To dive into the root of honorable masters we must first look to the context of Traditional Chinese Martial Art (TCMA) history. This is a topic that has always been very controversial! Chinese history, aside from TCMA, is so seamlessly knit together with legends and mystical stories alongside of historical events that it is extremely difficult to separate the two.
For example many Chinese scholars find it impossible to authenticate various authors of classical Chinese texts! Many historians debate the existence of Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, and even the famous Yellow Emperor, Huang Di. As if this problem isn't daunting enough, in other parts of Chinese history it is further compounded by the Chinese' cultural bias to name an originator of a technique, writing, or w/e under a previous master or another person altogether. 'In Chinese culture it is more desirable to have antiquity instead of personal merit.'
To take a serious look at TCMA, and the various masters that make up its history without keeping all this in mind and applying critical thinking is to be terribly naive. In keeping this in mind let's dive into what makes the root of honorable masters by first exploring some major problems in TCMA...
We all have problems. Problems that seem to be so overwhelming they stop us dead in our tracks. Whether it is in the form of an opponent, an injury, disappointing results, business stress or school we confront things that won't align with what we want.
In our practice we say "The Tao is in returning," by this we mean to return to the source. Another way to look at this is that when we are taken 'away' from the source in times of hardship, we become the problem that lies in front of us. Our motivations drive our actions. When examining this it's important to remember our reasons letting those shape our path. Selfish reasons lead to a selfish life focused on fear and scarcity. Unselfish reasons build a fruitful life because they operate out of fearlessness and solid abundance. Live keeping unselfish reasons close to your heart, and it'll assist you in overcoming failure.
The second part to the above saying is that "Returning lies in daily decreasing not in the accumulation of many things" This supports the idea that selfless living is what practicing the Tao is all about! Living in this way is what will always build you and others by solidifying the foundation that everyone operates from. How do we live selflessly and still accomplish our goals?
Thanks to all those who have helped me extensively on my journey!
First of all I want to thank my great family for supporting me all this time and reminding me life's never as hard as I make it out to be. =) You contribute to everything I do and I could never thank you enough, or in as many ways which you deserve. THANK YOU!
Second I want to say thanks to everyone who has taught me something and lifted me up professionally and spiritually. The rest of this post will be a homage to the great things you've taught me recently, so that your guidance may help others on their journey.
Third, I'd like to extend a big thank you to everyone who has liked my stuff on Facebook, signed up for the newsletter, attended my classes, subscribed, and/or shared my content. If it wasn't for you Move With Life would still simply be a dream I write about in my journal, and a vision I have in my head as opposed to the reality YOU make it. Thank you for following and allowing me to share my passion and journey with y'all. I hope it's been worth it, much more greatness to come.
So let's dive into some recent glimpses of enlightenment I have gained from my current mentors, and friends. Felicia Brown, Dave Cial, Rick Panico, Bushi Yamato Damashii, and Rodney J Owen.
A match made centuries ago!
Massage has been very important in martial arts for a long time. Not just for injury recovery, but also for prevention, and even many times as a requirement for ranking as a "master" in w/e discipline or system.
Today we'll explore the main reasons I feel one is indispensable from another and how both complement each other almost seamlessly.
Warm up your hands and grab your lineaments today we're diving into how massage and martial arts make a devastating healing couple!
How do we move/act without stress?
At the core of stress free living is the understanding that true relaxation or truly being stress free is not simply going limp, or giving up. In Tai Chi we say "true relaxation" is balancing circumstance and reaction and/or movement and stillness. Physically this correlates to relaxation not being limp, this principle is the first thing you learn in Tai Chi and Yoga, a concept that similarly forms the foundation of all meditation practices. To truly relax and be without stress we must have principles in place to balance the situation. In other words these principles form a sort of "skeleton" to our practice. In martial, physical and psychological practices this framework is the cornerstone we use to accomplish skill. Regardless of the particular practice the ultimate goal is balanced action w/ relaxation. Structure is the foundation of this relaxation, a way to live alongside of stress while still accomplishing goals.
In this post we'll dive into some foundations we can all use to accomplish stress free productive life!
The traditional classifications of Chinese Martial Arts
The path isn't the result... many times it's the opposite.
Working toward something we should act as if already having it, this outlook will make the journey much easier. However, it must be understood that the work which needs to be done rarely feels like the goal we are doing it for.
This view reaches far and wide but for the sake of simplicity, we will only touch on how it relates to two topics. Health and relaxation. Like I do with many of my posts let's kick it off with a quote! =)
True words are not beautiful.
"That will never work... in the 'cage'/ on the 'street'/ in UFC/ against a boxer or mixed martial artist!"
If you have I'd say you're/they're probably right. The problem with that statement is the UFC or 'the cage' isn't the be all end all testing ground for martial arts. When it comes to martial effectiveness I'd say there's a lot of truth to pressure testing technique. Moreso I'd also say 'the cage' or the UFC is one of if not the best place to pressure test your technique in a 1 on 1 all inclusive environment.
The more broad problem with that statement is that 'martial effectiveness' isn't the only goal in 'traditional' techniques, styles, exercises, or forms.
The focus when looking at martial arts, especially traditional ones, should be on asking "Does the art build a certain skill, attribute or does it have some other cultural or social relevance?" Various martial arts focus on different aspects of these. Boxing, JiuJitsu, and Mui Thai even fall into these categories. In particular we're looking at skills such as musculoskeletal health, cardiovascular and other forms of fitness, whole body coordination, efficient strength, posture, and rehabilitation of injuries and many more. After seeking the reasoning we then have to ask ourselves is this something we desire from our practice?
It all boils down to critical thinking. In this post we'll offer some references and knowledge to find reasons behind traditional practices and my personal reasons for continued practice of traditional martial arts. After reading this I hope you can make a more well informed opinion instead of scoffing at every demonstration you come by. =)
Licensed Massage Therapist
OIF, OEF Veteran
U.S. Marine Corps
Kwan Ying Do Kung Fu
Tai Chi Chuan
Tui Na, Chinese Massage
Shiatsu, Japanese Massage