Grandmaster Rose 01/1997 Winter Address

C&S Self Defense Association

Dear Students and Friends,

On my recent trip to the White Mountains of New Hampshire with Russ Jones for his 1st Degree Black Belt certification examination (which, before going on much further, I am happy to say he passed successfully!) we found ourselves about a quarter of the way up the face of Wildcat Mountain. We had traversed our way up the grassy slope of one of the intermediate ski trails deep in discussion on one of the many philosophical problems I pose to the candidate. We turned and looked out across toward Tuckermans Ravine and beyond to Mount Washington. We were suddenly engulfed in several snow squalls. It was beautiful, but windy and getting cold, so we headed down. About half way, I asked Jones why it seemed easier going down a steep incline like we were on than it was when we were climbing up. His reply was that in going down we were not fighting gravity.

I found this reply odd, especially coming from an 11 year student of mine. The answer was phrased in the negative. I stopped and threw up my arms in disgust and screamed (yes, I have been known to do quite bazaar things in the strangest of places...). "No, Jones, " I growled through clenched teeth. "It's easier coming down because we are going with our momentum, not because we do not have to fight against gravity. Your response was from the negative. Why? Why look to the negative when there is a positive, happier, way of phrasing? If you really believe that we are a product of the way that we think, then by thinking from the negative aren't you programming yourself negatively? And why would you do this, particularly now during your exam for Certification, unless, of course, you desire to be vaporized right here in the midst of all this beauty..." (or something along those lines, I don't quite recall it word for word: you can check with Jones).

How would you have responded? Better yet, how would you know if you may be phrasing things from the negative at times, as Jones unwittingly did, and thus poisoning yourself spiritually as most people who stumble through life do? What guide do you have in your life to go by to avoid this? Tough questions, but they need to be asked and answered.

This is but one example of the responsibilities of a Martial Artist, or at least as C&S Self Defense Association expects it. Jones missed it because he was too busy trying to solve what he thought was some 'bigger' issue, and missed one of the simplicities of life. And this is not to pick on Shodan Jones, because he was able to successfully pull things together for the remainder of the exam process and achieved his Certified 1st Degree Black Belt.The point is that if he missed this, then how are those of you who have not trained as long or hard as it takes to be a Shodan in our Association to be able to lead lives that are none spiritually self poisoning? Again, in Jones case, he got wrapped around the axle on another issue and missed the point of the question. He basically blew it off as chatter. Big mistake. I do not make chatter, nor do I suffer well those who fall prey to 'walking brain donor syndrome' (they've already given but are still walking around...). In any event, he missed it.

How many opportunities will you miss because you can't see past the chatter? How are you to separate that chatter from the root truths? It's like when we were kids in school trying to solve a math problem. We were taught that the distance an object travels is equal to its rate of travel multiplied by the time it is in motion (i.e. d = r * t ). However, on the exam problem rather than a question such as, "If a car travels at 75 mph for 2 hours, how far will it go?", we are given something like this to answer: "A blue car is driven by Fred's cousin's girlfriend Agnes which was stolen last Saturday night in Boston and is traveling South on Route 95. It is a dark night in October, but clear. Though the horn does not work, we are sure the lights and radio do. Agnes glances quickly at the speedometer and notes that she is going 15 miles an hour over the posted speed of 60 mph. Her gas level is ok, even though she has been traveling at this speed for the last two hours. Suddenly blue lights flash behind her and she pulls over. The policeman asks her grandmother's maiden name was and how far she has been driving at that speed. How far has she gone?" There is an awful lot of 'chatter' in this problem, isn't there? So how do you look at this? Do you get wrapped up in all that chatter, or do you simply throw out anything that doesn't specifically relate to the solving of the problem? You throw out the unrelated stuff, don't you? And that's how we have to approach life as well.

Life is filled with 'chatter'. It is our job to figure out why God put us here, and then get on with that rather than getting bogged down in the clutter that plain old life just puts out there for us to get caught up in. And that is why you study with us here in C&S Self Defense. This is the reason we do what we do. We know that in order to be 'right thinking and right living' we must not be consumed with the chatter of life but to rather seek its essence. This takes work and dedication. It requires discipline and commitment. These are goals that all of our Instructors have. And they should be goals that you have as well.

Take a few minutes to get together with your instructor and discuss how to go about filtering out the chatter from your life. If you take the time to look, you will be surprised at how easy it is to get side tracked, but also at how much more sense things will begin to make when you don't!

In our art,
Grandmaster Peter M. Rose

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