Archive for Competition

Martial Artists and ‘The Ego’ : Sifu Lee

Posted in Day's Lesson, Internal Development, Philosophy, Teaching Topic with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2012 by Sifu Freddie Lee

A Martial Artist does not forever enhance this ego, he enhances it, & then he destroys it. He raises himself up, & then he lowers himself back down. He understands both.

He understands the ego way & he understands the way with no ego.

He knows how to be hard but he also knows how to be soft. He is gentle & sweet but he can be fierce when it is called upon for him to be fierce.  He does not enjoy seeing others suffer but he understands that at certain times others will need to suffer in order to grow.

Freddie Lee

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10 Questions with Tim Morehouse

Posted in 10 Questions, Fencing, Fighters, Swordsmanship, Weapons with tags , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2011 by Combative Corner

Tim Morehouse is an Olympic Silver medalist in fencing (Beijing Games 2008) and a National Champion (2010, Atlanta, GA).  He has achieved a lot since getting graduating from Brandeis University including: Masters degree in Education, the number one ranked US Men’s Saber Fencer (2009-2010) steadily climbing the ranks to within the top 15 in the world.  The CombativeCorner has been eager to learn about this guy, and luckily we did.  Look to find all in his upcoming book, due out in Spring 2012.  Click on the image above to visit his website.

How did you know you wanted to be a fencer?

I didn’t! I didn’t even know what fencing was when I first went to the tryouts at my middle school, but it was one of the few options for being on a team at my school, so I went to check it out and fell in love!

What was your biggest challenge when you first started?

My first semester of fencing I actually got a C! I had a hard time focusing and paying attention for long periods of time when I was younger so fencing really helped me to improve my focus an discipline, but focusing was also my biggest challenge at the start.

What is your favorite weapon and why?

Saber. I have fenced it since I was 14. I started in foil, but I always use to look over at the people practicing saber and wanted to do that one instead so I made the switch to saber. It if fast, dynamic and a lot of fun.

What is the greatest thrill of your career thusfar?

Winning Olympic Silver Medal in 2008 Beijing Olympics, my National Championship in 2010 and becoming a first team all-American in 2000 while representing my school Brandeis University

What athlete has inspired you the most and why?

Jackie Robinson was a big inspiration for me. I wrote a book report on him when I was in 4th grade and the character he showed helping to overcome the color barrier in Major League Baseball was unbelievable. He faced so many challenges and overcame all of them.

What is your favorite film to watch (that has fencing) and what about it makes it your favorite?

The favorite fencing thing I’ve watched is the Modern American family fencing episode and it is HILLARIOUS! The son on the show is a dominating epee fencer at his club and his family is so proud, but he wants to retire before the gold since he has to fence a girl…I don’t want to give away the whole episode! They just did the whole episode so well, had me dying of laughter!

What would Tim Morehouse have become (you think) had fencing not been a part of your life?

I’m not sure. I really enjoy acting and have done a lot of classes in high school and was missing one credit to be a theater minor in college. I was never able to do any plays because fencing always took priority.

What goes through your mind before you begin a bout?

I’m thinking about what action I’m about to execute and also telling myself to “come to my baseline” mental place. I always want to be fencing from a familiar and strong mental place. Never get too high and never get too low.

What ritualistic, superstitious, or mental preparation do you do pre-competition? In other words, how do you get prepared?

The night before I like to relax and watch TV shows. On long trips, I’ll usually bring a season of something. I also will write notes to myself the night before about things I want to make sure I do the next day when I compete. I have a very regimented warm up routine involving mental and physical warm up as well. Not too many superstitions.

What passions does Tim Morehouse have off the strip?

I enjoy doing things that are challenging and that help people. I was a teacher for 3 years with Teach For America and worked another 4 years on staff training teachers to work in inner-city schools so I would say that education is my biggest passion. I also enjoy blogging, doing a bit of stand-up comedy every once in a while, meeting great new people and planning events.

Bonus Question:

If Tim Morehouse was a superhero, what power would he have and what weapon (if any) would he have and why?

