I recently started marital arts, thanks to my friend Todd, who signed me up for a "Buddy day" at Quest martial arts, where we train in Toshindo. Somehow, I committed myself for nine months, but its probably for the best, since I am enjoying it, even though I don't really have time. I've been late twice, especially when it takes me 2 hours to get there after work, because of all the construction.
It appears that every month there is a philosophical theme, and that is what I plan on blogging about because I really need to blog more. So for the past month, we have been discussing mindsets. Specifically, people have a mindset of either scarcity or abundance about certain things in life. For example, when it comes to money, do you believe that you never have enough (mindset of scarcity), or do you believe that you have more than you need (abundance). This isn't related to how much money you have in numerical terms. It relates to attitude. A person with 60 billion dollars who can do nothing but keep it to themselves is operating from the mindset of scarcity - "money is scarce, and I need more and more, because there just isn't enough for me". However, a person with very little money who uses moeny for things that are outside of themself, is more likely operating from the mindset of abundance - "there is plenty of money around, and I have more than enough for my own needs".
This does not apply strictly to money. One exercise we did in class was to think of many things in which we operate from a mindset of scarcity or abundance. For example think of something of which you believe you do not have enough of (many people came up with things such as friends or money). Then think about the following three things (a) there is plenty of what you want for yourself in the world (b) you are worthy and deserve to have it (c) you can do something to obtain it. This is great because there are a lot of youth in the class who may not believe they can accomplish their goals to obtain what they desire. Then, the inverse question was to think of things of which you have more than enough of (i.e. abundantly), and why you appreciate that in your life. I have many friends and family who support me and love me because they truly enrich my life and it gives me pleasure to enrich theirs.
The goal was to start to change your way of thinking (especially I think in our consumer-oriented society which by default is operating from a mindset of scarcity since every ad explains clearly that there is definitely not enough of their product and you CAN'T afford NOT to get one at these prices!). As we slowly start to change our mindsets from scarcity to abundance we will live more positive lives and be better influences on those around us, instead of focusing selfishly on ourselves, a challenge of which I strive toward every day, although I must admit I do not always succed... yet!
In Toshindo, the concepts seem to be based on a few core principles -- in my analysis, I see a few already (1) the four elements of defense - fire, water, wind, earth and these are also the different styles/philosophies to which all moves belong, (2) use self-defense, and never instigate by offense, which is seen in the fact that the first defense maneuver we learned required yelling "Stop it! I don't want to fight you!" before the person got close enough to attack. (3) community and relationship building, which I've found fun while making new friends there. I'm sure there are others too I haven't noticed yet.
I wonder if anyone else takes martial arts and what kind of philosophy is included in your training, whether it be Karate, or Taekwando, or whatever, so let me know.