Sep 30

Meditation

I said there would be another “-ation” post, didn’t I? Well, here it is. Although not meditation as such, it’s close enough for a tenuous link.

This week, I wanted to introduce you to the wisest (and calmest) man I know. That’s him on the right. Doesn’t he look pleased? His name is Ajahn Brahm and as you have probably worked out, he is a monk (not the badass kung fu kind). At this point I should probably put a disclaimer in to say I have no affiliation with him or his organisations, pets, whatever. I’m not even a Buddhist. Just consider me a fanboy if you have to question my intentions.

Why should The Internet know about this guy then? As the abbot of a monastery in Western Australia, he holds regular talks with the Buddhist society and posts them online. They’re referred to as Dhamma talks but most of it just strikes me as good advice. So what does he talk about? Life stuff, really: control, positivity, motivation, that sort of thing. It’s all very calming, his voice eases your stress away, and he throws in plenty of jokes and stories to keep you entertained. When asked “what is best in life?” you’ll find his answer (mp3 link, don’t panic) differs to Conan’s.

I have my brother to thank for sending me a link to one of his talks so here’s me paying it forward. I’m sure Ajahn Brahm would approve. If you find yourself seeking wisdom, give one of his talks a try.

 

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Sep 10

Enter the Dragon (Open Week at the FMA)

This Monday sees the beginning of open week at FMA (Fujian Martial Arts) in Stoke on Trent. The new faces started me thinking of when I took that leap into martial arts twelve or so years ago. I’ll let you into a secret. What sparked my interest; got my idle, student hands off the remote control and onto the punch bag?

Mortal Kombat.

No, your eyes do not deceive you. I really do mean that trashy film from the nineties, although the film can’t be all that bad if it inspired, can it? But that’s for another post. This one is about starting martial arts.

So there I was, glued to the screen when one of the badass henchmen got up and busted some moves. I sat bolt upright and declared: “I want to do that.” Stirring stuff, huh? Not quite the spirit of Bruce Lee visiting me with promises of destiny and glory but it did the job.

I’ve trained at a few clubs in a few different styles when moving around the UK but for all their differences, they share a common lure: magic. No, not the fireball kind, despite what the lying film says. It’s the magic of inspiration and secrets to unlock.

And it’s quite a journey. I recall falling flat on my face after just three press ups at my first club; of dashing to the bathroom to throw up then rejoining the class as though nothing had happened; of staggering to the sink, spitting out blood and getting back to training*. But it’s not all such fun! There’s hard work involved and, as with everything in life, you gain from it what you put into it.

For those new faces, I have admiration, envy and a warning. A life-changing path of enrichment awaits them, rife with magic to rouse the soul. Oh, the warning? Join my class and you’ll sweat, ache and curse the day I watched Mortal Kombat.

 

* I do not recommend sparring with fixed braces and no gum shield, no matter how cheap you are as a student.

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Sep 05

All Quiet?

Well, no, not quite. It just looks quiet on the surface.

Granted, I’ve crafted no enlightening posts on inspiration, motivation, or any subject ending in -ation although at least one more of those is coming. So what has happened? The little progress bars on the right of the page have moved, that’s what. One even jumped to 100%.

Forshai Ascended has gone through some structural changes these last few weeks and our good friend Selwin is a more focused individual for the experience. It also has a map at long last! Cartographers need not worry about their jobs but keeping track of characters and armies is far easier now. Goblins wandering off causing mischief should be aware they’re under scrutiny (I’m looking at you, Sneak).

Thanks to the input of my new writers’ group, Renegade Writers, my comic fantasy short story, Dish of the Asparamancer, has gained some valuable improvements. After some distance and another edit, it will venture into Submission Land, armed with a packed lunch and a song on its lips. But no map. Thems the breaks.

Balancing work, life, martial arts and writing seems to be something of an art and very much a work in progress. If I master time management, I’ll share the wealth.