Like Nothing Else.

2014, I resolve


Haoli makahiki hou!  (Happy New Year) to all,

On this last day of 2013, I thought it useful to write down a few thoughts regarding last year, the coming year and our training experience.

The dojo Alaka'i, brown belts, are asked to memorize the 10 qualities and traits we strive to embody. They are:

1.   Ju-- Non resistance, acceptance.

2.   Aloha-- Universal love, compassion.

3.   Lokahi-- Unity of mind. Balance.

4.   Shibui-- Natural perfection

5.   Mahalo-- Gratitude and appreciation

6.   Kala-- Forgiveness and resolution.

7.   Pono-- Correctness. Accordance.

8.   Kokua-- Assistance. Cooperation.

9.   Shin-- Selflessness

10. 'Ohana-- Familiar respect

Topical for today, I would like to suggest we resolve towards the following--

Let us:

Resolve to be Gentle.

JU, originally translated as "Gentleness" is a trait belonging to those who do not attempt to FORCE their will or strength upon others. In the same way that a key does not force a lock open, gentleness functions from a level of understanding that provides the right combination of firmness and flexibility to allow the right thing to happen. JU is the key not only to our entire martial ART but also to our martial WAY of being. Let us be more gentle.

Resolve to be True.

The idea of truth is conveyed in the Hawaiian word PONO. Pono is more than the belief that we are doing the right thing, it is the knowledge that we are being true to ourselves. We are authentic in our nature. Each of us is born unique and has unique gifts to share with the world. Being true to yourself is the greatest gift you can give and receive. Your dojo is a place to learn and practice your art with the intention of moving in accordance with your true spirit. Hence the term "Do-Jo... The hall where we practice the way". To that end, let us be more true.

Resolve to be Selfless.

Its in selflessness that we find the secrets to our art, to ourselves and to our purpose. Kokua, mutual assistance for mutual gain, nourishes selflessness like water nourishes a seedling. Aloha, compassion for others, illuminates selflessness like the sun that shines on the field. Mahalo, gratitude for all, gives rise to selflessness like the warm, rich soil gives rise to the stalk. Selflessness is that which remains after you strip away the burdens of fear, guilt, regret and anger. It is our SHIN, true nature, being revealed through the still reflection in the water. At the root of all virtues, our greatest benefits arise from selflessness. Selflessness may in fact be seen as the sum total of all 10 virtues.

Practicing our art is an investment in ourself. Each repetition brings a particular behavior closer to being naturalized, or made permanent. The dojo, and the mat in particular, then become a repository of effort that serves to change us for the better or for the worse. It's our intention, or in this case our resolution, the makes the choice. 

That which makes us either a "good guy" or a "bad guy" has more to do with our degree of selflessness than it does our inherited morality. And its towards that that I propose we rededicate our efforts in 2014.

Happy New Year and see you next week!

Sensei Kimo