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Catharsis of the Mind

“Don't think. FEEL. It's like a finger pointing at the moon.
Do not concentrate on the finger or you will miss all of the heavenly glory!” – Bruce Lee

Nearly ten years ago I had my arm severely broken in a state martial arts tournament. The injury was a bit of a freak accident when the heel of my opponent’s back kick connected with my forearm shattering the ulna and dislocating my arm at the elbow. Pain is not something that a martial artist seeks, but when it happens a martial artist must learn to use it. The experience of the injury and the down time enabled me to purify my mind and to open up my consciousness.

There were three months in a cast and a further three months of only using light punching. The doctor admonished me that any exertion on the arm may bend the steel pin holding my bones together resulting in prolonged treatment and possible bone graft. The rehabilitation enabled me to work more on my legs, cardio, to read and study and spend more time on the shooting range. I found that during the time of solitude I enjoyed a feeling of peace which I had not felt for a long time.

Many people often think that the system that I teach is about explosive strikes. However to focus solely on striking would only reap a fragmented benefit of Krav Maga. We need other things to reflect upon; to understand the uses and limits of the various strikes and also to be prepared to cope with the possibility of being constrained by an injury. True competency is about having a map of the entire terrain not just the current location.

To be effective requires self-awareness and discipline, to empty the mind of all distraction. This is a concept known as Zanshin in Japanese systems; where through expanded attention a situation gets revealed in indescribable certainty. In order to do this we cannot focus on any one thing other than letting our consciousnesses absorb the whole picture. If there is one thing that martial arts have taught me is to trust life; knowing that everything has a purpose. Having an expanded consciousness reveals something of life and its purpose and death and its mystery. Life is wrought with pain, injury and death. Many people view death as a tragedy; what is a tragic however is when some do not live at all.

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