THE WARRIOR MINDSET.

Everything begins with Intention, we must know what it is we wish to do

BE HERE NOW.

From the outset we must realise that there is no way to talk about the Warrior Mindset, all we can hope for is a way to talk about approaching the Warrior Mindset.

We do not seek it out and find it, the Warrior Mindset finds us as a result of our work.

The Warrior Mindset is open to two very different interpretations, a Martial Warrior is a soldier that fights other soldiers, and a Spiritual Warrior is a man that fights the baser elements of himself.

Martial Arts conflate these two ideas with very mixed results, mainly due to unrealistic expectations of progress through mystical osmosis.

Martial Arts are the messenger and not the message, but they do provide the tools to translate the message.

Translate not interpret.

Wether we are a Martial Warrior fighting for our lives, or a Spiritual Warriors fighting self ignorance it all hinges on being in the present, the Here and Now, at all times.

Martial Arts provide this by giving us a ritualistic training method, a way of developing singular focus by working hard at performing all of the movements flawlessly, by focusing on what we are doing to the exclusion of all other distractions.

It is simpler than it sounds, it could be any movement, any shape done in any way but as human beings repetition and ritual are very powerful aids to success, this is the genesis of all Martial Arts Forms.

There is a great deal of wisdom available to us from such diverse sources as the Toltec Shaman of Mexico, the Buddhism of Tibet, the Egyptian Book of the Dead and of course all of the Martial Art Classics, but there is also new knowledge from more recent travellers on this road from both he military aspect such as Lt. Col. Dave Grossman to the more cerebral approach of Dr. Gavin Becker.

We would profit greatly from visiting more than one library.

This essay is intended as an entrée to encourage and entice you to seek out the Grand Buffet.

SETTLE IN, SETTLE DOWN.

Everything begins with Intention, we must know what it is we wish to do, what we hope to find, if we do not know beforehand what we are looking for we will walk right past it when it turns up.

The next step is CENTRING.

It will more than likely take longer to read how to do these exercise than it will to do them, they can be looked at as a suite of exercises all interchangeable with each other or as one big extended exercise. Intention is the key so we must decide how we wish to proceed, know what it is we want to do.

Are we centring our body awareness? Are we centring our mental awareness? Or are we centring our spiritual awareness? Do we even know if there is any difference?

The thing we are after is what T.S.Elliot referred to as the Still Point of a Moving World.

At the still point of the moving world, there the dance is ………  except for the point, the still point, there would be no dance, and there is only the dance.   {Burnt Norton 1935}

The ultimate aim is to BE HERE NOW,

Your breath is always in the here and now, you can’t pay attention to a past breath so if you are paying attention to your breath, you must be in the present.

As simple as the following exercise is it is exceptionally powerful.

This exercise is best done outdoors standing upright but it is just as effective sitting in a chair even laying in bed.

Breathe in through the nose, a full breathe, hold for a second or three and breathe out through the mouth, breath it all out hold and repeat, and repeat and repeat.

I do not recommend attaching any importance to the actual breathing, no Wim Hof  Method or Pranayama, as wonderful and powerful as they are they are intended for different outcomes and could end up both distractive and destructive.

While you breathe observe your breath, feel it, hear it, watch it as it moves through your body like a living thing.

What effect does your breath have on different parts of your body, do your shoulders move as you breath?

Do they tense?   Do they relax?  Do they behave the same on Inhalation and exhalation?

Get to know your breath and how every part of your body reacts when you breathe, even down to your toes.

Your body is a bellows, feel your chest widen sideways as you inhale and recognise the muscles that do this, then feel it naturally contract as you exhale.

This exercise can be done for a minute or an hour.

This is not centring, this is just us settling in and settling down preparing the body and mind for centring.

The 5 Sounds.

Breathe, settle in and settle down, keep breathing.

Locate and identify a sound that is near you, for instance the sound of your own breathing, listen to it for a short while.

Find a second sound slightly farther away, perhaps a bird, a creaking branch, identify it and place its position in space and notice its relationship to you, is it in front, behind, higher, lower, left, right that kind of thing, listen for a while.

Find a third sound again farther out, maybe a door slamming, a motorbike, identify it and place its position in space and notice its relationship to you and its relationship to the last sound. Listen.

Find a fourth sound even farther out, identify it and place its position in space and notice its relationship to you and the other sounds. Listen.

For the fifth sound listen right out at the edge of your hearing, it may be just a rumbling, identify it and place its position in space and notice its relationship to you, listen to it and let it fill the air. Breathe.

Think again of the first sound, it is still there at the centre of all that is around you, as are you.

The 5 Feelings.

Breathe, settle in and settle down, keep breathing.

In a purely physical sense feel something affecting your body, it could be the wind on your skin, the sun on your head, your feet pressing the floor, if you are sitting or lying down there are many other possibilities, your shirt collar on your neck in short anything, firstly feel everything separately one at a time, just like the previous exercise feel it, identify its position is space, listen to it.

Repeat 5 times and then finally feel all 5 things simultaneously.

The 5 Expansions.

Breathe, settle in and settle down, keep breathing.

#1. Close your eyes and see yourself as if from above, see the immediate space around you on all sides, this is well suited to doing indoors sitting down, see the room, see the furniture, breathe easily as you observe the surroundings. Realise that even from here you can still see yourself.

