Sunday, April 29, 2007

MAMBA articles

Those who read this blog know I am interested in the mental and spiritual aspects of martial arts. My M.A. in holistic health education explored healing, somatic psychology and spirituality through the relational perspective of quantum physics. Hypnotherapy, in which I’m certified, has furthered my belief that the mind and body are not separate but rather different frequencies of energy expressing self-reflective qualities.

In a sense I see physical reality as the manifestation of many vortices, little energy black holes defining specific points of energy in the matrix of the universe. We record the experiences we attract through our minds, encoding the memory within the physical structures of our bodies.

Physical training in martial arts gives us skills, but how far we go in pursuit of those skills and how we choose to use them or integrate them into our lives are personal choices, which underlie the activity itself. Furthermore we make these choices constantly throughout our daily lives. We think of ourselves as single entities when in fact we are complex organisms constantly adapting to our environment through evolving physical and emotional states, of which our conscious awareness is itself a final product.

From time immemorial, warriors have strengthened themselves through rituals which strengthen beliefs, attitudes and convictions, allowing them to become role models in their societies and to deal with the consequences of their actions. There are those who argue that the FMA are only about practical and efficient methods of physical combat, ignoring the rich tradition of anting-anting and oracion.

In fact, a warrior mindset is invaluable for maximizing physical attributes. As the saying goes, “it’s the size of the fight in the dog, not the size of the dog in the fight.” Without desire and focus, what will be achieved? With it, what cannot be? Whether we acknowledge it or not, training affects us on a multiplicity of levels. If we do acknowledge it, we may gain insight faster because we align our attention consciously with deeper values.

A recent link submitted to the yahoo group “csemt-serrada_escrima” revealed a treasure trove of articles on shamanism, hypnosis and martial arts by James Overton Sr. whose website is at mamba-ryu.com. MAMBA stands for “Mastering the Art of Mind and Body in Action”. Nice acronym for a very well developed version of what I’m aiming towards through my “Self Empowerment Practice And Theory” (SEPAT) © .

SEPAT coincidentally spells “TAPES” backwards, a nice metaphor for hypnotherapy as a way to “unwind” or deprogram limiting beliefs. In Tagalog “sepat” refers to a “wild child”, another nice metaphor for letting loose our innate curiosity and sense of freedom.

As martial artists, our best attribute is to reach freedom in movement, to be responsive to the flow of energy. The paradox is we gain control by giving up control, just letting things happen. We can still be aware and making decisions, but they are natural and constrained, like a car driving along a road. We can think about what we are doing, but we needn’t think about how we are doing it.

Our bodies are responsive to our minds. The more our minds are free, the less inhibition on the resources the body can utilize. It is easy to see with beginners how their “stuckness” in movement is the same in their mind. Peeling away resistance allows one to see more possibility. Fear is a limiting factor; recognizing it is empowering if used as a way to control the energy of the emotion.