New ways to release tension

My way of life is karate. It is who I am. It has led me into teaching kids to swim, apparently I am quite funny. It led me to love to a girl who is more special than she realises. 

I love karate, it shapes who I am and what I do. However everyone still needs an outlet, to release tension. In karate I am dedicated to being the best I can be, to go through this journey as a warrior. That when life gets hard I just train harder.

Recently I wanted to evolve my karate and fighting style. I started doing bodybalance classes. I didn’t want to go, my mateat work roped me into it, I didn’t want to do a naff class surrounded by ladies whilst making a fool of myself. It has elements of tai chi as a warm-up, yoga stretches, pilates to work the core, balance work to help you to be better on one leg, and meditation at the end.

First, it was the first time that meditation has consistently worked for me, first time I have been able to mentally relax. Second, It’s working on all areas I need to for martial arts, but usually ignore as all I want to do is get stronger and fight more. I noticed in less than four weeks a massive difference in my sparring, I felt looser and more relaxed, and my kicking has become not only sharper but high kicks feel so much more natural.

I couldn’t believe how much one class has improved a lot of aspects of my karate. When I have tried yoga, I have gone two months with it only just starting to work, one week or day off and it’s back to square one.

I have been really stressed recently, my mind has been in turmoil. And because of all these stresses I decided to go surfing last Saturday. I rode the first wave I tried (I first learnt 20months ago with a karate friend (surprise, surprise) where for a week we learnt to surf, karate on the beach, drink and repeat.

I was expecting myself to be clumsy, but I seem to have improved and I felt free. Free from all constraints and the different masks that I have to wear, free to be just me. Joy filled my mind, I got excited but I also found peace, It’s a perfect form of meditation. It released so much tension in me, that I was able to deal my problems as I should. This feeling lasted for days. I may have found my hobby away from not only life, but also karate.

Yesterday another mate (a former karateka, go figure)roped me into reading out one of my poems at a poetry gig. He was performing and wanted my support. I was nervous, and I couldn’t believe that I have done it. To express my inner feelings and emotions in front of others, I normal bare it all inside like a man feels like he should. I felt liberated.

I am being encouraged to write again, I need new outlets in my life. I feel like I am trying to find out, who I am all over again.

I’ve hid it for so long, but I am the creative type. I let fear stop me, as I often do. It’s strange, on how all the stress the last few months, but specifically the last few weeks has fostered this new growth within me.     I wouldn’t of gone to this bodybalance classes, I wouldn’t of gone surfing on my own, I wouldn’t of performed in front of people before. I wouldn’t of had the courage.

My way is of karate, but outside of my way, I wonder where my journey lies.

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Back to the wall

Inch by inch the pain worsens,
Madness seeps into the soul,
Breath by breath is taken away,
It is harder to focus,
Leaking away like raindrops from the clouds,
Humour arises at the most peculiar of times,
It is a different form of madness,
One that you control to fight the pain the fear,
But that wave of pain and fear slowly break down the walls of thyself,
Beaten down to a pulp,
A storm brews from within,
Like a switch goes off in thy head,
Pain and fear are no longer weaknesses but form into a strength,
Driving you into an energised frenzy,
The spirit is alive,
No longer cowering,
No longer laughing with madness,
The spirt is in defiance of the pain,
It calls forth a challenge,
The shackles that we wear every day slowly break,
Defiance is in thy nature,
The greatest source of human resolve.

Fistral, living for the moment and kata!

Since the grading i have been taking it easy, still training but enjoying life more and trying to live the moment more. I have already noticed that I seem fitter and faster than I have in months, mainly because I am allowing myself to recover quicker. When I have an early shift i do notice my ability to recover goes down, especially as I am trying to do more things in the evenings.

It all requires a balance, which lead me and two friends from karate to have an impulsive trip to devon, which we of course got lost and ended up in Newquay mainly fistral bay (one of the surfers beaches in the world), where we drank, eat, enjoyed the nightlife and the beautiful sights. It was a really amazing time as it felt like we were in another country and we did things at random, giving us a sense of liberty.

We also did a little training, sprinting in and out of the sea really works your legs and lower abs, I was stiff for two days! And I was teaching them kata, my love of Sanchin (and Sanzhan but I was not teaching them it) really grew strong during these few days, and there is a picture of two of us doing saifa on the beach with the sunset seemed surreal. It is one thing I love about kata, you can take them everywhere with you!

I still want to prepare well for the next grading next year, I just want my body to be in good health my mind focused and my spirit in its animal like tranquility.

It felt very okinawan to train on the beach! ous!!

Feel depressed, try and attempt a few handstands!

