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mahi lunia

Martial Musings: Living The Samurai Ideal

Martial Musings: Living The Samurai Ideal

The word Samurai is thrown around far too freely. It evokes the esoteric imagery of the fearless warrior, principled life and honorable death. To the Japanophile or Martial Arts nerd, the word Samurai invokes a bunch of texts such as

  • The book of Five Rings
  • The  Hagakure
  • The Unfettered Mind
  • The Lifegiving Sword

I want to take a step back - and set a few things right.

Martial Musings: Aiki Energetics aka Dont Wage War On Yourself

Martial Musings: Aiki Energetics aka Dont Wage War On Yourself

Wham. Bham. Take some more punishment. Condition harder, sweat it out. Now to prepare for that one (a handful at most) encounter/s, most ardent practitioners put their bodies and minds through a lot of abuse. It is almost a cliche to hear of martial artists’ with bad knees, hurt backs, jammed joints etc.

Martial training usually has one focus - survival. This means doing maximum damage on your opponent while sustaining minimum impact on oneself.

Environment Shapes Your Response-Ability - Martial Musings with Mahipal Lunia

Environment Shapes Your Response-Ability - Martial Musings with Mahipal Lunia

Some of my students and instructors were excited about the possibility of having access to an indoor dojo. I stood somewhat aside, and one of my students observed my disapproval. He sheepishly asked me, "Is there a problem Sensei? It might be nice to train indoors."

"This park is sacred ground to me. And there is a reason I train outdoors. Do you know what it is?"

"We don't want to be tied down paying for the training hall or compromise how we teach?" he answered, almost as though it were a question back to me.

Martial Musing: Randori as Warrior Dialouge

Martial Musing: Randori as Warrior Dialouge

Martial Musing: Randori As Warrior Dialogue Free sparring has long been a way to test ones skill and understanding in the warrior arts. A small shift in perspective in the goal of randori brings massive rewards. I will share my view and approach to it.

Randori (乱取り?) is a term used in Japanese martial arts to describe free-style practice. In the dojo we do emphasize randori as a means to test ones skill and create new understandings. We usually have one person get in the center, and from that point on everyone just attacks the person in the middle. 

Sometimes things get heated, and emotions flare. And its my job as Sensei to bring things under control. One one such occasion I was trying to explain the difference between "winning" the randori session and "learning in randori."

When the student views the randori session as a mere fight the objective is to win. And we begin to rely on our most trained attribute and favorite techniques to do the same. And that is quite all right yet something is forgotten. The literal meaning of Randori is "chaos taking" or "grasping freedom," implying a freedom from the structured practice of Kata (preset forms). 

What we do when we hit a brick wall is to stop the session and together find a way out of it. This to me is the essence of Randori or Kumite or free sparring. When this shift happens in the dojo everyone wins. No sacred cows here, and every option is explored. This is the beginning of true Warrior Dialogue, and for me captures the essence of freedom from the known. Also we all learn what works best.

So try this next time you spar or do randori

1) Instead of testing your attributes and winning, begin to see it as an inquiry - begin to see each attack as a question posed to you. Now examine all possible answers, and most importantly the best answer for you

2) When you get stuck in a particular place or technique, return to your basics. I return to my Tai Sabaki (body positioning methods) and have discovered that most answers are there. When you do this particular method for a while you discover that "Advanced techniques are basics understood and done well."

3) Get into the mode of multiple attackers on one, and its ok to get knocked out or tap out. The moments of "failure" can become what the Nobel Laurette Bucky Fuller used to call "Great moments." Failures become great moments when you stop and learn from them in real time. Randori provides the best opportunity for great moments on the Warrior Path, when you approach Randori right. 

When the student gets this, s/he begins to see randori as "dialogue" rather than a test. This step is critical as now the student is no longer viewing the sessions as something to win, or show his might. Rather s/he begins to understand that is is an opportunity to truly make this an inquiry into what works best. It becomes about finding the right way together with other students and the Sensei. In short everyone wins. 

