Facing Inner Demons
A disciplined athlete and wealthy martial arts businessman I knew left his family and students by way of suicide. Many are concerned that revelations of shameful actions that drove the man to end his life will cause public apprehension as to what happens in martial arts schools. How could a master of “focus, discipline, and never-quit commitment” be defeated by inner devils?
I am not writing to criticize a deceased teacher’s flaws. We all have our demons.
I am writing to criticize martial arts leaders who insist on trivializing the arts. We pay far more attention to those who strive to be the buffest toughest trash-talk predator, instead of those who teach how to find legitimate power through warrior training with no weakness, fear, or avoidance left unchallenged.
From the 1970s, I have consistently advocated spiritual training in every serious martial artist’s life. To be the most reliable protector, you need honest techniques for stopping stupid violence, along with inner purification that matches the toughness of external cultivation. I nonetheless get eye-rolls and snickers from martial artists too terrified to venture inward in search of needed healing and strengthening.
An associate comments that some professional martial artists took up the arts because somewhere in their past they were hurt or damaged. Fighting arts seem to be a way to get control in life and redefine old identities built around fear and anger. Truth is, for most, martial arts training is not enough to fix what is broken. Like painting over rust, the surface suggests all-is-well while underlying issues still fester beneath.
Responsible ethics and a bigger vision of a teacher’s duty need to be pumped up to match the advanced state of fighting technique in 2012. I go a step further, too. We must bring back the kind of inner exploration training that was once part of so many Asian martial arts. We must demand that teachers be brave enough to fully face the demons within along with defeating the miscreants without. We must demand the same spiritual rigor that informed the lives of Miyamoto Musashi, Morihei Ueshiba, Toshitsugu Takamatsu, and other Japanese martial legends who started as battlers in war and ended up urging students to search for truest spiritual peace.
Too many martial arts programs fail when it comes to the deepest of warrior strengths – knowledge of how to overcome inner demon enemies. Most schools stop at external toughening because they have none of the methods for inner building that come from Asia along with the martial arts. There may be lots of hard training for the body, but no resources for conquering the inner darkness that builds in direct proportion to the power and strength painted onto the outside.
The problem is that too few teachers have the authentic Asian technologies to do that work. There is little evidence that the masters who should be sharing such demanding discipline are qualified to deliver those spiritual lessons. You cannot teach what you do not know. You cannot offer what you have not received. And of course the ones without those technologies are going to downplay or even ridicule the crucial importance of what they cannot deliver.
That tragic suicide pushes me to re-state my demand for deepest inner strength building. For decades I have translated and tested esoteric Japanese and Tibetan teachings for fullness of spirit. I share the technology that should be at the core of any system of fighting as a path to personal power. It would be greedy and cruel to restrict this treasure to the few students smart enough to recognize its importance in my subtle suggestions. The tragic behavior leading to suicide has compelled me to make noise. Do not wait. Do not put it off. Do not hide. Do not avoid. It is time.
Heart of Light, Blade of Thunder. Join us.