Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Spiritual L.

On first reading the title of this article, you may be thinking, why have I decided to go religious on you, however, I am not talking about religion or religious leaders. Non the less, here is my question;
Is there scope in a world that is fast succumbing to the sole gratification of materialistic success, an aura of extreme materialism, a community of self-mindedness, a society that is doing its best to forget the very essence of, “do on to other as you’d have them do on to you”. In a nation devoid of collective conscious, can we as leaders evolve to, spiritual L.?
As a martial artist, when I train and teach I look to develop and integrate, the body, mind, and spirit; I’d like to focus on the spiritual aspect of martial development. I don’t think or believe the martial art to be a religion, nor does it look to compete or carryout the roles and responsibilities of organised religion. Hence in my martial training I’ve often asked and being asked, what is the meaning of spirituality in martial art? My research into this area, has lead me to believe, that Spirituality in martial art, is about us identifying 3 things:
1. Where we fit in this universe?
2. What contribution we’d what to make here on earth?
3. What we can do, to help our brothers and sisters live a life of happiness and avoid suffering
To achieve the 3 points listed above, spirituality in martial arts provides us with the insight to conduct ourselves with the following values:
1. Love:
a. A deep feeling toward a person arising from kinship and a sense of underlying oneness
2. Compassion:
a. Deep awareness and understanding of the suffering of others and a wish to relieve it
3. Patient:
a. Bearing or enduring pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance with calmness
4. Tolerance:
a. The capacity for or the practice of recognising and respecting the belief or practice of others
5. Forgiveness:
a. The capacity to excuse a fault or and offense
6. Respect:
a. To avoid violation or interferences with another right to be happy and avoid suffering
It is these value that I refer to when talking about Spiritual L., as Leaders of industries, communities, organisation and families, I agree that we must exercise power and authority, however I believe that we should temper our steel with a hint of velvet, and lead our follower with, Love, Compassion, Patient, Tolerance, Forgiveness, and Respect.

I’d like to finish with a quote from His Holiness the Dalai Lama
“The Spiritual actions we undertake which are motivated not by narrow self-interest but out of our concern for others actually benefit ourselves.”
I believe that if we took the time and reflected on teachings of this quote, and challenged ourselves to shift our idea of headship to embrace the values of spirituality, and not only lead, better still, to live by them, it would pay us dividend in all area of our L, more then we could ever deemed possible.

Martial Art for Life L. & Life Management

The Invisible Ceiling – The Sensei’s L. ability

As a Martial Artist, I’m strongly of the view that a student of the Way should be encouraged to pursue Arts outside their own dojo, by so doing this will exposed them to newer and different concepts thereby widening their own understanding of their chosen art. I say this because there is an invisible ceiling that is so overwhelming in today’s school of martial arts, school in which Sensei (Instructors) are so insistent on the fact that their style of martial arts is the best and for this reason student are discouraged to the point of emotional blackmail from broadening their knowledge, by not being permitted to study other martial arts.

I am of the view that strong Sensei’s, and by strong I am referring to strength of character and L. ability, are always open to the suggestion and do encourage their student to go and study other styles. My own rational for encouraging my students to study and master other martial arts, is two fold:

1. Firstly from a martial rational, is for them to seek out the weakness of their present style and hence look for the complementary systems that will help them on their journey to becoming a rounded martial artist

a. The high order teaching, the life principle being taught here in disguise to my students, is an appreciation for strength in diversity

2. Secondly for them to search for and seek out a style of martial arts that is best suited to their nature and personality, my thought process here is that I have provided them with the foundation, now they must find their own style

a. The high order teaching, the life principle being taught here to my students is that to realise and release our fullest potential we must discover that which we a uniquely good at, (our true purpose in life)

My current ethos on martial arts evolved because, 11 years ago I took a deeper look at the role of martial arts and realised that the true essence of Martial Arts or Martial Way is training towards life L. Life L. would be categorized by living a life that is centered and based on principles (natural laws of the universe). For me, to live a life that is centered and principle based means that we have to grow and synergies physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually, and the only vehicle that we have to do all this growing and synergies with, is our physical body, for this reason I viewed the martial arts[1] a system for getting ourselves integrated.

This being my summit I come to the realisation, understanding and acceptance that my role as a Sensei, as a Martial Arts Leader, is one of a coach for life L. & life management, further still I yielded to the truth that my students progression and success in life is either aided or hindered by my L. ability “the invisible ceiling”.

As a result I asked, what is L. ability?

To me L. ability, is all about knowing, the right principle, to apply at the right time, in the right situation and environment, and in the right way (people management style), and the Leaders job is to Inspire, Motivate and Empower

As a Marital Arts Sensei, Coach, Instructor, I asked what determines the effectiveness of a Sensei (Leader)? Their L. ability, what determines strong L. ability? Knowing universal laws of people management and how to apply them.

Takeda Shingen says “A warrior – leader must build a castle in the heart of everyone of his bushi (warriors) and this will be stronger than any material one”
Translated for the leaders of today I say,
‘An effective leader must build trust, loyalty and respect in the heart of everyone of his follower, and this will be stronger than any material incentive’.

L. for the future necessitates that we have a different mindset and definition of L. and leaders. I would to conclude by giving three universal laws (principle) on people management, principles that I use to leading myself and my students, principles that can be applied within any group or organisation. Principle that must impact in three different spheres of influence; The Leader (Sensei), The Followers (Student), and The Dynamics of the Situation (Kumita). L. for the future dictates that we as leaders lead with trust, loyalty and respect.