Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Seeking The Prophecy

Over the long weekend I finished "The Celestine Prophecy" by James Redfield.  This is on Guro Fred's must-read list, and you should add it to yours as well.

I don't want to recant the book here, you should read it yourself, but here are my thoughts.

The book explains nine prophecies (so far) that the protagonist is searching for, prophecies which are supposed to guide human evolution to the next phase of development and enlightenment.  He experiences these through encounters with a variety of characters, all of whom appear at the right moment to help him get the next necessary insight.  Coincidence??  Hmmm...

As a piece of fiction, I was not too terribly impressed.  The story is formulaic, the characters are a bit hollow and shallow ("aloof", is the word he uses), and the whole thing comes across as a bit contrived.  That said, I encourage you to think of this as a parable rather than a true piece of fiction.  Jesus supposedly taught using parables, as do most spiritual leaders.

The book is not as introspective as Dan Millman's "Peaceful Warrior" series, but neither as heavy and challenging as Blavatsky's books.  Read on its' own, there is some merit for any aspirant, and some important reminders as well.

For me, the key parts were about the understanding and usage of energy.  Redfield goes into some detail explaining how our energy interacts with others whenever we communicate, and that we can determine how to source and deliver that energy in order to change the nature of every encounter.  We can revert to our childhood dramas of control, or choose to evolve to a higher state of being where we draw energy from the Universal source and use it to empower others, who then give back energy to us through a cycle of positive affirmation.  His explanation is elegant, and links many aspects of pop psychology (Dale Carnegie, Tony Robbins) to unified philosophy and non-denominational religion/spirituality.

The important message here is to continue to meditate every day - to inhale LOVE and exhale PEACE, to consciously evolve into a being which is complete in itself, and thus free to share the limitless energy of the Universe with others in a positive cycle of Oneness.
Too Touchy/Feely?  Too much Group Hug?  Possibly.

However, it is undeniable that our attitudes, the energy we project, and the way we engage are central to having positive and successful relationships with others.  These aspects are within our control and demonstrate emotional maturity once we can learn to harness them.

As martial artists, we must be keenly aware of the flow of energy, not just in our fighting technique, but as a constant part of our everyday lives.  We must not lose sight of the fact that we are responsible for what happens to us, and that we have the POWER TO CHANGE OUR LIVES.  We also have a responsibility to be messengers of peace to others, and to use what we know to create positive outcomes in our lives and the lives of those we engage.

Yesterday I received an email from one of my students questioning a change in my energy during the Friday class last week.  I am no different in that I must focus on sending the right energy all the time - people notice when I don't.  People notice when YOU don't, too.

Martial Arts is a vehicle for personal life success - keep learning, keep growing, keep sharing.

Thank you James Redfield for the reminder.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Two weeks is a long time.
As much as possible, I try to avoid business trips.  They have a way of messing with routines, and since I am generally a person with good habits, I like my habits undisturbed.  Then of course is the jet lag, the hassles in the airport and hotel, the high-calorie in flight meals, and so on.
Suffice to say, if I didn't have to, I wouldn't.

The worst of all is missing my class.

I spend plenty of time every week thinking about Kali...hours and hours in fact.  I love thinking about how to move; how to solve for various situations; how to synthesize various influences into one complete and adaptable set of responses.  I love thinking about what drills to do, each student's weak areas, and how to try and get all the elements of Kali Majapahit to sink in faster.  If I sound obsessive, it's because I AM.  I LOVE KALI.  I want my students to be the very best they can be.  It's as simple as that.

I am glad that our group has grown into a group filled with great people.  When I am out, Paul, Bruce, Frank, Jeremy are usually up to the challenge of leading the class through drills and practice.  When I am out of the country, I always send a lesson plan to help them out, but I trust them to give guidance to the practice.

Sadly, attendance drops a lot when I am not there.  While I am flattered that everyone enjoys my classes so much, as a teacher I worry that students aren't getting enough training time in.  Due to economic constraints, we only get a single two-hour slot every Friday night.  During that time, we usually have to cover at least three topics (this cycle they are largo mano, daga defense/disarms, and sikaran low kicks).  After we get warm ups in we have usually about 30 mins each week for each topic.  It's just not enough time.

To make the most of our time together, two things are critical:

There simply isn't extra time to go back and repeat material in our 12-week cycle.  We can and do review before cycle testing, but by then it's too late.  Unless you are gushing blood from an artery (or have a work commitment, which on a Friday night is almost as tragic) BE AT CLASS.  You deserve it.

Even when I am out of town, DO NOT miss the chance to practice what you have learned.  You can never review too much or too often.  Our senior students may not know everything, but then again neither do I.  Respect them enough to give them your attention and let them help you.  TRAIN, EVEN IF I AM AWAY.

I believe in the Kali Majapahit curriculum.  Guro Fred spends countless hours working on how best to present the concepts for students, and every iteration just keeps getting better and better.  That said, a single two-hour weekly session is simply not enough time for all we have to do.


This makes an enormous difference, especially in the lower belts.  Do not wait to be spoon-fed by me.  Take responsibility for yourselves and work on our own.  Bring me questions/problems, but remember that The Journey is one you must walk alone.  I can guide you, like all instructors do, but YOU and ONLY YOU can take the steps.

See you Friday.  Can't wait...