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Recently I read a book and also watched a movie called “127 Hours”. The storyline is a harrowing account of Aron Ralston, a mountaineer who got his right arm trapped under a boulder in a remote canyon in Utah. This is a story of a man who was trapped and frightened. He was frightened to stay where he was, knowing the chances of any rescue finding him alive to be slim; he was frightened to free himself by cutting through his own trapped limb with a dull blade of his multi-tool.
Initially he tried to cut through his arm but only managed to make a few shallow scratches with the blunt blade of his tool. As days went by and he remained trapped slowly dying from dehydration and exposure he saw his unborn child in a premonition and only then he knew that he did not just want to try and cut through his trapped limb; he intended to survive and do whatever it took. He managed to free himself by stabbing his trapped arm, snapping his forearm bones and cutting through tendons and nerves to amputating his arm. His story is an inspiration to all with a lust for life and desire for survival. It is an extreme example of the mental challenges that we all face.
Intention is what gives us the map to reach our objective; it is when we say we will do rather than say we will just try. Throughout my own life I have battled my own demons; the nagging voices inside my head telling me that I can’t do something. I remember the learned helplessness of people telling me “who are you kidding” or “who do you think you are” when I would mention aspiring to become a black belt. I used to get this scepticism even from members of my own family. When self doubt would came flooding in rather than being honest and admitting I was scared I would often look for something to blame. I would blame my friends, family, an injury, anything rather than face up to the fact that I was scared.
I got to a stage where my fears just caved in on me; that is when I said “no more”. I stopped making excuses and began to confront my fears, one fear at a time. I discovered that all the people that were tying to hold me back were wrong. They were not lying to me but they were simply wrong; their truth was not my truth. Just like traditional martial artists, the film industry and even the Chinese community would also tell Bruce Lee “who are you kidding” or “who do you think you are”. Bruce Lee knew however that his truth was different to their truth; he was leader not a follower; a visionary whose ideas and concepts influenced how martial arts evolved to this day.
I discovered that the better I was able to look after myself, my mind, body, spirit; the better I was for others. I found the confidence, strength and energy from my martial arts training placed me in a position to look after others first as a club senior, a black belt, an instructor and finally an owner and operator of my own martial arts school. I found that the real revenue, the assets and liabilities were people, my students. They would be the ones who would go out and say what a great bloke I was, the ones who would provide the revenue for the school and spread the energy.
Often I would go through discomfort, but I discovered that through discomfort we find growth so I began to find solace in the discomfort; the pain, the death and the rebirth, a continually growing process of learning and self-improvement. Often I would draw from the experience of others, their perspective and culture. There are so many shining examples of human triumph scattered in our book stores and libraries. Aron Ralston, a man who had resigned himself to his fate, had carved RIP in the canyon wall with an anticipated date of his passing. Everything was against him; it was almost like the boulder was waiting for him all his life, it was his destiny. With intention he turned everything around, not only did he survive his ordeal, three years later he met his wife and the vision of his unborn child manifested itself. He went on to set new precedents in all his outdoor pursuits and became the first person to solo-climb all fifty nine of the Colorado 14,000-foot peaks in winter. The energy is within all of us, when we plug in intention there is nothing we cannot achieve, nothing we cannot have.