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KENPO KARATE
ASHEVILLE, NC

 

 

 
 

Character & Martial Arts Develpment - Articles of Interest - Path of Martial Arts Development

 

The Path of Martial Arts Development

Immediately prior to the attainment of Brown Belt, the emphasis in developing the personal strength of the emerging martial artist must shift from sources or techniques which focus on increasing physical strength, to sources which develop spiritual strength.

Any body, regardless of its size, strength, or condition, has its own physical limits regarding speed or striking power - beyond which increases can be gained only by dramatically altering the body itself. For instance, large amounts of weight could be lost by strict dieting over a long period of time; considerable muscle mass or bulk could be added by strenuous and lengthy muscle building programs; or speed and agility could be developed beyond normal limits by complicated specialty programs. Unfortunately, what is gained by these extreme measures - which may involve years of time and dedication, not to mention considerable cost or risk - is usually lost when the programs are no longer continued, and the body reverts back to its previous natural state. Abnormal stretching is an example of this.

A wiser, more permanent approach is to develop an energy source independent of the body which can be added to the body at will and used as desired - for increased speed, power, stability, or in any manner one chooses. We find this available energy source in the spiritual arena. Spiritual energy is unlimited - you can create as great a level of intensity as desired - relative only to the individuals ability to create it. It does not grow tired and decrease with prolonged use as physical force (muscle effort) always does; regardless of one's physical condition. It is not dependent on age or even health. It is as easily created and controlled, being one's own attention, or intention.

As a martial artist advances in rank, knowledge, and ability, he powers his performance more and more with spiritually created energy, and less with physical energy alone. Thus his body will never set a limit of how well he can perform or how long he retains his skills during his lifetime. A warrior must not be hampered by reduced abilities because he has become old, injured, tired, or sick - because his life may well depend upon his skills. Hence development of a non-physical primary source of energy, that continues to develop regardless of the condition of the physical body is extremely desirable, and the only wise way to train for a lasting investment. It is easily observed by even a new Brown Belt, that greater energy is available from spiritual sources than his body alone possesses. He wisely uses the spiritual energy first, and supplements that with additional physical energy as needed - saving his body's limited reserves. Not the other way around - as is commonly taught.

The sole reason this matter is discussed at this point in the training is simply this:
A spiritual being will only grow and develop in strength and ability to the degree that his practice of virtue and ethics - his character - grow similarly. Conversely, an individual who uses his spiritual power and abilities unethically, will automatically set in action forces which will diminish his personal power and spiritual size. He does this unconsciously, to save others from the harmful effects he has fallen into creating - and this mechanism is one proof of the fact that all spiritual beings are inherently good despite their current conduct or apparent character.

The abilities and levels of performance we require of a Brown and Black Belt cannot be reached by physical training alone. The spiritual being must be developed to be stronger and more aware. He must be elevated to a state where he can tap into extraordinary spiritual perceptions, uncommon abilities, and energy levels of intensities far beyond those of the physical body. He must develop his intention - with attitudes that are unshakable. But, he will only continue to grow in this manner if his character keeps pace simultaneously, and is based on benevolent principles. Consequently, we must pause at the level immediately prior to Brown Belt - where the individual achieves a dramatic change of basic personality, or quality of beingness - and prepare him for this vital jump to adult-hood as a martial artist, by enhancing his character and spiritual power. He must be developed well beyond the strength and courage of an ordinary human to succeed in the "Trial by Fire", his final test for Brown Belt.

This enhancement is accomplished by a thorough study and lengthy focus upon - VIRTUE. Specific processes have been developed to strip away undesirable or unethical attitudes and habits. New attitudes and values of his own choosing are put in their place, which empower the individual by his additional commitment to uphold them. He comes to understand the broader scope of life, aligns himself more so to these purposes, and is set solidly on a path toward self- enlightenment and greater personal power.

In essence, the individual remolds his own character based on a solid foundation of virtue - nothing else. Understanding, and being focused on virtue, he develops a ‘moral consciousness’ through which he views and evaluates all things in life. These same deep seated values now become the guiding force shaping his own everyday actions and setting his goals. He is aware of the degree of rightness of his own actions and consciously improves his own conduct by automatically and consistently monitoring it. He knows the dire consequences of neglecting virtuous conduct on his spiritual evolution, and is more committed to self improvement than ever before. His priorities, goals, and purposes undergo a profound change - he is essentially a new person.

The Character Development Level is a powerful and vital stage of training which must be successfully attained to create a person spiritually large and aware enough to access the greater states and abilities necessary to become a true Black Belt – a Warrior Sage. This level comes closer than ever before to achieving the long sought after goal of the martial arts - perfection and self-enlightenment.


P. S. WIMBERLY
FOUNDER A.C.K.

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