Sunday, 5 August 2012

Feeling Depressed

Depression can change your body posture


nfortunately, there is no room for feeling depressed if you’re living – and training  - in the mo lum (martial arts) world.

You’re not allowed; the training doesn’t have room for “feeling the blues”. Any type of down thinking goes counter against the nature, quality and intelligence of the path you’ve set yourself on. Literally, you slip off to the side of the path.

Here’s why. Martial arts like Silat, Hwarang-Do, Aikijutsu, etc. – done correctly - all involve energy training. Karate without kime is empty; Aikido without ki tends to be just a choreographed dance; Judo without fighting spirit is ineffective on the mats.

Depression, in all of its varied states, robs you of your inner substance. It hollows you out. (Obviously there can be many medical reasons underlying a state of depression. In this post, I’m concentrating only on an occasional depressed, lethargic state of mind).

Pressure points become too yin, too flaccid - and easy to penetrate


Martial arts training fills you up. You feel full going out onto the training hall floor. You feel full, as though you’ve just fueled up at a gas bar, after finishing a class. Full of strength, purpose, resolve and ability.

Here is just a partial list of what happens to your training when you slide into the pits –

1.  You feel “hollowed out”, as though someone spooned out your energy and your self-confidence and left you as an empty jar

2.  Your techniques begin to lack power; your physical focus becomes scattered

3.  Energy levels drop; it’s difficult to breathe. Depression and sadness crowd into the lungs

4.  Joints ache; arms and legs feel “thin” and spindly. Bones feel small and breakable.

5.  Your sense of balance is affected; torso and legs don’t coordinate as well as they did before

6.  Your body’s energy aura shrinks; your body – and your mind – tend to cave in. Also, your field of awareness becomes smaller. Your attention span becomes fragmented.

The phoenix eye fist, a danger to a "hollowed out" body

Source: chinesekungfu.4+com

Historically, if you lived as a fighter in the martial world these 6 points would prove fatal. But there’s more –

7.  Since depression has caved you inward, shrunk your aura, and hollowed out your essence – you’ve become much easier to hit. This is exceedingly dangerous in a world where fighters know how to attack the body’s pressure points. The pressure points across your torso alone are flaccid and weak, too yin and easy to push inward

8. If #7 isn’t enough, a state of depression often makes you return to earlier problems of posture that you had. Poor body types – chin too far forward; neck curved too far back; stomach and mid-back misalignments. Martial arts with its proper musculoskeletal alignments corrected that. But now depression is distorting the body back to its original postures.

In the old martial arts world, you’ve become a walking target for a fighter who uses the phoenix eye fist.

Weapons require positive energy to be effective


If you thought weapons might help keep an attacker at bay, please pick up a staff while you’re in a state of depression. Notice how stiff it feels. It’s a frozen up as you are!

Swords feel lifeless; they don’t have that independent floating sensation, like lifting a benign dragon up to the breeze to sail upon. Gone too are the incredible flexibility and subtlety that made the Okinawan sai a magical tool in your hands.

Why? Negative energy flowing from you into the weapon, draining the weapon of its positive energy. The weapon now too is depressed!

When we train sincerely in martial arts (not the recreational kind of martial arts), we train for real. Which means that after we’ve been thrown to the mat 100 times, we get up off the mat – and try again.

That’s why we have various levels of contact training in the martial arts. Contact represents the blows life aims at us, often daily. In Tai Chi, and I Chuan, when we are hit, we learn to pick ourselves off the floor with a smile. Then we fill ourselves up with energy – and try again. And again.

Without the again and again, we are acting contrary to the demands of the martial world.

I have a saying every time I start to feel down – “Mo Lum doesn’t allow depression. You took the mo lum path. Stick with it!”

Somewhat harsh – but not as harsh as being hit after you’ve already emptied yourself out!

Please watch for some more posts on this topic. And never let anyone – including yourself – rob you of your positive energy.

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