Monday, June 18, 2012

The Warrior's Way

                             The Warriors Way, Sort of..

The name for this site, Nagual Time, comes from the teachings of Don Juan Matus, via Carlos Castaneda.  I chose the name because these teachings have been influential to me for a long time.  Castaneda was an apprentice to Don Juan in the shamanic tradition of the Yaqui Indians that he referred to simply as the Warrior’s Way.  Many cultures throughout history have utilized similar methods of self-cultivation.  In China the Warrior’s Way is known as Kung Fu, in Japan it is Budo.
            The crucial thing about the Warrior’s Way is the depth and breadth of the path.  It’s more than training to be a “warrior” in the sense of one who fights to protect the tribe.  It’s really more about intensive self-cultivation.  In Don Juan’s words, it is living impeccably.  The Warrior doesn’t engage in foolishness; doesn’t make mistakes; is always at the top of his/her game, so to speak.  The Warrior lives his life impeccably because death is always just over her left shoulder; death is always at hand and the Warrior knows this and is motivated by this.
            I don’t differentiate the specifics of my path.  For me, Taiji and Qigong are the same as meditation, which is the same as Hapkido training, which is the same as prayer, which is the same as cardio and/or weight training, which is the same as getting enough sleep, eating properly, and resting when I need to.  It is all practice.  I prefer Budo as the description of my path, even though my primary practices are not Japanese in origin.  But I also don’t like to focus much on country of origin, family or style, denomination, school of thought, or any other titles and names we use to define and separate ourselves.  I look for practices that resonate with me and adopt them if they work for me.
            The martial artists who inspire me the most are Bruce Lee, O’Sensei Ueshiba, and Grandmaster Feng Zhiqiang.  These men all fused different styles to create new practices.  I not only appreciate their arts, I appreciate their insights and the spirit they brought to practice.  More importantly to me, they were not afraid to break the mold, to follow their hearts.  What they bring to the arts is priceless.  Lee gave us a focus on finding the true path, taking what really works and discarding what doesn’t (and yes, that is very subjective).  O’Sensei said he found the secret to Budo, which is ironically peace.  And GM Feng emphasized Qigong and nurturing above all else.  The approach these men founded is at once counterintuitive and innovative, each in its own way.
            Accordingly, my own practice is reflective of these three approaches.  I appreciate the ecumenical nature of Lee’s Jeet Kune Do and utilize those principles in my practice.  I have an eclectic approach to martial, spiritual, and health practice.  I am constantly looking and adapting.  My main practice is the Hunyuan Taiji of GM Feng, and accordingly I place the highest value on Qigong and meditation.  Before all else we must be healthy and awake—or at least working on waking up.  And I approach it all as one practice, the practice of peace.  The goal is first inner peace, then peace with the world; all the pieces of practice work together to accomplish this.  But, in keeping with Don Juan's Warrior's Path, he also described it as the path of knowledge, knowledge being the crucial thing here.  And it's not just knowledge in the day-to-day sense of that term.  For Don Juan, knowledge is much deeper and esoteric.  It is mystical but includes all knowledge and all impeccable practices are approaches to knowledge. 
            When asked about my religion or spiritual practices, or style of martial art, I always hesitate to answer.  I just don’t like labels.  Typically, I will come up with some answer, but it will rarely explain my practice so much as satisfy the questioner and get me off the hook.  But I really think that most of the time, most people hear what they want to hear rather than what we say anyway.  And the more complicated or convoluted the answer, the less interested they are.  It's not my intention to be complicated as much as it is to be true, true to myself and my practice, whatever that may be.  It would be easier to pick one way, perhaps something popular that everyone is familiar with and leave it at that.  But the easy path is rarely the most rewarding


Rick said...

... and at the end of the day, we follow our own path.

Anonymous said...

i believe that shamanic people were killed through can be every person with health heart.moral pure and not became dirty with money and famous.they been removed because they knew simple truth.