Archive for philosophy

Boxing Philosopher

Posted in Martial Arts and Training, Quotes and Articles with tags , on May 9, 2012 by ctkwingchun

http://www.twincities.com/ci_20551535/st-olaf-professor-can-ponder-and-he-can

” ‘Myths are made for the imagination to breathe life into them.’ Isn’t that good? Isn’t that good?” he recently told a classroom, leading them in a close, line-by-line reading of a Camus essay on how to respond to the absurdity of life. ” ‘A face that toils so close to stones is already stone itself!’ Oh, man. That’s unbelievable. C’mon. That’s an amazing image.”

In the gym, he’s equally insistent on detail and focus. Attention must be paid to the slightest movements of the head, hands and feet.

“Hands up! Hands up!” he shouts to fighters in a sparring session. “Don’t stand in front of him. Work. Work.”

The Circle of Discipline, a place full of boxers of all levels hitting bags and each other, is noisy, crowded, intensely kinetic, but orderly. For Marino, it isn’t a crucible, but a refuge.

“This gym is a very special place,” he said. “There’s such a feeling of family.”

Emoting Stoic

Posted in Health and Wellness, Music and Clips, Strategy and Psychology with tags , , on March 14, 2012 by ctkwingchun

Stoicism makes sense to me.  The ability to control how I react to the world makes life less like a rollercoaster ride.  Staying cool under pressure.

This does not mean that I feel no emotion.

As a human being I believe that our emotions are a wonderfully natural way of getting rid of all the excess.

So there is a balance.  A balance between not letting emotions run out of control due to uncontrollable circumstances of the world and letting emotions run their course.

I am

The Emoting Stoic

CTK

Gung Fu; the Higher Order Skill

Posted in Martial Arts and Training, Strategy and Psychology with tags , , , , , , on January 3, 2012 by His Dark Side

Gung Fu: Health Warning (you will get punched and kicked)
Gung Fu is a singular, insular activity with limited real world value. I rarely get into fights and training martial arts is arguably dentrimental to health on a variety of levels; such as elevated cortisol levels and the obvious wear and tear on the body. Additionally, over the next few years I predict that the medical fraternity will publish further research regarding head trauma as a consequence of getting hit and long term brain damage.

Benefits of Gung Fu: Free Your Mind
So what are the benefits of Gung Fu, or any type of martial art training? Ultimately, training Gung Fu is about learning a life skill which will help us survive if we end up getting into a fight. Now that I’m in my eighteenth year in Gung Fu, I am beginning to recognize the fringe benefit, which can be said to be true of any vocation that is approached with a high degree of focus; self mastery.

In Gung Fu we are obviously learning to express our own bodies (e.g. proprioception) but by doing so, we are also creating a foundation which allows us to relate to the World and connect with nature, consciousness, or the divine. By striving for mastery we are forced to approach the subject matter from multiple and diverse angles, figuratively and literally and therefore we learn about the ACT of learning. For instance my Gung Fu training has been a segue into topics ranging from kinesiology, to body language and hypnosis.

Gung Fu as a Higher Order Skill
Mastery of Gung Fu is a higher-order skill as it covers critical thinking, experiential modes of learning as well as specific skills like anticipation, which instill a level of foresight. The latter being especially important in enabling us to predict the build up to potentially dangerous situations (awareness leads to avoidance).

Choose your passion. Mine is Gung Fu.

Death, Insomnia, Gung Fu and Coffee

Posted in Death and the Macabre, Strategy and Psychology with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2012 by His Dark Side

I spend an inordinate amount of time sipping black coffee at varying Starbucks locations. I once sat down with a warm cup and wrote about my visit to the death scene of a young man who slit his own throat. Perhaps some subconscious neural association attracts me to the coffee shops. Perhaps it my obsessive compulsion to contemplate death. For instance, even today I found myself reading some dark quotes by the late clothes designer Alexander McQueen. Or conversely, perhaps it just speaks to the more mundane aspects of my life. Whatever it is, the elevated levels of coffee in my body are at least a contributory factor for my insomnia.

I need to cut back on the coffee, focus on the fact that I am alive and practice more Gung Fu.

***click on the highlighted links above for further readings

On Good and Evil

Posted in Quotes and Articles, Strategy and Psychology with tags , , , , on December 22, 2011 by His Dark Side

“…. It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. Even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained; and even in the best of all hearts, there remains a small corner of evil.

