Articles, Uncategorized

Martial Arts Bullies

31790531_1662027780519394_1656291121942233088_n

 

It’s common knowledge that I don’t like bullies in the martial arts in life or social media. When people go on about ‘standards’ and ‘McDojo’s” in the arts my first thought is ‘people in glass houses’… They are usually the people who should be putting their own house in order!

We may not like what some people teach, but if they’re not breaking any laws we don’t have the right to bully, slander or libel them. What we do need to do is everything in our power to raise the standards of the arts generally in whatever area we train and teach in and continually encourage others to improve and point to what is good. All the time we point at others in a negative way we only demonstrate our own failings.

If we work together instead of against each other and share our knowledge and systems it can only be for good. Martial Arts have a lot to offer the public, but when they see senior people arguing like children in a school playground and those that teach anti bullying, pointing, laughing and ridiculing others it really puts us all in a bad light.

Let’s stop bullying in the Martial Arts as well as outside.

Standard
Articles, Uncategorized

What’s In It For Me?

suspicion

 

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?

Standard
Articles, Uncategorized

Why Are You Ignoring Your Oldest Friend?

Photo on 03-03-2018 at 12.03

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.

 

Standard
Articles, Uncategorized

Meditation, Sleep and Dying

Dead

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.

 

Standard
Articles, Uncategorized

Intensity In Meditation

Photo on 23-10-2017 at 17.52 #3

 

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….

Standard
Articles, Uncategorized

Being A Good Student

received_10156189967146740

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

Standard
Articles, Uncategorized

Buddha Was A Proper Geezer

20180317_200021

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.

Standard