Back in September, I wrote about Jeremiah’s first attempt at his Black Belt. You can read about that here: http://www.thejiggybishop.com/?p=279

But tonight, 7 months later, he accomplished a goal he set out for over 4 years ago. It was a much different thing to see him work hard, and work toward this. Sometimes, when things get tough, people measure whether it’s really worth the effort. And MANY times, people walk away from hard things. But not Jeremiah. He put in the work, invested himself in teaching many of our White, Orange, and Yellow belts (and many of those 1 on 1), and never gave up.

Tonight, Jeremiah didn’t just accomplish passing a test, he proved what I knew all along. Even though he’s just nine, he’s a man of character. I’m proud to call him “son.”

Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Training.

I wanted to share a post from CrossPoint Martial Art’s Facebook page that was written by Sabu-nim Hook and myself.  Feel free to add to the flowing stream of consciousness!

“When we face struggles in our life how do we react? Do we react in the same manner as we are trained against a physical attack or do we do something totally opposite?
As were faced with opposition physically we are taught to bring in the force and intent of the attacker to be ultimately used against them. Allowing them to enter our space and then taking control of the power and force they are using as we blend their force with ours into a controllable action that we are guiding. The constant training of our body should also be internalized within our emotional protection also. Trying times are more likely to affect the majority of us through emotional stress more than the threat of physical harm. Look to accomplish the same reaction inside as we train so hard to do outside. Bring the exterior training inside the frame of your being and begin to internalize the art that you practice.”
– Sabu-nim Hook

“Additionally, we must understand that looking inside should ultimately take us “outside” to Jesus Christ, the source of our strength and peace. Our hope and overcoming can only be ultimately realized in Jesus Christ, making our relationship with Him a necessity for overcoming. Jesus Himself said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16:33)

As martial artists, our training, by design, takes over in times of physical crisis so that our reaction is quicker, calculated, and natural to us. When that training comes to bear on dealing with emotional training, the same end occurs. The Apostle Paul reminds a young man that he is training (Timothy) that “…physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Tim. 4:8)

Unfortunately, our first reaction to emotional stress or conflict is usually a learned coping mechanism that fits our temperament or personality, or a reaction that we’ve learned from our environment growing up. It usually encompasses a survival response (How do I win? How do I get through this? How do I survive?). In the Bible’s New Testament, we find that IF God is for us, who can be against us. Multiple passages indicate that God wants to provide all that we need in these moments. The half-brother of Jesus reminds us, “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” (James 3:11-12) Our reactions indicate what our source of coping is. So have we trained ourselves to turn to Him? To depend on Him? To find wisdom and counsel from Him? Is the reaction that comes out of us in keeping with the Savior that should dwell in us? Have we disciplined ourselves to the point of HIM being our first response; our immediate, “natural” reaction?

As we bring the exterior training inside the frame of our being and begin to internalize the art that we practice, we must not neglect that we are spiritual beings. We must recognize that the survival of our spirit is of greater import than the survival of our physical being, making spiritual training of even greater importance than the physical. Take the time to begin application of the principles of your training to the nourishment of your soul. It will make all the difference.” – Chung sah-nim Bishop

The Warrior’s Virtue

One of my Martial Arts teachers and good friend sent me a blog post today from An-Shu Stephen K. Hayes. Hayes is regarded as the original American ninja. He is the founder of To-Shin Do Kasumi-An Ninja Martial Arts, and a Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductee. There’s a lot about the man to respect. His blog post for today drives right to the heart of a topic that many close friends and I have been talking about. Although probably not a believer, there is great truth to be gleaned from his post. Here it is, just as he published it on his blog site: http://www.skhquest.com/the-densho/

“My perception is that we are in the midst of one of the lowest points we have ever experienced in the world when it comes to demonstrated noble big-vision leadership. When I say “we” I mean all of us alive now, from the newest baby to the seniormost life veteran.

Whatever happened to ethics? Whatever happened to statesmanship? Whatever happened to noble ideals?

Politically, we see time and again bitter divisiveness as the rule of the day. Despite popular talk of “bipartisanship”, stopping the other team seems to be the goal, regardless of outcome, based on evidence I see. Bolsheviks align from the left to punish productive earners through odious levels of taxation and regulation, and Fatcats out on the right lure pitiful wage slaves into helplessly providing egregious profits.
Popular gods of the times – multi-millionaire sports figures – cause us to gasp and wince at scandalous betrayals of trust. Betrayal of family (wild tigers), betrayal of sportsmanship ideals (shrieking profanity at officials), betrayal of humane living (dogfight investors), and betrayal of healthy living (ballplayer dopers) cannot fail to sadden any idealist.

How ‘bout those bankers and money movers? CEO paid 385 million dollars for the few years it took to destroy Lehman Brothers, devastating the financial security of countless hard-working Americans but providing for a full lifetime of over-the-top luxury for one heartless former CEO now sipping drinks with fellow killers at private beachfront palaces. And that’s only one; there are plenty more like him in the private and government sectors.
Anyway, you get my point. I do not see much heroic behavior these days. I see a lot of selfish taking with little regard for the grander welfare of all.
So what would it take for things to change?

Most will not like this because it is so undramatic and so middle of the path, but…  We need balance, heroic big visioned big brained big hearted big shovel and big stick balance.  Where does balance start?

We have an ideal – warrior protector virtue, in the real original meaning of the word virtue as “manly valor perfected through taking care of all”.
We have a vision of what blocks such an ideal from blossoming – imitation of warrior strength, in the sense of confusing manliness with “mean little boy” taking whatever desired by beating anyone who might get in the way.

We cultivate that balance by becoming as strong as possible through training and becoming as ethical as possible through study.
I have been saying it since the 1980s. The ethical warrior winner gets everything he or she needs, and the world is a better place as a result of it.
Want to see what that kind of training looks like?

Join me and my friend Jack Hoban for a full day of ethical warrior preparation March 13 in Newark, NJ. Enroll at RGI and become part of our revitalization of the responsible warrior leader taking ground in a long overdue battle.”

What An-Shu Hayes calls “ethical warrior preparation” is what I’ve been thinking and writing about of late.  Although I don’t think he means Christian Warrior Prep., thats where I would take it.  True ethics begin in Christ, and so must each warrior.