Articles, Posts

Welcome To My Blog..

14316810_10154002469378576_580608977925484872_nWelcome to my blog and post index page. My name is Steve Rowe, a martial artist of over 40 years and I’m a writer in the martial arts, a columnist for the martial arts magazines, an author of books on the arts and martial arts philosophy. Over the last 40 years I have written many interviews, poems, articles for magazines, blogs for websites and books. Many have been lost due to website crashes and the internet demons that seem to snatch them from the t’internet world, but I still have a few hundred on my computer and will post them on here along with anything else I write in my dotage.

book coverIf you would like to buy a signed copy of my latest book (pictured) email steve@shikon.com

If you would like to attend any of my seminars the calendar click here….

For the website for my Martial Arts Club click here…..

The index is in articles, poems and interviews and people.

Post Index:

Articles
What’s In It For Me?
Why Are You Ignoring Your Oldest Friend?
Meditation, Sleep and Dying
Intensity In Meditation
Being A Good Student
Buddha Was A Proper Geezer
2 Triples For Happiness
Making Sense Of The Universe With Kata/Form
Come Together…
Find Your Own Martial Art
Why ‘Positive Thinking’ Doesn’t Work…
The ‘Empty Force’ Of Tai Chi
The Dark Side Of Pain
Cognitive Dissonance In The Martial Arts
Keep Your Child Safe!
Direct Knowledge Is Different
Principled Training And Existence
If I die tonight
Teaching Older People
Rules Of Self Defence and Bullying
I Should Be Dead
Stop Bullying
Iaido – The Cutting Edge
Standing Neigong
Mindulness
Back To Front Martial Arts
Compassion
Winner Or Loser?
Rules To live by…
Guns, Violent Crime &The Elephant In The Room
How To Ruin Your Child’s Training
Compassion And The Martial Arts
Fighting Yourself
How Tai Chi Saved My Life
Don’t Think – Feel
Kung Fu Kids Codes
What Tai Chi Gives Me
The ‘Taste’ Of Kung Fu
Why Bowing Is Important
Yang Tai Chi ‘Head & Feet’
Do You Train To Fight?
What Is Natural In The Martial Arts
Internet Tough Guys
Don’t Mess With My Martial Arts
The Magic Key
Tai Chi And Driving Your Car
Sanchin – Harmonising Mind, Body & Breath
Pain In The Martial Arts
Use Your Head!
Why Yang Tai Chi Is A Deadly Fighting Art
Fa Jing In Yang Tai Chi
I Don’t Believe In PMA
13 Dynamics Of Tai Chi
I Only Wanted To Be Kwai Chang Cain
The Path To Success
What Is Reiki
How To Deal With Bullying At School
Milk Of Amnesia
10 Essential Points Of Martial Arts Leadership
Peace Is Earned
Grading At Shi Kon
3 Most Important Points In Martial Arts Training
Who Are You Kidding?
The Power Chain
What’s Wrong With The Martial Arts?
Arousal In The Martial Arts
Women In The Martial Arts
Kata Doesn’t Work In A Fight
Connecting Hands And Feet
The Art Of Listening
The Language Of The Body…
Continuous Neigong…
The 4 Blocks Of Karate
Buddhist Alchemy In The MartIal Arts
Simple Neigong – Insomnia Buster!
Age With Dignity…
The Alchemy Of Tai Chi Chuan
Grading Problem…
The Best Martial Art And Teacher…
Martial Arts – The Masterkey!
25 Signs You’re Ageing In The Martial Arts
Martial Arts Biggest Secret…
Tai Chi Does You…
Chinto Kata (Gankanku)
Invest In Loss..
Soft And Slow Or Efficient…
Arrogance At Black Belt
Revenge Of The Stolen Pen
Move Like A Porsche
The Structure Of Kata
Training With Age
Power For Punching
Beginner’s Mind
The Yo Yo as a Martial Arts Weapon..
What Is Chi..
When Your Imaginary Opponent Wins
Healing In The Martial Arts
How To Get A Black Belt
Ethical Is Successful Business In Martial Arts
Vicars, Tarts and Martial Arts
Emotional Intelligence in Martial Arts
No One Fights With Swords Anymore
I Have A Dream…
Cultural Stories In Tai Chi Postures
The Simple Guide To Meditation
The Chakras
How To Be Happy
10 Stress Busters
Why Questions Are Important
Dojo Visitor
Tai Chi Makes You Beautiful
The Speed Of Chi
Feather On The Breath Of God Qigong
Sanchin To Tensho
Defence Against The Self
Powerful Grading Speech
Why Karateka Can’t Make A Stance
Injury Prevention
How To Hammer And Screw Your Opponent
MMA Or Karate?
I Don’t Do Nice
Responsibility Of An Instructor
Positive Visualisation In Kata
It’s Not What You Do
The Meaning Of Life
How To Avoid Being Clumsy
Icebergs Instead Of Mountains
Kamae In Karate
Ignorance Of Youth
Hands Of A Clock
Chi – The Users Manual
There’s One In Every Martial Arts Club
Right Effort In Training
Grading In The Martial Arts
Yin Yang Tai Chi Method
Gossip In The Dojo
Training Children Need Parents Support
Kata – Wearing The Skin Of Your Ancestors
Sink, Swallow, Float And Spit
The Internet And Martial Arts
Magpie Mind And Tai Chi
Stand, Walk And Run Skills
Freestyle (Ji Yu) Kata
How To Stop Bullying
How To Do Kata
No Competition – No Fight
Waving Hands Like Clouds
The Importance Of Qigong In Form
Hand Healing In The Martial Arts
Mindset In Karate
Tai Chi – The Ultimate Skirmish Art
It’s All About Respect
Martial Arts Merchants
Europe’s Warrior Monks
Disguised Buddhism
Martial Chakras
Martial Parenting
Both Sides Of The Brain
Religion And Karate
In Memory Of Alan Emery
Translation Of Uke
The Old Days
Working Together
One Foot In Life And One In Death
Perspective In Tai Chi
Dealing With Clumsiness
Happiness
It’s Simple
The Green Eyed Monster
A Street Fight
Simple Or Skilfull RBSD
The Bows And Pumps Of Tai Chi
Training For Pleasure
Want And Need In The Martial Arts
Deception And Speed
4 Elements And Martial Arts Training
Philosophy Is Important In Training
Bowing In Karate
Sensitivity In The Martial Arts
The Martial Arts And Violence

