FORCE OF WILL
We are living in a time when it could be said that men and women both share the same “energy” or Chi. This is not a sexist statement, it is a fact that men and women are very different, biologically, mentally and physically. Much of what makes a man strong has been lost in our modern society. We have passed on the responsibility of protecting our loved ones to police or worse, lawyers. Men have become very clever at making excuses and avoiding direct conflict. If you can maintain a warrior’s spirit, you will find it easy to remain one step ahead of your opponents. It is said that lies cannot stand up in the face of truth, so could it be said that cowards cannot stand in the face of a courageous man.
It is best to remain calm but determined at all times. While your spirit rests your body must remain firm; while your body rests, your spirit must remain firm.
“It is a fact that fish will not live where the water is too clear. But if there is duckweed or something, the fish will hide under its shadow and thrive. Thus, the lower classes will live in tranquility if certain matters are a bit overlooked or left unheard. This fact should be understood with regard to people’s conduct.”
You know what I hate? I hate people telling me what to do. I know that you will cheat in your diet, your will fall back into some old habits and you will make decisions that negatively impact what you are trying to achieve with your body and mind. Like duckweed, you need these shadows to hide under, these are the things that make life interesting. What will set you apart is having the force of will to know where to draw the line. One donut is one donut, only you can decide if that donut is going to keep you from achieving your goal. Do not squander your time on things which you know are wasteful. It takes force of will to make the decisions you need to make to get where you want to go. You must follow the lessons in this book with complete concentration and yet you must not give them any thought at all. By simply focusing your will on what you hope to achieve the lessons will be neither good or bad, they will simply become a part of your lifestyle. You cannot break the rules in the Fighting Man’s Guide, because there are no rules. By having the willpower to make the better choices, you will find you are not making a choice at all, you will know you have succeeded when no conscious effort goes into making decisions about health and diet.
On the flip side of that, you have to also have the willpower to resist the media imagery and your own self-esteem issues and accept that you will not be able to look like someone else. Your will must be directed only at becoming the Fighting Man’s version of your self. Find your own healthy body type, one that does not look like anyone else’s but provides you with the power and strength that you want in your life.
To become something other than what we are, we have to first be aware of what we are.
It is hard to explain exactly how negative thinking can affect a warrior’s life. Since it is impossible to judge a man’s heart simply by looking at him, people have come to judge one another by the words a person says. You should never belittle yourself in front of others with statements such as “I’m scared” or “I can’t do it”. They will soon come to believe these things when repeated often enough. Comments such as these will weaken you in the eyes of others and over time will weaken your resolve. The constant stress that flows from a negative attitude also can weaken your energy, focus, and motivation.
There is a sickness in the world today that causes men and women in what are called “civilized” countries to act like spoiled children. They have not matured or gained wisdom and expect the world to pander to their childish demands. This is another side effect of men losing their male Chi. Without the ability to conquer, to battle, to pit ourselves with everything we have against our opponents, we wander like children from one shiny object to another. Unable to concentrate ourselves on real objectives beyond the daily grind of the work force, men have turned to virtual battles and artificial, childish games. A Fighting Man must understand the difference between children’s games and real opposition.
A negative attitude is self-defeating. You must learn to deflect negative thoughts just as you would an opponent’s punch. Take that negative energy and redirect it into a positive thought. With enough practice, just like martial arts, you will be able to automatically redirect these negative thoughts. Start by holding yourself up in a more positive manner. Walk with your back straight and your chest out, refuse to hide from the world and yourself. Actively promote your gifts and resist the pull to accentuate your flaws.
In the words of the ancients, one should make his decisions within the space of seven breaths. Lord Takanobu said, “If discrimination is long, it will spoil. ” Lord Naoshige said, “When matters are done leisurely, seven out of ten will turn out badly. A warrior is a person who does things quickly.”
When your mind is going hither and thither, discrimination will never be brought to a conclusion. With an intense, fresh and undelaying spirit, one will make his judgments within the space of seven breaths. It is a matter of being determined and having the spirit to break right through to the other side.
The first thing I want you to do, before you really dive into this book, before you make any changes to your lifestyle, is to do a little experiment. For the whole day I want you to breathe as if you are exhausted. Take big, deep, breaths, the kind the doctor asks you to do when they check your chest. Breathe in as much air as you can throughout the day, even if people look at you oddly. Air is the most essential part of our lives, we cannot survive even a few minutes without it, yet if you look around you, you’ll notice people only take in the minimum amount of oxygen they need. A dog has no problem panting when it needs to breathe, why do we act as if deep breathing is somehow selfish or strange? Even if you grow lightheaded, you must breathe this way for at least the first day. After doing this for an hour, you will notice a difference in your body.
