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?
Relaxation is something we are always seeking. Whether it is after a busy day at work, or staying home with the kids. Tai Chi Chuan, Chi Kung, Massage, Yoga, Meditation, Martial Arts, exercise, and many other activities are all tools to help us cultivate relaxation and learn to use it in our daily lives. These tools help us relax by helping us cope with stress. Although we all cope differently there are three pillars which must be present in order to deal with our stress in a constructive and positive way.
These three pillars are in the realms of character, mindset, and physique. Some of these tools train all the pillars and some of them only train specific aspects of them. To achieve functional relaxation, all three pillars must have a strong root in your life. For the sake of simplicity we’ll outline the pillars and go into depth afterwards.
This principle is one that has countless applications for health and martial art practice. This simple phrase gives you a lifetime of work that will always bring fruit and ever expanding self-discovery. Many times the principle of “Move 10,000 pounds using only 4 ounces” becomes the measuring stick to say if someone’s practice is truly Tai Chi. So let’s look at what this means…
To put it simply moving 10,000 pounds with 4 ounces can be summed up in one word, efficiency.
What do we mean by efficiency?
How Tai Chi builds LASTING strength and BALANCE
The Chinese have been saying for thousands of years that all things are categorized by the Tai Chi symbol, also known as the Yin Yang symbol. If it indeed categorizes all things, then how does the theory of Yin and Yang relate to exercise?
We go to class to get better at our martial art, but is it enough? There has been tons of research on how long it takes us to establish a habit. How to achieve mastery at a certain subject, the 10,000 hr rule sound familiar(Malcolm Gladwell)? We can sit here and argue about specifics until we're blue in the face but the fact of the matter remains. How much you put in is how much you get out.
When we go to class it is extremely important to maintain our "dedication and intensity" during our training. I understand that not all people who practice martial arts desire to be black belts, or masters of whatever discipline they pursue, but you must train with intensity to accomplish anything at all.
Pick a date and make that your first step off the diving board into positive change. A date can be a powerful thing! Say with conviction to yourself "ON NEW YEARS THERE'S NO TURNING BACK!"
If we hold in our mind that there is no turning back, why do we fall into the same habits as we had before. New Years day is surely a day that we attempt a change alongside many others. With many people changing at the same time, not even this camaraderie can make the decision last. Some last the day, week, or month. Few stretch that intensity into eternity. I feel this is due to a lack of certainty that the change in action will lend the results desired. Another reason could be a lack of definite purpose. Without strong purpose we lack sufficient support to start. Even if this purpose is strong the momentum wanes when we fail to remind ourselves of it.
How do we fix it?
If you want to listen in with me for some consistent reminders the motivational videos I listen to on the daily can be found below:
Why train in the martial arts? We all have our reasons. Some of us enjoy various aspects of our practice, self-defense, health benefits, or possibly something more... character, confidence, psychological poise. Relaxation... the list can go on and on. The reason I train in martial arts is because to me the martial arts are metaphors for life! A way to shift personal perception, to push past and grow beyond our hardships.
We all have hardships in life, I'm going through some hard times right now with my grandmother being ill. My grandmother, who I call Mame, is my mom. My godparents and Mame have raised me into adulthood. They've given me a very solid foundation in many things, and as I got older I've used these skills and created myself into who I am today.
As we grow we pick and choose what we want in our life... Like Mame always said,
Daniel R. Hyde
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