Wednesday, June 27, 2012


If the fighting arts provide the tools to defend yourself, still they are not the method.

The method of self defense is psychological for two-thirds, and not physical.

There are three parts to know in order to avoid becoming a victim:

- Detection of potential dangers,
- Diffusion of confrontational situations,
- Defense techniques for the confrontation.

Therefore, it is clear that the fight is only part of the art of self defense, but an essential part.

If I do not believe in my ability to survive a physical conflict, I will not be able to diffuse a potential situation. The fear that will overwhelm me at the time of discussion with the attacker will stop me from thinking and behaving as I should.

The knowledge of my physical abilities, the experience of the training, will enable me to diffuse the aggression. The more I'm comfortable with my self-defense techniques, the more I can be relaxed when I discuss, the more I have a chance to prevent the actual attack

The fighting arts, martial arts and combat sports techniques are useful but not always accessible in a stressful situation. There must be a transition between a verbal situation and the physical combat: this transition is the science of self-defense.

The danger detection techniques will be the subject of a detailed study later. For now, it's pretty easy to know when you are in a potentially dangerous or a safe place. Just use your common sense. For those who would not have it available, we'll talk about that later.

The situation of confrontation

Confrontations may depend on three kinds of motivations:

- Financial
- Sexual
- Ludic

Simply put, you will be the target of potential violence for your money, for your body, or to be used as a "stress relief" to an individual or a group who like to think of themselves as predators.

Obviously if money is the only motivation of your attacker, it is only very rarely worth fighting, just give it.

The first thing to consider is that if you are chosen by your attacker, it is because he believes he will win. He would not seek a conflict with the intention of losing. No one engages in a confrontation, in an attack with the certainty of losing. This prejudice of an easy victory is very important.

It is with this first contact that you go to an important moment of the confrontation : the interview.

In this dialogue, the attacker will get his threats and demands.

You should know several things at this stage:

- 60% of the communication between two people is expressed through body language,  position and movement. 30% is in the tone and flow of the voice. The rest of the communication is composed of the words and their meaning. Obviously the work on the position is vital in such situations.
- In this communication, you should neither challenge nor command, nor threaten or imply that your attacker is wrong. You must remain in a precise register that can not inflame the situation.
- In this phase of dialogue, one should review the basics of detection, we will see that later.

The attacker is there and, once again, he chose you only because he believes he will achieve his goals. If through your attitude, your speech, you can show him that you are not a victim, there's every chance that the process stops there.

If the interview does not result in a stoppage of the conflict, we must move on to the next step. Physical confrontation in a situation of self-defense requires that you become aware of several points during the final phase of the interview.
When we realize that this can not be resolved without violence, we must:

- Accept the situation, and not look the other way.
- Put our attention on physical sensations.
- Evaluate the attacker.

It is very dangerous to refuse to see the situation as it is, to think that everything will disappear. We must accept that moment and follow it. Imprisonment in our brooding mind is obviously dangerous here. The focus of the attention must be on certain parts of the body, kinesthetic sensations. It's time to stop paying attention on what your attacker may say and to see him as a target, a punching bag.

The self defense techniques cannot be discussed, it is an experience of the body.
The qualities developed in the fighting arts, martial arts and combat sports will be useful. Still they are not necessary and sometimes cumbersome.

It is clear that we live in a world where it's possible never to find ourselves in these violent situations. However, the stories we've all heard one day teach us that no one is out of range ... And, knowing that we can defend ourselves should not be an excuse not to avoid conflict.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Path of the Warrior: a Royal Road

The Path of the Warrior: a Royal Road

In my teaching the fighting arts have a special place.

Originally, the physical part of the way has only a small part dedicated to fighting. However, the way we work is very different from what is seen in traditional martial arts.

In the martial arts that can be encountered in our modern world, there is:

  • Fundamental positions work,
  • Learning the basic strikes,
  • technical work alone and with a partner,
  • Light and full sparring.
We are, often, in a quest for efficiency in "combat", which really means "light ritual sparring where we stay well away to touch each other."

In my tradition, combat exercises and research are anterior to the hype of choreographed forms of combat, "kata" and others.

Yet we use those exercises for the training of beginners.

It is also a nice way to relax with gestures of martial inspiration.

Now there is the real fight, when we must defend ourselves and not take risks, respect the preciousness of our life and the responsibilities that we can have for our family: losing is not an option.