The power to help people believe in themselves more. (including myself!) I think you can link back most successes to having confidence and belief in what you’re doing. Imagine what kind of world we could live in, if more people pursued their passions and ideas 100% and weren’t afraid to play it safe.

One-On-One with Freddie Lee: Competition

Posted in Martial Arts, Philosophy with tags , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2010 by Sifu Freddie Lee

Competition fighting is all about egos.  Without an ego you would not be in competition. That is the fostering of the opposite of what the spiritual side of martial arts should really be about, which is to destroy the ego, not foster it in which to make it stronger.  Competition fighters are extremely dedicated athletes; they are great athletes likened to football players, basketball players, gymnasts, etc.  They have come close to perfection of the physical aspect of the martial arts, but have denied the mental and spiritual aspects which are just as important if not more important.  There are great people in all fields of study, great psychologists, doctors, teachers, etc.  Educators are contributing something that is much more valuable to the society than a brute that can be put in the ring like an animal for a crowd to watch in a fight.  How in any way is that to benefit the society other then to motivate more humans to do the same?

As for basketball, baseball, and various other sports, it’s a game and people are not playing it to hurt one another.  But in competition fighting, people are doing whatever they can to hurt one another.  The more they hurt one another the better.  What is the sense in that?  If people really want to hurt one another then why not just go to war?  But yet war and gun violence is discouraged but yet televised public displays of individuals bashing one another with fists and feet is somehow accepted.

Competition tournament fighting just serves to reinforce and develop the ego in man that should be eliminated.  Being drawn into competition fighting is basically going backwards rather than forwards in the progression to spirituality.  If some great fighter can beat up another man, what does that really prove?  One man is just proving his physical excellence over someone else, but why is that important?  Does an adult male need to prove his excellence over a toddler by putting the toddler in the hospital?  Does an adult male need to prove his excellence over a woman and rape her against her will?

If person A is a better fighter than person B and overpowers person B in a ring fight, what has person A really proved?   Person A was able to beat person B on the Monday night fight, but what about Tuesday, Wednesday, and every other following day?  If person B was smart and knew that person A had an advantage over him physically, person B would not have even gotten in that ring fight and would have devised a more tactical way to destroy person A.  Person B could gather a couple of his friends sneak up behind person A and beat him to submission.  Person B could get a gun, knife, or any weapon and batter person A when person A is not paying attention.  But if person B did any of these acts it would be discouraged by the society and it would land him in jail.  But what is so different than that and competition fighting?

Violence is violence, organized or not, no matter if both parties agree to participate in the violence it still is violence that the society would be better off without.  If competition fighters are admired by the society then street gangs and thugs should be admired as well.  Gangs and thugs on the streets have basically an agreed organized form of violence of which many times involve gun violence, but yet this is discouraged by the society.  But say they did not use guns and they all just got together in the streets and started fist fighting one another, what difference is that compared to competition fighting?  On the streets they would all be put in jail for disorderly conduct but yet when televised to the nation, not only are they free from being arrested put they are given money and social approval.  There are laws against organized animal fighting but yet there are no laws against organized human fighting.

It does not matter how much of a great fighter one single person is.  One person with a gun no matter how weak or small can take the life of a competition fighter.  One person with a hidden knife can take the competition fighters life when his head is turned.  One competition fighter cannot overcome a gang of 50 people who are going to take advantage of him and do whatever they want to him.  In the prisons, in the streets, and in modern times, it’s about affiliation, numbers, acceptance, groups, weapons, etc.  One person’s physical ability can never compete against a crowd of adults that are willing to take this person’s life.

Admiring competition fighters is really not too different than admiring a street thug who has no care or worry for his life.  He is willing to do whatever it takes to protect his pride and respect because that is all he lives for.  If someone disrespects him in anyway, this thug will not hesitate to take another person’s life.  Competition fighters are not people that are tough and fearful compared to the people affiliated to the mafia like in the movie “Godfather”.  That is the modern representation of coercive power, not some individual that can just punch and kick effectively.

