Peaceful Ninjas

 

I once regularly practiced martial arts.   My particular form was Hwardo.  It was one of the most rewarding pursuits in which I have engaged.   I have not practiced it for over a year now; my teacher retired and his school closed.  Sometimes, I still feel as though I were actively doing it, even though I no longer physically practice.  It is hard to let something like that go.

Despite the connotations of martial arts promulgated by the entertainment media, and contrary to what all the strikes and blocks, kicks and throws, leaps and take-downs would seem to indicate, martial arts are not at their core all about fighting.  They are all about loving, and the continued pursuit to perfect oneself, to grow.  Yes, martial arts are a means of self defense, as well as a competitive sport.  Self defense is not warlike; to protect oneself is to love oneself, and is a base for all the possibilities for loving contribution one might make.  But martial arts are not aggressive.   One of the basic tenets is to not start fights, no matter the provocation.  Martial arts is peaceful.

Just as in martial arts there are forms of physical practice designed to progressively increase the competence of the practitioner, so there are forms of love, disciplines to grow the capacity of the individual engaging in them.  One of the most basic is respect.  When one respects another, one does not judge or take offense.  On perhaps an unconscious level, one who respects realizes that there is a deep and strong connection between oneself and the other.  To disrespect the other, to judge or denigrate the other is to disrespect oneself, by reason of that energetic connection.  Respect, then, is a tenet of martial arts, and also a form of love.

For me, one of the most difficult forms of martial arts and of love is patience.  I am one who often senses the future more strongly than the present.   Yet, the future is built on the moments of the present.  To wait patiently, focusing on the present moment, is essential to successful sparring.  One cannot project and guess what one’s sparring partner might do, but has not yet done.   One cannot respond to an illusion.  Patience teaches one to wait alertly until an action is taken, and then to respond to that action in the way that is the best in that moment.  So it is in life, and so in loving. One patiently waits upon the other, and responds to the need presented in the moment.  Or, one patiently waits for one’s desired results, responding to what is presented in the moment.  The future is an illusion, even though at some time the illusion may become the actuality of the present.  Fretting about an illusion, though common, is useless.  Patient focus on the present facilitates manifestation of goals.

Gratitude is another form of immense importance in martial arts, life and loving.  One is grateful to one’s teacher, fellow students, helpers and all those who in one way or another contribute to the practitioner’s success.   Upon reflection, one finds that there are many occasions to practice gratitude.  The form needs much practice, and proficiency comes and goes.   Yet, in moments when gratitude is achieved, a profound sense of peace ensues.

I am grateful for these lessons which have been given to me, even though I cannot yet practice them even nearly perfectly.  Those lessons in martial arts, and in life and loving, will remain in me.  For this, I give thanks.

Let us each recognize with gratitude, respect, and patience the teachers who have come to us and the lessons we have been given.  Let us try to apply those lessons in our lives, and thus contribute to the creation of a kinder world.

Peace,  Diane

 

 

I once regularly practiced martial arts.   My particular form was Hwardo.  It was one of the most rewarding pursuits in which I have engaged.   I have not practiced it for over a year now; my teacher retired and his school closed.  Sometimes, I still feel as though I were actively doing it, even though I no longer physically practice.  It is hard to let something like that go.

 

 

Despite the connotations of martial arts promulgated by the entertainment media, and contrary to what all the strikes and blocks, kicks and throws, leaps and take-downs would seem to indicate, martial arts are not at their core all about fighting. They are all about loving, and the continued pursuit to perfect oneself, to grow.  Yes, martial arts are a means of self defense, as well as a competitive sport.  Self defense is not warlike; to protect oneself is to love oneself, and is a base for all the possibilities for loving contribution one might make.  But martial arts is not aggressive.   One of its basic tenets is to not start fights, no matter the provocation.  Martial arts is peaceful.

 

Just as in martial arts there are forms of physical practice designed to progressively increase the competence of the practitioner, so there are forms of love, disciplines to grow the capacity of the individual engaging in them.  One of the most basic is respect.  When one respects another, one does not judge or take offense.  On perhaps an unconscious level, one who respects realizes that there is a deep and strong connection between oneself and the other.  To disrespect the other, to judge or denigrate the other is to disrespect oneself, by reason of that energetic connection.  Respect, then, is a tenet of martial arts, and also a form of love.

 

For me, one of the most difficult forms of martial arts and of love is patience.  I am one who often senses the future more strongly than the present.   Yet, the future is built on the moments of the present.  To wait patiently, focusing on the present moment, is essential to successful sparring.  One cannot project and guess what one’s sparring partner might do, but has not yet done.   One cannot respond to an illusion. Patience teaches one to wait alertly until an action is taken, and then to respond to that action in the way that is the best in that moment.  So it is in life, and so in loving.  One patiently waits upon the other, and responds to the need presented in the moment.  Or, one patiently waits for one’s desired results, responding to what is presented in the moment.  The future is an illusion, even though at some time the illusion may become the actuality of the present.  Fretting about an illusion, though common, is useless.  Patient focus on the present facilitates manifestation of goals.

 

Gratitude is another form of immense importance in martial arts and loving.  One is grateful to one’s teacher, fellow students, helpers and all those who in one way or another contribute to the practitioner’s success.   Upon reflection, one finds that there are many occasions to practice gratitude.  The form needs much practice, and proficiency comes and goes.  Yet, in moments when gratitude is achieved, a profound sense of peace ensues.

 

I am grateful for these lessons which have been given to me, even though I cannot yet practice them even nearly perfectly. Those lessons in martial arts, and in life and loving, will remain in me.  For this, I give thanks.

 

Let us each recognize with gratitude, respect, and patience the teachers who have come to us and the lessons we have been given.  Let us try to apply those lessons in our lives, and thus contribute to the creation of a kinder world.

 

Peace,  Diane