As always I remain open to your thoughts and constructive criticism. Until then train hard, and enjoy the chaos taking.

Mahipal Lunia


Martial Musing: The Wisdom Not To FIght

Martial Musing: The Wisdom Not To FIght

Martial Musing : The Courage & Wisdom Not To Fight

For years have taught my students at the public park in a predominantly blue collar town with its fair share of trouble seekers. That evening as I was working with a group of my brown belts, a drunk man walked through the class. He then went on the be less than respectful, and challenging my right to be in the park. Two of my senior students got ready to jump in, I noticed deep anger on their faces as their neck muscles tightening. I signalled them to stay put. The drunk then wanted me to apologize for being in his way, and I took a deep breath. At first felt a little anger creep in, then I took a step towards him. Held my hand out and said "am sorry for having caused you trouble, be well my friend. I am now going to go continue my training."

I stepped right past him firmly and respectfully, showing him am not afraid as I started teaching again. He looked at me in sheer silence for what seemed a minute and then walked away. I could still sense the anger on my most senior students face, who is respectful and feels very protective of me. "Sensei, we could have taught him a lesson. Why did you let him walk away disrespecting you like this?"

"You remember the parking lot incident? The 5'4 guy who was rude and came in to fight over a little parking spot. And he ignored the fact that his 6 year old daughter was watching , and she was terrified out of her wits? Well I walked away from that fight too. Even though I had already run more than a few scenarios in my head of how the fight would end - quickly." They all nodded remembering another incident not to long ago. So I continued " whats common between those two scenarios?"

"You did not fight Sensei, and let those disrespectful guys get away without teaching them a lesson." said F.

"Well, the purpose of a fight is to win. And in both cases I won, because I kept my freedom of choice and right to be a freeman. Besides what would the two fights have achieved? What would anyone have gained? A parking spot? Respect from a drunk guy? What after that.... how would I justify the use of "trained force" .. and what would the impact of that action be on my loved ones, and their loved ones.. esp the 6 year old."

The students now looked relaxed and surprised. And deep inside I was happy that in someways was able to demonstrate a key lesson on the warrior path. Sometimes walking away in peace, is perhaps the greatest victory. It may seem cowardly, but IMO it takes great presence of mind and courage to walk away from a meaningless confrontation.

Another student who does like to fight a bit asked "so when is it ok to fight?" And without missing a beat I answered "if I had my way Never. The only time I would be compelled to fight would be to protect a life or to stop an assualt. Thats my take, and you need to find yours. Though I want you to remember that there are serious consequences of actions. Not thinking of consequences leads to disaster all around. So the highest form of fighting is fighting your own inner urges to prove a point. That is the ultimate goal - to be in peace no matter what is happening around. And should it come down to drawing the sword, then make it quick and effective."

As conclusion I will summarize with

1. Walk away from every fight as much as you can, this requires a lot more courage than you think.  2. Apology does not make you smaller or wrong. You dont need to prove anything. Sometimes giving the other person a way to save face is all thats needed. 3. If it does come down to an alteration then apply only "justifiable force" and think "systemic consequences." War tactics are not needed for a simple argument and a simple hold will not suffice in a urban war scenario. Work those option out in your mind over and over again (more on this process in another post). This is the beginning of wisdom on the martial path. 4. All the years of training in the end is for learning to be at peace with violence and move towards harmony

This to me the courage and wisdom to NOT FIGHT.

As always I remain open to your thoughts and constructive criticism. Until next time Train Hard!

