Thursday, December 22, 2011

Strength of Emptiness

If one practices a form of martial arts, such as karate, kung fu, tae kwan do, or judo, or otherwise, he will have learned that the must have heard about ultimate status of one's mind in martial arts is "emptiness". The literal translation of word karate is empty hand. They always talk about "emptiness". Why is the emptiness the critical state of mind so crucial for martial artists arts as their ultimate status of mind? Why is it not using a vigorous fighting spirit to defeat one's opponent? All martial arts place importance on natural reaction and emptiness. The masters of martial arts tell trainees to not think too much about fighting, winning, or losing. They teach us to be natural, be stable, and be empty.

Suppose one is participating in a martial arts tournament as a representative of his area or school. He would train harder than usual. He would have been under a tremendous amount of pressure for a long time. He would not be able to relax the night before the tournament. He would have spent several sleepless nights. He might have thought about his skill, his strength, or his responsibility. He would think about his opponents. Would they be big? Would they be fast? Would they be skillful?

At the tournament's location, he saw his opponent for the first game. He looked stable. He seemed skillful. He appeared to be confident. Under this much pressure, he could never maintain his stability of mind. He had lost long before he began to fight.

Even a game taking place in peaceful times puts people under much pressure. It is beyond ordinary expectation how high the pressure would be in the case of a real war or duel. One may lose his life, an eye, an arm, or a leg the next day. People living in a peaceful society would never be able to imagine how tense it can be. It must be experienced their bodies stiff, brains locked, and eyes fogged.

Now, think of someone walking down a street. He was skillful in martial arts, almost at a master level. He noticed that there was someone walking behind him. That person suddenly attacked him. He avoided the person's first strike, but he was in a fight with that person. Because he was undamaged from the first strike, he was able to use the full extent of his strength and skill in martial arts during the sudden attack. Do you know why? It is because he was free of any pressure, anxiety, ambition, or fear.

This example was not a perfect emptiness of his mind, but it was close to it. If one can produce this mental state of emptiness in a matter of seconds, it would become an extreme strength against an opponent who has an unstable mental condition, whether in games or real fighting.

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