I have been feeling like a zombie recently, work drains your essence and it only allows you to have enough energy to focus on one or two hobbies outside of work. I know i shouldn’t get depressed, I am healthy and with my family but all the things I want to do and try, all the social stuff that always seems to be out of my grasp. I want to be a writer and write stories, but i don’t even have the mental energy to do that, lead alone read books and novels which helps to increase not only your imagination but also your vocabulary.

With my karate grading coming up I have stopped taking alcohol ( I only drink once or twice a week) which normally takes the edge off things, I didn’t even realise that I needed it, which means it is a good time to stop drinking for a while.

Injuries have made it harder to train, and i do love strength training and karate training, but i need to let my imagination be unleashed, people have always tried to insult me by saying that i am a dreamer, but to me that is a compliment. The greatest aspect of my personality is my dream or child like qualities or mindset. Even though that I am now 26, even 17 year olds think that I can act more childish then they are at times.

This may seem like a random detour, and it is the way i think, i just to one thing to another which have a small connection  but i could  never do handstands. Even when I tried out Capoeira for a while, I struggled with it, and when I started barstarzz like training, I couldn’t do it, and I didn’t try, I knew that even though i was getting stronger i couldn’t do it.

Then this week I was early for karate training, and I decided to have fun trying them with a big blue crash mat. It took the fear that I have with them (I have very heavy feet, so i tend to crash hard) and for 1/2 an hour I was just having child like fun practicing and failing them, I was surprised on how good a cardio workout it was, and how could my shoulders felt, but i was just having child like fun in pushing my boundaries, my limits.

I wanted to do it prior to yesterdays session, but Judo had booked the room and we ended up in the dance studio. I didn’t trust myself well enough in there to try it out. Today i felt even worse, once I get in a black mood, it is very hard for me to overcome it, its my day off and i can’t even write!

Then before during and afterwards, i decided to have fun and to play with handstands. I kept playing and the more i did it the better i got, some were up for a few seconds, I accidentally walked a few feet on my hands, I even did two mini partial handstand pressups before collapse  It made feel really really good. I wasn’t needing the big blue crash mat, the more i was practicing the better i got. I had to rest every so often because my shoulders got tired.

I never thought about doing handstands could be like some form of meditation to make me feel alive again. I was playing the tune deshi bassa (batman the dark knight rises, rise up), it get gave me such a lift, it was a great workout but i didn’t attend it to be one I just needed to have some child like fun and push my limits.

Trying to find my balance with martial arts, within my life

Yin and yang, yang and yin. No this isn’t another poem, but it could always inspire one. You need to find balance in everything you do, with work, your passions, your duties and your family and friends. You need to find a balance with your passions so that you can have more than one hobby and a balance within your your chosen martial art.

This could end up as a rant on several other aspects of my life, and they all end up in full circle coming to yin and yang, but I want to focus on my martial arts hobby in this post. Every time I notice an area I need to focus on, I train in in that aspect and area to improve it, for example on how to improve using my hip to deliver more power and speed into my kicks, and letting me use the momentum to go for back roundhouse kicks.

I have had relative success in this area on my kicking skills, my high kicks have improved, and I can deliver more power into my roundhouse kicks. however because of this I over deliver on the kicks and when I kick the pads or spar with someone I can only do one kick and have to reset slowly for another roundhouse kick as I have trained my self to go with the momentum. So now I am finding myself having to train on the punching bag to fire more thigh kicks at rapid succession to fix this, and I need to be aware not to lose the momentum and high kicks I gained from training in another area.

I also noticed that my footwork and evading ability has improved since I started skipping, however to fix my shoulder I have been stretching and strengthening it, which although has made great progress and I can do alot more with it, my punches have dramatically slowed down almost back to how I use to punch.

Which leads me to my next point, so far this year I have trained with a more Ju mindset and it has given me advantages and disadvantages, and as I am healing I need to find the right balance for my own Go and Ju aspects or characters within myself. It is the same with all aspects of our lives, with strength training I need to balance the inner animal with quiet tranquil meditation of yoga, the same with my social life my family life and the dreams I want to be a reality one day.

I need to find my Go and Ju or my yin and yang.

Spiritual experience

If you’re not interested in hearing about the topic of spiritual experience, then please don’t feel like you have to read this post, as this is about a series of spiritual experiences that has happened to me, with the biggest happening last Monday. I am someone who is a strong believer in philosophy, the discovery of truth, that the power of rationality can find the answers, that science knows a lot of the answers, but is in itself a new religion against things that it does not agree with. In that sense I’m inbetween science and religion, I want to know the true truth of the world. So this spiritual experience might seem too wacky, and if your more into only the natural sense of the world, than this post isn’t for you.

