Sunday, September 6, 2009

The ONE Self-defense Secret Every Martial Artist Needs to Know.

In my last post I spoke of pit bulls and guns...and the ability to bring out the toughness in ourselves to handle a life and death struggle. As most of you are aware this is the most base of self-defense strategies and the easiest for our minds to grasp. When most people think of self-defense they think of having to do violent activity to survive...and at times they are correct.

However, most of us, and I am thankful for this, live in a fairly peaceful society. And here in lies the One Secret to Self-defense. Why do you think in the practice of Budo we bow in and out, have rules of etiquette for respect and politeness and most importantly meditate before and after each Karate class? What does this have to do with defending ourselves? Everything.

Buddha spoke of how important our thoughts are...he spoke of how we create the world with our thought. All that is and will be has arisen with our thinking, manifested through our thoughts. Look around you right now. You are most likely sitting in a chair...and reading this on a computer, which is either on your lap or on a desk. Your chair, desk and computer...and yes your lap too, are manifestations of a thought. Everything around you right now is created from thinking...from thoughts placed out into the vast realm of Ku: Our friend Emptiness.

As I have written in previous posts, Ku is Pure Raw Potential waiting to materialize. All it needs is a thought. Remember Ku and Kara have the same root. An Empty Hand (Karate) when given the thought of 'fist' shapes into a fist. Think or intend 'knife hand' it takes the shape of a knife hand and so on. It takes the shape of your intentions or thought.

Well, your life is like this as well. A Dojo is a place where we practice our Martial Art, but it is sandwiched and infused with politeness and respect. This is to counterbalance any negative energy put out into Ku. Classes begin and end with Zazen to cultivate Peace...and to send out those 'vibes' so peace will reign in our lives and we never have to use the techniques of violence. These positive vibes are stronger than any of the 'violent vibes' created during class.

Zazen is the cultivation, practice and manifestation of Peace. The ultimate in self-defense! The Ultimate Kata!!!

An important concept to understand when working with thoughts is that a thought placed out into Ku, whether it is something you want or don't want...will manifest. Even if you don't want to be attacked, if this is on your mind all the time, you will eventually invite an have manifested it into your life.

So, when all you focus on is self-defense you are manifesting a need to defend yourself. You are invoking violence, although inadvertently. The opposite of self-defense, I guess, would be 'other offense'. The best defense is a good offense. This is why Zazen is so important. Zazen is such an offense. It sends out the vibe of peace to the whole world. Nonin often told us that when we sit zen we sit with the whole world and the whole world benefits.

This is why I conduct a Zen and Healing Arts Seminar every year. This year (Sept 19th) we are raising money for our local Domestic Violence Shelter...Safe Haven. We sit Zen to create peace. The women at the shelter have been violently abused and lives turned upside down. As martial artists, sitting zen, is the best way we can help them...we are also raising money as well...but this is not so important as the manifestation of peace.

This is again the One Secret every martial artist should know. The practice of Zazen and the cultivation of peace via our practices of respect, politeness, integrity, loyalty, honor create the ultimate in self-defense. A society where hopefully we will no longer need Safe Havens or even Police. A big thought...but I put it out there.

Hands palm to palm,


  1. Well put. A Dojo truly is a laboratory of violence and politeness. It is truly a paradox that violence begs a spiritual counterbalance. It is a tension that must be kept taut.