The knife, the reflection of our own light and darkness.

20170527_190900.jpgWe all have light and darkness within us. How could it be any other way? One without the other doesn’t exist in our reality. How could we know what night is if we didn’t have the day to compare it to? And so, it is with ourselves, to be one without the other is an out of balance equation.

 

That equation demands balancing of the light and dark sides of ourselves, a balance of the energies if you will. If you are angry all the time your energy is depleted, and you will flag easily. Conversely if you are always happy then the edge you need to go through life and complete your daily tasks, whatever they may be is dulled. The balance we must find is somewhere in the central part of ourselves. The gateways and paths that are ever-changing.

 

Balance is what is needed. A middle ground of sorts. A place to stand and survey our surroundings both physically and energetically. The human spirit is always seeking balance, a homeostasis. When we are unbalanced we are vulnerable to outside influences both good and bad.

 

Equilibrium in life gives us the stability needed to be able to decide what we let into our individual existence as there is both a time and place for dark and light. It is up each of us to wield the power of both responsibly. The use and carry of the knife is no different.

 

The knife is a tool and a weapon. The deciding factor is intent. The same knife can cut a box open full of toys for your children or grandchildren, or it can cut open the neck of an invader into your home trying to harm those same children or grandchildren.

 

Intent of how to use that power that each of us has demands thought and inner work. The knife is said to be one of our first tools, if not the first tool. Mankind’s oldest companion, a teacher, guardian, a guide to both the light and dark. A taker of life and a protector of life. It is the job as the leaders of your tribe/family to become comfortable with both uses. Training is key. Intent is key. Self-reflection is key.

 

Ask yourself what is my intent? I am I approaching life from a standpoint of fear? Am I holding that knife as a weapon or a tool? Am I aware of the legal system and the consequences that misuse of that intent will bring to my life and the life of my family? So many questions but ones that must be approached with a calm demeanor and forethought.

 

The knife has an edge with two sides, but also a point and a handle. Every one of the aspects of the knife teach us balance. To use the knife is to learn, if we have an open heart and an open mind to guide us as men and women of today. So many of us today get pulled in by the dark side, the violence of the human heart. Be wary my friends for the darkness will pull you in and ruin your life.

 

Use the knife with pure intent and you will be safe in your travels through this life-cycle. There is an old saying with many variations: “If your anger goes forth, withhold the knife. If the knife goes forth withhold your anger”.

 

Become the dark when needed but do not stay there for it will swallow you, diminishing your life as it has so many others. Fear not the dark but learn its ways so that awareness and knowledge will overcome the fear of action when it is needed. Be tempered in your actions, think ahead, train for that day that hopefully will never come. Live a life of peace, but prepare for war.

 

 

JP.

Mr. Attacker part two

 

In Mr. Attacker part one the concept of awareness and reaction time was introduced. In this post we will explore more concepts on awareness and how to maintain personal space to maximize reaction time. We will also throw in a of movement technique that you can employ with a little imagination and a playful attitude. Self-defense doesn’t have to be a dark thing with a Mr. Attacker around every corner.

Maintaining personal space to maximize reaction time. Here I will give you an example from my own experience while having to move in a confined space with other people on public transportation.

Twice a week I ride both a commuter train and a bus to get to work. I have noticed a lot over the years and some of my observations have done nothing but reinforce my attitudes towards awareness and its importance in personal safety.

Observation number one: Headphones. Every Tom, Dick and Harry has their headphones in/on, looking at their phones. Not that it is a bad thing. I like to be entertained as much as the next guy, but not at the expense of my safety. I have a family that would like me to come home and so do you. Think about that before reading on…

Here is how I handle this glaring gap in personal awareness. I wear headphones while listening to music as well, but I always find a seat where I have my back to a wall and have a comfortable view of any entrances and exits to the train and bus, then I watch. Completely zoning out in a “safe place” isn’t something that you should do in public. The combination of wearing headphones and not paying attention to your immediate environment could be deadly. Think public shooting.

