What do you expect?

As you might know, in the AEGIS system we use 25 elemental laws to guide us in getting the best out of our lives. These laws apply in both combat specifically and life generally and if you know what they are it gives you a greater understanding of how life works and how you can make it work better. One law that often comes to my mind is the law of expectation.

The AEGIS law of expectation says ‘you don’t get what you want or wish for, you only get what you confidently expect’. The question is – ‘what do you expect?’ do you expect the best or the worst? Think about it because we humans basically, have only 2 motivations – to move toward what we want and away from what we don’t want. This is why people get fat – they move toward chocolate and cake and away from salad and fruit. It’s the same with physical fitness – we can move toward it, which is difficult now but reaps benefits later or, we can avoid it, which is easy now but causes problems later as our bodies deteriorate, unable to fight the diseases that come as we age.

So back to the question – ‘what do you expect?’ and why do you expect it? do you expect the worst because that’s your conditioned state? You always feel things go bad so they do or do you always expect the best and seem to get it? it’s all about your perception – like the glass half full or half empty – it’s how you perceive it to be that matters. So if this is true; why don’t we condition ourselves to look for the best in a situation rather than the worst? It’s like worrying – I know people who worry about everything because they think by doing so they are less likely to be disappointed and upset when it does go wrong and they get a nice surprise if it doesn’t. But this means you have all the pain of worry and distress and then an outcome which you might or might not be right about anyway. Why not instead, NOT worry and then you’ll get the same outcome anyway but without the stress and pain of worrying about it beforehand?

Another way to look at it; if you think the worst will happen, how hard will you try to avert that outcome? Why try to avoid the inevitable? It’s like braking to avoid a collision when driving your car: do you think ‘there’s no point’ or ‘hit the brakes to save yourself being hurt?’ of course you brake, it’s natural to try to survive, it’s a physical response that’s built into us. Yet in life we create these scenario’s which are almost infantile in their nonsensical simplicity, that if we expect the worst, then we won’t be disappointed. But this is no way to live your life – this is just pain and hurt – no wonder so many people walk around looking miserable and carrying pained expressions, it’s become their defence mechanism for dealing with life.

For me, I was that way, sometimes at least – I used these same strategies, like don’t ask the girl out because she might say no and that would hurt my feelings, or don’t compete in that game because if I lose I will beat myself up too much about it. I decided instead on two things;

1. expect the best from every situation
2. care less if I don’t get it

This makes life so much easier. In fact, I know that if I don’t get something I really want that I might hurt for an hour or so, but after that I’ll turn the thing around and see a new opportunity instead. Many of the things I have really wanted in life that I didn’t get turned out to be blessings in disguise. So now if I don’t get what I want I think to myself ‘well, something better is probably lined up for me instead’.

Another way to look at it is to consider the worst thing that happened to you, at least at the time, and consider how you feel or felt two weeks later. It’s over and gone and its importance is so much less so why put all the worry into it in the first place?

For me, I’m going to expect the best from every situation – not, what if it goes wrong, but what if it goes right? And if I don’t get what I want I expect, then I expect that something better will come along shortly. I decided to think that life has good things in store for me and sometimes I can’t always see what that is, and that’s why I will get disappointed if I miss out, but when I look back, it will be for the best, in the longer term, that I didn’t get it.

So, try it, – invoke the law of expectation in its most positive form – expect the best and take action toward it like it’s bound to happen. If you don’t get it, think to yourself, great, something better is on its way’. This way you can’t lose, either way you get what you want.

‘You only get what you confidently expect’ so expect the best and that is what you’ll get.

Have a great day, have an AEGIS day

What are the Martial Arts?

Part 3: What’s wrong with the martial arts? – Competition

I have many pet hates in the martial arts and sport is of them. When I hear people say martial arts is a great sport, I cringe, and want to scream ‘it’s not a sport!’ I’ve never been short of strong opinions as you may see in my blogs, but to me to see the world of martial arts relegated to a silly spectator sport drives me mad. Especially, when it comes from another so called teacher of martial arts.

The thing is that the martial arts are a life skill; possibly the oldest of all life skills because they are in the first instance about survival, which is the most basic life skill. After that they are concerned with thriving, which is to create a good life for oneself and an even better one for ones’ children. The martial arts teach us about personal development, how to live with others, the keys to successful living, how to succeed through strategy and how to achieve a sense of lasting spiritual joy.

Well can’t we achieve this through sport? I hear you ask. No. Sport is the antichrist of spirituality because it measures ourselves against others and to measure ourselves like this is not true enlightenment which is the source of spirituality. You might not be interested in spirituality, yet, but you will be eventually. However, I’m not going to harp on about it here because people often mistake religion for spirituality and many people are turned off by religion.

However, there are other reasons why sport martial arts miss the point. Sport, all too often encourages and promotes bad behaviour and the ‘bad boy’ ethic where some fool is too outspoken and disrespectful of his opponent in an attempt to be outrageous and sell tickets, only to look an even bigger fool when another fighter beats him. I’ve been on the mat supporting my fighters or in the corner acting as coach and borne witness to bad behaviour, the kind of snarling, angry contempt for another competitor; to win at any cost whether through cheat or fair is a horrible side to see of human nature.

