Friday, September 9, 2011

LIFESTYLE MARTIAL ARTS- What does that mean?

We hear the term lifestyle martial arts in class, and we read about it in the articles and philosophy of Chayon-Ryu every day.

But what does it mean? For me it is applying the principles we learn in our MA training in every day life. Lifestyle martial arts is for longevity, success, fitness, health and personal growth. It's a path to enlightenment, and becoming a truly self aware being. We can apply principles to any situation and utilize the techniques in ways we never think of when we are learning down blocking, or break falling, or breathing.

I think of a recent discussion that took place on my facebook page. I took a photo of Master Kim Geary's break at her 8th dan rank exam on Dec. 11, 2010. I watched from the sidelines and listened to what was going on. I heard the instruction Grandmaster had given her, and I framed up my shot.

First principle: chew before you swallow. Grandmaster says this to us, and it means to consider all possibilities before we settle on one.

I had the pleasure of training with Master Geary back in 2008 at her newly built dojang. The focused heavily on fundamentals, which is the foundation of our training. I remember the isolated motion lessons for preparation of blocking. Step forward, make the preparation, then execute. But it's more than that, even though those are the very simple basic steps.
True complexity comes from simplicity. We go from the general to the specific in all creative venues. Martial arts is an art, and a creative and living art at that.

She told us to "aim and fire". This stuck in my head. So simple, but so specific at the same time. Three words. A Chayon-Ryu principle of timing and balance of motion.

I framed up my shot...I took aim. Because I am also a martial artist I could anticipate when she would take her strike, and I watched her body. I knew Grandmaster had instructed her to do three practice runs. And on the fourth I saw her body tense in preparation, then came the execution and I took my shot just as her foot penetrated the boards. It was a beautiful shot.
This basic principle I learned in class has helped me become a better photographer.

My Chayon-Ryu training has helped me in ways I never imagined it would. It transcends kicking and punching, and permeates the being. I have gained patience, endurance, a critical eye (which is vital in design work), a very strong work ethic, and am regarded now as one of the top people in my field in this city. I have applied my Chayon-Ryu discipline to my work, both conscientiously and unconscientiously. It is with me wherever I go, it is a part of me.

Chayon-Ryu is lifestyle martial arts.

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