Mastering Your Will

We worked on self-protection drills against opponents throwing haymakers and sucker punches last night in our adult self-defense class in Millersville, MD,  At first we focused on the technical aspects of performing the techniques; covering, clinching, throwing knee strikes, snapping your attacker down, taking his back, & choking him out.  These are all very good techniques.  They take skill and precision to perform.  However, after a round or two of practicing the sequence, we put aside skill development.  Feeders added in verbal engagement like trash talking, shoving, and attacking at random times.  Now, the drill wasn’t about performing good technique.  It was interesting to watch as the students coped with the randomness of the drill at an escalated energy level, instead of “trying to get it right”.

This practice allowed the students to put aside their intellectual ideas of how they would be attacked and how they “should” respond.  If you’re concerned about doing the right thing in order to win, or you’re concerned about avoiding losing, you’re fighting two opponents at once; your attacker and your worries!  If you’re worried about looking like you know what you’re doing or you’re concerned with looking like a fool, then your ego is fighting you as well.  If you’re worried about being injured or killed, then your fear is holding you back while your attacker is committed to doing what he is going to do.  As they went through the drill at higher intensity and immediacy, each student was forced to put aside all of those concerns and worries in order to just deal with the situation at hand.

Sijo Bruce Lee once said, “Approach Jeet Kune Do with the idea of mastering the will.  Forget about winning or losing; forget about pride and pain.  Let your opponent graze your skin and you smash into his flesh; let him smash into your flesh and you fracture his bones; let him fracture your bones and you take his life!  Do not be concerned with your escaping safely – lay your life before him!”

Have you ever started a workout plan, or balked at starting a workout plan because you didn’t think you could do it?  Or that it would hurt and exhaust you?  Your doctor tells you that you need to lose weight and suggests low impact cardiovascular exercise like swimming, but you’re out of shape and no Michael Phelps, worried about how you’ll look in that swim suit, floundering around the pool.  You know you need to eat better, but the idea of cutting out your favorite junk food causes you far too much mental anguish to actually do the work.

One of the most common phrases I hear from someone who has never practiced jwaseon (sitting Zen meditation), or who tried meditation once is “I can’t meditate.  My mind would just drive me crazy.”  Or “I did it once for like 5 minutes, and it was the worst experience of my life.  It’s not for me.”  Meanwhile, you have no problem ignoring your pain by sitting in front of Netflix for far longer than a simple twenty minute meditation.

You know you need to connect with your spouse or your significant other, but in that moment of that argument or difficult conversation, you end up being more worried about being the one who was right.  Or maybe just the one who wasn’t wrong.  Meanwhile your spouse suffers because you aren’t actually hearing them because you’re more focused on winning the argument.  Or your spouse is in pain and says something that hurts you, and you get caught in your own pain instead of seeing what is actually hurting your spouse in that moment.  Are there three people in that argument; you, your spouse, and your ego?

At work, you are so focused on closing that client to make the sale, that you are not present in the process of actually connecting with the client and seeing how you can help and serve them.  You end up losing that sale because all the client saw was a salesman after numbers and money.  Your focus on winning made actually turned you into a loser.  Maybe you’re business isn’t going so well, you need to make that sale so you can cover your overhead and payroll, and you’re so focused on those factors that the desperation comes through, and now your prospect senses that.  No one wants to do business with someone who is desperate.

Where in your life are you missing out on the action because you are so concerned with winning or losing, or your pride, or your suffering?

What are you going to commit to do this week to master your will and lay your life before that situation?



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