I've been a very keen student of the martial arts since the age of 12 years old, first starting in the Japanese art of traditional Shotokan Karate under the expert tutelage of a very well known local Karate teacher (the late O-Sensei Cyril Cummins 8th Dan) which I started training in 1982, and then many years later the Chinese art of Wing Chun Kung Fu (at the same time) and training under an equally well known Master (Sigung Samuel Kwok). I eventually reached the coveted black-belt level (3rd Dan) in Karate and continued to practice both arts avidly up until about 2013 until arthritis took it's toll on my right knee. This prevented me from being able to kneel for long periods or from competing in kumite (free fighting) which I loved, for fear of it being injured. Those of you that have studied Japanese martial arts will know that kneeling is an important part of Dojo (sacred training place) etiquette and not being able to kneel and meditate or show respect to my fellow students or Sensei was something that I did not fancy, as I consider myself very respectful and true to the spirit of Karate-do. This was compounded by another unfortunate event where I fell and broke my right ankle- requiring a metal pin to support my ankle which I couldn't afford to injure further, so I had no choice but to give my beloved martial art up, a choice that I didn't take lightly.Or so I thought! I was also very aware that if I could not walk due to further injury then I wouldn't be able to work and earn money.
Soon after, I was guided to seek out a very reputable Tai Chi Chuan teacher(a deceptively gentle but powerful Chinese martial art) who I had first heard of many years ago and his teachings but never really connected with. I started attending classes and fell in love almost immediately with the soft gentle flowing energies and the effects they were having on my own energies (or Chi/ Ki). I'd always watched Tai Chi practitioners previously and not really understood just how spiritual their martial arts practice was but had always heard of the health benefits associated with it. I would recommend this gentle art to anyone who is serious about getting to know how energy works and how it can heal, or change the energy levels of those around them.
Now the whole intent of this article is to prove a spiritual point. I have always been taught first and foremost that the martial arts teach us how to avoid conflict or take care of any attack in the most appropriate manner, however I've found that it is a lot deeper than that. I have watched myself and other students grow in confidence over time so much so that respect for self and others follows naturally, peace prevails, and energy levels perform to a higher or lighter degree and everything is energy. It's how we use that energy that matters.
I'm aware that the martial arts masters of old taught healing modalities as part of their training and most students of the time were adepts at these arts. O-Sensei Mikao Usui (founder of modern day Reiki) was one such practitioner. And this is how my personal development goes.
(* Below: Hanko seal of Alan Payne, Reiki Master Teacher)
Centre Right Picture:
Yin Yang Symbol.
This symbol, often associated with the Chinese martial arts, depicts equal circular shapes mirroring each other and of light and dark colouring.
Spiritually this can mean several things from "as above, so below", "Light and Darkness", "Good and Bad" and so forth. In fact it is our belief that it symbolises that the Universe must have equal balance including all life within it, and as such you cannot have good without bad, darkness without light, or life without death. The circular shapes depict that the Universe is in flow and everything has a cycle.
In the martial arts, for example, we have hard and light arts, hard being associated with the Yang (male) energy, and soft being associated with the Yin (female) energy. What we must never do is mistake softness for weakness, or hardness for strength because the practitioner utilises these energies in cycles to achieve their aim of ultimate peace, otherwise they will fail.
I would respectfully suggest that the reader mediate on their own Yin Yang and determine whether they are too Yin, or too Yang and consider rebalancing their lives by redressing any imbalance and see where their health or life improves. A good example of Yin Yang being treated in action is a traditional acupuncturist who will assess where any imbalance in the bodily energy meridians is being experienced and apply special needles at certain points (sometimes with the assistance of other forms of therapy) to redress any imbalance that may be causing dis-ease in a persons body.
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