To disrespect one’s opponent it to take him too lightly, be over confident when one should be cautious. As a strategy, this works in war, but sport is not war and shouldn’t be used like one. Sport is the matching or ones’ skills against another to see who wins. A pretty pointless endeavour at the best of times and certainly against every tenet of true martial arts. The martial arts are intended to teach us about ourselves and our lives which means we are our own opponent, because no one else can offer a consistent challenge. If you measure yourself against another person one has to match oneself against that person at a certain time on a certain day because at any other time he is different. For instance, if you are better than another person in a competition and then you lose your leg in a car accident so he can now beat you, are you still better or is he? You might say that’s unfair as a comparison but that is what sport is all about; comparison, and as the saying goes: ‘the source of all unhappiness is comparison’.

To denigrate the martial arts into a spectator sport diverts peoples’ minds from its true worth, as do all sports, divert us from what is really important in our lives. Sports are trivial and spectating is even more so. They create barriers and separations between teams, towns and nations. Now, you might think this is a bit harsh and that’s ok, but what does sport actually do to improve us? Many sporting enthusiasts say it gets kids off the street, teaches courage, gets people healthy and the like. But the downside of sport teaches bad behaviour, cheating, and winning at any cost. In short, I feel sport brings out the worst in us, not the best and the martial arts, properly studied and examined has no place for it.

My martial arts are for personal development, not to compare me against another person, but to compare me to who I once was. I am the only true measure to compare myself to. So, forget sport because it is appealing to your weak egotistical side and you will not develop anything useful through it. Sure, you might get fit but you don’t need sport to do that. Focus your martial arts on your own development and then on helping others to do the same. Avoid comparing yourself, except against yourself because that is the only way you can truly progress.

Have a great day

Chief Master Tony Higo

The Key Secret to all Success is…?

secret

Why do some people achieve and others don’t? We all have 2 arms and 2 legs a head a brain and all that but some people do so much with what they’ve got and some do so little. Even people with physical and mental challenges such as Stephen Hawking, Helen Keller or these amazing athletes who have missing limbs or paralysis – they seem unstoppable – unfazed by difficulties that would seemingly crush ordinary people. So what is the difference?

The difference is how they think, their mind set or attitude. The 1st law of AEGIS is the law of attitude which says ‘it’s your attitude, not your aptitude that determines your altitude’ which means it’s how you think, not how much talent you have that determines your success. This is great news if you think about it because it means if we can fix our attitude we can fix anything.

Think about something that has gone wrong in your life, how often have you looked back on that thing and thought ‘it was actually a good thing that it happened that way’ and how often have how often have you wanted something so much but you didn’t get it and then some time later you look back on it and really don’t care. So often what we really want now is not what we really need now and life has a habit of only giving us what we need.

On the other side of the coin, how often do we let things that have happened hold us back? How often do we use things that happened in the past as an excuse to NOT achieve things in the present? We all do it, even people like Nelson Mandela or Stephen Hawking or the Dalai Lama but the difference in attitudes of these kind of people is that they set the past aside. They don’t dwell on it. Instead they use it as a stepping stone to propel them forwards.

If we fall prey to a negative mind set we can become fixated on all the reasons why we can’t have what we want and start to put up barriers against what we do want. Eventually we become sour to everything and jealous of those who are achieving we wish we had.

The Law of Vulnerability

States that ‘a chain is only as strong as its weakest link’ its vulnerability is its weak link. In combat a vulnerable area is a target and a target is a goal. A vulnerable target is a goal that is easier to achieve success with risk than a less vulnerable one. The master martial artist knows the vulnerable areas of his opponents mind and body, he knows where and when to strike for best effect. The true master makes no distinction between how he uses the law of vulnerability in combat or life he knows they are one and the same. The difference is how he treats his goals, every goal has its vulnerability and tough goals can seem invulnerable to attack/achievement of them.

However the better you know your target the more vulnerable it will become. A goal that has been achieved many times becomes completely vulnerable to your attack on it. A tough goal can be rendered less tough by studying it and learning where its weakness may lie. Like opponents there are tough ones and there are easy ones, there are some you can beat easily and some you can’t beat at all. But most opponents can be beat by applying thought and strategy even if (and it’s a good way to achieve a goal) by recruiting help, leveraging the energy and expertise of others to ensure your goal is rendered more achievable. I’m not necessarily suggesting you fight two against one but an attacker may certainly consider that when he targets you, making you a more vulnerable target, no matter how tough you are.

Stress is necessary and every goal that is worthwhile should give us at least a little ‘buzz’ as the adrenalin shoots through our system. However it is too easy sometimes to take the easy path and sometimes it’s nice to do so for a while like being on holiday but like any holiday its also nice to get back to normality and if we want to achieve in life, something that gives us a sense of progress and contribution we must endure some stress through choosing a road less travelled, a less vulnerable goal.