Mahipal Lunia

Rules For Giving Great Martial Arts Demos & Blast from the Past

Rules For Giving Great Martial Arts Demos & Blast from the Past

I found this old video (early 90s) and saved a few minutes of it. The quality is a little grainy - however you can hear the sound of the swords clashing, the hard falls etc - as we PLAYED HARD! Back in the early 1990s when I was still a "young punk"in my teens, and had been training under Sastri Sensei for about 2 years. Its so interesting to watch this as it was many demos like this that got the art established in South Asia even attracting many 4th dans and above to join the dojo. To this day many of these high ranking masters refer to their time with Sastri Sensei with humility and awe!  The "Original Group of 6" Oku Iris under Sastri Sensei followed his example as much as possible. Of the original group of six - two made Menkyo and actively teach. 3 made Moku Roku and one remained at Oku Iri.

Sasti Sensei rules for Demos as I remember them -

1. Never rehearse for your demos, just do your thing - show what comes naturally from what you have learnt. 2. Always use live weapons be it Tanto (dagger), Ken (Sword) or sticks. 3. Seek what works, and make it yours 4. "Play with what you know" and never be afraid of who comes to play. You will always learn something. We always invited people from the audience to come and play with us - and as its a tradition in Asia, they usually did  5. Showcase your art in the best way you can, and dont stop even if you have made mistakes. Keep moving, until completion 

On this video you can see Mahipal Lunia Sensei and Melvin Francis Sensei "playing and demonstrating" in one of our many demos across South Asia. Jeevan Gowda Sensei provides the narration the expert announcer. And througout you can catch a glimpse of Ramesh Jodige Sensei across the screen.

 — with Jeevan C. Gowda and 4 others.

When Shit Hits The Fan - Training To Perform Under Duress with Mahipal Lunia

When Shit Hits The Fan - Training To Perform Under Duress with Mahipal Lunia

When Shit Hits The Fan!

What happens when all negotiations have failed and emotions start flaring? What happens when you end up in a real fight? In other words - what happens "when shit hits the fan?"

Over and over again I have seen even black belt ranks forget techniques and concepts when shit hits the fan. The reason is you react the way you train. Explaining this to some of my students has been hard. So decided to write about this a bit. Beautiful techniques are great fun to work on. Elegant concepts are fascinating and intellectually fulfilling. Embodying principles enable you to leverage nature itself. All this is awesome, and yet there is one all determining factor - how you react under duress! 

When under duress, the ability to remain aware, unleash the beast within and returning to a restful state is the difference that makes the difference. Most martial artists do not train for or under duress. I will share my thoughts and training methods of Mountain View Aiki Kai to develop this skill.

Situitional Awareness, evaluation of options and consequences will define your ability as a warrior. Key attributes to develop are 
1. Controlling of your mental and emotional states . Our brain is the biggest weapon and yet does not come with an owners manual. Learning how it works and the ability to take it into peak performance states at will are must have skills. Study neurpsychology and peak performance technologies, they will pay you dividends many times over
2. Manipulating the opponent's states mental and emotional states by
- Verbal Martial Arts to control the frame of the conversation (look up Milton model, Meta Model and Sleight of Mouth patterns from NLP)
- controlling his/her perceptions of threat
- controlling the choices s/he has

The next attribute (a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of you) is learning to unleash the beast within. This killer instinct is not a chip on your shoulder, but rather a state you can access. I always point my students towards studying big predators like pumas. You will notice they go from extreme relaxation into the kill frezy and back to poised relaxation in a matter of seconds. This flow between states has to become second nature. 

This calls for starting in calm composed fighting in the atemi/striking range. And as you breach the tegumi or trapping/locking range going into an animalistic frenzy ready to finish, much like the puma. And then allowing well honed training to bring the precision of a quick tactical kill (if needed) or finishing move. And from here returning into the calm composed person - all in a matter of seconds. If you do not train for this killer instinct, your techniques most likely wont work. Reason for this is two fold 

1. Brain research has shown over and over again that all learning is state dependent. If you are learning techniques only in the safe environment of a friendly studio, guess what? They will work great in the friendly environments and will be unaccessable in the heat of a battle. Dont take my word for it - try it. If you dont want to try it research state based learning/response.
2. The absence of the killer instinct will most likely move you from being the predator into the prey. The person with the greater access to this instinct will most likely win.

