A Dog's Way of Thinking

There are times in your life when you have decisions to make and those decisions can change your perception. Sometimes you don't even realize you've changed paths until you're a ways down it. 

I've had seeds thrown at me for years. This time last year one of the seeds finally stuck. Then there was the challenge set out by Sifu Brinker. That was the sprout.

We live in a world of consumerism and capitalism. Anything that is inconvenient conveniently gets ignored. When you become passionate about something then you cannot ignore the issues that surround it, otherwise you are tying your hands and limiting your ability to make a difference. You have to be open to differences in opinion. Otherwise how do you know your opinion is what's best for you?

With this said, I write this as a narrative of my own experiences and belief and not as a judgement on anyones lifestyles. This is a very personal choice and no one lives in your shoes so no one can judge your decisions.

I've always held the belief that life is sacred. All life, not just human life. I never understood why so many I know hold the belief that a human life is worth more than a dog or cat or any other creature. Why would it when the only difference is in our DNA. A stroke of luck once upon a time. Chloe is programmed to grow fur and chase birds. I'm programmed walk on two legs. We both have language, have emotions and value our lives. We both value each other. 

Just because I value her life equally does not mean I value my own any less. No one seems to understand that part. 

I started this blog back in 2008 and aptly named it A Dog's Way of Thinking. Although the name changed, my reasoning has not. Dogs are compassionate. They kill out of necessity, not because they are malicious or cruel. You may argue that but when they kill it always has to do with survival and instinct. Their need may change but their instinct is still there. 

We used to live like that. We don't anymore. We kill for greed. Industry, currency and convenience drive most of our decisions, not instinct or need. It hurts my heart to think about it. It hurts my heart to think about the suffering I've caused needlessly. I don't want to think about it, but I have to if I am to make a difference. Change starts with one person. In my case, it's me. In your case, it's you.

I'm hesitant to post this, but the way I see it if I don't ruffle a feather or two then I probably didn't say anything that needed to be said.

Khona Rybak

Colour the World!

Empathy, acts of kindness, pay it forward. These are not just words or theory. The more we do it, the better our life and the life of everyone around us will be!

Yitzik Csillag

Time Travel

This is another post directed specifically with my black belts in mind but I am sharing it publicly in hopes others may benefit.

In last week's black belt class I introduced the concept of time traveling to my students. The purpose of the lesson was to expand the way they were looking at the six harmonies and how they go about perfecting them within each technique. I made a statement that a good black belt is a time traveler who can manipulate time. Upon further discussion with one of my black belts, I realized that the term time traveler is not totally accurate as it implies certain aspects that are not possible. A better term would be 'time manipulator' but I think I will cater my Doctor Who fetish and use 'Time Lord'.

I assume that we all can agree that time is affected by perception. If you're having a good time, time flies by. If you're reading this post and find it boring, time just crawls by. If we agree that perception can affect time, then we have to agree that time is not linear, perception-wise. It is this lack of linearity that creates the concepts of real speed and apparent speed and colloquial terms like 'flat footed'. It is non-linearity that opens time up to be manipulated by a skilled practitioner. To put it another way, you don't need to actually be fast, you just need to be perceived fast by your opponent. Manipulating time is a skill every black belt must master. As you age and your reflexes slow, you have to find other means to maintain your speed.

As a Time Lord you will have a deeper understanding of the six harmonies, starting with pureness of intent. The method we covered last black belt class was specifically addressing Hung and achieving harmonization of your hips and shoulders when adding the explosive beginning to the form. Rather than starting at the beginning of the technique and trying to time your body based upon the beginning, we practiced starting at the end of the technique, in this case the double block, and working our way backwards to the beginning. If intent is pure, all the points upon the line of application will support the end result. So start with the end result and use it as a trigger to how to begin. Be a Time Lord.

"There is no truth. There is only perception." - Gustavo Flaubert (1821 - 1880)

Jeff Brinker

Fields of Scruffy

You may or may not have noticed that there are always fresh flowers on the altar. Right now, there is a bouquet of scruffy white daisies. Once or twice a year when my daisies are in bloom I have the chance to provide the flowers for the altar right from my own garden. I kinda puff with pride when I see them as I know I'm contributing, even if in a small, unnoticeable way.

Ever since Sifu Brinker decided to always have fresh flowers I've been doing my best to ensure they are there. It warms my heart to do this small thing. I feel pride when I look around the kwoon and I can see where I've left my mark. Literally and figuratively. 

Taking ownership in the kwoon has helped my own training tremendously. When you take pride in something you have you tend to take better care of it; when you take pride in what you do you tend to try and do it well. As it is mentioned, we are family and the kwoon is our home. I am proud and humbled to be a part of your life and training, and I want the best for us. So, I try to take care of our home. 

I encourage all of you to find some daily part of the kwoon that you can take ownership of. The grass, the grounds, the plants, the planters. Or just round up the dust bunnies when they appear. Something tangible that helps you feel like it is a home you can be proud knowing you're a part of. The school will be only a school to you until you make it your home. When it becomes your home it becomes a part of you and I promise you the returns are a thousand fold.

Khona Rybak