better. I can unleash just a little bit of the normal restrictions I place upon myself in order to function as a normal person in human society.

In many cases, I am in more danger from myself than other people, since I can exert more power on a physical plane than other people around them. Alternatively it makes me behave strange to the common sense perception. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormon missionaries often, when invited from the door step inside to talk or just talking right outside, ask me why I invite them in and they give me this look like it’s something they don’t see often. And I tell them that I have no fear of them and may in fact respect them for taking risks and doing hard work that other people would normally shun. I didn’t necessarily go out of my way to say crazy things like “I could kill all of you in my house if I wanted to”, but perhaps the implication leaked out anyways. Strangely enough, it made them feel more comfortable around me to know why I was so at ease and so pacific towards them, even though many of them are in fact pacifists and won’t wish to learn about what I do when training. At least the Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses at least. Of course it gave me an opportunity to do my hobby of “people watching”, reading body language, detecting facial gestures and what not. Got to keep up the practice if one wants to be good.

Essentially, they detected my body language and it was not hostile. I’m not afraid of people converting me just by talking to me. I’m not afraid of people busting in my door and trying to harm me. They’d need to bring a lot of firepower and numbers to activate the fear. Of course I won’t know what they will bring, so I will assume the worst, thus the fear will activate, and allow me to de-activate social limiters. The system balances out eventually.

In that sense of dealing with other people who lack violent intent, I’m very pacific (now at least). Fear and anger tends to spread amongst human groups. If you don’t want the stranger to be angry or fearful, don’t act angry or fearful… Like animals, humans can detect that.

A warrior or a martial artist or whatever it is you decide to call yourself, must first defeat themselves before they can grow stronger. Your worst enemy is always yourself. You must change yourself for the better first, before you can change the world around you. Attempting to apply force to the world and its people, to make it conform to your will, will lead to yang exhaustion and your own eventual termination or self destruction as you exhaust your resources, energy, and allies. The only thing you can reinforce and change is yourself. Only after that, can you obtain the judgment to decide what else needs changing.

What does the Heart tell us?

June 2, 2013

In martial arts, the heart, mind, and soul when in harmony produces power and durability. Much as previous civilization said “my strength is as the strength of ten, when my heart is pure”.

The heart or body, however, is a bit hard to conceptualize. Pain is easy to localize. Thoughts are simple to trace. Yet emotions are often ignored. They are so strong that it affects the human body’s heart, thus we speak of the heart when thinking of strong emotions, yet that is not the source. If emotions are so strong that it affects the heart, then either the spinal nerve clusters or the body’s very blood itself is affected. If that happens to be the case, then the entire body is being affected and changed. Thus the heart is another word for the body, and the body’s health reflects one’s own emotions. Hypercondriacs have been known to make themselves sick merely through the feeling that they are sick. Other patients have felt something in their stomach, whereas all medical scans show nothing there, but in fact the pen was there causing pain. Belief and feeling can often times be the absolute truth as well as humanity’s own fantasy fiction.

When your mind is not in conflict with your emotions, when your emotions and thoughts are not in conflict with your soul, you are able to eliminate waste and avoid conflict. Alternatively, your soul can fight your mind, your mind can fight your body, and your body can fight the world. Thus in this fashion, you can change the world through conflict. Improving yourself will be a distant memory, however. The internal arts focus almost exclusively on changing yourself for the better (whether one calls that Taiji’s immortality or not). Changing the world is at best, second or third. It is due to this philosophical focus that much of Chinese internal arts are either considered mystical magic or unrealistic on the field in practice.

The power of emotions, of the heart, is to give an intuitive answer as to what path you should seek, what justice means, without ever using logic in the process. In some ways this is superior, as fighting may not always have time for logic to prevail. Reacting correctly or acting correctly from one’s own intuition is often faster and more effective. There will often times be a moment when a leader or commander on the battlefield must make a decision now, without waiting for his logical mind to process all the data and make a considered judgment. He must decide now, using his heart and soul. Which is the right path to take? Which is the right decision to make? On the tactical level, intuition plays a more important role than chess thinking. On the strategic level, mind plays a greater role than heart.

For as much as Chinese internal arts are considered impractical for the battlefield, their very origins came from people who faced life and death struggles. And in overcoming those challenges, sought to answer life’s great questions.

In some ways, Calculus functions and equations only make sense when the student already knows how to add, multiply, subtract, and divide. For any other person, Calculus would seem rather impractical. Whether that is because the person is unable to utilize it, unable to comprehend it, or merely that the calculus is too specialized at a high level of human tasking, is hard to say.

Serendipity in the Way of the Sword

June 2, 2012

Two people I’ve met through the coincidence of a shared interest, swordmanship or kenjutsu, comes to my mind recently. While practicing, a person named M drove by and started talking to me. I believe I’ve mentioned him before. This time, however, a little girl, J, started mimicking some of my moves with a plastic cane. She was shy at first, running away when I approach her, but eventually I was able to talk to her about learning how to have fun with these sticks in a way that wouldn’t hurt. Especially since she was trying to learn by sparring with her brother. Not a good idea at any age, if you ask me. I have no idea how much, if at all, I’ve helped them out with their problems or objectives in life. They are both free to come visit me again, although many lack the initiative. A couple of working teenagers, pushing a lawnmover on saturday/sunday visited my neighborhood. They wanted me to draw my sword, shinken at the time. So I did a basic iai draw and a few practice cuts, keeping far away from anyone, then sheathed the sword using touch sensitivity. I then talked to them about kenjutsu and how to buy iaitos and shinken online, what to look for, and the safety concerns. They’ll go far in life if they keep to that work ethic they’ve shown. Especially in this economy. So long as they remembered my instructions on buying blunt edged training tools first, and don’t cut off their ear, arm, or legs, that is.

I do not believe I was ever interested in teaching others as a primary goal in life, though helping them felt beneficial overall. I seem to recall a common saying that the beginning martial artist has too much on his plate to be much interested in teaching. Bruce Lee’s first generation students were more accurately his training partners that he taught Wing Chun trapping to, because it was Lee’s way to promote stronger opponents, which in turn forced Lee to evolve his personal art. The focus I’ve spent on improving myself, improving the efficiency at the rate I train via my independent study time and with various different open handed or weapon arts, coincidentally results in me having great fun at teaching or instructing others on how to have fun with this stuff. And having fun, makes life easier to live. It also requires me to gain a complete understanding of martial arts, to the point where I can instruct kids or complete beginners. I tend to use the touch sensitivity method of many Chinese gong fu instructors, combined with the martial theory present in various Taiji Chuan courses. I do not care to place a label on my own abilities, but it seems to jibe with the level where a student in the H2H fields begins to be interested in explaining, showing, and teaching others. And perhaps I’ve gained a greater than average level at teaching precisely because my original training was never a “hold their hands” kind of thing. A lot of importance was placed on individual initiative, responsibility, and independent study. If you didn’t want it bad enough, if you didn’t put in the work to come up with your own training regimen, you weren’t going to get anywhere. Certainly nobody was going to tell you to train or tell you how to do certain things a certain way.


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