So after executing the finishing move return to your calm composed self in a jiffy. Discharge all emotional content and return to the ability to use your prefrontal cortex or thinking brain. And with it returns the ability to plan and take meaningful next steps 

This is skill - meaning an ability gained through practice. IMHO the true purpose of all martial arts training is to move from extreme duress to relative calm by using your skills. Learning to perform under this duress is the difference between life and death.

To develop this skill we use the following methods in my dojo ( 

1. Shugyos where we head into wilderness for days and train at the end of long days of hikes. Why we do this? Look at any special ops teams - be it the US Marines, the Russian Spetznag or the Philipine ParaMilitary. their training begins at the end of big runs or massive tasks. The goal is to exhaust mind and body before seeing what you do when push comes to shove.

2. All sparring is one against many attackers. there are no rules other than fighting within redefined confined space. The fighting stops with tap outs or chokeouts. We sometimes up the stakes by using blindfolds, tieing up hands/legs or use other handicaps.

3. Training with live weapons - you response will change in the face of steel as compared to wooden replicas

4. The practice of Kokyu Ho/Neija. The essense of both these age old practices is to bring the body back into harmony and into deep relaxation. This beings about the right functioning of the 14 meridians, balancing the 5 elements and building up your chi/ki. 

5. All the advanced students work on understanding their prime weapons - mind and body. Models such as Neuro Linguistic Programming, Spiral Dynamics and Peak performance are deeply studied. As they grow in rank, they spend time studing the energy anatomy. This is essential to build "your own manual of the mind-body to tune optimal states of being."

Remember when shit hits the fan you will not rise to the level of your martial arts aspirations. You will drop to the level of your best trained techniques and attributes. Build the skills of working under duress - this will make your art functional. It could be the factor that enables you to make those martial aspirations a reality in the future. 

Your thoughts? Mahipal Lunia 

Brain Up Shifting and Pure Reaction in the Martial Arts - Mahipal Lunia

Brain Up Shifting and Pure Reaction in the Martial Arts - Mahipal Lunia

A lot of martial artist spend a major part of their training time working on skills. Kata, Kumite, 2 man forms, weapons, and self defense sceanarios. And yet I keep hearing of black belts getting their butts kicked in fights. I believe there the two main reasons for this are rarely discussed, let alone trained. These two attributes are what I call "brain up shifting" and "pure reaction." 

When in a fight- flight situation , the first thing that happens is your amygdyla hijacks the thinking brain. The neocortex process are sidestepped. Your emotional brain now steps in to deal with the threat. The ability to think is down shifted, and your survival mechanism kicks in. Whats needed is ability to gain control of your thinking brain and response potential. This is what I call "brain up shifting" - the ability to gain control/reverse the brain amygdyla hijack. 

Ways to gain control/reverse this hijack include 

1. Slowing down your breathing 2. Shifting from focal to peripheral vision 3. Moving into formless relaxation and 4. Controlling distance between you and your threat 

If the matter escalates into a fight, you need "pure reaction." Intuitive, formless, and in harmony with what is coming towards you. The attack determines an equal and opposite response so there is zero pressure on you. This is beyond a system or a prescribed method of fighting, and into the realm of pure expression. And the best ways I have found to train for this include

1. Training to deal with attacks from a variety of systems. We live in a multi cultural world, and no one attacks only in one way. Learn the biases of different arts/cultures. 2. Spending time working on energy/flow drills to learn to read and feel how energy flows 3. Making distinctions between principles, concepts, attributes and techniques. And then training to have harmony in all the 4 aspects of training. 4. Putting personal expression above system. Mans survival is more important than stylistic loyalty. Focus on what is natural to you. Hone that! 5. Killer Instint and knowing your limits

A skill is something you can acquire or lose. Both 'brain up shifting" and "pure reaction" are conscious process' and skills. This means they have to trained for in a conscious way. The way you train is the way you are going to respond. 