Observation number two: this one really isn’t an observation but a movement technique. Once the train arrives at the train station, I wait for at least 5 minutes to leave the train. The reason for this strategic pause in my commute is to let the majority of my fellow passengers to get off of the train and clear the platform/stairs leading to street level. This allows me to maintain a bubble of personal space that I can control. Letting anyone get too close allows for things like pick pocketing, and in extreme cases assault.

The police are not here to protect you folks. You must protect yourself and your loved ones. Self-defense is just that, defense of self and doesn’t always mean fighting. Most of the time it just means being awake enough to notice that guy walking up to you with that look in his eye, the one that is making you uncomfortable. Listen to your gut, if you don’t feel right about someone or a situation then act on that feeling.  If you stay aware 99% of the issues you might have with people can be avoided…along with bloodshed, police, courts, jail and lawsuits.

 

Stay aware my friends.

Mr. Attacker part one

 

Wolverine
Picture Credit: Unknown

 

 

My wife and I have a running joke about “Mr. Attacker”. When one of us inadvertently leaves a door unlocked, invariably a comment about “Mr. Attacker” will ensue. Mr. Attacker will now be known as MA for the remainder of this post mainly because I’m tired of typing “Mr. Attacker”.

To keep MA away, you must be aware, and awareness keeps you safe by giving you a buffer of reaction time. Think of it this way; when you drive you normally make some extra room in front of you incase the driver ahead needs to make a sudden stop. The “space” gives you time to react. Awareness is that “space”, as it gives you time to “observe, orient, decide and act”. (OODA loop)

The best martial art is outwitting your opponent without having to resort to the risk, (legal and otherwise) that is inherent in physical confrontations. Remember the boat scene from Enter the Dragon where Bruce Lee tells the pushy Australian guy who wanted to know Bruce’s style i.e. “fighting without fighting”. Bruce outwitted the guy easily because he was caught up in his own ego and view of how things should be done.

The decision to not take that short cut through a rough part of town, or an alley that isn’t lighted appropriately….the examples are endless and I will leave the variables to you, and how you live your life.

Everywhere you go, MA is present, just waiting to do a double leg takedown and a quick ground and pound, just for good measure of course. All joking aside, MA is and has been a valuable tool of awareness for years. A training aid, an old friend who taps you on the shoulder…and reminds you he can and will kick your ass if you don’t wake up!

It’s not all gloom and doom though. Living in fear is no way to live. Being present in your day-to-day activities will give you the reaction time needed to defeat MA. MA wants you to be asleep, to be looking at your phone while you are walking down the street…that way he can bring the beat down to you.

Make MA a training tool, a reminder to keep your head up and on a swivel. Looking for MA can be taught to your students and loved ones with humor and wit. Physical confrontations are serious business and the sober reminder needs to be addressed frequently to not let yourself or your students become complacent.

In part two I will introduce ideas on awareness and maintaining personal space so that reaction time is maximized.

 

~JP~

 

Welcome readers

Welcome readers! The idea for this site/blog came from my instructor Shihan Ken Smith .

I would like to publicly acknowledge Shihan Smith for my personal development in the martial arts and also his encouragement and friendship over the last 13 years. Thank you sir!

My current vision for this site and for IMC overall is to empower people. So much of today’s society and culture is based on dis-empowering us. We are told with great repetition (pay attention to how many times an ad runs on tv in a course of one tv show) that we are safe and that everything is alright, “all warm and fuzzy”.

As Master at Arms James A. Keating has said: “There are more things on this planet with fangs, claws, poisons and scales than there are things that are warm, fuzzy and full of love. It’s a simple Fact”!

Those threats also come in the human variety as well. The threats are not always physical in nature either. Defense of self comes in many varieties too. Mental defense (what goes in your head i.e. tv news etc.) biological defense (hand washing, self-care) for a couple of examples. It is my vision to explore the world around us to empower myself, my instructors and students and hopefully make the world a little safer.

Thank you and let’s get started!