Our life, our character is decided by the quality of our goals and our courage to choose goals that are less vulnerable, that extend and expand our comfort zone. The skill is in attacking many goals whether in life or combat and the experience of achieving one goal can teach us much about achieving any goal if we study and review it afterwards. The more a fighter fights the better he understands combat, every fight has the goal of winning and the more goals we achieve the more vulnerable we make each goal to our skill of achieving it.

We must know the weak spots in our target, its vulnerability, whether it is your opponent’s body, or yours or perhaps an investment goal. Knowing the weak spot means to know also its strength for you cannot know one without the other; strength and weakness define each other. To know where to attack is to know where not to attack, to know where to invest is to know where not to invest.

Knowing your target means being more effective in its accomplishment as the task ahead is better understood and target that has been achieved before is easier to achieve again as the road has already been travelled, its mysteries are no longer mysteries. It’s harder to hit a target that you’ve never hit before because you have no experience, no reference point by which to measure your effort. Often with a new target we either fail to reach it or surpass it: using too much energy or not enough.

Recognising weakness in oneself is harder than seeing it in others but understanding ones own vulnerability is a strength in itself. We are too close to the problem to always see our own weakness or strength clearly. We can turn our vulnerabilities into strengths, just as every strong point or point of invulnerability can be turned into a weakness with the right approach. Heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Marciano would attack his opponents’ arms if he couldn’t hit their body or head. Eventually their arms would be so tired and bruised they would drop their guard and Marciano would then have free reign to hit the targets he desired, using his enormous punching power.

Understanding vulnerability well is to understand ones target well. When choosing a target choose one that is vulnerable to being achieved, that doesn’t mean necessarily an easy target it can mean that you have researched and studied your target before you begin taking action on it. In sport combat the competitor tests his target with attacks, fakes, feints and draws to find where his opponent is vulnerable. Once he can find where his opponent is vulnerable he can launch a winning attack. The same applies to warfare or business. We first find the weakness and then mount our attack. If we can’t find the vulnerability of a target we may decide not to go for it or reconsider our strategy and start again. The ability to find vulnerability in a target takes solid strategies backed up by good technique and the determination to achieve the goal. These are the skills of the master of martial arts business or life.

A useful strategy when choosing a new target or goal for the first time is to set one that is not too far from what you have achieved in the past and when you achieve it set another goal not too far beyond that and repeat this process until you have what you want.

You can also try for big goals that seem invulnerable too if you don’t might learning by hard experience. ‘If you aim for the stars you’ll at least land on the moon’ aiming too high still gets you higher than you’ve been before. The true fighter or businessman chooses his targets well; knows that every target is vulnerable in some way and uses his strategies to uncover that vulnerability. The point of all this is to say that we should not be put off by tasks that seem impossible, there is always a way to get what we want ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’ as the saying goes and we can achieve any target if we have the will to find where it is most vulnerable.

Thanks for reading today and I look forward to speaking to you again soon on the ‘Law of Judgment’

Mastering Martial Arts
Mastering Life – Part Two

I spent many years wasting my time in competition or teaching for free until one day I realised that I wasn’t using my martial arts, only a part of them. I was an incomplete martial artist thinking that martial arts was all about the physical, not comprehending that the other intelligences even applied or that martial arts could improve my life except it helped me beat someone up if they attacked me.

Suddenly I realised how little I knew about martial arts, in fact I didn’t even feel like I’d learned anything about martial arts at all over the previous 20 years of practice! I was wrong to feel this way because with a little thought (mental intelligence) I started to consider the skills used in martial arts against the skills used in life and over time I found them to be the same. This was a huge revelation to me and in part it was exciting and frustrating but at the end of the day you can either learn immediately or eventually as long as you learn. My learning curve came late but it came.

I hate to see martial artists wasting their time by focusing too much on any one area or intelligences, because I know that in the main they genuinely want to master the martial arts and that no matter how sincere they are they never will with their current thinking.

The level of thinking that got you to where you are today is not enough to keep you there – Albert Einstein

These martial artists will potentially waste years as I did and at the end of those years if they learn at all they will have little to show for all their time spent achieving their physical ‘mastery’.

Isn’t it a huge shame to have a skill and not be able to recognise or apply that skill to improving your own life? Yet everyday I meet more and more martial artists who like me were missing the key part of the martial arts message which is to thrive.

Martial arts is at its most basic level to survive but its optimum level is to thrive, to excel at all your life not just a part of it. My goal now is to teach my students the real truth about martial arts mastery, including but not exclusively the physical skills because physical skills are not enough.

Excelling at life takes much more than physical skills as I have said and in the long term this will be proved to us as our physical skills deteriorate with age. However our mental skills will last much longer as when we start to deteriorate physically in our mid 30’s we have not even peaked yet in our mental skills. And whilst we must maintain and retain our physical health for as long as we live, the intensity will be reduced partly because we can’t maintain the same level as before and partly because we don’t want to. Our drive and our focus will change and adapt to our needs as we grow older.

My goal is to teach this knowledge to my students at a much earlier stage in their life or martial arts career so they can apply the martial arts skills they learn to their whole life. This way they will become true masters of the martial arts in both combat and life.

Thanks for reading today and I look forward to speaking again soon