Something is not right. The world – the entire world – feels out of kilter. There is a disturbance in the Force. Yin and Yang are not in balance.
The study of a martial art is about the study of self. It is about learning the capabilities of your own body, and recognizing how the bodies of others work and feel. As the study moves from the external to the internal arts, the exploration moves beyond your own breathing into the focus and intent of your opponent, becoming aware of the feeling in the air – the vibe.
Some may claim martial arts are about battle; ‘martial’ is in the nomenclature. However, warring is about bombs, laying waste. Policing is about prisons and injustice. These do not incorporate feeling. They are on the surface, and conceptual choices.
Martial arts are about the inner self. A path to find the confident, tranquil center within that allows you to ignore derogatory name-calling, meaningless threats, and selfish interests. Their practice should help to set aside insecurities, to abandon assumptions, and purge presuming.
Do you feel it? Do you feel that discord in the air?
It is not just politics. That is only the magnifying glass. I imagine most martial artists feel it. Most dancers, painters, massage therapists, doctors, councilors, theologians, and countless others that tune into the human spirit can feel it.
It is not the doom of impending apocalypse, though it may feel that way. It is an electric static of harsh chaos, a constant tipping and bouncing out of a more comfortable norm. A feeling of anger, greed, and mistrust seems to permeate, overriding the tranquil calm of life, soft water, clean air, peace and quiet.
Rushing to the job, and to the second job, and the side hustle has eliminated the serene morning walk to work, or the evening jog, or the quiet moment doing nothing more than enjoying being alive. The need to have it all, to get it all, to control the competition, to win at all costs, has beaten down the ideas of barn-raising, of helping others, or even of just heartfelt hellos. Unfortunately, business often corrupts the best and simplest of things.
Martial arts are about life. They are not about separation or segregation, oppression or suppression, conquest nor greed. They are about a love of life, all life. At least, they are supposed to be.
Live for the body and you are nothing more than an animal with everything measured by moments of immediate physical gratification. Do those workouts, pick up, and put down that heavy weight while learning nothing and helping no one, but your own sweat feels good.
Govern yourself only with your mind and you will plot, contrive, and connive. A desire to control everything will breed distrust of any whom you think are nibbling at the edges of all that you seek to control.
Live from the heart. Let your heart guide your mind and your mind then lead your body. Live and let live. Help when you can be helpful. Mistrust your own distrust. Relax. Let go.
You are your enemy. When you truly know yourself, you can empathize with others not like you. Become centered. Become a bubble of tranquility within the static disturbance and try to spread that peace. The world needs it.