Seek Nothing Outside Yourself

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In Mu-gen-do the combinations and techniques are difficult at first to conceive and execute.


As is everything you begin for the first time is it not?



When you first learn these techniques the successful execution of them relies on how clear your mind is while attempting to do them.


Leave your baggage at the door, or as my Sensei regularly tells me, “light switch on, light switch off”


In other words, don’t bring the woes of the world into your training session with you, they can’t and won’t help you attain greatness in your training, instead, they’ll limit and restrict your flow of thought and movement.


Be willing to surrender your own preconceptions of how good you are, how much you know, or how difficult and uncomfortable your current state of being is – or about to become while you’re training.


Combat this by having resolute acceptance that whatever is about to come your way just is, then make peace with this truth.


Preconceptions of failure and delusions of grandeur do not belong in the Dojo, they will blind you and destroy you before you even begin to make progress.


What are we to do if we wish to overcome this hurdle that’s standing in the way of our technical perfection?


Firstly, realise it’s an illusion, the hurdle doesn’t exist, you’ve just created it throughout your life as a safety net to protect you from being a “failure”


Remember that you’re on a never-ending journey of learning in this life, every reaction we have to a situation is an opportunity for us to learn more about ourselves.


Only through being committed to learning about ourselves can we ever learn about others.


I’m a young teacher in comparison to my peers, I most definitely do not claim to have all the answers, in my opinion though, this is what has helped me to progress in my training thus far.


Show respect to others you train with both Senior and Junior to you, before you can give this respect to others though, you must begin showing respect to the most important person of all, yourself.


Abstain from abusing your body and mind too much with junk food, toxic substances and useless information that will only distract you from the truth, lower your vital energy and make you sick in the long-term.


When you understand that respect begins at home, when you the person respect yourself it’s easier to show respect to others and for others to respect you, as you get what you give.


Train with a beginner’s mind so that you are humble in your continuous education of your martial art, making sure not to let the ego govern, or tarnish your enjoyment and progression in your pursuit of technical perfection.


Achieve this by going back to the beginning of your martial arts journey in your mind…


Do you remember when you began your training, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and full of wonder like a child?


Bring yourself back there every time you cross the threshold of the dojo, this will help bring you back to earth and calm you just before training, it’s ok not to know it all, all the time, accept this truth and you’ll be happier when you train.


We tend to put too much pressure on ourselves the more advanced and learned we become, hence we become our own worst critic and our most dangerous enemy.


The enemy is within and only by mastering our emotions can we ever conquer the enemy.


Therefore, people who underachieve in their chosen professions and other areas of life might very well be afraid of failing or being embarrassed, as they feel they won’t live up to the hype of who they are supposed to be in other people’s eyes versus who they think they’ve become.


They disguise this feeling of fear with one of an almost self-hatred towards themselves for not being able to do as they think they should be able to, as this is more acceptable to their own ego.


In their eyes, It’s an easier reaction to display, rather than accepting themselves, “warts and all” and choosing to continue to be more uncomfortable in the short-term in the pursuit of greatness.


This behaviour eventually leads to their own self-imposed self-fulfilling prophecy of “I can’t do this”, which they don’t really feel pain from, in fact, they’re quite comfortable there, as they can choose to stay there, it most importantly allows them to show their control over the situation which satisfies their egotistical tendencies.


When you get so comfortable in life, a place where you are convinced your shit doesn’t stink and your Numero Uno, it’s a sign that there is a lesson waiting around the corner for you.


Unfamiliar or new techniques can and will expose your weaknesses which will penetrate deep into your soul.


Being uncomfortable is the cornerstone of how we progress in life, without it we wouldn’t need to go anywhere or do anything.


If you were never cold you’d never seek heat, if you were never hot you’d never seek cool.


A word of advice from a man only starting out on my martial arts journey…although I’m admittedly only a novice on the subject.


“If you pay too much attention to your own false, self-imposed realizations of incompetence and “lack of ability” they will frustrate, enrage and destroy you.


In the end, though you only must overcome yourself – and not the technique.


The difficult technique is only the catalyst that triggers an emotional response that you must deal with whether you like it or not so that you can then become a better version of yourself.


Then you’ll realise that the technique is not difficult after all, only your attitude towards it is.




Written by-  Fergal Lawlor (Martial Arts Student)