Poems
Winter
Sun
Like Waves On The Sea
I Can Beat The Buddha In A Fight!
Letting Go…
Inside Out
I See You
Mass Slaughter
A Walk In The Woods
The Eyes Of The Dead
A Golden Cage Is Still A Cage
The Softest Touch
A Different Tao
I’m Only Visiting
Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory
A Door Inside
A Past Life
Losing The Way
Heaven Or Hell
Zombie Or Alive
DoThe Dead Speak?
It’s A Kind Of Magic
Death In Battle..
The Training Bank
Stick A Needle In Your Eye…
A Black Belt…
Internal Or External?
The Stopped Breath…
My Immortal Soul
Inside Out…
Blind Assumptions…
Blood On Wood…

Bullying….
The Yin Factor
Martial Arts Are Defensive
Life’s Not Fair…
The Aliens have Landed!
Magpies and Monkeys
Looking Back Down Our Eyes..
Who Do You Train For?
You Can’t Stop Growing Old…
Armed Or Unarmed?
Bringing Zombies To Life
The Peng Balloon
Kata A Waste Of Time?
Like A Never Ending Circle…
Putting The Egg In The Eggcup
The Deepest Door..
Direct Transmission…
Eating Bitter..
Death Is A Warm Blanket…
Dealing With Fear
Are You A Fattist?
The Happy Button…
The Learning Process
What Happened?
Seeing With Clarity
It’s Yesterday No More
Diversity and Compassion…
The Beast That Lurks Within
You’ll Have To Kill Me…
3 Essentials To Enlightenment
Taking Or Giving?
It’s Not What You Do
Why Me?
Learning Friendship..
The Secret Of Internal Power

Interviews & People
Steve Arneil Kyokushinkai Legend
Wado Ryu Training In The ’60’s
Toru Takamizawa
Julian Dale – Eagle Claw
Dave Rubens – Aikido and Security
Yoshinobu Ohta Interview 2003
Mick Randall MBE Interview 2003
Mick Billman Interview 2003
Mick Gooch Interview 2003
Peter Spanton Interview 2003
Dave Hazard Interview 2003
Dave Courtney Interview 2010
Doug James Interview 2003
Jim Uglow Interview 2001 – Chap Sau
Ray Fuller Interview 2003
Mick Nursey Interview 2003

Talks With Dennis Jones
Giri
Dennis Jones Interview

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What’s In It For Me?

