Since the inception of S.E.D. Fitness - now evolved to Movement Athletics - these are the types of Mindset that I try to share with those who become part of our community. Knowing full well that people coming to our gym are looking for betterment of their physical being. I knew from the beginning that once they attained their 'dream body' or achieved the physical abilties to accomplish Tournaments, Races, or Movement Abilities they would find they were still not satisfied. Therefore I've taken it upon myself to share when possible, to those looking for it, Books, Videos, Movies, Art, anything that conveys the need to cultivate ourselves from the inside out, Mind, Body, Soul. When we work on our Mind and Heart to create a determination of constant growth in all aspects, we better ourselves but most importantly elevate those around us, thus our community as a whole. It is for this reason I've taken this excursion to China to find schools, teachers, and examples bring clarity to my vision of what I'd like to Create in the community of the Tri-Cities. While I don't envision myself being a 'Kung Fu Master', I do aspire to the qualities that such a human being lives and breathes on the daily, to provide value to their students, and help them discover the greatness within that can make our world, a better place.
This comes from a BLOG written at the website of Tian Meng Kung Fu Academy, and resonates with every part of my being.
Eager to Become a Kung Fu Master? Know this First
For a martial arts practitioner, it is important to learn martial arts culture. Martial arts is a means of self-cultivation. To learn martial arts, one should focus on the heart first, which is considered internal cultivation. In stillness, one can be free from thoughts, resentments and desires, through which clearness, purity and serenity emerges. Long term Kung fu develops a person’s will, cultivates a calmer temperament and increases mental stamina. Through intense focus trivial thoughts are minimized enabling awe-inspiring righteousness to naturally arise. With fewer desires, a practitioner can be mighty and fearless cultivating the Chinese martial arts temperament.
Respecting teachers and loving friends are inherent Martial arts values. Chinese people value “RenXiaoLi”, or benevolence, filial piety and propriety. One day as a teacher, a life time as a father” demonstrates how Chinese respect their teachers. Since ancient times Chinese people esteemed five core pillars: heaven, earth, king, parents, teachers. Therefore teachers have been held in high regard throughout Chinese history. By respecting teachers, loving friends, being modest and eager to learn, the teacher and student can have harmonious relationships, enabling students to continuously improve. For Chinese people, being admired for character is a supreme honor. Modesty is also important for practitioners. ”Being proud, harm comes after; being modest, benefits follow.” “There is always someone with greater capability, there are always lands that lie beyond.” Only by being modest, learning and having an enterprising attitude, can one reach higher levels of attainment. If someone is better than “me”, ”I” respect them and shouldn’t be overly competitive and jealous. If someone loses when fighting “me”, ”I” should treat them with courtesy and show respect. This is the bearing that martial arts practitioners strive to attain.
Virtue is highly valued in Chinese martial arts. There are sayings, ”Virtue teaching goes before martial arts training.”“Shifu’s (teachers) don’t teach those with a poor sense of morality.” Endurance, toughness, kindness, humility and honesty are martial arts virtues. The idea of “make friends through martial arts” demonstrates the generosity and high tolerance of Chinese martial arts. Though martial arts can cultivate personality, it is not an easy task to for one to demonstrate profound mental attainments. Martial arts study requires one to calm the mind, which entails a strong will and long-lasting persistence. Even the martial arts basics can’t be properly attained in a short timeframe, they usually take years or decades of long lasting effort to perfect.
Marital arts spirit is an unyielding spirit. Kung fu practitioners need to push their limits developing perseverance and endurance. As the saying goes: “Externally practice bones and muscles, internally work on Qi”. No matter what time, either the coldest days in winter or the hottest days in summer, students push themselves hard to train. Kung fu mastery requires more than just training, you also need to perfect personality, virtue and beauty to achieve higher spiritual realization. In groups, building unyielding spirit is the key focus. Only by cultivating this spirit and through continuous effort, a group can grow and become a strong unit.