I know of quite a few people going through a hard time at the moment – personally, and/or professionally – and life’s crueler events often seems to happen at this time of year, when in my part of the world at least, it’s grey, damp, and generally a bit miserable when you look out your window.
In art and literature, a ‘pathetic fallacy’ is when inanimate objects or animals reflect your inner feelings – ever looked out of the window on a rainy day, feeling melancholic and completely in tune with the environment around you?
There really is no word which could be more suited to being the antithesis of what a martial artist wants to achieve than ‘pathetic’!
I regard a martial artist as someone who is committed to improving their lives, as well as those around them, while adhering to the philosophy and practice of an art, such as Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Karate, Judo…etc…
Without any philosophy, culture, or historical context, you’re merely learning a dance, or worse, only how to fight, with no morality behind it.
I’ve mentioned before in blog posts that a martial arts practice is like an anchor than can steady your ship when the choppy waves around you are tossing your around in the midst of health or relationship problems, issues in the workplace, financial difficulties – all of the things that we all face from time to time.
Without something bigger than yourself to keep you steady in these troubled times, you can be strewn and scattered mentally and physically – leaving you stranded in the depths at the whims of the growing tide of uncertainty all around you.
The Best Laid Plans…
When things go awry, what happens to your life plans? Do you let them go by the wayside, or do you take charge, change course, make amendments and move forward with renewed purpose.
As Mike Tyson famously quoted, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
What then? Whether it’s metaphorical or literal, you need something to help you take the blow.
Life can seem like a bit of a battle at times and as we take the blows, what happens to our plans? By following the path of a tai chi practitioner – and really focusing on honing your skills in the art, as well as the philosophy behind it, you can learn how to remain strong, yet yielding. Be firm but know when to let things go.
When things don’t go right and plans are forced to change – that’s when I lean on my training even more. Getting out of my brain and into my body, with movement and breathing, calms the mind and helps to bring clarity to a situation, which often doesn’t appear by just sitting and festering over an issue mentally.
When we exercise we release endorphins, triggering the receptors within the brain to set off a positive chain of reaction within the body.
What’s more, the focus you spend on performing tai chi is like a moving meditation which takes you away momentarily from your problems – so you can return afresh, with new eyes, a new energy and a perspective on how to set things right and forge ahead with renewed plans!