I remember the day - 4.30 am May 27th, 2012. I was getting ready for a marathon run and my dear wife Meetali insists I wear something that she gave just then, looking at the red colored folded Tee-shirt, I was already turning the idea down. I took the Tee-shirt, unfolded it and for some reason my body tightened. There was some visual stimulus that took to me this state of sudden alertness. In the background, I could hear my wife's giggles but I just could not understand. As reality struck, seconds were flying and slowly could hear a voice in my head. It said "Master!!!". The Tee-shirt had Master's picture printed on it. Master had trained us with discipline being the core at the first level and the final level.
Well, the surprise was definitely nice. I decided to Wear it. As We drove down to the Centre of the where the marathon was due to start at 6:30 am, I was full of vigor and excitement. To my Surprise, my best friend along with a few more friends and cousins all joined in wearing custom printed Tee-shirts for me. When I reached the venue, I was shocked to see all my current students wearing the same custom printed Tee-shirts. To top it all, a few of ex-students also took the effort from their routine to be there wearing the same Tee-shirt.
The Tee-shirt said, "Happy Birthday Ashwin Sir!".
Over the years students have bonded with the teacher and the art. It is very difficult to say what actually the bonding material is, is it the art, teacher or the student? Suppose it is a fine mixture of all these elements in a perfect symphony, not too much but not too little either.
Training has always been dynamic with me. Like my Master Murthy said, "For every technique, there are Several lessons. These lessons vary from student, to teacher and the type of teaching". This has I personally experienced several times. Every student is different. A good teacher has to put in an effort to teach the student customized lessons in order to execute the technique. After which, practice with variations helps in understanding the technique better.
Each year teaching has always been a variety for me. In some cases, the mind does not cooperate and in some cases, the body does not. In either case, I have to use several lessons for a student to understand and execute several techniques. In most cases, a student performs easier techniques faster and quicker and as they grow into senior levels, the challenge gets steep. In the case of some, I find them facing steep challenges and senior techniques like basics. In some cases, just by observing another person they are able to execute various techniques.
It is amazing how well the human mind and body is. Just as we think it's going to be difficult another door opens to let out the pressure. I have observed this and started practicing this method. Every time a student is stuck at a certain level, I first accept the fact that this is his/her style, then move on to the next level. During this process, the previous level gets better.
I personally believe as students get to levels of sparring, they develop their own style of fighting which is again a balance of their strengths and weakness. Allowing Such a style of fighting in a controlled manner can yield a lot more than being rigid.
Today I have eight black belts performing on the stage here. It is amazing to notice with close observation how different each one is. Each one has adopted various moves according to his/her body and mind.
It has been such an immense pleasure to conduct the third Black Belt ceremony with my dear students. This has been the most exciting of all the days in recent times. With years of practice and the Art guiding us, I hope to see more. I am sure we will have many more ceremonies in the years to come.
Ashwin Naidu [ 2nd Degree Black Belt ]
Published: 24th February 2013 (3rd Black Belt Ceremony)
Ashwin Naidu [ 2nd Degree Black Belt ]
It has been 11 years since I have been a Black belt. Six of these years, I spent in forging “The School of Martial Arts”, training myself and creating systems which would enable me to churn out a black belt successfully. It took me 6 years to get my first batch of black belts. December 2003 was a glorious day for me. For I have everything a man wanted, personally and also my first batch of Black belts.
Honestly, it is after that, that I started to trek on the true path of a black belt. Firstly for me to let go of me being a teacher and to accept the first batch of black belts as equals to me was a task by itself. Today out of those three, one is in the audience and the other two are on the stage performing.
Initially, just like others, I found it hard to connect martial arts as a way of life. But eventually, without me knowing it, it became so. Not much was known to me that the years to come there would be times which were happy and there would be people who made it happy for me. As time passed things changed and it moved from happiness to somewhere else less than happy. It was during these times that I actually started becoming more aware of myself. Learning to keep my mind in stillness, which was the best music, warmth, and peace I had.
Now as I look back, physical training pushed my mind to every expanding space. Often what we think or act on is just a fraction of what your mind thinks for a fraction of a second. Just like a snapshot. What if our minds can be a continuous flow of thoughts? Yes, I did explore this and my answers came in from the biography of Buddha. It is known to us the greatest teaching of Buddha is to give up desire. But this would cease the very existence of Buddha. In truth to be a Buddha, one needs to have his/her mind full, full of thought. This is what I discovered in my little pursuit of peace. To have peace within one’s self the best way would be to let your thoughts flow and be aware of yourself.
Since 1994 I have been a student of martial art, and as years went by I noticed that more than the aspect of physical self-defense, it has progressed to defense against the environment I am in. The defense just to hold up the truth and the righteous way to live one’s life. This righteous way of life brings about a radiance of joy around one, which brings a greater good to people around him/her.
Happiness, joy, peace, love are feelings which we have experienced in reality; if only for a while. In this life, I have decided it is better to love rather than hate, it is better to keep your thoughts flowing rather than holding it still.
My prayer is my Black Belts see the difference they carry, irrespective of their physical capabilities in the years to come. I wish them to be joyful spirited people. I wish them to release the greatest weapon they carry: “their minds” and this to be used for the best cause.
I know for sure these young black belts will live a righteous life, hold their honor and represent the truth, for they have taken martial art as a way of life. They have worked their way up to the standard of a black belt and chosen to get transformed into one, therefore they will always be black belts for life.