Every martial artist trains to conquer themselves, knowing that there are no real enemies outside the mind. Whether our martial art is kung fu, karate, chanting or sitting meditation, our aim is not to control others but to be such masters of our mind and body that all we have to do is control our own mind and all of our negative emotions are banished. Anger, despondency, hatred, a lack of desire to do things are all replaced by mental strength and stability.
We give up many things in order to train but we are prepared to endure hard training, boredom and lack of time in order to perfect our art, and achieve the end goal, which is to have victory over the enemy of our mind.
Our training puts us in touch with the positive side of our mind, the mind that lets go, the mind that doesn’t think in endless circles, the mind that is spacious and flows.
This plants a seed of peace. The more we train, the more it grows. As the great Indian master, Shantideva said,
How could you find enough leather
To cover all of the earth’s surface?
Just enough leather to cover your feet
Is like having enough to cover the whole earth
So whenever you feel angry, upset or worried, pause for a moment, tell yourself I’m not going to give into it. As soon as you can, train yourself out of your problem, train yourself out of anger, train yourself out of worry. You are doing one of the hardest things in the world, and one of the most honourable. Keep planting the seed of peace.
–Sifu Yan Lei