TEMPLE MARTIAL ARTS

“Faith moves mountains, but you have to keep pushing while you are praying.” – Mason Cooley

THE OVERLAPPING ARENAS

OF TEMPLE MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING

Life-preservation

The skills of preserving and protecting life through mindful awareness, the avoidance of violent contexts, and the disarming or de-escalation of aggression in oneself and others.

Self-
defense

The skills of combat practiced to thwart an attack and, it’s hoped, escape to safety. Like everything in life, there are no guarantees: Injury may or may not occur; death may or may not occur. This is a reality we must all face. Learning to no longer fear death is the ultimate self-defense skill.

Combat
Sports

The skills of sport fighting, where participants abide by previously agreed upon rules for safety, fairness, and competition within skill levels and weight- and age-classes.
The skills of sport fighting, where participants abide by previously agreed upon rules for safety, fairness, and competition within skill levels and weight- and age-classes.

In Temple Martial Arts Training, we incorporate all three arenas into our training. The “sweet spot” is that zone wherein all three overlap.

THE TWELVE PRINCIPLES

OF TEMPLE MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING

1

TRAIN CONSTANTLY, recognizing that training is not so much something you do as it’s something that flows in and through everything you do.

2

BE PRESENT with yourself, those around you, and your assailant/s (threat/s or opponent/s). Assume your assailant means either to end your life (and the lives of those around you) or cause you (and those around you) great harm. Assume, too, he’s heavily armed with multiple weapons (a knife, a firearm, fists, feet, knees, etc.) and that he intends to use all of them if necessary. But don’t go for his weapons—go for his mind. Look for the holes (the openings in his personhood), disrupt his “diseased” plans, and short-circuit his cognitive ability to regroup and improvise. This is all about being present, paying attention to what’s happening in the moment, and not fixating on any one thing (say his left-handed grab [while he’s thrusting an unseen knife into your side]).

3

BE MINDFUL of your surroundings, and use your environment to your advantage. If you’ve placed yourself (unfortunately) in a dangerous situation, recognize that you’ve placed yourself there, and take responsibility for it.

4

LEARNfirst to move healthily; then, to move often. When under attack, don’t stand still—move!

5

SIMPLIFY, eliminate the non-essentials, and eradicate extraneous and counter-productive movements.

6

RELAX with focused and visualized intent.

7

INTERCEPT your opponent’s attack.

8

SYSTEMATIZE your responses with impulsive, whip-like, wave movements (“Spaghetti Man [or Woman]”).

9

BE TARGET-CENTRIC in your responses, seek to create first-injury, and then stack your responses right on top of each other until you (and those around you) can escape to safety.

10

GO HARD, fight dirty, be nasty even….but strive for greater and greater humaneness in your responses.

11

WINNING IS NOT THE AIM (or submit/tap/destroy your assailant); not being there is. As I wrote above, if you’ve placed yourself (unfortunately) in a dangerous situation, recognize that you’ve placed yourself there, and take responsibility for it. If you can’t avoid being there, deescalating the situation is the aim. If you can’t fully deescalate the situation, escaping is the aim. If you can’t escape (without first disabling the threat), disabling the threat and then escaping is the aim.

12

PRAY for yourself, your assailant, and any victims of said assailant.

THE TRAINING TRINITY

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MARTIAL ARTS PRACTICE

Training should always begin with the body. Through physical training, we attune to our senses and learn how to move in more healthy, sustainable ways. From there, we learn to move often and progress to moving as often and in as many ways as we can. The practice of martial arts is first and foremost a practice of expressing the human body.

While all martial arts are stylized in combat forms, they are, nonetheless, rooted in the ancient arts of moving and blending healthily with nature—one’s own as well as that in which all life exists, grows, struggles, and thrives. Everyone, even the elderly, can benefit from martial arts practice. At Temple Martial Arts Training, we take a balanced, organic approach to such movement practice. Both new and experienced practitioners are encouraged to begin with Set 1, “Creating the Boxer Within,” of The Temple Elements program. This first set of combat evolutions lays the foundation for mastery not just of the martial arts, but of movement—even life—itself.

HOLISTIC DISCIPLINE

As training progresses, it becomes imperative to look at all aspects of our lives. Here we begin to clear out old ways of thinking and pursue habits that honor God and the temple He created us to be. While such training is largely ascetic in nature, it’s driven principally by the desire to find “the middle ways” of selflessness and non-attachment, and of becoming that which we’re doing in the moment. While a human being is, anthropologically, comprised of a material and immaterial part, he (or she) is also an event. A holistically disciplined person doesn’t just live in the moment; he becomes it.

MEDITATIVE PRAYER

Training is, first and foremost, a work of prayer. As “temple warriors-in-training,” everything we do is pursued mindfully through deep connection with God Almighty, ourselves, other people, and even nature. Through the practices of meditative prayer (or prayerful meditation), we get to know God and ourselves. By that, I mean, we get to experience our humanity, both individually and corporately, as it’s known intimately and loved through and through by God. In this connection with the Divine, this communion of wills, God invites us to live in to our belovedness and fundamental goodness as His children. These inherent qualities are intended to leaven every aspect of our lives…from how we live, to how we move, to how we operate interdependently as valued members of the human family.