The martial artist as healer

There was a time when the martial arts were a pillar of mainstream society (especially in China). Accomplished masters were revered, highly sought after, and held respectable positions in their societies. They could be generals, public officials, renowned teachers, or more. People followed their trials, duels, intrigues, and careers closely. Great martial artists commanded great […]

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One step forward, one step back

The true goal of a martial art or any kind of spiritual practice is personal cultivation. It is to understand your true nature and become a well-balanced person who exists peacefully in this cosmos. Taking up a practice is a double-edged sword. It is one step forward and one step back. You go forward because […]

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God of your atoms

Imagine that all the atoms in your body have consciousness. Each one possesses an individuality, a personality. And this holds true for all seven billion billion billion (7 followed by 27 zeroes!) of them. That’s far more than all the humans who have ever existed, more than the sum of humanity. These are numbers on […]

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Path and no path

“There is no path to mastery” is often misunderstood to mean you can do anything you like and become your own expert – and nothing is further from the truth. It is bad advice for beginners of any craft, and a refrain that can only be grasped by skilled practitioners. In everything we do, there […]

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On traditional knowledge

Traditional (or classical) knowledge should not be nonchalantly dismissed. While some of that knowledge has been disproven by modern research or made irrelevant by modern trends, some of that knowledge should still be taken seriously. It is a mistake to assume that people from the older ages are less intelligent than we are. They are […]

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The logic of hidden masters

Why would true masters go to great lengths to hide their abilities, and not publicise themselves liberally for recognition and wealth? While eccentricity is often personified in fiction in gurus, Jedis, or old martial arts masters, there is real logic behind it and it applies to many things we do. Firstly, true masters realise the […]

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On ‘Shen’

In Chinese spiritual tradition there is a term of significance: Shen (神). ‘Shen’ has multiple meanings. It is commonly understood to mean ‘spirit’ – the ethereal beings who disturb the living and interfere with their lives. But ‘spirit’ has a deeper meaning, as well as the word ‘shen’: the essence of something (spirit of sportsmanship, […]

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Meditation is a process

The most innocuous-looking things are often the most powerful, and dangerous. To the untrained observer, meditation is just sitting still and being quiet; but it ca herald very profound and bewildering experiences. One needs a highly trained meditation teacher and spiritual guide to do real meditation, and talk through the experience with. This is not […]

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Modernizing traditional teaching systems

Many traditional teaching systems, especially in the Eastern martial arts, are based on the assumption that learners are unmotivated never-do-wells who need harsh prodding. Teachers are often overbearing and authoritative; to question them is to invite a stern rebuke… or worse. This might account for differences in the knowledge between teachers and students – students […]

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The best teacher

Ordinary life is perhaps the best spiritual teacher. You can move to a pristine, secluded location, train and meditate for decades, but even after all of this you may not calmly and logically handle the problems that come your way. And one cannot be isolated from the trials and tribulations of ordinary life forever. This […]

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