I now presume if you’re still reading that this topic peaks your interest, so let me get started with the most recent experience. Last Monday I went to a Qigong class, and this style of Qigong is something I tried out once prior to my time in China, but is only the second one I have been to since my return. Qigong is all about improving the flow of your natural energy be known as chi (Qi) around the body, it is meant to improve physical, mental and spiritual health. I am someone who rationally thinks that chi exists; it is just that the west has a different term for it.

Well last Monday during one exercise which is meant to hold Chi, and is in a physically sense making tense in certain muscles (shoulders mainly) for a long period of time, and then you release this energy. Normally you fill the tension release and then your muscles fill better. But the experience I had that evening was very strange. Normally I feel like an energy that most people feel warm, but I feel is cool around the body, it could be just sweat and body mechanics, I don’t know. I also know that when you do Qigong with other people, you feel more positive energy in the room, like you do at a rock concert. Well this time during the endurance phase, my shoulders felt intense pain and heat (nothing to strange as endurance isn’t my strong point), and then when we changed it to the part where it releases this trapped or built up energy, I felt the energy tense around my heart, it started to build with this kind of pressure all around my chest, building from my arms, and all I can think of was that I was absorbing too much chi, like everyone’s energy plus my own was building up inside of me, and then it felt like cold fire erupted from hands, about 6 inches in the air from both hands, and this build up of excessive energy was being released.

I know it sounds strange, but that was what it felt like at the time. The next event was when we had to meditate to the music. And as it got more peaceful, and my eyes were half closed, I could see a eye in between my eyelids. Now I know it wasn’t a reflection of my own eyes (if that’s possible) as I clearly have brown eyes, and this eye was blue with a green circle within. Talking to my sister after the class she told me that it sounds like it was my third eye, which I find strange as she has never experienced anything like this and she seems to be more spiritual than I am.

Now before I tell you about others, let me get one thing clear apparently to experience these things you are meant to be a believer in that faith, whether it is Hinduism, Buddhism, or the branch of Qigong I was practicing. But I am not, I am very open minded, a lot of what the says makes sense, but equally there are things they say that I can’t agree with.

This lead me to think about any other previous spiritual experience I have had, well the previous time I took this Qigong class (never on my own) I saw this third eye, which I thought was just a reflection in my eye lids. And on both occasions my ribs hurt a lot less and I can move a lot more.

But this isn’t just isolated to this Chinese practice, I have felt this when I did Yoga, Ironically it was P90X yoga, which is so strainful and too tense to be any good, but I had to complete it, but after 90mins of hell there was the meditating part, and omg I felt very Zen like, and felt something in the middle of my forehead, and saw something in my eyelids.

Then before that was when I went to a church with my grandmother. Now most churches I feel nothing, but this one church I felt this cold but friendly presence. Which is very strange seeming that I had my first spiritual experience the previous day.

We went to this Buddhist show in a town hall in Bath, and there were a few Buddhist nuns giving a real interesting chat. My sister is really interested in this stuff, and I am just very open minded. Well the nun’s came to bless us, and she touched my head. And it felt like that an egg went down my head and neck, I even checked to see if there was egg on my head. There wasn’t. My sister tells me that this is Chi flowing down your head, and that the nun could of given me some Chi.

It is definitely something to ponder, but for most of my life I have never had any religious experience, all the way up to my great depression when everything went wrong, I hated myself and I nearly made a stupid mistake. I prayed for some spiritual experience to show me the way. It never did, it was pure philosophical logic that stopped me making a mistake and put my head straight, even though that took a very long time to do so.

So I must of lost something back there in the abyss t start getting these experiences, but that doesn’t explain why I have been experiencing them. I really appreciate them, but I am not a believer of that Qigong styles faith, or anything else, I am just really open minded. They often say that you have to be a believer to experience it, but one of my best friends (who is a pagan) said to me why do you have to be a believer to experience something.

So far I have had an experience in Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and this Qigong style which is a sort of Buddhist religion. Surely this means that all of them are partially right in an ultimate truth?

Philosophy- my way of the world

After years in the darkness,

of feeling rejected by you,

But I could never turn towards,

Science for its arrogance that its always right,

Or to Religion which thinks  that nothing is closer to the truth,

And of haven’t to go through my struggles and lessons of life,

I can now consider myself a Man of your stature again,

At your heart you don’t always believe you are right,

You believe in the search of truth,

Not of what others think the truth should be,

Your way of thinking,

Created Science and religion and psychiatry,

Science was once known as Natural philsophy,

And even though I thought i failed you,

And turn my back on your teachings,

I now realise that the true strength of you,

Is not in the end,

But in the Journey itself,

And While I have no great ego,

In thinking I will be the best,

I now know that you will guide me to find my way,

Like  everyone else who walks upon your path,

The truth of your power,

Lies in the fact that I can not claim to know anything,

Which means I will no longer be blinded,

By my once self-righteous arrogance,

I am now ready to learn

To walk the path,

Of a philosopher