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This episode of the Diamond Mining Friday Podcast is a big one and an important one as it covers a topic that is, for some, controversial, and for others, a way of life. For Blaine, becoming a deliberate creator of experiences, opportunities, abundance, relationships, and health began when he was an uchi deshi (live-in student) in Chicago. His study of Aikido and Zen lead him to begin studying Universal Principles and the laws of cause and effect. Gaining an understanding of these principles lead him to seek out specific ways to utilize these principles for his own benefit as well as the benefit of others.
Over the past 20 years, Blaine has been effectively using these principles in his Aikido classes and seminars and to start several successful businesses, get in better shape, experience better health, eliminate toxic relationships and attract healthy ones, create opportunities that seemed distant or non-existent, and lead an overall extraordinary life and lifestyle.
There's no talk about quantum physics and no secrets revealed since everything Blaine uses on a daily basis has been well known practice for thousands of years. The practices are literally as simple as breathing, walking, and thinking, although its not always easy to break the negative patterns that have become habit for so many people.
Grab a pencil and a pad of paper for this one because there are literal
As human beings, we tend to have a sense of time that is linear, as in, it moves from past to present and then on into the future. It's the way our brains are able to make sense of things and also a way for us to put things into some kind of perspective. The way we perceive time is based primarily in the way we are brought up to see things and the constructs around which we move in our daily lives. When time is linear we really only have one way to go, into the future. Sure, we can reminisce on the past, but we cant go back. We can only keep moving on the imaginary railway into the unknown future.
I never really thought about time as anything other than a point on the calendar or on my watch (now our cell phones) that required something of me when I arrived there. Either be at work at this time, be at school, get this task done, meet this person, do this thing… That is until I had my mind opened to the concept of the only thing that really exists: the present moment.
One night while I was living in the dojo, Toyoda Sensei asked me to cut the carrots for some soup he was making. Of course, I was ignorant to just how he wanted them cut so he showed me how to slice them like match sticks and also how to keep my fingers out of the blade.
While I was cutting, I began whistling and intermittently carrying on a conversation with the other deshi. Toyoda Sensei yelled at me that I needed to focus on what I was doing and that I was being selfish by trying to do so many thing
Often translated as "Fortune Favors the Bold", "Fortunes Favors the Brave", or "Fortune Favors the Strong", the use of the phrase 'Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat' was first documented in the second century BC. It was used by playwrights and emperors as a recognition of the supernatural favor they believed would be showered upon them if they were to undertake bold, brave, and often risky actions.
The Roman dictator and consul Lucius Cornelius Sulla was said to believe in the influence of the goddess Fortune in his life. He was a consummate risk-taker, achieving martial distinction by taking risks on the battlefield such as wearing disguises and living among the enemy. He was also the first of the great Republican Romans to march upon Rome — a great taboo, but one which cemented his power and influence. Sulla so believed in his favor with Fortuna that he took the agnomen Felix which means "lucky" ...
Julius Caesar also transformed his fortunes when he marched on Rome, declaring alea iacta est (the die is cast) as he crossed the Rubicon river. The utterance was a commitment of his fate to Fortune. While Caesar was a professional soldier, many of his victories were achieved by taking bold risks which exposed him and his troops to significant danger, but resulted in memorable victories.
From Johann Wolfgang VonGoethe:
"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one element
Awareness itself is kind of a benign word…it doesn't conjure up images of back alley brawls and high kicks so its not that glamorous. When most people hear the word 'awareness', ironically, I believe they tune out and become less aware of whats being said. The awareness I'm talking about is the razor sharp sensory development that comes through training and through understanding what the dangers are. It's the trusting of your intuition and engaging all of your senses to employ one of the most effective and devastating self protection systems known to man. The PINs, or Pre-Incident Indicators are the clues and cues that are always present leading up to violence.
PINs, pre-incident indicators can be thought of like bread crumbs. They're the bread crumbs that police investigators look for to help solve a crime. They
Self defense is a huge topic and, being a martial arts blog, an appropriate topic for discussion. The topic triggers never ending debates about which 'style' is more effective for self defense, which art will give you the tools to protect yourself more adequately on the 'street', which set of techniques is more effective on the ground, in the air, in the closet, under the covers, in the bathroom, and on and on it goes ad infinitum.