…. If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn (11 December 1918 – 3 August 2008)

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2011/03/31/walking-the-line-between-good-and-evil-the-common-thread-of-heroes-and-villains/ 

Psychopaths Among Us

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 2, 2011 by His Dark Side

This is an interesting documentary;

Gathering by Rumi

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 30, 2011 by His Dark Side

This is a gathering of Lovers.

In this gathering 

there is no high, no low,

no smart, no ignorant,

no special assembly, 

no grand discourse, 

no proper schooling required.

There is no master,

no disciple.

This gathering is more like a drunken party,

full of tricksters, fools, 

mad men and mad women.

This is a gathering of Lovers.


by Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī

Living In The Moment

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 13, 2011 by His Dark Side

We are only ever alive in one moment and that moment is NOW.  We do not reside in the past nor can we dwell in the future – these places do not exist for they are just thoughts in our heads which distract us from the present moment and rob us of life. 

Most of us are in LOVE with memories, ideas, and feelings of the way things used to be!  How many of us are in LOVE with what ‘IS’?  It’s hard sometimes to LOVE and live with what ‘IS’ because what ‘IS’ is sometimes normal, boring and routine which has us hankering after the good old days or looking forward to good times!

Thinking has become the most common dis-ease within our species!  We spend so much time away from the NOW that we forget to live, to love, to connect to what is right in front of us, however mundane or routine our existence may seem.  Our busy lives and schizophrenic mind activity have eradicated our ability to notice beauty and wonder, the father kissing his child goodbye at the school gates, the bird that just flew from the swaying tree, the sun peering behind the gentle white clouds, the innocence of the soul in the eyes of the person sitting across from you, the random kiss between young lovers, the hands of a child holding its mothers, the wind that touches your face as you turn the corner, the sounds of laughter, a hug, a smile.

I cycle each morning through a beautiful graveyard slowing down to glance at the headstones that lay before me.  I say aloud the names of my brothers and sisters that have past on and I say “Hello” to them.  I say we have not forgotten you because in remembering ‘you’ that have died I remember ‘me’ that must live. 

In this moment I am born again where the past and future can no longer rob me of life, I am alive experiencing what it really means to be alive rather than thinking about what life was like or what it could be.  This moment is all I ever have, to LIVE, to be FREE to say thank you for all that I have and all who I am because, like those whose headstones I see each morning, I may not get another chance. 

Andrew
www.thebarefootbarrister.com

12th July 2011

Philosophy: Guide to Happiness

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 20, 2011 by His Dark Side

Supporters of Dark Gung Fu are encouraged to watch these programmes…

This excellent six part series on philosophy is presented by popular British philosopher Alain de Botton, featuring six thinkers who have influenced history, and their ideas about the pursuit of the happy life.

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/philosophy-guide-to-happiness/

Win Every Argument, Guaranteed (*Disclaimer* Will NOT work with your wife)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 23, 2011 by shadowsamurai

The following is an excerpt from German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer’s 38 Stratagems to win an argument:

  1. Carry your opponent’s proposition beyond its natural limits; exaggerate it. The more general your opponent’s statement becomes, the more objections you can find against it. The more restricted and narrow his or her propositions remain, the easier they are to defend by him or her.
  2. Use different meanings of your opponent’s words to refute his or her argument.
  3. Ignore your opponent’s proposition, which was intended to refer to a particular thing. Rather, understand it in some quite different sense, and then refute it. Attack something different than that which was asserted.
  4. Hide your conclusion from your opponent till the end. Mingle your premises here and there in your talk. Get your opponent to agree to them in no definite order. By this circuitious route you conceal your game until you have obtained all the admissions that are necessary to reach your goal.
  5. Use your opponent’s beliefs against him. If the opponent refuses to accept your premises, use his own premises to your advantage.
  6. Another plan is to confuse the issue by changing your opponent’s words or what he or she seeks to prove.
  7. State your proposition and show the truth of it by asking the opponent many questions. By asking many wide-reaching questions at once, you may hide what you want to get admitted. Then you quickly propound the argument resulting from the opponent’s admissions.
  8. Make your opponent angry. An angry person is less capable of using judgement or perceiving where his or her advantage lies.
  9. Use your opponent’s answers to your questions to reach different or even opposite conclusions.

