“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” The quote, attributed to Plato, reminds us that to varying degrees fear is with each of us from childhood. Ordinary people feel fear. Great leaders sometimes fear. So do great warriors, great artists, great men and women who are leaders in other fields. For the higher man and the higher woman, I believe, the question is not so much can we overcome fear? but what is worth fearing? If we can answer that then we will live a life worth living. Let me explain.
Last week, in my Kung-Fu class, I was asked to spar with a new female student. I went very light on her. Then my instructor told me to me go harder. He was concerned that, if I went light, she might get a false sense of security in facing an attacker on the street, who of course wouldn’t hold back. Continue reading “The Fear We Need”
During training the other day, while practicing Limalama entry techniques at the martial arts school where I train in North Hollywood, a strange sensation overcame me. It was my opponent’s turn to defend, however I delayed for a moment in administering the attack. It wasn’t simply because I was exhausted or that my mind was wandering, as I must confess it tends to after long hours of hard training.
Being relatively new to the martial arts, I have not fully conquered my mind’s susceptibility to distraction. After all, the appeal of the martial arts is not only the physical strength and stamina it builds, but the mental focus that results from discipline, practice and training. The hyperactive monkey mind is perhaps the greatest opponent anyone faces in the modern world, and many of us will spend an entire lifetime striving to overcome its imbecilic tyranny. Continue reading “Kung Fu: Meeting the Master at the Limits of Endurance”