Archive for September, 2010

Recently I have written to you about the links on my website with the exception of one: the link to MKP, which stands for ManKindProject. I will now try to explain why becoming a New Warrior in the MKP has been and still is so important for me. I said I will TRY because I also realize it is very difficult to really understand what it means to me if you have never participated in an MKP event or meeting.

Getting involved with MKP made my personal development take a giant leap in the year 2006. Just like she had done when introducing me to martial arts it was my former wife Eva who one day came home with a phone number. She got it from a lady friend whose husband had gone to a NWTA. Eva said it would do me good if I participated in this Training Adventure.

Having phoned the number, a few days later I received an invitation by email. The message included a copy of the first chapter of the book Iron John by Robert Bly. I read it and said to myself: that is something for me. It was as if the author had known me personally when he had written about a man who was strong and positive but underneath his charm and bluff there was, and there remained, much isolation, deprivation and passivity. Unless this man has an enemy, he is not sure he is alive. Robert Bly writes about men who never are supposed to cry and who have no intimate space, about a man who is a nice boy who pleases not only his mother but also the woman he is living with. Many of these soft males are not happy. They are life-preserving but not life-giving. You often see these men with strong women who positively radiate energy. My goodness, the author did not only know me personally but he also knew my wife Eva. Or so it seemed to me.

Having completed all the dozens of forms and paid the fee I arrived a few weeks later at the gate of a Boys Village close to Magaliesburg (SA). What struck me immediately was the power that emanated from the men who welcomed me. I was mesmerized by the way they looked me straight in the eyes, by their confidence, their body language, their silence, their presence and their no nonsense attitude.

Going through the training literally changed my life on the spot. Until then I secretly saw myself to be living my life as a semi-conscious white male who considered any other man to be either a competitor or an enemy. Now I could admit these thoughts to myself and even speak freely about them. For the first time I felt safe in a loving circle of men. Men I felt I could trust. I was invited to go through a series of processes whereby I worked with my shadow. I discovered that my shadow was everything I had always repressed, hidden and negated. After the weekend I went through a period of 12 weeks whereby experienced facilitators showed a small circle of men the way forward on our journey of personal growth and development.

Being offered, amongst other things, the possibility to work with my fear of failure and my fear of not being good enough was unbelievably liberating for me. I did not feel alone anymore. I felt part of a brotherhood of men. All the other men in the organization had gone through the same processes, had also been living with the burden of their shadow but had shown the courage to go through the initiation and trainings. Today I still feel honoured to be a member of an order of men that is called to reclaim the sacred masculine for our time, through initiation, training and clear action in the world.

According to Carlos Castaneda The real accomplishment in life is the art of being a Warrior, which is the only way to balance the terror of being a man with the wonder of being a man.

It might sound bombastic to you Rasada but even if you think so I do not care: Becoming a New Warrior enabled me to become a better husband, father, grandfather, mentor, friend, human being, teacher and doglistener.

Kindest regards from Brunothedoglistener

brunosdogs@gmail.com

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What do you think when you read these two words: Martial Arts?

I associated these two words with the violence and fighting as shown in vulgar Hollywood B-movies. Martial arts! Beuh! Not for me.

If you think what I thought, you make the same mistake I made many years ago.

One day my former wife Eva introduced me to her friend Judith, who had just started teaching karate classes for beginners. As Judith is a beautiful, elegant, graceful, friendly, peaceful and well-educated lady I could see no link between her and a bunch of aggressive macho jerks in Hollywood movies.

Becoming a pupil of Master Judith I discovered the gracefulness of her movements, her speed, the stability of her stances and the patience she had with a (then)61 year old granddad. Practicing Shotokan I discovered how different martial arts are from any other sportive discipline. This was a martial ART whereby the artist turns her/his body, her/his mind and finally her/his life into a work of art. What a difference with the repetitive movements I knew from things like running, kayaking and cycling! Having obtained my first yellow belt I left Spain and became a member of the Roodepoort karate school in Johannesburg. Master Johan Roets made me start from zero again and guided me along from a yellow to an orange belt. Back in Spain I became a pupil in the Club Sportiu Okinawa Karate-do Kobudo de Benissa. Once more the instructors made me start from zero. Instead of practicing Shotokan I now studied the traditional art of karate called Shito Ryu developed by master Kenwa Mabuni in Okinawa. At the same time I was introduced to the art of Kobudo as it was developed by Sinko Matayoshi. (see the link to www.zenokinawa.com on my website)

Master Miguel José Gómez Calderat, sixth dan in both karate and kobudo is the opposite of the jerks we can see in Hollywood B-movies. He is a gentle, friendly, humble, amicable and patient man who emanates peace, love and generosity of spirit.

Watching him perform a kata (form) is seeing a graceful artist performing a work of art. He does not need to flaunt his power. Force motivated by Ego always must show off, because it originates in self-doubt. Although it seldom happens but when master Miguel makes a mistake (unnoticed by us, his pupils) he will ask for forgiveness and repeat the demonstration.

On a very personal level an important discovery for me was the significance of eye-contact. Over the years I developed the power to maintain eye-contact with my fellow students without blinking or averting my eyes. I had never been able to do that in the past. Now I am noticing how few people I talk to can do it.

In order to explain what this means for me I quote from Power versus Force, written by David R. Hawkins page 243:

It is interesting to note that the further down the scale of consciousness a person is, the harder it is for her/him to maintain eye-contact; at the low end, visual contact is avoided altogether. In contrast, as we go up the scale, the ability to hold prolonged, and finally almost endless, gazes at great depth becomes characteristic. We are all familiar with the guarded glance of guilt, the glare of hostility and the unblinking open-eyed-ness of innocence. Remember that power and perception go hand in hand.

What I adore in classes of Martial Arts is the respect we continually show by bowing to the pictures of the old masters, to our instructors, our fellow students and to the training hall or dojo (the place of the way). Before starting a class and also when having finished a training session we go into Mokuso (quiet contemplation) in order to achieve mental and physical peacefulness.

Shortly after becoming a student in Benissa I was given a small booklet with sayings of old masters. I will just quote a few I like very much:

The way of the Martial Arts is to consider the heart of the Universe as your own heart, leading to becoming one with the centre of the Universe.

The highest degree of mastery is to win without fighting.

There are 36 tactics of Martial Arts and the best tactic of all is to escape.

The greatest danger is pride. Considering your technique as good, stops all progress.

Today I love studying and practicing martial arts as much as writing to you. For that reason I established a link between my website and the one by Master Miguel. Do you have any experience with martial arts?

Kindest regards from Brunothedoglistener.

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