- courage of a master is measured by his or her willingness to surrender. This means surrendering to your teacher as well as to the demands of your discipline. It also means surrendering your own hard-won proficiency from time to time to reach a higher or different level of proficiency.
In the more intellectual field of SCM, Ha perhaps equates to patterns demonstrating the underlying principles. The intellectual skill and experience required to recognize when patterns apply needs to be reinforced with the skills and experience regarding effecting change in the appropriate environment. Abstract patterns and techniques are irrelevant if they can't be applied while recognizing the appropriate cultural issues that are relevant and how to address them.
Often we focus so hard on the technical side of an art that we neglect the subtle qualities of relationship that are crucial to masterful interaction. We mindlessly inflict our techniques upon our partner, the planet, the ball, the team, the instrument. Mastery, on the other hand, is a thoroughly open and creative experience - the ability to relate to each particular situation and to any changes that occur.
-Peter Ralston, Founder of Cheng Hsin
Peter Ralston has a rather non-traditional take on the process of studying and learning. He suggests starting with principles and an almost Zen based focus on clearing the mind of the filters that shape our perception of reality. Use your own experience to investigate conscuiosness directly, rather than someone else's talk of "mysterious powers". An interesting man, he demonstrated the effectiveness of his ideas by being the first non-Asian to win the World Championship in full-contact martial arts in 1978. See his books in the references.
Seek not to follow in the footsteps of men of old; seek what they sought.
One connection with martial arts that has written about quite a lot over the years is how martial principles, particularly of aikido can be applied to dealing with and resolving conflicts.
In some eyes, aikido is a soft and elegant art with the ideal being that you can receive your attacker's energy, lead it and redirect it in an almost effortless manner. But aikido is sometimes criticized for being somewhat "airy-fairy" and impractical - of little use in "real combat". Of course there are a great range of aikido styles from hard to soft, some much more overtly martial than others.
The principles pertaining to conflict include centering of yourself and your energy, and receiving and blending with the "attack" whether physical or verbal. This avoids confrontation and can make a big difference in the outcome to a conflict situation. Note that blending does not just mean not reacting to the attach or ignoring it in a passive manner, but instead acknowledging the attack (physically you move next to the attacker in an aikido move known as tenkan). Books and articles on this area include those by Thomas Crum's "The Magic of Conflict" and David Baum's "The Randori Principles: The Path to Effortless Leadership" - see references at end.
It is important to say that study of almost any martial art is likely to increase your self confidence which will manifest itself as a feeling of increased center and is more likely to make you assertive (although some martial arts or approaches can lead to aggression instead). Aggression often comes from a feeling