In these cases, extreme, but so real in our changing world, we must be much more pragmatic thanks to:
  • the work on fear and intention,
  • the work of impact and brute force,
  • and everything else (techniques, speed, movement).
Above all,  in our school, we will work on how to old one's mind, one's aggressiveness and on manage our fears related to pain.

The first thing in the fight is: "to go or not to go".

As long as my mind and my emotions paralyze me or force me to a deep analysis instead of acting ... nothing is possible!

Of course, there is no question of becoming an idiotic brute striking without reason, on the contrary, it is important to establish values and limitations after which it is time to act.

The training of those who chose the "fighting arts" will delve more in our fears, our fantasies.

It is very hard and I am always amazed by the strength of character of the people I meet: I remember how difficult it was for me too.

When we start working on the mental, psychological aspect, it is also good to start  to work on force.

This is an impact force that interests us, a force to get three kinds of qualities:
  • heaviness (which frightens those who receive it),
  • penetration (a quality of strangeness)
  • separation (to break, destroy).

The great difficulty of this work is that it is only possible with a partner, not with a bag or a wooden dummy.

We must therefore spend time not only to train to give those impacts but also to recieve those impacts from our "schoolmates".

The professor used to show those strikes (by demonstrating) only to the students to whom he agreed to transmit.

It is something else than repeating movements in the wind.

Furthermore, overall and for most of us, it is not very useful  in our modern and peaceful world.

The remaining work is the usual martial arts work: forms, exercises, techniques and "wrestling".

In some time, the body visibly changes and fighting qualities will make the technique obsolete.

But in what has this teaching its place today?

Self-transcending oneself and one's fears and the ability to be aware of our actions is the main search of all traditions of personal evolution: the fighting arts are exactly that!

It is a confrontation with our most basic fears and a development of attention, plus a sense of security in a stronger body.

The stress level of a practitioner of the martial way is not the same as other people, so he is able to handle stress and conflict with great tact.

All those who have tried to follow this difficult path are satisfied ... It's always a good thing to surpass ourselves and leave behind the fantasies of our strength and our weaknesses.

Knowing oneself, but through the body and its  hidden capabilities: not being afraid anymore, knowing how to defend oneself physically and psychologically.

Being a frail child, skinny and weak, I see now that the energy exercises have given me health, but the fighting arts have given me the strength and confidence that allow me to teach my tradition today.

Those who are afraid should all go through the fighting arts, but it is only possible only if one wants it: do not force yourself, you have to accept that it is not always the right time to do this research.

In today's world, with its strengths and limitations, cultivating inner strength is really needed ... but why not add external strength?

Stronger, without anxiety in relationships with others, it is easier to communicate and share with others.

You have to know that everyone has his place in this way and that no one is too small, too light or too old.

The only thing to consider is the will and pleasure to confront with others to know ourselves: without this urge, we should not do it.

Do not confuse the taste for martial arts or the lack thereof with the fear that you may feel: if it is fear that limits your research, then you must forge ahead.

"Go to what is scary the rest is boring," said Trungpa.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Inevitable Paradox

- “Why do we practice? ”,
- “Why should I practice? ”,
- “What will the practice bring to me? ”
This way of asking the question, just like we would wonder what such new diet product or such new pair of shoes will bring to us, is not the best one…
The desire, expectation or projection in the success of our practice, the goal we fix ourselves or the need we seek to fill, all are exactly what the practice seeks to alleviate, what the training wants to eliminate.
To gain something, to acquire or to succeed with something will bring an inevitable disappointment: the practice never gives you what you expect.
The practice seeks to release us from the need to acquire or to gain, the training wants to make us touch a perception of the reality which brings us out of our false needs.
The practice will give us the only possible peace, the only true way towards happiness:  the Way will give us the opportunity to be happy by ourselves, a joy which comes from inside.
This realization, which comes from inside, cannot find satisfaction in an external projection, in an expectation on time or a change in the world: it is by our internal change that the perception of the world will change, that the life will become simple and without any concerns.
It is the only and true freedom, it is the only and true happiness.
This balance which leads to freedom and perception of reality, this way is internal and independent from our desires.
The desires to succeed in our way and the desires to make it well, the false choices which lead us to wish states or all that builds us sick expectations, all this clutter propels us in the external world and moves us away from our internal well-being.
The practice enables us to stop wishing to be a good practitioner, education builds us and makes us able to give up our expectations of success to be able to make a deep self-accomplishment.
The difficulty comes when by reading these lines you think: “I understand”… however it is for sure more complicated than that!
Nobody really wants to suffer, nobody wants to be the slave of his mind and nobody really wishes to depend on his desires and to suffer the related frustrations.
Our deep nature is peaceful and happy, it is what we accumulated on top which is a problem for us and it is with all these imbalances that we want to reach our happiness: our vision of the realization is built by a spirit conceived and far away from the reality.
Our practice releases us if we are able to leave our prejudices and only time will give us this chance: let’s follow the path of our personal Way and all will slowly get clearer.
There is no fast track, no short cuts, but there are complete ways and qualified teachers.
“Why do we practice?”
- To release ourselves from the desire of self realization, only because we trust our Way.

