The first topic I choose to write about may be the most controversial as well as hardest to embrace. However if you read this through, ideally you will come to understand my viewpoint.
We should measure our training for improvement through Five Primary Fitness Levels (to be addressed in an upcoming article): Physical, Perceptual, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual. The definition of Spiritual- “The courage to use Self Defense (Art of Kenpo) in your daily life. To stand up for the standards and belief that your training has introduced to you.” (A modified description of Mr. Hancock’s definition from the Kenposcope and Mastering Kenpo “The Path to Excellence.”)
If we view Self Defense as merely the physical interactions and the attempt to reduce physical harm, what we train on the mat really has a minimum contribution in our daily lives. However, if we look at the reality of our existence, the principles and concepts we learn through physical interactions can be applied to all aspects of our lives. We merely require the awareness of such need and the courage to practice them at all times.
Jump down this “Rabbit Hole” with me. (Note: we will do this a lot in the upcoming 30 Day Challenge.) As I have eluded to in several classes we truly must defend ourselves each and every day in several different aspects (referring to Five Fitness Levels aspect stated above). ~I can appreciate that the next concept I’m going to share may make some uncomfortable however again, these are my views… We are each an individual “self” although we interact with others, love one another, share our lives together, etc. We are “self.” Ultimately our lives are uniquely our own. Our reality cannot be fully shared or appreciated by another. They cannot know what we know, feel what we feel, nor experience what we experience. We are uniquely “individual” in this universe. So we could say that the individual is “Self” and then next the individual becomes aware of “Environment.” An important understanding is that we view the Environment as “Everything in us, on us and around us.” Sometimes a difficult but equally interesting awareness is that the “Environment” is always out to challenge us.
We often think we are not “smart, cute, strong, good enough, etc.” We are challenged by our own insecurities. We go to school and/or work and we are challenged with tests, reports, assignments and projects. We consume food and treats, we are exposed to germs, we are bombarded with media, we participate in dangerous activities; such as riding in a car and YES, ultimately we could be confronted by an individual(s) set to cause harm to us. Each of these aspects challenges us and our abilities to defend “self”. Indirectly and sometime directly they pose a threat to our current level of existence and/or who we are.
Here is an example: On the mat we simulate a physical altercation and in response and strategy we learn to “Guard.” To Guard, is to establish barriers between you and potential harmful actions. We shield vulnerable areas with less vulnerable parts of the body. We also form the parts we are shielding with, in
methods that help to fortify each of them. To help protect the parts and ultimately again strengthen the “whole.”
Now, our goal is to take this “lesson” and apply it to the other aspects of our daily lives and we exercise it through our Fitness Levels. Consider how these are aspects of “guarding”: We put on a helmet before we ride our bikes, we wear good boots on the hike and warm clothes for the cold air, we wear a seat belt when in the car, and we wear ear protection in extremely loud activities (Yes, Mrs. Jea has to wear at night, something about my snoring…) As we look at other aspects of guarding; we study so we can prepare for the oral book report we are to present, we avoid sugary foods and over eating, and we don’t share intimate thoughts with toxic individuals.
Obviously, I could go on with other countless aspects of “Guarding” that we apply each and every day to our lives. Again, we do it so automatically that we don’t even consider the ultimate nature of the act; “To defend ourselves from potential harm.” We become more acutely aware of the term and act of
“Guard” when we experience its value in a set situation.
It’s through experiencing, practicing and then connection that we understand the value in other settings and aspects. This is true with all the principles and concepts that we exercise in our study of physical “Self Defense.” Each can be connected and applied to the other areas of our existence. In applying and/or practicing them, these principles and concepts arm us with skills and knowledge that increases the opportunity for success in each and every endeavor we choose to undertake. We will always have challenges and these challenges can be viewed as a threat to our current status in one or all of our Fitness Levels. We must continue to actively defend “self” in our attempts to overcome these
challenges/threats to experience overall improvement in our existence/life.