Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Training Self Sufficiency

I think that one of the most important things we do in practicing martial arts is training self sufficiency. Specifically in the martial arts, this usually means self-defense. This requires specific movements and techniques that are best learned from someone experienced who already has those skills and techniques. But somewhere along the path of the martial artist, perhaps it is easy to be distracted from self sufficiency, and resort to simple consumption of knowledge. I believe we should not just train to be given techniques, but train to develop our ability to find the answers (movements and techniques) ourselves. So we should not be lazy, blind, or unconditionally devout and thusly dependent, but instead, actively become independent.

Perhaps the next step can be found in solo meditation. Meditation does not have to be about chanting holy sutras for the purpose of being given enlightenment. (I apologize as that last claim was very generalized and full of potential falsities, but I think it is one view that is used as a practice and motivation for meditation.) Instead, I think meditation is about learning how to move throughout the world on your own. The idea of meditation seems to carry around the assumption that it gives magical abilities and insight that translates to everything you do. But just beacuse you read a book about Buddhism or chant sutras does not mean you will fulfill this abstract goal. By sitting quietly in meditation, one is able to look more clearly at the phenomenon in the world, and thus gain insight relevant to their life. Like martial arts, I believe meditation is about teaching yourself to be self sufficient mentally and spiritually. In that regard, by learning about yourself and your surroundings through meditation, you should be able to "survive" anywhere.

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