Do Ut Des!

What does the Practice promise and what can we expect from it?

This is not the right question.

The question would rather be:

«What are we ready to give, in terms of time and efforts, to the Way for our own evolution?»

The Way yields fairly, according to what was sawn in the beginning.
Asking for something without giving is vain: the Way is an uncompromising example of it. It is through our actions on various levels that we will get something in return and that our evolution will ensue.

The more our Practice becomes “sacred” and important, the more sacred and important what we get in return.

The higher the priority of the Way in our life, the more essential its benefactions will be.

It is vain to think that discussing or talking about any topic can bring a transformation of any kind. Transformation can only happen through rooting the topic in the World, getting the concept into Yin, acting and doing.

You shouldn’t ask yourself what the Way can do for you, but what you can do for the Way ( ;) )

This is why all practices (authentic and ancient ones) are beneficial, because all Ways lead you to the same apex (through more or less accessible paths).

Make your practice important, dedicate time and effort to it, be strongly committed... and what is provided in return is unbelievable... magical, one could say!

Secrets exist, indeed, but they are here, just before you, only waiting for you to bring them into light through your dedication, uprightness and sincerity.

Again, today, one of the students just understood an essential concept he learned more than 8 years ago...

We don’t know anymore what commitment or giving oneself to a Way mean. Nowadays, it’s even looked down upon.

But what can we expect from a tradition we question or from a teaching that raises too many questions?

It is important to put it to the test, spend a little time to check it’s appropriate for us. Then, it’s no time to haggle, whine or fantasize anymore... You need to take a plunge, learn and let changes happen.

We can pick things here and there, willing to create our own style, our own way of doing things... but seriously, what can we achieve in a lifetime, compared to thousand-year-old traditions?

Let’s keep a little humble, please!

Now you got some food for thought for summer...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Upright and Responsible under Heaven

Our world needs practitioners of spiritual paths, but these paths sometimes require too much commitment in return for some people.  

Those who practice and who feel the benefits of this practice should lead by example, and seek to inspire those who have not yet found their Way. 

This isn’t a matter of convincing or converting others to our practice, but rather of conducting ourselves in such a way that we naturally inspire those who encounter us to want to know more.
As practitioners on a way of inner development, it is good to share knowledge with those who have sincere questions.
I’m going to try to do this through my books now.

The books that I write are signposts to a new era: a time of questioning a system that no longer works and which demands we seize the reins of personal responsibility.
The ancient traditions allow us to individually evolve in a manner which extends to all human beings.
This personal evolution, this awareness through introspection, allows us to shape a better world; to be more attentive to our lives and our loved ones, less inclined towards easy money and consumption.
This possibility of re-discovery of the true values ​​of our human condition reside in three areas that are the subjects of my books:

- The knowledge of the self (through exercises and a direct experience of self),
- The understanding of the other (through being more attentive)

- The vision of a more just World (by a practice of the principles of our universe).

Throughout my books, I seek only to encourage the reader to ask themselves questions about their life, their relationship to others and their perception of their world.
The Tradition I am talking about does not require exotic words, does not ask us to buy "silk pajamas", nor follow a diet based solely on rice: it is a Way for people who function in the World, who have a family and a job, who have friends and concerns.
Since this is a practice Tradition, which accepts the everyday and does not require isolation or retreat from the World, it is perfectly suited to our hectic lives.
There is no need to talk about meditation but instead, "training of the mind", nor energy exercises (being just the movements of our breath) ... 