Our breathing rate increases as carbon dioxide levels increase in the blood stream. Why not lower that carbon dioxide level before exerting yourself through deep breathing techniques? Be reasonable of course, don’t overdo it, but understand that your bodies energies begin with air, through proper breathing you can also improve your diaphragm muscles and posture.
Now that you have felt the benefits of deep breathing, it is time to accept air as a part of your life. It gets harder and harder to find sources of fresh air, but try your best, even if it means getting up early to avoid that morning rush hour smog. Even if it means practicing yoga at midnight, you must acclimate yourself to a life of deep breathing. If it helps, imagine during these breathing sessions that you are under attack. Breathe in and out as you defend yourself from various adversaries. Consider it a form of shadow boxing, with the focus being on breathing and movement.
Every morning when you wake up, after you have relieved yourself, look in the mirror. Take at least seven deep breaths while visualize the obstacles that you want to overcome. In those seven breaths you must see all the challenges and adversaries that stand before you that day. When you are finished with those seven deep breaths, as you exhale that final breath, let all the stress and concern those challenges have created in your mind simply fade away. There is no reason to dwell on what must be done, it is best to perfect your body and mind so that this obstacles will be not be able to stop you.
In regards to cleanliness and health, it is best to prepare for the day as if it is your last. A Fighting Man doesn’t need to be a clean cut, suit and tie wearing metrosexual. But when getting ready for the day ask yourself “Do I want to die looking like this?” A person who dies looking dishevelled casts a poor light on his life. The way you look describes the way you live, even in death.
STRETCHING AND EXERCISE
You should do your best to perform at least some minor stretches and exercises before your day begins. Each person is different so your morning routine should be different as well. If you do not have the pleasure of working at a desk all day, it is important to stretch out the muscles before physical labour, just as athletes do. Here are some different techniques you can try to create your own routine:
Chest Stretches Side Bridges
Jumping Jacks Air Bike
Forward Bend Squats
Cat Stretch Rope Jumping
Groin Stretch Jumping Squat
Side Leg Lifts Back of Upper Arms Stretch
Twisting Crunches Push-Ups
Back of Thighs Stretch Calf Stretch
Waist Turning Pelvic Thrusts
Tricep Chair Lifts Shrugs
Butt and Back Twists Crunches
Rise on Toes Hogan Flexes*
- * Hogan Flexes are nothing more than standing in front of a mirror and flexing your upper body muscles in various poses. This not only stretches out your muscles and tendons but it also helps strengthen your own self image.
You should not try to do all of these everyday, instead use them to create a daily routine for various days of the week. For example, Set 1 can be done Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, Set 2 can be done Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and Set 3 can be done in the evening or on Sunday. You can also combine these workouts with another fitness routine such as Tai Chi and martial arts, Yoga or weight training exercises. You should not exhaust yourself with these exercises. Simply perform each one until you grow tired, rest a few minutes and then begin the next one.
Sleep is often overlooked in our modern, fast paced world. Sleep deprivation can affect healing rates, metabolism and our resistance to disease. I often found myself more likely to catch a cold when I had been up late all night. During sleep the body will balance its serotonin levels which are vital to maintaining a healthy brain. Slow Wave Sleep (SWS) can even affect the growth hormone rate of men. Men who slept 8 hours and got more SWS sleep were shown to have released more growth hormone during their rest. Studies investigating the effects of sleep deprivation have shown that deprivation early in life can result in behavioral problems, permanent sleep disruption, and decreased brain mass (Mirmiran et al. 1983). We need sleep to power down our bodies and allow our batteries to recharge. The exact number of hours you need each night depends on the individual, but you’ll find your exact number is probably between 6 and 8 hours a night.
Avoid working night shifts at all costs! It is simply not healthy for the human body. Humanity has lived beneath the sun and moon since the very beginning, everything in our nature tells us to sleep at night and wake in the morning. By reversing this, you are fighting astronomical forces beyond your control. Poor sleeping habits have been shown in studies to cause mental health problems, cancer, common colds, depression, diabetes and obesity. People working nights have also shown a higher chance of developing gastrointestinal disorders, mood swings and neurological problems. It is better to avoid working nights all together if possible. Rise early in the morning, eat when the sun comes up, quiet your thoughts to rest your mind and go to bed when the sun sets. It is really that simple.