From The Source | September 2014

September 1, 2014

I usually like to use this newsletter to tell our members and their families things that can be both educational and of general interest. I do so knowing that no two people in our school are here for the same reasons. I also noticed that almost every member of our school can change their reasons for being with us as they excel and advance. That is precisely why a dojo is for anyone and everyone. You can join out of curiosity, stress, self-defense, exercise, and other reasons, and if you find different interests within our art as time goes on, you can still continue to find the dojo beneficial in many different levels. Our school was started and continues to stand for being a place that anyone from any background or interest can come together with others and feel safe, welcome, taught well and treated well. I want you to remember that the dojo exists for you. I want you to be both generous and selfish here.

Generosity comes in the forms of being humble, wanting to help others, allowing yourself to work with everyone, and even staying here as a member so our school stays open. The selfish aspect to which I referred is not of being humble, wanting to help others, allowing yourself to work with everyone, even staying here as a member so our school stays open. The selfish aspect to which I refer is not one of self centered mentality, it is one of working very hard so you get the most out of every class, for you. But, if you think about it, selfishness and generosity can actually coexist and complement each other, because your hard work to get a lot out of your practice will demonstrate spirit and electricity in the class, which will influence others and the entire dojo atmosphere so everyone will get more out of each class. Spirit, drive and spirit appear intense, but this same intensity brings more peace to your mind and soul. Let’s take self-defense and the preparation for it as an example of your intensity resulting in more peace and relaxation. The following has been written about in many publications and observed in our classes many times. Col. Jeff Cooper was a teacher, philosopher and an expert marksman. He devised a color code to be used to describe the states of readiness for self-defense. The system, devised I believe in the early 1980s, is still used today by many instructors and organizations. His system consisted of four colors, white, the state of complete peace, often unaware, yellow, your mind where to pick up dangerous people, places or circumstances orange, a person, place or situation and specifically alert you to danger – you are sensing that you now have to act. Finally, red, the most intense where action is imminent and or beginning. Relating to dojo practice the better you become and the more advanced you are, The more effortlessly you can go from one color state to the next and back. It is not a roller coaster with you being spaced out to scared or to actually looking out of place in silly because you may misjudge a person or situation and feel awkward or confused.

Your respected dojo attendance as practice, along with your full concentration in spirit will make you more relaxed and at peace, not less, because You, as an experience martial artist, will be more confident in your self defense abilities and you will be able to smile and be at peace because you can shift your color of awareness with very little or no effort. This also describes the concept of Zanshin, Zanshin means that you are not paranoid, not tense, not scared and also not spaced out. You’re happier than others without Zanshin because you aren’t jumpy or in a state of your nerves shot. Also, relating back to the concept of applying oneself fully in class, your continued practice makes the state of Zanshin easier and easier to reach and remain in, because the organization, discipline in order of the Qaeda and entire class makes you more aware of yourself and others. Also, for those who discount that value of Kata, trust me, the Kata is the core of finding inner peace and your entire progress. The Kata were developed to practice as if in a state of meditation, and the really cool part is that you do not have to meditate or know about what the Kata is doing for you, just do it and it will help you.

Sensei’s tip of the month

Please remember a very important bit of advice regarding the colors of mental readiness, no one should ever be in the white stage. Your continued practice will help you to easily achieve this, but by learning not to file below yellow means you are also achieving Zanshin principal we often speak of. And, I am not just referring to self-defense. Why do you think many people fall down, get hurt, and even get into car accidents? They fell into the white, stayed spaced out, resulting in accidents and injuries. Of course you can get hurt and fall down if you are aware of everything, but many household incidents and even car accidents, can be avoided, if you just plain learn to be aware all the time. Again, no paranoia, tension or fear, just happily aware of everything you are doing and everything around you. How do you do this? Easy! Just don’t try to get it – practice and continue to immerse yourself in every class and every kata that it will happen whether you know it or not, and it will happen whether you wanted to or not. Member of the Month Edward Thomas! At Thomas, promoted just this past month, is