In simplifying, we allow everyone access to this tradition.
Through the dissemination of these exercises and ideas, which after all are only methods to better live our lives, we help our world: everyone who pays a little more attention to their emotions, to others and to the World contributes to the development of a “kinder” world.
What are these exercises?
They are simple, but they change everything, as reminders of awareness which require us to pay close attention to our behavior:
- Pay attention to the noise we produce by our inattention,
- Listen to people without interrupting them and then speak in turn,
- Take stock of our day before going to bed at night,

- Take care to think about and watch what we eat.

These are examples of acts of attention that require nothing more than some mindfulness of our actions.
There are also exercises that require a little more time:
- For the body,
- For the breath,

- For the mind.

These are exercises that teach something about the self, by repetition and attention.
For the body, we seek to make it stronger, more flexible and free of tension in order to facilitate communication with the mind.
By working with an awareness of the breath, we increase our vitality with ease and let ourselves be more open to life and to others.
For the mind, through an awareness of our inner functioning, we develop a better relationship with our emotions and we understand the movement of our thoughts ... Our mind belongs to us once again!
Whoever they may be, if a person seeks to increase their self-knowledge, if they pay more attention to others and to their world, they will be a happier person for it.
I intend on writing books that will allow people to get a taste of these insights, and to build a kinder world together: not by cramming people with exotic words or nebulous concepts, but by teaching them to pay attention to themselves, to those around them and by respecting the world in which they live.

The Spirit of Changes

The traditions that we study share some similarities:

- the pursuit of clarity: to know yourself;
the work on relaxation: to act simply with accuracy,
- Adaptability in the world: go with life.

But also an openness to the possibilities of change: the force of the Yi Jing manifested.

If it is difficult to judge on oneself's own clarity or supposed relaxation, it is quite easy to know where one is in practice and life by the other two.

Adaptability in the world confronts us with our ability to seize the right moment to do things and is expressed by the fluidity or the difficulties we encounter in our daily lives.

The opening is even more obvious: it gathers our ability not to dwell stupidly on our fantasies and our quality to welcome the changes proposed by the world around us.

It is quite common to stay stuck in sick habits and frozen situations where our comfort is our ignorance.

The changes which are one's owns are painful are those of the world difficult to accept.

Any disturbance in the habits is perceived as a threat or a crisis situation.

This is all related to Fear and the obesity of the ego.

Since we enter a period of great transformation and change, it is good to work on this quality of openness, in order to be available to the changes of the world.

This will help to avoid feeling one's own world to collapse if the colours of the walls change...

It is important to look at what is related to Fear and what is related to the ego, but the fact is that these two reasons have only an illusory reality.

In the practice, the focus is put on oneself and on a research of accomplishment: gossip is not a quality!

What will determine one's ability to open is to be found in the balance between a clear mind (and who knows when it's useful to speak) and saving capacity of letting go.

Good practice to all and shall your mind remain open.

Pretending is not practicing

Originally, the four nations had their own roads, their traditions.

It is said in the tradition that human beings had their respective ways: those from East to West, those who lived on the old continent and those who glorified reason.

According to oral teaching, each people had to follow its own path and was impervious to other traditions: in fact, the archetypes and the customs were too different to understand a way that came from another people.

Then people traveled a bit, then a lot and very soon everyone went everywhere.

The mix of peoples in all parts of the world put very different people and traditions in contact: in these conditions, who can learn what?

Also, unable to be satisfied with what one has, there is a greater attraction inside us for the "non-local" teachings.

There are several laws to make it possible to evolve into a tradition that doesn’t have its roots in our close environment:

- the teaching must be global
- the teacher should not be a researcher on what he passes down
- the Way has to make sense in one's own culture

The teaching must be global

In a global tradition, the study has a human dimension: from there, it is a way of the human being and it transcends time and space.

Wherever the tradition takes its roots, if it deals with all aspects of how the human being works, then it is a way of evolution that will work for everyone.

If it is colored by its native culture and omits too many things regarding the targeted human group and its specific needs, then this way is not suitable for all.

The teachings that come from religious people living away from the world are difficult to adapt to our highly charged life and the constant contact with too many of our fellow men.

The teachings based on taking hallucinogenic drugs, which are often illegal and dangerous, and come from initiatic rites supposed to be done only once in a lifetime, should not turn into a very poor excuse to "get high".

