"This day we rescue a world from mysticism and tyranny, and usher in a future brighter than anything we can imagine."
The above quote, in case you didn't gather, is from the movie 300. A great movie, brutal and gruesome, moving and empowering. I enjoy it every time =). Anyway this movie, in case you haven't seen it, is about 300 Spartans standing up to an endless army of Persians. A huge piece of it hinges on the clash of eastern and western philosophies. On the one hand a massive Persian empire lead by God King Xerces built on mystics, magic, and esoteric powers, on the other a self-sustaining, Greece standing on principles of self-reliance, free will, and sheer development of personal strength, led by Leonidas who will sacrifice his character and principles for nothing. Regardless of the historical accuracy of the film, it brings up a lot of questions, particularly to martial arts and combat effectiveness. =)
What place does mysticism have in the practice of martial arts? Whether it's Russian, Chinese, or Japanese it seems to be there, why and what purpose does it serve, if any? Should mysticism be painted in a bad light? Is it ethical to use as a teaching tool?
A great breakthrough occured to me a couple of weeks ago after attending a meditation and Chi Kung seminar. My friend Rodney Owen lead the retreat, and the focus of it was mindfulness. Since the seminar I have been practicing mindfulness more and more throughout my day and it has helped tremendously with stress as well as my practice. There has also been more accute sensitivity in my Tai Chi practice and lots of emotional insights as well...
The emotional work within is the pinnacle of Tai Chi Chuan, and indeed all martial arts. Working to unravel the things that hold and confine us is the root of proper self defense. As Cheng Man Ching always said "That which we relax is fear." and that is exactly what this post is about, relaxing our fear! How do we reach this state?
Daniel R. Hyde
Licensed Massage Therapist
OIF, OEF Veteran
U.S. Marine Corps
Tui Na, Chinese Massage
Shiatsu, Japanese Massage
Tai Chi Chuan
Kwan Ying Do Kung Fu