For the full 38 Stratagems follow this link: http://www.mnei.nl/schopenhauer/38-stratagems.htm

Building Character

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 25, 2010 by His Dark Side

Even if you’re lying flat on your back, you can work on your mind.  And it says something about the character of the individual, if he sits out on the sidelines the moment he gets an injury.  It’s like he’s looking for an excuse to bail out.  That guy won’t go very far.  If you’re starting out with a disadvantage due to health, this gives you an opportunity to find ways to get round the problem, or strengthen those areas that aren’t affected, and it builds character to take this route rather than to just say, ‘I quit.’” Steve Morris

http://stevemorris.livejournal.com/45605.html

Life

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 12, 2010 by ctkwingchun

I find it so funny how people talk about life or society like it’s separate from themselves.

“Oh, I hate life.  It‘s so unfair.”

I guess it has to do with letting go of control.  Throwing in the towel involving a battle with an energy too large and too powerful.

But life is actually all about the person.  The individual.  So I guess the person is afraid an energy too large and too powerful within themselves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wG6seogAnFo

Peace, CTK

Goals, Thinking, Boredom and Ticking

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2010 by His Dark Side

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing”. (Shakespeare)

This post is about being bored;

Today, I attended a seminar on time management by a self help Guru from California. It was nonsense. Unfortunately, it lasted the entire day and it appeared that attendance was being monitored by a short-lady-Hitler figure, planted like a sentry at the exit. To prevent myself drifting off to sleep, I watched some of the other participants in order to read some basic body language ‘tells’ (I focused on the pretty females).  It was obvious that we business professionals were bound by a common thread; that of complete and utter boredom. Our boredom unified us, making us one.

My brain ticks at a million miles per hour. Even at the times when I yearn for sleep, it is there, the incessant sound of ticking… tick… tick… tick. When I am withered and tired the cogs, pulleys and chains continue to screech along, despite my willing them to stop. But move, they do. I am a thinker. I think constantly. Sometimes I scrutinise patterns in my environment, other times I scrutinize the patterns of my thoughts.

I get bored really easily. But what I discovered watching the pretty girls in the conference was that most people get bored out of their minds just as easily as I, however they, unlike me, find it easier to hide the overt signs that go along with boredom. When I am bored in a seated position, my legs twitch nervously, thrusting up and down. When I am bored and standing, I tend to fidget. I feel the need for constant excitement in my life 24/7.

Shakespeare knew that we didn’t have much time. Life is transient, as is beauty; we will all one day wither into dust. Perhaps this is why I need the constant ticking in my head, because somewhere between the marching cogs, I am signalled to find something to pique my amusement for a few seconds.

The conference Guru asked us to make a list of goals that we wanted to achieve. Irrespective of it being a seminar for business professionals, I decided to focus on my health. The goals I wrote down were;

1) Get back into martial arts

2) Get healthy (healthier)

3) Make the gym a regular part of my routine (which it kind of is anyway).

To be totally honest, my goals were pretty lousy. P’rhaps I should call it a REMINDER list rather than a set of goals, seeing as I won’t find it overwhelming to return to something that has been the greater part of my life since 1993.

My colleagues, being uber-materialistic, (yes, I keep fickle company) were far more specific with their goals; “buying a Ferrari… making more money… investment portfolios… blah blah blah”.

As we discussed goal setting, my mind meandered off, searching for something interesting to focus its’ attention on; a desert oasis, sunbathing on a beach, climbing a mountain. No matter what my daydream or distraction, my mind habitually always returns to one place. This place is not imagined, but happened to be a real part of my life for more than ten years; training Gung Fu in a garden in Tottenham, London, England under the critical gaze of my instructor; Leung, Kwok-Keung. Whenever my mind returns here momentarily, the ticking stops.


Compartmentalization – The Good Kind

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 13, 2010 by ctkwingchun

Martial arts training fixes everything.  But I don’t entirely think it’s just the training.  I think it’s the fact that I have to shut off all the other monkey-mind/toilet-brain workings of my mind.  And training is a good excuse for all of that.

