Finding The Depth

I’ve never understood people with a romantic or joyous view of life. When I was young I hated life, didn’t get on at school or with my family. It was only when I discovered martial arts and Asian philosophy that I found peace and balance. Life is suffering and learning how to see it in the right perspective and deal with it emotionally are good tools to have in your emotional toolbox. It’s always struck me that the people that have the mask of a romantic and joyous view of life also tend to be the most needy and emotionally … Continue reading Finding The Depth

International Men’s Day and Mental Health

Today is ‘International Men’s Day’ and an opportunity to look at and understand men’s mental health from a man’s point of view. It’s all very well telling them what they’re supposed to do by people that don’t understand why they are the way they are, but the natural and powerful urges and the social indoctrination from a young age is very powerful. Most fighters understand that it’s not death or pain that they fear but humiliation. Therefore they would rather die than display or discuss their weaknesses. So the advice to talk about their vulnerabilities with others may catch a … Continue reading International Men’s Day and Mental Health

Men’s Mental Health

Mental Health For Men There are a lot of memes and ‘copy and paste’ posts basically saying that men suffering from mental health need to talk about their problems and be able to communicate and seek help. I don’t think these help because they’re asking men to do something that feels too unnatural. Men are built physically, mentally and emotionally in a different way to women. Men are traditionally the protectors, hunters, and warriors and they would demonstrate their prowess in these areas to impress females like much of the animal world, it’s written into their DNA to not ‘break … Continue reading Men’s Mental Health

What The Prophets Knew

If someone’s never eaten a banana, how could you describe the taste to them? If you meditate regularly and discover the immortal within yourself and the person you’re talking to doesn’t, how could you describe it to them? The first lines in the Tao Te Ching say “The way that can be spoken of is not the eternal way”. This is why Jesus told parables;The Buddha told sutras;Zen uses koans. In Karate the title ‘sensei’ means one who’s gone before and therefore points the way. A ‘Guru’ is one who sheds light into darkness. All we can do is provide … Continue reading What The Prophets Knew

Discovering Your Original Face

Daily martial arts practice can be like saying your prayers. A daily ritual that takes you deeper and deeper, beyond the individual, absorbing you into the wordless, unformed, immortal part of your ‘being’. The longer you practice, the faster and more permanent this process becomes. Those that never understand the ritual of practice will never get there. Most people train martial arts to consolidate the social indoctrination they’ve already had, to ‘lose weight’, ‘defend themselves’ and to engage in a social activity treating the ‘Dojo’ like a western gym. But for those that have a little dust in their eyes … Continue reading Discovering Your Original Face

The Kundalini

What is the ‘kundalini’ and why is it dangerous? The kundalini is your life force. If you animate your raw life force and don’t have the emotional intelligence to alchemise it into a healthy vigour it can do more harm than good. In Tai Chi the raw energy from the root chakra is the energy of life and death (sex and violence) and is very powerful. When this energy is raised, it’s essential to pass it through the chakras of our instinctive feelings, understanding and coping with anger and fear, learning patience, kindness and compassion, using these skills to affect … Continue reading The Kundalini

What’s Your Personality?

What is your personality? The word personality comes from the word ‘persona’ which in turn comes from the mask that actors wore on stage before the use of microphones to project their voices, thus ‘person sonar’. We use different personalities or ‘masks’ according to the situation, so most people have a mask for the public, one for their friends, one for their family and then there is their true self. Knowing who you are and what the masks are is an important skill in inhabiting a body or ‘being human’. The problem comes when we get so used to wearing … Continue reading What’s Your Personality?

Deeper Understanding & Insight

Maybe too much information has also been killing off the deeper understandings and insights to be gained in martial arts. There’s a lot to be said for mindful repetition of skilled movement and too much ‘thinking’ and information overload blocks these insights. Because of the structure of our society we confuse the more we know about something with actually knowing it. There’s a big difference between accumulating knowledge with the simplicity of doing it with a few basic principles that encompass the knowledge to be gained through repetitious practice rather than tripping over mental information that couldn’t possibly be accomplished … Continue reading Deeper Understanding & Insight

Learning To Look Inward

We never really know ourselves because we can’t look back down our own eyes. In hindsight I realise that I’ve never wanted to be alive so have never had the need to joyfully engage. I never got on with my family and couldn’t wait to leave home, hated school so didn’t bother to go or learn, failed all exams miserably. Social life was pubs and nightclubs because I couldn’t think of anything else so just ran with the gangs. Didn’t read a book until I started meditating in my 20’s and then couldn’t stop, because there was no internet and … Continue reading Learning To Look Inward

How Grief Occurs

I was watching a TV programme and someone asked a man whose son had been murdered how he was doing and he said “fine, for 10 seconds a day – then I remember that my son is dead.” This is an excellent description of grief or PTSD where you don’t just suffer it once, that sense of dread keeps recurring in waves again and again. Every day I wake up I feel fine for 10 seconds and then I move and the realisation, shock and horror of having my leg amputated occurs again and this still occurs many times a … Continue reading How Grief Occurs