Grandmaster Rose 04/1993 Spring Address

C&S Self Defense Association

Dear Students and Friends,

As I sit down to write this, I am recovering from one of the worst flu sickness I can remember ever having. As I go through my recovery process, I am once again reminded of my non super star status as 7th Degree Black Belt and 25 year veteran of the Martial Arts. I have always taught that no matter who you are, you cannot avoid all of the "normal" problems of every day life: getting sick, losing a job, failed relationship, car breakdowns, etc. However, as a Martial Artist I can respond more effectively than anyone to these life crisis events. Training in this thing we call "Our Art" enables us to weather through even the most challenging of situations because we are trained to deal with life's most frustrating element: ourselves.

By gaining awareness and control over ourselves through the practice of Karate, we gain control over our life as a whole. We are taught that the only way that we can change who we are into who we would like to become is to alter the way that we think because we are a product of the way that we think. By our constant attention to the training process in class, we learn how to incorporate these same principles into our every day lives; make our lives more rich and fulfilling. We can do this because we learn how to eliminate all of the normal fears that most people have of themselves- what we lack information of, we tend to fear. Correct application of the information we gain of ourselves brings us knowledge; knowledge of ourselves and of how we can better deal with the inevitable life challenges that we will constantly face.

Every life has its moments of sadness and trial as well as its times of joy and accomplishment. One cannot exist without the other: the two constitute the process of life itself. Avoiding the pitfalls and only experiencing the highs is not practical. Rather, we should strive to understand the naturalness of the process of the constant flux of Nature that slowly oscillates our lives from high to low and back to high in a never ending cyclical pattern of experience. We do not have the power to avoid one swing of the cycle in favor of the other anymore than we could will the sun to lay below the horizon for an extra hours sleep. Life goes on in accord with God's design, not our desire.

By accepting cyclic pattern to life, and with advanced training, we can learn to make the most of the down cycles in our lives as well as making the most of the up cycles. When sickness strikes, for example, it is a sign that we must slow down and refresh our bodies. Perhaps we have been inhaling to much stress, or ingesting incorrect foods, or maybe we have been thinking negatively for too long a period. When sickness comes upon us, we should not bemoan our bad luck and become angry at our misfortune. Rather we should get on with the healing process in a productive and mature manner, taking the illness as a sign of a need for change in our life. It takes a strong confident attitude to see the good in the bad, and to take responsibility for our situation upon ourselves rather than in assigning the blame for our sickness, for example, on someone at the office who had the nerve to breathe on us.

And so as I heal, I try to find the positive aspects of laying flat on my back and missing work for almost six days (I count two of the days I was at work as not being at work because I was a walking corpse during that period, anyway, unable to do much more than stare blankly at my phone hoping it would not ring so I wouldn't have to talk and expend the last of my dwindling energy). The positive aspects are that I realize I created too much stress for myself over the last few months- despite being a Master in Karate. Yes, I should have known better. But then, I am just as human as the next person, and just as prone to stumble as the next person.

On the positive side: I am enjoying my recovery far more than anyone else I know of who has become sick; I am looking forward to reducing those things in my life that created stress for me; I am more glad than anyone I know of that I am finally feeling better because I do not forget how bad it was to be sick. I will learn from this experience, benefit from it, and share my triumphs with others so that they may benefit from my experience rather than perhaps having to go through the same experience for themselves.

And because of my attitude in this regard, I feel better as a person: I have used my Art once again to make my life better. And I realize even more strongly that it does not take a flu attack to make me aware of my responsibility as a Martial Artist to overcome more effectively than anyone else my life's problems; I use my knowledge on a daily basis. I practice my Art from the time I get up in the morning until the time I get up the next morning. I hope you strive to do the same. I welcome you to continue with me in a never ending quest for enrichment to our lives through the practice of Our Art.

In our art,
Grandmaster Peter M. Rose

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