So how are you training to deal with amygdyla hijack and pure reaction?


7 Year old "Karate Masters" is not a possibility! Its delusional thinking

7 Year old "Karate Masters" is not a possibility! Its delusional thinking



A recent video of a 7 year old  “karate Master” has been making rounds. A friend posted it, another sent me a link and then a student sent me the same link. My student’s note also said how amazed and envious he was of this “young master.”  I decided to engage, and either be educated or perhaps shed light on the subject of mastery.

My flight was delayed a few hours, so wanted to invest this time wisely. Made a few phone calls and finally called my student who sent me the link. And after the usual pleasantries we got into the 7 year old karate master.

“She is so impressive Sensei, makes me very envious” he exclaimed with true admiration in his voice and he continued “don’t you think she is great?”

I paused for a second as the line at the airport Jamba Juice inched forward “What I think is that people posting this nonsense at best are doing the kid and the arts a great disservice and are grossly misinformed, and at worst are sheer liars.“  A few heads in the line turned trying to access what’s going on. I smiled and waited for a response.

“What? You mean to say she is not good? Look at her kiai and the picture perfect kicks. Sensei, perhaps you are being too harsh.”

 “Does she look impressive – Yes! Does she understand what she is doing – I highly doubt it. And is she displaying mastery – Absolutely NOT.  What I am saying is you are mixing a good performance of some coordinated moves – in this case a Kata (could have been a dance) with mastery.”  I said, and continued looking at the options at Jamba Juice somewhat amazed at how mainstream juicing seems to have become, They have at least 10 juices (not smoothies) though quite expensive.

“hmmm, I don’t know Sensei, it still looks like she has mastered those sidekicks which are my big struggle. Look at how her leg snaps in and stays in the air” he continued to idolize her form.

“Her form looks good, no doubt, but is it functional?”

“She is too young to test it out Sensei, if that’s what you mean.”

It was painful waiting behind this blonde as she wanted all details of the in/organic, sugar content, juice v/s smoothie details from the young cashier.  I was grateful to be having this conversation to keep my calm, “So what she has doing is a battle form, passed down as crystallization from an old master. And while she seems to appear all powerful doing it, does she have the understanding and strength to make it functional? I would say NO!”

“But she looks powerful and would be a great ambassador for martial arts, I think” he said hesitantly.

“Maybe or maybe not, just because she looks good does not meant she should have the center stage” and as I sad this, the blonde turned around and gave me a look. I smile and continue my conversation “looking good should not be the reason one should be given the center stage. This only makes them feel entitled, and is the absence of humility. True humility is also the hallmark of mastery.” And at this the blonde turns around and says “excuse me.” And then I realized she thought I was talking to her/about her, and told her, to take her time as I was enjoying my conversation with a friend.  I could tell she was not used to being ignored - She frowned and got back to taking her time to order the perfect juice or give the appearance of it.

“Let me ask you this question, would you say she stands a chance defending herself or transmit this knowledge to the next generation. Do you think she would be better ambassador as you say, to an art or someone like say my Sensei?” It was a trick question but wanted to get into the heart of the matter. I now paused, and looked at the Blonde girl ahead of me trying to decipher her decision strategy and let the pause work on the mind of the student. She turned around again; I smiled and asked if I could help her choose? She says no thank you and finally orders an orange juice. 10 minutes to get to an OJ.  I quickly ordered a green citrus juice for lunch, paid the $4 and get back to my call.

