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Isshinryu Karate and Life

by The M.A.D. Dad 2 months ago in advice
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One Heart Way

A martial artist once trained so hard to craft his body to the point that pain would no longer be felt. The martial artist would kick trees with his shins and strike palms against stones. The martial artist would practicing falling to the point that the pull of gravity slamming the martial artist's body against the ground was barely felt. All of this was done to separate the body from the mind. The goal to numb the mind from the pain or recognition of the pain by the body.

Many people follow a similar regimen in their lives. They take up hobbies, drink, become absorbed in video games in an attempt to numb against stimuli. It is easier to compartmentalize ourselves to shut away elements that we are struggling to deal with or choose to not address. It is sometimes necessary to be able to separate our components of sensation and logic to overcome duress.

In many cases, we create a door between our emotional/feeling self and our logical/thinking self. Like a person inhabiting an apartment our house, it is almost as if we walking in and out of this door between different rooms in our psyche to handle tasks. Sometimes, we shut that door to concentrate more on emotional interaction while , at other times, we focus more on mental clarity of process and action.

In my opinion, it is not necessarily abnormal. My concern lies in what occurs when the door stays shut and is not opened. Worse yet, I think that it may be forgotten that the door is shut. Easily, our awareness can be so skewed that the door may even become invisible within our mind.

Building from previous posts, I think that this phenomenon of logical suppression or emotional suppression is rooted in a lack of awareness. I think that the adaptation by separation is alright as long we remember to spiritually "pull ourselves together."

In martial arts, I find that the focus of separation versus cohesion is in constant flux for most practitioners. Like the example at the beginning, too many martial artists soullessly focus on training. They become autonomous creatures that live by routine with focus on task solely. A byproduct of this training is great improvement in technique, but perhaps poor development of emotional judgement or emotional awareness. Be able to punch 4 times in a second with pinpoint accuracy is amazing and nigh superhuman, yet having the control and judgment to discern between restraint and action is divine.

The other camp of cohesive self focuses inward on exploring all of the parts of the individual. It exposes both the highlights and hidden secrets of the heart/soul to examination. It teaches acceptance while planning and working on change. It is another path to improvement. It does take more time due to the added task of picking up and scrutinizing the elements of self.

A fair analogy of how separation and cohesion work is like cleaning a cluttered room. The separation philosophy is like someone quickly grabbing and throwing all clutter under and in to any container out of sight to make room to move around and perform some activity. The cohesion philosophy is like someone who is meticulously picking up each object and organizing the mess. Both remove the clutter from the environment, but cohesion addresses the clutter by figuring out how it best fits in the room while separation places out of view to focus on a different task. The separatist approach has an initial advantage in speed of opening up the person to participation in adding skills quickly, but it leaves any underlying issues hiding and waiting to creep out into the path of activity. The cohesion approach avoids or greatly limits future stumbles over clutter by dealing with these items at the beginning of training.

But, what if I have a separatist approach? Am I doomed? Nope, you are normal! We all do this from time to time. You are tired and stuff down feelings and emotional/logical baggage. You procrastinate or hesitate due to concern. The great news is that you can always start to put yourself together. Anytime, you can open that doorway within yourself and pick up things that are your path.

Isshinryu Karate is been identified as meaning "One Heart Way." It is an amazing style with a simple approach. It seems to bring oneself together in order to achieve improvement. It emphasizes bringing the spirit, mind and body into agreement in order to grow. In a lot of ways, much like the cohesive approach, it seeks to address the issues that cause individuals to become mentally or emotionally disjointed in order to bring improvement.

I encourage you to consider getting to know yourself better. Whether you change your emotional outlook by martial arts or other activities, get to know yourself and what makes up your internal self better. Find the clutter, pick it up and free yourself up for better opportunities.

The M.A.D. Dad


About the author

The M.A.D. Dad

I call myself the M.A.D. Dad. M.A.D. stands for Martial Arts Direction. I want to help others battle the forces that threaten our peace with lessons that I have been blessed to discover through my experiences in both Martial Arts and Life.

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