About a little over a year ago, I went to a seminar on stick and knife fighting at the school where I was taking cardio kickboxing classes. I fell so completely in love with it (remnants of past lives as a warrior) that I decided to start taking the regular karate classes offered at the school. I went to several other seminars between last September and May when I moved from PA down to GA, some of which focused on the Kenpo karate I was learning and others which focused on stick and knife fighting as well as a counter-attack system based on a combination of Kenpo karate and a few other types of Filipino martial art systems.
When I first began learning the counter-attack system, we would work drills to help establish muscle memory for different checks and counter attacks. My instructor emphasized the importance of being very “light” with the drills, not heavy-handed. This took (and still takes) concerted effort for me as I have a tendency to want to muscle everything. Yesterday, I attended another stick and knife fighting seminar and was working some knife tapping drills with another student. Even though I’ve only done this exercise a small handful of times, I seem to have a knack for it; but, I noticed I was having serious difficulty when working with this one other student. I would go back and switch to working with my friend who was this guy’s teacher and with the man leading the seminar and I had no problems, but for some reason, this other student was different. And then it hit me. He was very heavy-handed and not light at all. His movements felt very muscled, forced, and consequently awkward. And I noticed that whenever I would work the drill with him, my movements, though starting off soft and fluid, began to mirror his in that they became less fluid, less flowing, more stiff and rigid. I realized that when I worked with my friend or the seminar instructor, my movements would mirror theirs in feel and energy.
As I continued to process this, it made me think of my every day life and interactions with others and the whole issue of integrating all these different aspects of myself so that I’m not so disjointed in these different areas of my life. I began to see this pattern of not staying within the energy that I want to embrace when I’m around others who are acting from a very contrary energy. And I thought of how universal this problem is. How often do we find ourselves snapping back to someone who snaps at us even though we had initially approached them in a more kindly manner? How often do we feel ourselves unintentionally creating and operating from a place of negative energy when we are surrounded by it, though that’s not where we usually operate from? How many times have you begun a discussion with someone, had them become argumentative and found yourself beginning to argue back in the same tone, so very different from your original one?
For me, all of these situations seem to boil down to, How do we stand in the Truth of who we are no matter what? Is it even possible to do so all of the time? Does standing in that place mean we never snap at others, never let ourselves stoop to levels of maturity we like to think we’ve grown out of? Or is the strength in which we stand in that place measured by what we do immediately after we realize we’ve moved outside of it? My gut tells me the potency and strength with which we stand in our Truth is more so determined by this last question.