#2. Inhale and expand to a height were you can only see the house that has the room you are sitting in, see the space around the house, trees, cars, neighbours, breathe easily as you observe the surroundings. Realise that even from here you can still see yourself.

#3. Inhale and expand to a height were you can only see the city or area where your house is, breathe easily as you observe the surroundings. Realise that even from here you can still see yourself.

#4. Inhale and expand to a height were you can only see the country you live in, breathe easily as you observe your surroundings.

#5. Inhale and expand to a height were you can only see the planet Earth from space, breathe easily as you observe your surroundings. Realise that even from here you can still see yourself. At the centre of it all.

The 5 Positions of a Warrior Mindset.

Breathe, settle in and settle down, keep breathing.

#1. Measure every decision, every action against the undeniable fact that you are going to die.  Maybe not right now, today, but quite possibly later on today.    When measured against our ultimate demise all problems are seen for what they really are and shrink into insignificance.

#2. Always do your best. Your best is going to change from minute to minute; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to when you are sick.  Whatever you are doing, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, and the negativity that goes with it.

#3. Realise that it is not about you. Nothing others do is because of you.  What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own story.  When the actions of others have no importance there is no self doubt.  Even in a antagonistic situation it is not about you, a soldier just kills another soldier, not a singular individual person.

#4. Understand the power and greatness of not knowing. All of our problems arise from known things, all of the great answers are as of yet unknown, the things we think we know are the cages that we bind ourselves with. Not knowing is not just a state to be endured; it’s a state of possibility and, a state of power. Creativity is a consequence of not knowing.

#5. Be impeccable. This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 78–82.    

Warriors have an ulterior purpose for their acts which has nothing to do with personal gain. The average man acts only if there is a chance for profit.   Warriors act not for profit, but for the spirit.

 

 

Using our training to do the work.

Opening up the way to translate the message, how to do the work that will hopefully lead to the Warrior Mindset manifesting.

As I have already mentioned first of all comes INTENTION.

Do we intend to be Martial Warriors or Spiritual Warriors?

The training is the same, so right here right now we do not need to choose, but be assured the final set of stairs are very different.

Let’s make a start, although it is in no way a prerequisite most of the people that will even attempt this work usually have a decent level of basic training, some knowledge of Forms or Kata and a level of understanding about the effort and commitment needed to be competent in the Martial Arts.

 

Q.  Why are we training?

A.  Hopefully to develop a Warrior Mindset.

Q.  What is training?     

A.Training is way to become better, not a chance to prove how good we are.

 

Think a while on that last statement   “Training is way to become better, not a chance to prove how good we are”.

For a student that has been training for 12 months to a master that has been training for 60 years this statement holds true.

The main aim is to take ourselves out of the equation, to become a witness to the unfolding event and not a participant, only in this way can we respond as opposed to reacting.

This is a life skill, not just a martial skill.

I teach, and we train Wing Chun so I will use Wing Chun references but it is just a method and could of course be used with any style, any system.

Pick a movement from any of the Wing Chun Forms, just one movement, get access to as much knowledge and understanding that you can about this particular movement, get it straight in your head before you attempt to force it on your body.

As Human Beings everything we do is a complete body action, if your Form of choice is the First Form where the only moving parts are your arms, do not make the error of not seeing this as a complete body action.

Stillness and movement are part of a singular continuum, just like sound and silence, hot and cold, they both describe each other, no matter how still my body is my blood and spirit still move.

Let us use the most basic and well known movement, Tarn Sau.

As we perform Tarn Sau what is the top of our head doing? What is the arch of our foot doing? What is our spine doing?  If we happen to be a person that agrees with the idea of circulating energy what is our Chi doing?

So much to think about, so many body parts to track, so much to be aware of and yet we have not even mentioned the shoulder or the elbow or any other part or aspect of the arm, still we are without doubt talking about Tarn Sau.

It can be any movement from any Form, it is always our whole and complete body, no gaps, no omissions, this in turn creates a condition of singular and concentrated focus that removes us from the world of not doing Wing Chun and drops us squarely into the world of doing Wing Chun.

We are removed from the world of NOT NOW and manifest in the world of ONLY NOW.

Being in the NOW allows us to witness what is happening and make a suitable response instead of just a hopeful reaction.

 

I will finish with two of my favourite quotes / parables.

Firstly the Taoist Scholar Chuang Tzu.   This is a reworking of the Empty Boat Parable, I do not remember where it came from but I really get it.

A man is crossing a river in his skiff in a storm when suddenly another skiff collides with him.  He becomes angry and begins to shout until he notices that the skiff is empty, that it has broken its moorings and is loose on the tide.  Noticing that the skiff is empty and loose on the tide he stops shouting because there is no one to shout at, suddenly he realises that we are all skiffs in a storm loose on the tide and that there is no one to shout.

The second is from the great composer Igor Stravinsky, or quite possibly not the internet is a fickle bitch.

When rehearsing for the upcoming debut of the Firebird Suite, the first violin came to Stravinsky and told him that he was quitting the orchestra because the violin solo was just far too difficult for him to play, Stravinsky laughed and said “of course it is, what I really want is to hear someone of your skill level trying to play it”.

 

WHAT KIND OF DAY IS IT FOR YOU?

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