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I hate the ‘what’s in it for me’ people.
I love the people that support their family, club, association, charities and community.
I love the students and instructors that support seminars, tournaments and courses and enjoy both the learning and social aspects of the gatherings.
I love the Instructors that take all the right qualifications and continue their professional development.
Those that register, licence and insure their students and are confident enough and not afraid to let them attend association and other seminars to widen their perspective.
So many are happy enough to take their student’s money but are too tight to invest in both their own and their student’s development.
How short sighted is that?
The best way to get support is it to give it.
The happiest people contribute to a community without always looking for payback.
Don’t be tight – don’t be stingy – don’t restrict your own development – don’t restrict others.
Encourage support – encourage development in the broadest sense, not forgetting your own – invest in people – invest in the community.
You think people don’t notice when you don’t pay your dues, in all senses – believe me, even if they don’t say anything, they do – and if you don’t – that’s why you ain’t got no close friends.
Students – does your Instructor encourage you to develop and progress in this way or is he/she too tight and scared to expose you to the bigger martial arts world?

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Why Are You Ignoring Your Oldest Friend?

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Why are you ignoring your oldest friend?

It’s always been there with you, holding you up in the hardest of times, crying and laughing with you, always supporting you from the ground up – and yet you steadfastly ignore it!

It talks to you all the time, tells you when it wants to exercise, rest, eat, drink, and yet you treat it rudely.

Well STOP IT! And start paying attention.

Your dog doesn’t speak your language and yet you understand everything he says, when he wants attention, feeding, drink, walkies, you treat him well and love him.

You body does the same. In it’s own language, it tells you when it needs attention, feeding, drink, exercise and rest – so why don’t you listen?

Your ego, your vanity, your fears and desires constantly over rule your oldest friend. You hate it, you punish it, in the gym, ‘no pain no gain!’ stuffing it with food that the media pushes on your subliminal desires, forcing it into uncomfortable clothes, painting it and still looking in the mirror and hating it.

Why don’t you listen? The reason is that your ego won’t shut up, it’s either distracted to every shiny object the media pushes toward you or it’s lazy, because you ate the wrong foods, drunk the wrong drinks, exercised the wrong way ands are obsessed with the little electric square you carry around all day and react like Pavlov’s dogs to every chirrup it makes.

How do you change this and listen?

Be still and aware, let your thoughts and feelings subside. Learn to be mindful.

Let your sensitivity grow. Take your mind through every part of your body, with kindness.

Talk to your oldest friend. Ask it how it feels, listen to all the minor aches and pains, because if you wait until it has to shout – it will be major illness.

Treat it with appropriate exercise and rest whilst paying attention to exactly what it needs and is asking for. Your Friend loves to exercise, to play, to have fun, to rest, to be fed, watered, there’s no need to punish it…… ever.

Treat it the same way you treat your oldest friend, it’s always been there for you and the more care you give it, the more it can give you.

 

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Meditation, Sleep and Dying

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When you can’t sleep, or you’re sick and terrified of dying it’s because you can’t let go. Going to sleep is like dying, you stop thinking and drift in a state of just being and if you can do this through meditation practice, you sleep deeply and restoratively. Similarly when you are sick and death is inevitable, you drift in to that state of just being and returning to the source of all things dying peacefully.
See how the two are connected?
When you meditate you loose the shackles and burdens of life, resting in that beautiful place of refuge and your broadest perspective on this blink in eternity is restored. Sleep or death, the process is the same.
A student said to me “as my meditation improved, I felt like I was losing myself, I thought I was dying, I got scared and pulled back”, he needed the reassurance that he was in the doorway of experiencing his true, infinite self and wouldn’t physically die until it was time.
This is how to meditate and then falling asleep and dying can be done peacefully and the fear and mental blocks of both are removed, improving both mental and physical health.
Living from the inside out and not letting anything or anyone influence you negatively because you have direct experience of the truth.

 

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Intensity In Meditation

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I teach that for mindfulness, meditation and Martial Arts, the mind needs to be aware, focused, sensitive and intense. The right kind of intensity is a key factor and often misunderstood.

You cannot be half hearted. The enemies of the mind are apathy and distraction, to avoid them the mind must be intensely focused and that requires the right kind of effort.

To me, after posture and breathing are correct, it’s like getting into an elevator and dropping instantly 100 floors down. This is both my meditation and fighting mind, it cannot be disrupted.