I've been studying this topic for almost 40 years now and, while my views have evolved just as my abilities have, I don't believe the underlying cause and effect have really changed all that much. By the way, I'm only 44 but I can honestly say I remember thinking about the subject in my first days of kindergarten when a girl I had my eye on pushed me down on the playground. That was my first 'awakening', if you will, about the concept of self defense as more than just knowing how to fight.
The topic of self defense can be approached from a variety of angles depending on one's experience, be that martial, life, street, prison or some other experience that offers one the ability to form an opinion on a topic. Of course, what typically follows is a bias based on that belief and any information issuing forth will typically be to support that belief system, which is called 'confirmation bias'. Typical self defense discussions often start and end while sitting on the mat after a class or around the table at the bar and one thing is for sure, ever
"Kei ten Ai jin" was the personal motto of the famous Saigo Takamori. Takamori has been called the last true samurai and was instrumental in bringing about the Meiji Restoration. Much has been written about Takamori so I'll save this space for the more important stuff...ART and FRIENDSHIP!
This calligraphy depicts the characters for "Kei Ten Ai Jin" and was brushed by one of my friends, Esteban Martinez. Esteban has become, in my humble opinion, one of the best calligraphers around brushing some of the most beautiful calligraphy I've seen, and I've seen a bunch! Not only is Esteban an amazing calligrapher, he's also a great Aikidoka, teacher, father, husband, and all around great guy! I highly recommend checking out some of Esteban's calligraphy work at his Gohitsu Shodo Studio when you have a chance. He makes some really nice videos of his calligraphy work and is very giving when it comes to showing others how to do calligraphy as well.
I met Esteban through my good friends, Bob and Jen Caron, who own and run Zenshinkan Dojo in Worcester, Massachusetts. Bob and Jen also own and operate a wonderful acupuncture and wellness business called Body Therapeutics. I received this amazing piece of calligraphy as a gift from Bob, Jen, and Zenshinkan Dojo after leading a weekend seminar at their dojo.
What makes this piece of beautiful artwork special to me is the circle of friendship that it represents. Wh
I was rummaging through some boxes in the dojo after our move to a bigger building and came across this old gem. Its my Shodan (first degree black belt) certificate that I received from Toyoda Sensei back in 1993. For those of you who know me, these kinds of things are not a big deal to me. I don't place much value in pieces of paper with fancy writing on it regardless of where it came from or whose signature is on it. The only reason its framed is because it was given (back) to me as a gift from my students several years after starting my first dojo. I have three other certificates that have never seen the light of day still wrapped up awkwardly in the poster tube they're sent in from Hombu Dojo.
Not that I advocate this attitude for anybody else, I mean its typically a big deal when one receives recognition of an achievement like attaining a black belt, I've just never been big on collecting things and find little value in "the thing" and much more value in the act, or memory of the act, as well as the journey I took on my way there.
What struck me, however, when I pulled this dusty relic out of the box it had been sleeping in was how the ink used to write my name, the date, and rank was fading (likely a permanent Sharpie marker, how ironic!) . The once strong and bold black ink was now a pitiful yellowish orange hue and on its way to becoming roughly the same color as the paper it was writte
The vibration through the thin branch of the birch tree would be imperceptible to most living things as this creature makes a vital transition from one stage of life to another, only to move to yet another vital stage. The end of one stage becomes the beginning of the next, only to become the end and beginning of another, and another, and on it goes from egg, to caterpillar, to chrysalis, to butterfly. For eons this cycle has continued unabated and, unless we really screw things up from here, will likely continued for eons more.
Cycles occur everywhere and in everything. Even when the cycle is almost imperceptible, like what occurs inside the cocoon as earthbound creature inherits the ability to move heavenward, the end is always in the process of becoming the beginning of something else and vice versa. This is the very definition of a cycle and, although the specific processes will vary whether we're talking about the life cycle of a living thing, a product, an enterprise, a residential neighborhood or a human being, one thing we can always be sure of is that the beginning will eventually come to an end and the end will be intimately connected to some other beginning. Or, as my mother always says when things aren't going so well, "this too shall pass".
I might be dating myself a bit with this reference but I'll take my chances. The 1989 song Closing Time by the band Semisonic speaks to this Universal process it quite appropriately with the line, "Every new beginning