Or, yet again, esoteric techniques which are surpassed by our human evolution: in a humanity who is educating itself on ecology and the importance of integrating the concepts of happiness and self-discovery, believing in unicorns and magic wands is limited...

Some traditions have grown up with a precise goal that is no longer relevant: martial arts intending to be non-violent in a post-war world, breathing techniques which were based on an ignorance of the workings of our brain, or even religious movements seeking a way to muster the people to revolt.

The Way has to be timeless, where each person recognizes himself as if the words were written for him.

The teacher should not be a researcher on what he passes down

If it is very important that the teacher keeps searching and evolving, he must not be in the process of learning what he is imparting.

The Way passed down must be understood in its entirety, deeply, otherwise one becomes a thief and a liar.

Reality shows us that it is possible not to know anything and to teach it openly, but it's not because it exists that it is acceptable.

It is not possible to be fooled: if we ask ourselves questions, if we try and if we watch the teacher, it is fairly easy to feel whether he is coherent or not.

Not knowing a style or a teaching is not a reason to forget to use common sense and the few values ​​that we all have.

The tradition must be clear, precise and understandable through simple words: if it is not possible, then it is not understood.

The teacher should have gone through what he teaches, he should not be a researcher but a practitioner.

The idea of ​​learning to impart is not right: the training courses of "future master of the way" do not make sense, they are modern aberrations.

The Way must make sense in one’s own culture

It's silly to have to turn into someone else to enter a path, to have to learn a language or to wear weird clothes: the Way will transform us within our natural state.

If we feel compelled to imitate another tradition to better understand our own way, then the latter is not global or the one who practices it is lazy: indeed, one aspect of laziness is to ape in order not to have to do, to imitate as to create a spiritual persona instead of exposing oneself to a real transformation.

If it is intellectually interesting to ask cultural and historical questions about one’s tradition, the need to immerse oneself in it in order to practice is not right.

All words, all concepts and all exercises must be able to make sense in one’s own tradition and culture, in one’s original language.

It is important to clearly explain to a neophyte the goals and researches of his way, without needing to use specific words or concepts which are absent in the common sense of the interlocutor.

Be careful with the ways that will make you lose time, with the need to dress in orange, with the living room filled with incense smoke, life is not infinite and the Way is long: we are on a long road, an uphill road, chased by shadows that can catch up with us...

Good practice to you all, whatever your Way is.

Vulgar destinies have no horoscopes

We say in our tradition there are three equal parts to our destiny:

- The fate of Heaven, which does not depend on us or our actions,
- The destiny of Man, manifested in the study and in our actions,
- The fate of the Earth, which depends on our environment

The fate of Heaven is characterized by the times in which we live in and all the information imposed on us by our family and its history.

It is also the place of our birth and the state of this place based on its history.

Moreover, this is when our earthly manifestation coincides with a particular arrangement of time and space, a cross between the evolution of the universe and our small contribution to Consciousness.

The fate of Heaven is studied through astrology, divinatory Yi Jing and dream work.

The destiny of Man is directly related to self-understanding and our actuation in our daily lives.

It requires to study four aspects of our existence:

- Understanding our fundamental mechanisms by introspection
- Observing our actions by the analysis of everyday life,
- The establishment of values and rules that govern our actions,
- An implementation of our responsibility in our society.

This is the work of our human destiny, which will be understood by our trends studied in the Mandate of Heaven and that are expressed by our relationship to our research, to others, to what we add to the world, and to managing our possessions and the ambition that we nurture in our life.

It is the practice of Traditional Medicine and the knowledge of the I Jing of practice that teach us how to better live our life.

The fate of the Earth is observing how the shape and energy of the place where we live will influence our existence.

It means choosing our dwelling and the location of our profession, but also balancing the possible stagnations related to geomancy.

This study is that of Feng Shui, of the veins of the dragon and the Yi Jing Feng Shui.

The practice can completely sublimate the destiny of Man, which is a third of our reality.

The study of feng shui can adjust our location in space-time to the best and enables us not to endure the changes of the world, but to go with them.

The study of astrology enables us to know a little something of what we are at risk for at times without really giving us solutions: this is more a set of warnings than solutions.

But, as we say, 'forwarned is forearmed' !

In addition, the knowledge of the Yi Jing is everywhere, so it seems important...

The sum of all this knowledge is the Way of our Tradition.