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Working with schools whilst running my self-defence programme I was looking at the Maori weaving patterns adorning the reception walls. Noho Taniwha, the teeth of Taniwha; to the European perception they look a bit like the teeth of a dragon. Taniwha have been sighted by some Maori and even some pakeha; it seems that the metaphysical nature of the Maori culture is able to awaken the spirituality that the European has conditioned to ignore over the ages.
As I meditate I focus upon the images of the Maori art; I vividly see the teeth of the Taniwha; the antagonisms and struggles of life that bite and tear each one of us. The fearful Taniwha keeps the silent killers at bay; laziness and procrastination, not following through when I should; not putting the time in training. Alcohol, drugs, gambling; the killers that creep along and grow on you until they take over your life. Soon I find myself immobilized in many areas of life without even realizing it; a covert form of mental slavery as I don’t even realize the freedom given up to these silent killers.
The teeth of the Taniwha bite, the need to avoid pain is biological, it awakens my brain and has me fighting like crazy. Soon the Taniwha becomes my friend; those teeth that bite really are my fears, my struggle, my resistance to take action, my unresolved pain. It controls how I feel, how I behave daily, the results in my life and my ultimate destination. The Taniwha becomes my guardian and the bane of my foes as I battle the vices that restrict me.
I read books; I awaken my consciousness and expand my world. My fists, elbows, shins and feet pound the bag; I condition my abs, my chest, and my cardio. If I cannot motivate myself and make the distinctions and knowledge that serve me as a martial artist how am I supposed to motivate my students? I like to think of proactive reasons that drive me, but often I find that it is the struggle and the pain that moves me and gives me the energy to take action. The Taniwha become my mentor, it changes my self-defeating behaviours.