Posted by: Christopher Rada | March 2, 2016

Clay Pot Muay Thai

In 2009, I visited Rishikesh in northern India, a city on the banks of the holy Ganges, in the foothills of the Himalayas. It’s often referred to as the home of yoga. The Beatles visited here in February of 1968 to practice transcendental meditation at the ashram of Mahrishi Mahesh Yogi. Thousands of Hindus come every year as a pilgrimage to the holy site.

While I was here, I practiced yoga at a popular ashram on the banks of the river. During one of my sessions, I was the only student so instead of practicing, the teacher and I sat and spoke for a while.

During our conversation he told me:

“We are like clay pots that have been molded into shape by our parents and our teachers, hopefully a structurally sound shape. But a clay pot simply molded into a shape does not serve its purpose. It must be first put out into the sun, or in the heat, in order to set.

However, if the shape is not structurally sound, when put out into the sun, it will begin to crack.

We too must go out into the world on our own, to gain strength and to test the shape to which we have been molded.”

This analogy is particularly relevant in Muay Thai as much as any martial art, as a practitioner who is not technically sound too will crack under the pressure. This is why we grade, and why we do heavy sparring: so that we can begin to test the structure of our art, and solidify what we’re learning. We should begin testing early, this way we can repair any cracks as they appear.

It’s like putting a clay pot out into the sun, bit by bit, so that we can reinforce the shape, and repair any cracks that may emerge.

So whenever things get difficult in training, or you’re tired and your hands are dropping or you’re breaking out of your structure, just remember this story; or if it helps, a middle aged Indian man, with a beard and long hair, dressed in all white clothes and beads and a pot.

Posted by: Christopher Rada | August 19, 2015

Martial arts 101 – Protect yourself at all times

A martial artist’s life lesson:  Protect yourself at all times.  This applies in Business / Career, everything.  Of course, it doesn’t mean don’t get in there, but it means protect yourself at all time, when you do.  Keep your hands up.

Posted by: Christopher Rada | January 23, 2015

Suicide prevention is a communal reponsibility

I just came across another very sad article about a beautiful girl who killed herself last year:

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/parents-of-uni-student-who-killed-herself-share-suicide-note-one-year-later/story-fni0do1w-1227193984727?nk=49212cffcf2d5e757c86bf7dd7f46660

There’s so much sadness in the story, and I’ll let you read if you choose.

And I’m not trying to use someone else’s struggle as a way of setting up an argument or anything like that, but one thing that hit me whilst reading this article is in listening to the common advise which is repeated every time we hear of these sad occurrences, and that is:

– “I would have done anything to help you”

– and, advice for anybody experiencing depression to seek help

It shows us how helpless we are as a community when depression strikes.

The sad truth is that we’ve been saying this for years, and people have been getting ‘help’ for years, but people are still committing suicide (even whilst receiving this help).

As much as it is the individual’s responsibility (and I’ve struggled a fair bit myself, so I’m not putting all the blame on suffers, I understand, but I can also see how it is my full responsibility), it is equally the community’s responsibility.  I believe the responsibility lies fully on both sides.

So long as there are people dying from mental illness in our community, it shows us that we’re doing something wrong.  We’re failing these people.  It means that the way we support them, and our (both clinical and communal) understanding of depression is lacking.  It means how we respond to these occurrence isn’t right yet, if it were, they would cease.  It means that this post isn’t right yet, in response, I’m not wording this correctly, I know, for the effect I seek has not occurred.  It means that “get professional help” isn’t quite right yet either.  Sometimes we don’t know what’s necessary, sometimes we don’t know what somebody else needs.  Sometimes we don’t know what society needs to prevent this.  I would give anything to stop it, yet, how could I possibly know what to give?

How could the person suffering know exactly what it is they need to receive?

I think one step in solving this problem is to understand, deeply in our hearts, that we don’t have it right yet.  And I hope that this understanding may just create the space in our minds that’s required to open the doors to new possibilities and new light.

Posted by: Christopher Rada | December 17, 2014

Motto: Failure is not an option

Posted by: Christopher Rada | December 15, 2014

Don’t make it about the money

Don’t make it about the money, make it about the value.  The world does not need more money.

I would rather ALL of my money (tax or otherwise) go to bums of the ‘system’, than to see a single needy person go hungry.  Before accusations of how unrealistic this is come, let me remind…  We HAVE enough money to feed everybody, the logistics we need to consider are not financial, they are of heart, mind and action.

If the system is broken, don’t blame the system.  Instead, look at the culture which required a system to be established.  A truly humane society would not allow anybody to live in poverty, the very environment that the system seeks to fix.

If you believe the system in broken, then seek to make it redundant.  In the meantime, don’t complain if a system that serves the poor, also serves the lazy.  Money that goes to the lazy will not feed a single person, it’s the kind heart, clear wisdom, food and work provided by society that feeds people.

So, don’t make it about the money, make it about what’s underlying the money (value) and make it about the action that it will take to for us to meet our own needs, as a society.

Posted by: Christopher Rada | November 4, 2014

Hard Times

It’s a blessing when the hard times make you appreciate the good.  Even more so, when they make you appreciate themselves.

Posted by: Christopher Rada | October 12, 2014

Follow your heart

“Follow your heart.” A piece of advice often given by those who also believe that everything happens for a reason. Quite often however, that ‘reason’ turns out to be simply because you weren’t thinking.

Posted by: Christopher Rada | September 13, 2014

Anicca

As I wandered around the outskirts of Inle Lake, Burma, I came across what looked like an old school.

Out the back of the school was a paved area, with about a dozen statues of Buddha.  The statue in the centre was the largest; Buddha, sitting in Dyana Mudra, a large crack ran through the entire body, almost splitting the statue in two.

Is there anything in the world that highlights impermanence quite like this?  Everything, intimately unstable and subject to decay.

Posted by: Christopher Rada | March 25, 2014

TED talks

Watching TED talks:

Conquering fear and walking into spider’s webs!: Chris Hadfield: What I learned from going blind in space

What makes a great leader:

  • Where are you looking to anticipate change?  What are you reading?  How are you spending your time?  Who are you spending it with?  How does this impact your preparation for the future?
  • What is the diversity measure of your network?  For new ways of thinking and pattern recognition
  • Are you courageous enough to abandon the past?  This includes things that have worked in the past.  Great leaders are able to face criticism for their decisions.  People, often not from your ‘regular’ circle will come to support you.  Generally these will be free thinkers
Posted by: Christopher Rada | June 11, 2011

Timeless…

 

People smiling as they wonder past
With the scent of fresh green grass and sounds of the water trickling
Birds travelling in twos, through the air and across the ground
Finding refuge in the trees and bushy parks away from the crowded city

Each cloud in the sky seems painted with the softness of a thousand feathers
Each leaf on every tree drawn by hand, so alive that you could touch it
Every blade of grass, grain of dirt, twig and rock, buzzing with the energy of life
Every insect, spider, bird, fish and pet, each moving in harmony

IMG_5358This is where I rest my head listening to the sounds of life
While the thoughts and feelings of endless joy run through my mind and body
The weekend is here and every living being knows it
Not a second is wasted even to stop and look at our clocks

Time in this place runs slower than normal, such that watches no longer hold meaning
Time stood still for a moment, but not a clock in the world could time it
As time slowly returns to the speed of life
No one present could ignore the timeless ever again

 

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