When I walk into the gym or into the park or I put on my gloves – I make it like a ritual in my mind, body and soul.  Even before I reach my destination I’m warming up using my mind’s eye.  Then, when I get to the training part, I only devote my energy to the task at hand.  Whatever is bothering me can wait for another time.

Many times, whatever was on my mind before training gets all sorted out by the time I’m done.

Maybe compartmentalization is a poor word.  Maybe ‘complete awareness’ of the task at hand is a better way to explain my method.

Peace,
CTK

Reality

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 12, 2010 by ctkwingchun

Some recent conversations have brought my attention to something: the reality of it all.  A talk with my father ended up being a life-lesson but I didn’t see it at the time.  I was chatting about what everyone chats about after reading a good ‘change your financial situation in three easy steps’ book: creating lots and lots of companies and selling them.

My father said, “I’d never been good at that.  So I decided that it was just best to grind it out.”  …grind it out.  Worth repeating but something I didn’t want to believe at the time.

Mr. Vaynerchuk talks about ‘sweat equity.’  In an interview, he mentions that people who throw money at businesses generally don’t want to put the effort in.  They want the easy way.

Talking with a training partner, he tells me that his passion for his career is now turning into a job.  I, too, am feeling that my once ‘save the world with alternative medicine’ outlook being clouded over by the stark reality of it all.  And yet perhaps this isn’t such a bad thing.

Dreams.  Dreams of grandeur.  Of being famous.  Of ‘making something out of my life.’  Very interesting statements at age 30…statements that seemed to hold so much more weight at age 20.  Here I sit after a few years in my chosen field and it’s really starting to feel like work.  This doesn’t have to do with passion so much that it has to do with what my father told me about: grinding it out.  When I put in the hours, the effort – it feels like work.  But lots of work yields great financial results – but that’s not what this post is about…or is it?

And so the next logical step is: ‘Now what?’  What’s the solution to make it all feel warm and cushy again?  Working at another career?  Swap an exterior shell for another one just to find out that I’ve distracted myself?  Try to change my outlook?  Try to exchange reality for fantasy (again)?

Or how about this for the next logical step: ‘This is it.’

Warning

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 7, 2010 by ctkwingchun

I want to send you a warning – a warning from someone who’s been there.  In the event that you encounter what I’m about to explain, I hope that you will think back to my words and be able to proceed in peace.

It is very common that when you make a life-choice (something that has the potential to take your life in a completely different direction), another energy will come at you very strongly distracting you from your initial goal.

Usually, this distraction will look very appetizing.  But, if you look closer, it will just be another easy way out.  And if you take the distracted path, you will forever feel like you’ve sold yourself short.  Forever trapped in your own design.

I hope this warning serves you well.

Sincerely,

CTK

My Path of Chaos

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 5, 2010 by His Dark Side

The Buddhist nun discussed joy. Joy according to her system of belief, come from a detached state and through the daily practice of meditation. Life, it appears, is both transient and full of suffering. I quickly noticed that there was a paradox at work here which the people who had shuffled into this meeting room had not quite figured out. You see in front of the meditation meeting group sat a little old lady who had an orange cloth draped over here. The orange colour made her look like a misshapen tangerine and the shaved head made her appear androgynous. The paradox became apparent because the stories she told us, were experiences from her own life. She was bitter at life, bitter for her daughter who smoked, bitter because she had to experience living out of her car because she had no money.

Despite this, she sat in front of us, encouraging us to seek detachment and become a Buddhist like her. I have no desire to be like her. What she said made me feel numb. Clearly, she was unhappy which was a far cry from the joy she spoke about. It made me wonder whether she had ever actually felt joyful.

I stopped going to the meditation meet ups. I went to a few sessions and ended up deciding that it had taught me exactly how NOT to be. But this wasn’t to suggest that I was left pathless…

The magician Aleister Crowley wrote in his book four on Magick; “Let the student decide for himself what form of life, what moral code will least tend to excite his mind.” Crowley therefore left the burden with the student to decide the path that best suited him.

During the 1970’s, two British magicians who had become frustrated with the dogma decided to spearhead a new organisation called the Illuminates of Chaos. Their goal was to make the practice of Magic, highly individualistic. They encouraged each student to find out, adopt and embrace those methods that best worked for them. This movement was to give rise to a considerable amount of Chaos.

The path I walk, is mine. You can walk beside me, but your path will be yours alone.

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