Sometimes it feels like I’m standing on the edge of a cliff, with my toes curling over the edge and precariously balanced.

Bad intensity is disruptive, good intensity is incredibly focused. There is no thinking mind, no ego, no individual, no ‘self’, just an open awareness where everything is in the right place.

The mind has the widest perspective with no barriers, this is where our innate wisdom resides, it’s a place of refuge where the mind can heal – without anger, fear and worry but full of kindness, patience, tolerance and compassion for itself and it’s environment.

In martial arts and intense mindful state is able to respond instantly and appropriately in a natural to any attack, it’s where you are ‘in the zone’.

It requires practice, every second you are mindful, you are alive and ‘awake’, every second you’re not, you’re a distracted, apathetic zombie.

Your choice….

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Being A Good Student

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We often talk about what makes a good Instructor and what makes a good club, but what happens when we turn that on it’s head and ask what makes a good student?

The one thing that I discovered was that if I knew how to be a good student I could get far more out of my Instructors than anybody else and that as an Instructor I am far more inclined to teach a good student thoroughly than a bad one.

The inescapable facts are that many Instructors don’t get to choose their students, sometimes they teach because they feel it’s wrong to favour students and therefore ‘stick it out’ with what they consider a bad one and sometimes the reasons are financial, but either way I quickly discovered that there are ways to get far more than anyone else was getting and I didn’t have to compromise my morals to achieve it!

You don’t have to like a person to teach them well, a student doesn’t have to like an Instructor to learn from them, all it takes is a bit of patience and tolerance on both sides to get there. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with many students in the past and I can understand that they hate me for being blunt with them and for making them do things that they didn’t want to, if you don’t push them beyond what they think are their limits, how are they going to improve? If they don’t have that basic faith and trust in me even if they don’t like me, or what I’m making them do they can never grow as a martial artist. I never worried about popularity, just results.

What can a student do to make the relationship work better? This is the magic formula that I used to get that extra tuition and information that the others never got.

Always pay your fees. Seems obvious but isn’t to many. Never barter on a price. Always pay for your lesson whether you turn up or not. If you want that regular spot, book it with money, then it’s always yours and a bond of trust is formed. There is nothing worse than a student that books an instructors time, cancels and doesn’t pay. If someone who does pay regularly comes along they will naturally give the time to them and you will forfeit yours. The Instructor will also not be inclined to teach an irregular person well because they will see them as untrustworthy and think that they are wasting their time. If you are a long term student, raise the fees yourself, it is unlikely that the Instructor will do it and when you show that you value their time and consider their well being it will be appreciated.

Always make notes. Learn a training shorthand of matchstick men, arrows and keywords so that when you get home you will remember what you’ve been taught. Ask the instructor to film you doing what you’ve just learned on your phone and if you’re lucky he will give advice whilst doing it. If he doesn’t want to do this get someone else to do it as soon as possible afterwards. Between lessons train continuously on what you’ve been taught and think about it all of the time. Every time a question arises, write it down to ask on your next lesson. There’s nothing more encouraging for an instructor than a student who pays attention, makes notes, trains hard between lessons and then asks questions on the next lesson.

Listen and pay attention to what you’re being taught. Don’t give your opinion. Don’t talk about what you’ve done or what you think because you’re paying the Instructor to give you the benefit of their experience. There’s nothing more boring than a student who pays the Instructor so they can talk to them for a couple of hours about what they think and have done. Every minute is important not just from a financial point of view but that instructor could be dead tomorrow and you’re wasting precious time with your own ego. If you’re asked, “what do you want to do?” the Instructor is being polite, answer “whatever you think I need to work on”. You are likely being taught a system and it’s best to learn it in the right sequence put together by the expert, not randomly by your own desires.

Develop respect and care. If the Instructor is doing their best for you and you are for them, mutual respect is earned naturally. If there’s anything you can do to help or support in their home life, club and association development do it, because it means that your teaching environment is less likely to be affected by outside influences and it’s good to care. I’ve represented my Instructors on Governing Body Committees, helped them to write books, shoot videos, buy houses, helped with legal problems, opened clubs for them, taught on their seminars and helped them bring over their Instructors to the UK.

Every time you reach a milestone in your training, like a grading, winning a tournament or opening your own club, always thank your instructor before doing anything else and always give them credit for what they’ve taught you. Nowadays that courtesy has all but disappeared and you can see students prancing around with their new grade or trophy and everyone patting them on their back whilst the Instructor sits quietly in the corner. It’s not inappropriate to buy them a small thank you gift or at least give a thank you before celebrating yourself.

