The Pillars of Power
In class, we have talked a lot over the years how to create power. We began with the ground as being the foundation off of which we create movement. The greatest thing about the ground is that it's always there! It does not matter if you are feeling good, or feeling great. It does not care whether it is hot or cold. It does not matter if you are stretched out or stiff. It supports the entire world and therefore it can support you.
The ground is always there as our foundation for movement.
We then discussed the kinetics of connecting the ground through the mechanics of moving in the three cardinal directions in Ki Master.
By connecting the ground through the body to the point of impact we can amplify our power. It is the easiest way to be bigger and stronger than the sum of our parts. And is that not the purpose of training?
I have always believed that nobody is going to pick a fight with you unless they have the deck stacked in their favor. The antagonist will believe, mistakenly, that they are bigger, stronger or have greater numbers than you.
Through training we forge our bodies and acquire the skills to do things we could not do before. We train so the movements we want become reflexive, muscle memory and do not require our minds to dictate what we need to do next.
So we train to have a "strong mind, strong body".
GrandMaster Choi would drill those words into our collective minds. It is only in the past few years I have really begun to understand what he was saying. I will go more into detail in future posts, but for now believe in our training. It will provide the crucible in which we will be transformed into iron will, and an indomitable force.
And now we come to the moment. Life has a past, present and future. These are the pillars of our existence.
The past is gone, cannot be changed or rewritten. It is history. Some of it is good memories and some not as good. We can become sad that it is gone, regret somethings we may have done differently or long for a time when we were happier. It can motivate us to be different in the future or it can hold us back. No matter what the past feels like, it cannot be changed. The good news is that it provides us with many lessons. We can feel regret, remorse over mistakes, defeats; long for a time when things felt better.
Or we can feel challenged, rise up, and become dangerous (Kahil Gibran's poem Defeat):
Defeat, my Defeat, my deathless courage,
You and I shall laugh together with the storm,
And together we shall dig graves for all that die in us,
And we shall stand in the sun with a will,
And we shall be dangerous.
The best sports players- Christiano Ronaldo, Hank Aaron- learned more from defeats than successes. Why do we learn more from our failures than our successes? It may be because we do not accept the defeat. We train more, get rid of injuries, and we find ourselves dangerous.
Then there is the future. So much is unknown, nebulous and ill formed. It is uncharted waters, with scary things that can frighten us. But the future also holds the goals we want, the rainbow we seek, the life we want. Everything we want is in that future.
Better to see the future as endless possibilities that includes that one future we want. And yet we cannot control which future we will have. Our potential is therefore limitless. We can achieve any goal we want as long as we have it clearly defined. We can move towards that goal with each step in the moment.
With clear intentions directed towards our goal, we need to define how we will get there. In running, it is with each run, each step, each breath moves us towards the times and distance we want. In martial arts, we move up through the ranking system getting closer to black belt. In school, we learn so much each year and move up to the next level. In life, we live and learn so much about ourselves and what is important and how to hold onto what is precious. It is a string of movements, breaths and moments. That is the where the magic happens, where we can be superheroes.
We are limited to only being able to control the now, the moment.
The moment is the only part of life we can control. We can chose how we want to use it. When confronted with our path, we can chose to stagnate, wallow in remorse or sadness, or drive forward, using the moment to bring us closer to the future we choose. It is where we are powerful and dangerous.
The moment is defined by our breath, our movement. Through our movement we not only control our destiny, but also those around us. Think about it: when we move in sparring, does not the opponent move because of us? By the very movement and breath we take each moment, we define ourselves and we define all those around us.
This is why in class we focus so much on the movement we make in the moment we are given. The mind races ahead, calculates what we feel and want and yet our bodies continue to move forward, training and transforming ourselves. Each step, each kick, each punch defines the moment as we come closer to our future goal. Each time we are knocked down, get up and drive forward we bring ourselves closer to the limitless potential in all our bodies.
When we find that flow, it takes us out of our thinking, calculating mind and puts us in our bodies. We no longer have to think, just move. The flow of ki shoots out of us like an open fire hydrant. We become unstoppable, indomitable in spirit and body. The blocks come to us without thought, without intention. The opponent seems to walk into our kicks, fall against our strikes. The hits we take become a source of power from which we launch counter strikes, effortlessly and with joy.
Our power comes from those endless string of moments, breaths, moving forward that define our existence and everyone we involve. We cannot fail to drive forward to that limitless possible future that we want.
And to get there all we need is our desire for it. Train, "strong mind strong body". Do the movement, the kick, the punch, the calculus, the surgery, the work over and over again. It will become reflexive, muscle memory and will flow from you. This is what mastery is about.
It is great to think about the pillars of our power found in the past, present and future. Through our training we collectively get closer to our goals. Defeat, success, sadness, and happiness become one. We become unstoppable. We become dangerous.