“So you want to study with her?” I continued

“Err no sensei, that’s not what I meant.” He protested

“I know, am messing with you but hoping that we both learn something in the process. She looks good doing a performance. But that’s not mastery. To me mastery is a lifelong striving, not a performance. Mastery is the ability to absorb, integrate, transform and transmit a particular intelligence. Here we are speaking about martial arts. So mastery is the ability to quickly ABSORB (learn the material), then INTEGRATE (meaning make it a part of your very being), TRANSFORM (bring your own expression of it, and have the knowledge change you as well) and finally have the ability to TRANSMIT (teach this to others elegantly) this martial knowledge. Mastery is the ability to keep shrinking this cycle with every new learning. That is MASTERY! You feel me?” and I walked and picked up my green juice, which magically showed up before the Orange Juice for the Blonde. She displayed her anger and asks the lady behind the counter why is her order not out yet even though she ordered before me. I could not contain myself, I blurted cheekily “Know what you want, go for it, and move on.” And I walked away to get back to my conversation on mastery and have my green lunch.

“I understand Sensei mastery is process and not a destination. And appearances can be deceiving.” I could hear him be precise in how he now communicated. He continued “How do you define mastery in when there are so many forms and so many expressions of the art Sensei? I tend to get lost in all the forms that exist, leave alone know who true masters are”

“Think about it this way – draw a two by two matrix. On the x axis have old and new, and on the y axis have form and function. So what you have is 4 boxes – old form, old function/application, new application and new form. Now you have people who have made religions of each of these our boxes, and see them as mutually exclusive. The old form people claim to preserve the way things were done for example during the 1500s. The old applications have found their niche is being the bunkai or applications experts. They tend to look for secrets in how the forms were applied back then; you will see this in the Dim Mak or Pressure point experts/seminar circuit. The new applications box is filled by personal combative experts who will help you draw your own best way to respond to situations. And the new style box is essentially a set of personal combative methods that are becoming established as a style.” I paused, and drank my juice as I checked the flight status. The flight was delayed another 2 hours. Oh well!

“I think I am following you Sensei, so there are 4 ways of doing MA, and you can have mastery in each box?” he enquired.

“No – to the contrary, these are four boxes to understand phases – though IMHO people overspecialize and get stuck in a stage. To me the old form box is about ABSORB the knowledge – be it a set of forms or ways of doing your strikes.  The next box of Old function/applications, one learns how those moves were used by old-time warrior or teachers. This is INTEGRATION of the knowledge, and as you gain proficiency in this, you start to make new connections. And your own genetics and personal learnings start to inform your own new interpretations – this takes you to the third box of New function. You find to ways to adapt and bring your unique expressions to the moves, styles etc – to me this is true TRANSFORMATION. Finally as your expression finds more ground, and people start wanting to learn how you do it – you begin to teach this and gain a small following. This is TRANSMITTING of your truth. A new way of doing things emerge. “

I walked around the airport to find a place to sit, and noticed quite a few people were getting agitated with the delayed flights. I found a quiet corner, booted my laptop. I wanted to give the student a few moments to absorb this and waited for him to say something. Things had begun to click for him, and he said “aha it makes sense – so you are saying that mastery is process, it’s almost cyclical. You may start in an old style like ours, and learn the applications. Over time I may find new ways of doing things based on the same principles. And then I share that with others, we might find a new style of doing things. So this is mastery – a whole cycle.”

“Yes, to me this is the cycle, and when the new findings infuse the old ways as well, the new ways becomes standardized. Think about JKD – Bruce Lee started this as a personal expression, over time it became a style of sorts, and now is almost a system. You tend to hear things like SIgung Bruce or Guro Inosanto does this etc. In other words, new becomes old and old becomes new. This is the cycle. All personal expressions that made sense /survived became systems. And new teachers came along infused old systems and created new styles. This will go on forever. “


Another 90 minutes before I fly to the Sin City. My old-time student was excited at learning this. And in this discussion I opened up new distinctions. To sum it up – true mastery for me is the ability to Absorb, Integrate, Transform and Transmit elegantly. And as mastery increases the time between absorb and transmit shrinks drastically. I signed off with the student, read a novel for a while until it was time to board the plane. Once boarded it was time to capture this conversation for some other students along the way. And the seat next to me was now to be occupied by the same Blonde who was agitated with me throughout. This will be an interesting flight! Enough, for today.

