Sunday, September 21, 2014

Great Investments

(thanks for the inspiration RA)

Had a quick chat with a friend about investing... he asked me about transferring JPY to GBP.  I recoiled in horror - JPY has been trending toward weakness for the past few months (especially USDJPY, which I watch) while GBP has just rallied due to the NO vote on Scottish Independence.  Not exactly an opportune moment for the conversion he mentions.  "why the hell would you want to do that?" I asked.  He replied "I have to.  I may need to send money back home".  I shook my head.

Investment is like many thinks in life - having options is key.

As I told him, anytime you are FORCED to take an action, it will end up costing you dearly.
Whenever you HAVE to buy or sell anything, you can guarantee that the market timing will be against you and you will lose out because you could not pick and choose the time that was best for you.  Thus, having a good distribution, some foresight, and a plan is of enormous benefit when dealing with the unpredictability of the markets.  One of my early mentors had a method - he would document each position he held and exactly what he would do if the position went up (a little or a lot), went down (a little or a lot), or stayed the same.  Every day he had a plan no matter what the markets did.  This way he was never surprised or caught without a strategy.  It was a discipline he kept all the years I saw him trade, and it served him (and I) very well.

Why am I telling you this?  This is supposed to be a martial arts blog, right?

Well, one of the other notably unpredictable situations is combat.  As I have written many times, fights are chaotic and messy, and it is not possible to know completely what will happen or the outcome.  Events occur in real time and we must adjust to them.  That being said, having some foresight and a plan is of enormous benefit when dealing with the unpredictability of a fight.

Just as in investing/trading, anytime you are forced to take an action it will cost you dearly.
Whenever you HAVE to do something, like break a lock or choke, step in a certain spot, breakfall, block a certain way, and so on, you can guarantee that you will lose out.

Thus fighting, like trading, depends on freedom and flexibility - having options.

Kali Majapahit is the excellent system it is not only because we emphasize FLOW - the ability to keep moving/hitting at all times until the situation is resolved, but also because we have it as our most basic strategy to take away the opponent's structure/posture and by so doing force him to try to recover it.  These are opposite sides of the same coin.

By FLOWING, we continue to move in/around/over/under/through any attempt to block our motion.  This means we ADAPT.  By taking the balance and structure, we remove the enemy's strength and force him to take specific (and predictable) actions. These actions can (and are) used by us to resolve conflicts in the most expedient manner, with the lowest risk of unintended injury, especially to ourselves.

Just like my trading friend, we spend a lot of time and energy exploring so we can have plans for any scenario.  We drill endlessly to develop core muscle memory and improve our flow.  We train standing up, lying down and everywhere in between involving striking, kicking, grappling, weapons and short, medium and long ranges, leveraging inside, outside and center line theories.  We combine, take apart and reassemble our techniques so that we have an endless library of possible options no matter what happens.  We challenge ourselves to master our environment so that we can use it to our best advantage.  We train by improvising weapons out of anything at hand, so we will never be unarmed if the need arises.  This is the true beauty of FMA, and in particular of Kali Majapahit.

"It is bad when one thing becomes two. One should not look for anything else in the Way of the Samurai. It is the same for anything that is called a Way. If one understands things in this manner, he should be able to hear about all ways and be more and more in accord with his own."
 - Hagakure "Hidden Leaves" by Yamamoto Tsunetomo  

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