Friday, September 14, 2007

THe UBBT and Whatever...

I am, along with many of you, participating in (living) a deep exploration of the martial arts and of life; seeking a place of perfect preparedness, a place where all of the training we have engaged in (or will engage in) is applied to something more than the block, the knife-hand, the choke.
On more than one occasion I have received letters from people who believe that the martial arts have nothing to do with enlightenment.
They tell me I am fooling myself, and others, to believe that the martial arts are good for anything other than a life and death struggle –and that spending time on anything else is a waste.

I understand this point of view, as there was a time when I felt exactly the same way.

But, then I got older; my father passed away in my arms; a long relationship ended for me/us, and I felt the sorrow of not having been at my best or cared for it (or for my father) as much during as I did after-the-fact. My son grew up, my daughter was born. My hips disintegrated and were replaced. Entire years slipped by that I could hardly remember. Friends and students died, some of natural causes, some thru self-destruction. I fell in love. I became engaged in the

struggle to make ends meet and to, at the same time, live an illuminated, meaningful life.

All these things and a thousand others have resulted in a belief that each and everything we do, whether it’s martial arts, art, or urinating, each and everything is best done with an appreciation for it, in the here and now –with a certain mindfulness.

For me, now, coming upon 48 years of age, with almost 37 years of practicing the martial arts, and, somehow, in a position of leadership in my community (the martial arts community), a person looked upon, by some, with some measure of respect –I have to tell you that I have lost the ability to distinguish between what is the practice of martial arts and what is the practice of being a human being (fully engaged, compassionate, at peace). It’s come to my attention that most, if not all, of the things that have attacked me, hurt me, wounded me, disabled me, crippled me, and caused me any sort of pain or sorrow, have had nothing, nothing at all to do with any stance, kick, hand position, duck, slip, throw, arm bar, choke, kata, or sparring session.

Not once, not ever.

Holding onto anger; that has hurt me often. Being resentful and jealous; that’s been a killer. Being selfish and self-centered; that’s been kicking my behind for years. Not feeling compassion for others; that’s just about too painful to discuss. Oh, and the worst of the worse: Letting minutes, hours, days, weeks, and years slip by, unaware of the gifts around me; living too often in the future or reliving the past and not having hardly any awareness of now --which is a most ignorant and painful way to live.

This thing, the UBBT, is a tool I have created to teach and to practice. It’s one way we can be involved, together, and practice those things, those actions, that are manifestations of our beliefs and our ambitions. There are many other ways to do what we’re doing without a brand name attached to them, but the UBBT is the one I’ve made (with all of your help) , and it’s the one some of us are using at the moment.

However, the deepest work we’re doing has nothing to do with the name UBBT.

No comments: