Spirituality: The Lost Art of Martial Arts
DRAGON TAO BLOGS are articles and exploratory writings delving into ancient Eastern systems and techniques that are unique to mind, body and soul practices such as Chinese Qigong, Thai Fon Jeung, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Yoga, and Meditation. With articles being both educational and instructional the reader will gain insight into these systems and themselves through personal practice.
As I watched Ip Man 2 last night, I felt a deep connection of understanding as to the true essence of Martial Arts and the sacrifice that one makes to manifest their dreams as well as survive the sad and demoralizing ways of humanity. He spoke if the spirit of Chinese Martial Arts and the integrity one develops from the ancient techniques and training. He spoke of how it's better to train for self-cultivation than the destruction of others even after the horrible treatment and eviction from the Japanese military. When forced to fight he fought for something much greater than title or purse and something much greater than winning a fight. He fought for the spirit of his culture and the honor of his people in defiance of tyranny and oppression and in doing so became a legend and still to this day his teachings can be found worldwide. Here in America, we are so blessed to have what we have, train in nice gyms with top-quality equipment and work with coaches and trainers on the path to self-experience. In the words of Bruce Lee, "To Me, Martial Arts means honestly expressing oneself….and it is very hard to do." To know oneself through training and through competition are very different experiences yet they fine-tune the individual's skills and reactions based upon ever-changing concepts of free will and fate. Certain situations are but learning lessons to build better character, dismiss the ego along with building faith in the pursuit of personal perfection. We are what we meditate upon and if one only dreams of blood and violence then that will indeed be what they become. I often read posts and blogs about how excited fighters are to hurt someone else without thinking about the repercussions or aftermath of what might ensue. What I mean by this is people don't think about what happens when one goes home to their family, kids, wife etc….with mangled face, body or being permanently injured from such encounters. I know that both fighters are there for the same reason – to win, yet the sport of MMA has slowly lost the essence of morality and ethically proper karma based energy dynamics. I have learned the hard way about karma and how it can switch on you in an instant, how your thoughts and actions will create and doorway to self-detriment. I know now that my words have power and my thoughts have the potential to alter my very reality the second the thought is released. I have learned such things the hard way and it is my hope to guide others to live better lives and utilize the inherent beauty we all were divinely born with. My Shaolin Master, Shifu Yan Lei (www.ShifuYanLei.co.uk), expressed his appreciation for MMA but also explained his cultural belief that the Chinese don't train ground fighting with the notion that if someone goes down in a fight, whether it be in ring or street, that the down fighter is let back to his feet out of respect. Coming from someone like Shifu with scars and wounds from knife fights and potential death encounters, this statement speaks to me truth about the honor and appreciation concerning such things. He told me that after being attacked by 3 people with knives that he would never be afraid to fight again. The amazing thing is that he prayed for his attackers and meditated that peace may enter their hearts and that their anger may subside….being that they ended up much worse than he did.
In Chinese Kung Fu, as practiced traditionally at the Shaolin Temples, has no differentiation between internal or external training systems. When I speak of internal systems I speak of Qigong (Energy Exercises) and Meditation, whereas in reference to external I speak of Kung Fu and Physical training. In most Western-based schools even the Shaolin is taught primarily with a focus on external while neglecting the mind and spiritual cultivation. It is my hope to bring something deeper to the lives of those I train and teach and to somehow inspire those I don't know to a better way of life through such ancient systems such as Qigong and Meditation.
Our ever-growing sport of MMA has both humble and arrogant champions who equally urge the youth of today to follow in their tracks. George St. Pierre has always impressed me with his traditional and spiritual connection to the competition along with the conscious awareness to know how to win with ethics and respect. I remember seeing him fight against Tim Hardy knowing that he could easily break his arm with the arm lock but chose to let it go and win by points going the distance rather than ending it early along with his opponent's career and future in the sport. This showed me the honorable nature of a true champion with a secure understanding of who he is and what he is doing and how his actions can and will affect others in potentially positive and negative ways.
Haters always hate that champion for being on top but in all reality, they really hate all that they cannot be nor can cultivate within themselves. They are not content with self so they tear down others to satisfy ego yet the ego is the very enemy that combats the spirit. Release the ego and move into the realization of self through an honorable existence thus focusing on the only thing one can control – oneself. I am still learning about me daily and will always be a master-student and in being so I will strive to become the shining light the Great Spirit within has destined me to be.
Thank you for your time to read The Dragon Tao Chronicles.
- Brian Seraiah Wood