Some people practice competition fighting to intimidate others.  But a person who has a firearm and is not afraid to use it is more intimidating than a competition fighter.  One who is affiliated with a mafia or a powerful gang is more intimidating than a competition fighter.  An enemy disguised as a friend that is waiting for the right time to batter you is more intimidating than a competition fighter.

Competition based fighting is closer to Martial Sport than Martial Art.  Competition sport fighters have definitely already lost the understanding of being an artist because if they had attained proper mental and spiritual awareness they would not be entering in such competitions in the first place.

One can travel around the nation and win as many tournaments as possible, but what does that prove?  That one is the greatest fighter?  Surely this cannot be true as it is literally impossible to fight a world of billions of civilians.  So really what is the purpose of this brutal journey?

Competition sport fighters have great skill in the ring but what they do is far from reality. In real life, there is a high likelihood there will be multiple offenders. In real life, all sorts of weapons can be used, such as a knife, gun, beer bottle, bat, etc. In real life, there is no judge to stop the fight, in real life, people go to the hospital, people get arrested and charged, and people even die. In real life, you may be fighting for your life spontaneously with no preparation or knowledge of who you will be fighting or when. There are many factors that completely change the priorities of proper training for survival opposed to competition fighting.

A true martial artist is an artist who has destroyed the inner ego from within in which to foster peace and love.  The goal of Martial Art is to develop oneself into a more peaceful individual.  Not a competitive and violent individual that wishes to boast of the effectiveness of his technique by violently destroying a weaker individual.  Becoming extremely proficient in the Martial Arts is likened to being in possession of a firearm or dangerous weapon.  A lethal weapon in the wrong hands is devastating to society.  A lethal weapon in the right hands can be used to protect those that need protection.

Therefore the most practical aspect of Martial Art in modern society is not the perfection of fighting techniques but rather the perfection of the inner spirit that fosters love, compassion, and peace.  Examples of individuals that have achieved the elite development of the spirit are Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Dali-Lama, Confucius, Osho, Buddha, and Lao-tzu.  Martial Art should simply be used as a means into achieving true peace of mind.  If one was to ever achieve true peace of mind, a true Martial Artist would never compete with another in order to assert himself.  If one ceases to be competitive and if one ceases to be violent; he will attract peace within his life.  And he would rarely if ever have to result in utilizing his physical ability to defend himself from violent encounters.

Sifu Freddie Lee

FreddiesModernKungfu.Com

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Being Proficient In Combat : By: Sifu Lee

Posted in Philosophy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2010 by Sifu Freddie Lee

Ultimately Martial Arts should be for health preservation and spiritualism.  But it is my firm belief that a Marital Artist MUST be proficient in defending himself from a violent encounter.  And with that expectation, it requires very much physical training, technique training, cardio training, strength training, flexibility training, etc.  Basically a true Martial Artist should train like a competition fighter but do not compete.  It’s very easy for a weak inefficient Martial Artist to promote mental and spiritual development over physical development because they have the luxury of skipping a very important aspect that requires years of development.  To me, they are not complete.   In order to be complete and balanced a true Martial Artist must go through hard physical training, become extremely proficient in self defense, and then come to the realization that there is no need to fight.  As mostly all fights occur within the mind between the ego and the true inner spirit.

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We must realize the clear distinction between a Martial Artist and a Wise Sage.  For example Lao-Tzu, Buddha, J.Krishnamurti, and Osho are not Martial Artists, they are great spiritual sages.  Mentally and spiritually strong but physically weak.  Now someone like Bruce Lee, is a balanced Martial Artist.  As a disciple one must decide for oneself which path he wishes to partake in.  Does he wish to be a Wise Sage or does he wish to be a Martial Artist who has become a Wise Sage?  A disciple can skip over the physical if he wishes and come to the realization that physical combat training is no longer necessary, but if he does so, then he would no longer be a Martial Artist.  As specifically what sets the difference between a Martial Artist and a Wise Sage is that a Martial Artist has continued to realize the importance of self defense technique development and invests a balanced portion of his time to develop himself in that respect.

Sifu Freddie Lee

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