Monday, July 20, 2009

Lessons from my Zafu: Freedom within Structure

This weekend my son and one of my students went to the annual Moosejaw Seminar sponsored by the Flambeau Self-Defense League. As usual we had a fantastic well as learned new ideas, strategies and had old insights validated.

One of those insights revalidated came from Sigung Bill Penca and Sifu Paul Marquardt of Fu Chen Kung Fu. We were practicing one of their forms and began discussing that we would not so much remember the form itself but the concepts of the form. As we went on Sigung Penca began speaking of finding Freedom within Discipline. He is referring to finding the Freedom and playfulness found within the discipline of a set structure such as a kata. I found mine within the structure at the Heartland Temple in Omaha and in my Kata as well.

Sigung Penca and myself discovered that true freedom comes from within 'structure' or 'discipline' and not by simply following your whims and desires. To follow your whims or desires is not true freedom, but another form of slavery. You are now a slave to your desires and this will lead you down the road of suffering. True freedom is finding out how big your world is within a set form or structured discipline. This type of freedom is difficult to put into words and I only write them to point your mind in that direction and to encourage you to continue in your disciplines.

Nonin would often talk about how 'big' and 'expansive' his life was. I never really understood it but kept it in my thoughts...and eventually I had that crack in my 'cosmic egg' and began to see what he was referring to. Sigung Penca gave us a wonderful demonstration of his freedom within discipline via his forms performance at the May seminar. Because he found his freedom within the form he can now play with form....return to with form and on and on.

For more info on this check out the concepts of Shu, Ha, Ri and Ku. I wrote of this last year and is in my blog archives. This also will help point you in these directions of finding freedom within structure. Finding freedom within the discipline of the martial arts will also help you find the freedom you seek in your everyday life. As you master your everyday-life structure you will find yourself, just like Sigung Penca, playing with the structure of your life. You will feel free and playful. I know this is my experience as well.

Many of my colleagues my age speak of retirement and can't wait to quit working. I don't think of retirement as I really don't work. My everyday life is not a chore. Yes, it hurts at times and I some days are easier than others, but overall, life is one big playstation for me. Have you ever noticed that some of the older martial artists laugh a lot and walk around with big 'shit-eatin' grins? Yeah...they have touched this freedom...this is the sweetness that arrives after tasting the bitter confines of discipline.

Well, that's enought rambling for now...well, mostly I have to go because my bladder is full and my head is empty.

Hands palm to palm,

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