Philosophy Is Important In Training
A few of the guys had come in early because they didn’t want to go home from school/college/ work and come out again for training, some were doing their own training, some their homework and some just reading or playing portable computer games.
Jake and his friends were working out on the punch bags and then trying out the techniques on each other, they were working up an enthusiastic sweat and had eventually bought a bag to the floor and were working on their best ‘ground and pound’ techniques rolling with the bag and then straddling it to give their best hits. Eventually they all rolled over on their backs on the floor, sweating and exhausted…
“Jeez…” said Jake…. “I’m zauhsted…. What a pre-training workout!”
“The problem is, by the time we’re going home tonight, if anyone attacks us, we’ll be too knackered to fight them,” said Joe, Jack’s training partner.
Jack rolled over to his hands and knees leaving a wet body imprint on the mats and dripping a puddle from his face, he wiped the puddle away with his sleeve… “still, we’ll be lean, mean, fighting machines, unlike the nerds and geeks in there,” he motioned towards those doing their homework, reading and playing computer games.
“Yeah let’s go have some fun with ‘em” said Joe mischievously, hauling himself to his feet, Jack managed to stand and threw some playful kicks at Joe’s back as they walked out into the rest area and got themselves a drink.
“What ya reading?” asked Jack as he leaned over Ali’s shoulder deliberately dripping sweat from his face down Ali’s neck. Ali moved uncomfortably, repulsed by Jack’s sweat.
“Old Path White Clouds, by Thich Nhat Hanh,” said Ali…”
“What’s that all about then?” asked Jack.
“It’s the life story of the Buddha” answered Ali, “I’m reading it for my philosophy course..”
“Instead of reading that stuff,” said Joe, “you should be in there (motioning towards training hall) training and doing stuff….”
Ali took a measured look at Joe… “you mean wot like you do” he said mimicking Joe’s accent…
Joe grabbed the book and made off to the edge of the room “the Noble truth of suffering is like me kicking your ass” he said keeping just out of Ali’s.
At this moment Sifu came out of his office, “What’s going on?” he asked.
“Just some fun,” said Jack, “we were debating whether it’s better to train or read philosophy”, a smart manoeuvre on Jack’s behalf to get out of trouble…
Sifu read the situation and asked Jack… “well……. which is best…. and why?”
Jack reddened and looked down, Joe leapt in to his defence, “train Sifu, practical is always best, you learn better from ‘doing’”…
“Ali?” Sifu looked quizzically at Ali who up until this time had remained silent…
Ali looked Sifu directly in he eye, “I come from an ancient culture where age and wisdom are revered,” he said, “If we don’t take the time to learn from and respect those who have gone before us and our living elders, then all action in the world will only be based on the folly of youth and naïveté… therefore I feel that a wise man balances learning and physical training…”
“Absolutely,” said Sifu, from our learning is borne our philosophy, from our philosophy comes our actions, if we have not studied and carefully worked out our philosophy toward life, from where are we going to base our actions?
In the beginning, our culture, our upbringing and our peers will help us to form our philosophy towards life, but does this belong to us? As martial artists and warriors of life, it’s up to us to take the time to work out our own philosophy and to do that we need to develop the tools to do so and a mind that is capable of working it out.
We need the training in posture, breathing, awareness and concentration that comes from our martial arts, the ability to broaden our mind outside of our culture and upbringing and then the knowledge of what to meditate on to form a philosophy that truly belongs to us.
We have to work through our mental view on life and death, intuition, anger, fear and suffering, to develop patience, kindness, compassion and the ability to express it, to ‘intuit’ people and events and lead us to a mental view that truly belongs to us and reflects who we are.
Our views are then tempered by reality; which is dished out to us in a compressed, often pressurised format in a kwoon or doJoe which gives us the ability to test what we think we know.”
By now, Jack and Joe were sitting down next to Ali. “So what do you think is the magic formula of training, study and meditation?” asked Joe.
“We all find our own way,” answered Sifu, “but you neglect any one at your peril, mindless or heedless action, particularly from a physically skilled and respected martial artist can cause a lot of damage. You need to have developed and thought out a philosophy that you are prepared to support with your very life, because in one split second it could colour a decision that you have to make, that as a result may save or take a life.”
Jake turned to Ali, “what was the title of that book again?…”