Verbal Aiki Over Coffee - A Personal Method of Finding Students who resonate with the Old Ways

Verbal Aiki Over Coffee - A Personal Method of Finding Students who resonate with the Old Ways

Potential students find me or the dojo and always want to "talk over coffee" before they commit. I try to weed them out early so I meet them. They have the same questions usually and I politely answer things about style, rank, belts etc. Every so often, just like earlier this month a student wanted to know what i am capable of doing, as though it would be potentially transferred to them. And it also highlights a fundamental difference IMO about two differing approaches and modes of being. I would be curious to hear any/all thoughts on this.

But first a little context and typical conversation (this one happened earlier this month). What follows is about 20 minutes into the conversation after the usual questions have been answered, and he inquires about my own training regiment.

The potential student " You are a Sensei, so why do you still train with different people?" Me "Because I can and it keeps me humble" Him "Is it also because you are not confident in your skills?" Me "I would like to think I can handle myself, but one must constantly sharpen the blade." Him "Have you been in real fights? Does this stuff work?" Me "unfortunately yes I have had to fight many times, and have had my ass handed to me growing up. Not easy being small, different and smart ass - trust me. When I could not take the beatings anymore I started training hard." Him "but have you used your training to fight and beat them up?" Me "who is them? And the purpose of the training is arriving at a place where you dont have to fight but if you ever need to then you have some skills." Him "so you have used your training, tell me more about it pls" Me "what is there to know, i am here in one piece, thats all there is to it." Him "I dont understand, what did you do? how was the fight?" Me "The outcome is I am here, and for the how - well you got to train for that and pay the price" Him "I dont understand what I will be able to do if you dont tell me" Me "I dont know what you can do and more importantly should do, unless I see you train consistently." Him "This is not going anywhere" Me "Where do you want it to go?" Him " I want to know in how many ways will I be able to kick someones ass if I train with you" Me "you just need to do it one way well, and besides thats not what its about for me" Him "Then what is it about" Me "Its about not having to ever fight" Him " What ? Then why go and train with different teachers and teach consistently" Me " One must embrace violence to be at peace, embrace it so you can transform it" Him " I am confused, why train if you dont want to fight" Me "I train in order to be at peace, and peace is the state of being. A state where fighting is NOT - atleast for me" him "I am still confused" Me " When you train hard enough, you become very conscious of the consequences of your skills, and are less prone to use them. This can become a deterrent for you and others. And the end result is usually peace. Heavens forbid, if a fight breaks out then the skills will kick in. Either way the result is still the same" Him " ok, so will I get hurt and be in pain if I train with you?" Me " Pain will become your friend, and yes you will have loads of it" Him "So I will be in pain no matter what.. weather I fight or not" Me "Well, yes thats one way of seeing things" Him "whats the difference?" Me "intention and consciousnesses" Him "I think Kenpo is better suited for me, but thank you for your time" Me "Yes I think so too, maybe we will see each other in a few years.." Him "To fight?" Me " Perhaps to fight the notion of fighting" Him "I am confused" Me "I know, enjoy the coffee and relish he Kenpo, it has some wonderful things to teach us all" Him "You are not going to tell me why your fighting is better than Kenpo?" Me " Styles are not better or worse, the practitioners are" Him "I dont understand" Me " Its ok, I speak funny sometimes. Enjoy the coffee"

My current student who listened in on the whole interaction laughed out loud and said "Sensei, you are chasing away prospective students" I responded "Am I? Or am I saving time for the students who are already paying the price? Besides there is such a fundamental difference between the students who truly want to learn and thosewho want to fight for the sake of fighting"

"What is the difference Sensei?" "Well those who want to truly learn seem to ask about the philosophy and transformations within themselves and those who want to fight ask about what changes they can do to their opponent. At this point I am interested in teaching the  former group. There are plenty of places that teach the latter. This is where I am right now. Ok lets train"