It’s easy to teach just the surface of a system and the student would never know. Often that’s done as a test to see if they’re worthy or capable of receiving deeper instruction. Courtesy is a given, respect is earned both ways. When the student and instructors ‘chi is in agreement’, respect has been earned and they are capable of working through the hard times together; the ‘hidden levels’ can be taught. Nothing is being held back, it’s just that the environment has to be right. The surface teaching is known as ‘eating sweet’ and the deeper levels as ‘eating bitter’. ‘Eating sweet’ is full of flashy moves and certificates and ‘eating bitter’ is made of sweat, blood, pain and a system that gradually alters the body and mind.

By all means find the right club and instructor, but remember that they are also looking for the right student.
By Steve Rowe

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Buddha Was A Proper Geezer

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Translation by me….
Buddha was a proper geezer.
As a youngster he was a great martial artist.
Despite being a prince he became (in current slang parlance) ‘woke’.
The word ‘Buddha’ means ‘one who is awake’.
He left his wife and child (making sure they were cared for) and went ‘walkabout’ to find himself.
Buddha is not a god. He is not a son of god. He is not immortal. He was not a prophet.
He became a master of logic.
He was (in slang terms) a ‘proper geezer’.
When he found himself he put it in simple logical terms.

Life hurts.
It hurts when you want or don’t want something.
You can stop doing this to yourself.
He then gave 8 pointers to the way of becoming woke.

Here’s the 8 pointers:
Get perspective
Plan with that perspective in mind
Speak the truth
Behave yourself
Earn a living without hurting anyone
Put in the right effort
Stay woke
Stay focused

He gave 3 helpful truths about existence:
Nothing stays the same
This can make you suffer
We are all like waves rising from staying connected to and returning to the sea.

He said it helps to:
Stay woke
Always look for the truth
Have good mates to support each other

Buddhism is the path of logical self examination to discover the truth of who and what you are.

And that is why the ethos of traditional martial arts are steeped in this wisdom.

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2 Triples For Happiness

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2 Triples For Happiness

Anicca – Dukka – Anatta

Today wisdom and happiness comes in 2 triples, the first is Anicca, Dukka, and Anatta, the triple gem of existence.

Impermanence
We all know this, but much of our suffering comes from not accepting it. Everything rises and falls without cease, therefore we need to be able to fully engage, to love, enjoy and then at the right time let go. To be able to do this we need to remind ourselves in daily meditation that all things will pass and just knowing this will broaden our perspective enough to give a deep happiness.

Suffering
Suffering is borne from desire and aversion. When we have an unnatural attraction to have or an aversion to not have, we will suffer. Accepting what cannot be changed and is inevitable is important to be able to get on with life and change that which can be changed to contribute to the world in a positive way.

Not Self
We are not born into this world, we’re born out of it. Our DNA goes back to the big bang, we have always been here in one form or another. Our meditation connects us to the source and we understand that what we think is the ‘self’ is in fact just a wave riding on and fully connected to the ‘sea’ of the source of all things. We are much, much, more than the thinking mind, when that ceases in meditation, all is revealed.

Buddha – Dharma – Sangha

The second triple gem is the 3 essentials of enlightenment.

To Be Awake
To have a mind that is fully aware, focused, sensitive and has the right kind of intensity. Once this mind is developed we are not subject to the mental enemies of apathy and distraction that make many people into living zombies. Others are unable to manipulate us as we can see through the deceptions with clarity and are able to thin k and judge for ourselves.

The Pursuit Of Truth
Truth just is. It is our personal journey, we have to discover for ourselves. Wisdom and truth reside in and arise from the wordless mind in meditation. It’s intrinsic and often cannot be defined. There is a difference between knowing about something and actually knowing and fully realising it. We all know academics that know everything about martial arts but can’t actually do it. A big difference!

The Right Circle Of Friends
A ‘Dojo’ is ‘a place to find the way’ and like a church is not a building but a group of like minded individuals. Part of the pursuit of truth is solitary but the other part needs other people for mutual support and exchange. A ‘Sensei’ is ‘one who has made the journey’ and is able to guide you in following the path. He/she can’t do it for you but can certainly help with a map of how to get there.

So there you have it. Understanding impermanence, suffering and the truth of the self and how to be awake, discover truth and mix with the right people. 2 triples that really can be life changing!

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