Warren Buffett on MMA Training and Self-Defense

A Fake Interview with Real* Quotes

Warren Buffett
Credit: Mark Hirschey

Martial Development: First of all, congratulations: a recent surge in Berkshire Hathaway’s stock price has made you the richest man in the world. $62 billion dollars, I hear. According to my estimates, you could literally buy up all the tea in China.

Warren Buffett: I drink Coca-Cola.

Martial Development: Fair enough. You know, kung fu is all about profitably investing time and effort. As one of the world’s greatest investors, I thought you might have some unique insights to share with us.

Warren Buffett: I’ve never even made a hostile acquisition! What do I know about kung fu?

Martial Development: More than you realize. Continue reading Warren Buffett on MMA Training and Self-Defense

The Nondual Perspective on Subjective Reality

The principle of Subjective Reality—that the universe is consciousness and nothing more—has been employed by authentic spiritual traditions for millennia. Its intended function is not to reveal Universal Truth, but to prepare a seeker for the next stage in their development by dispelling their material illusions.

In other words, Subjective Reality is a spiritual colonic, which for best results must be followed by healthy wisdom food. New-age teachers who skip this critical lesson are like surgeons who excise a tumor, but neglect to close the incision afterwards. Continue reading The Nondual Perspective on Subjective Reality

Sun Tzu: A Primer for Martial Artists

The same strategies used by a military commander to defend the nation can also be used to protect one’s self. Sun Tzu’s classic manual The Art of War is therefore required reading for all serious martial artists.

Here is a summary of Sun Tzu’s most important points (based on translations by Roger Ames):

On Assessments (計篇第一)
Warfare is the art of deceit. Therefore, when able, seem to be unable; when ready, seem unready; when nearby, seem far away; and when far away, seem near. If the enemy seeks some advantage, entice him with it. If he is in disorder, attack him and take him.

Attack where he is not prepared; go by way of places where it would never occur to him you should go. These are the military strategist’s calculations for victory—they cannot be settled in advance. Continue reading Sun Tzu: A Primer for Martial Artists

Hagakure: The Way of the Warrior is Forgiveness

The relationship between real fighting and full-contact martial arts competitions is like that of the dog and the hot dog. Although they are composed of similar elements—striking and grappling in the former, meat in the latter—one should not be confused for the other.

The essence of a real fight is not found in tactics, or even in intensity. Genuine combat is defined by its absence of fairness and finality. There are no honored champions, and no nobly accepted defeats; in their place are uncertainty, postponement and escalation. Today, you win by knockout; tomorrow, you are shot in the back.

Even death is no denouement, considering its legal and karmic consequences—not to mention vengeful friends and family of the recently deceased, with their own troublesome interpretations of justifiable homicide.

Budo shuji by Kondo Katsuyuki

All martial artists know that budo is not for starting fights. Some have unfortunately been taught that martial artists should avoid them altogether. Honestly, avoidance is a tool for agoraphobics and drunks, not warriors; the true purpose of budo is to end conflict decisively.

What can the ancient Japanese code of bushido teach us about conflict resolution strategy? Continue reading Hagakure: The Way of the Warrior is Forgiveness

Advice From a Blind Kungfu Master

While conducting some unrelated research, I recently came across an book written by the disciple of a blind kungfu master. I was gratified to read his advice, so similar to that which I received from my own martial arts teachers. I’ll explain why in a moment; first, a few quotations:

On the primacy of coordination…

The principle of “divide and conquer” may have some validity in those branches of education concerned with knowing rather than doing, but in the education of the artist, “integrate to coordinate” should be the battle-cry.

Demonstrating the ability to make one single movement by genuinely coordinated means, is worth more to the growth of the student than showing them now to negotiate any supposed technical difficulties by the employment of “end-gaining” methods.

Clumsiness in general, and technical failures in particular, have no other origins than in the making of simultaneous contradictory gestures.

Continue reading Advice From a Blind Kungfu Master

Why Wise Men Abandon Their Goals

Jackie Chan in Drunken Master 2
Jackie Chan shows his calligraphy: 水能载舟,亦能覆舟

Water floats, but also sinks boats. This old Chinese proverb reminds us that our most beneficial tools can injure us when applied unskillfully. Goal setting, the ultimate weapon in the personal development arsenal, is no exception to this rule.

Smart men set goals. Wise men abandon them. Continue reading Why Wise Men Abandon Their Goals

Push Hands and Competition

Push hands is an accessible abstraction of fighting. Whereas mortal combat follows no pattern and honors no rules, the push hands exercise is relatively limited in scope. Push hands practice alone will not make a top fighter, nor is it intended to do so; it focuses on specific characteristics, such as sticking and following, in order to provide a consistent and effective learning environment.

Yang Jwing-Ming
Yang Jwing-Ming demonstrates Press (Ji)

Abstractions such as the fixed step tui shou exercise are often misused, by students who do not fully understand their context within the larger Tai Chi curriculum. These students shape the exercise into something more or less than it is intended to be, diminishing its relevance and benefits, and shortchanging themselves and their training partners.

What should the pushing hands drill include, and what should it exclude? Continue reading Push Hands and Competition

Students: Burn The Ships, Not Your Martial Arts Contracts

A contractual relationship with your martial arts school could end miserably; former classmates and I know this from experience.  Despite this experience, I believe that the potential benefits of a contract to the student outweigh the risks. 

Before I explain the benefit, let me tell you the tale of an Aikido dojo gone sour. Continue reading Students: Burn The Ships, Not Your Martial Arts Contracts

Wuji Zhuang: The Self-Knowledge Stance

Wuji zhuang is the weakest stance in Chinese martial arts. Standing straight and still with their arms down at their sides, the practitioner of the wuji stance is in no position to deliver an attack, or to defend against one. They are sitting ducks, utterly unable to resist force from any of the four directions. So why is wuji zhuang so esteemed among high hands, and considered an important part of training in taijiquan, yiquan, and other arts?

The practice of wuji zhuang, or standing meditation, releases the hidden power of self-knowledge. Continue reading Wuji Zhuang: The Self-Knowledge Stance