Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 06/28/2021

Facing Any Task

This morning feels off but that of likely the anxiety of trying to get to Bay Ridge by 7am so I can name the BJJ class. What am I, a 43 year old man with a commitment to the Dhamma, doing all of this martial arts training for? What is the point?

If you have even briefly followed the posts here you may have realized that I get stuck in certain themes and attempting to justify my obsession with martial arts, self-defense and preparedness is a big one.

Although my reasons and motivations are constantly shifting, I do believe that one thing that maintains my dedication is just how much I learn about myself and the power of discipline and resolve through the practice. The very real physical pains I experience (weeks of strained tendons, bruised ribs, cranked larynx) serve as a great training ground for my resolve and an inescapable classroom for learning about dukkha.

And, beyond that, it’s a good time. Their is a sense of confraternity that I have only ever experienced in spiritual communities before and, despite what you may think, most boxers, Muay Thai practitioners and BJJ grapplers aren’t out for blood so there’s that. And, if nothing else, it is a community of people who are value in pushing themselves out of their comfort zones.

The lack of the warrior ethos in Dhamma practice (outside of the biographies of the forest ajahns) has always struck me as a problem in Western Buddhist circles; primarily due to the fact that it can be so easy to just give in and “go with the flow “ of the kilesas. Without seeing the danger and actively fighting against it, we only bury ourselves deeper in delusion. In effect, without the warrior spirit and Right View, we let the kilesas walk all over us.

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Shillelagh Studies

A hub for the music, culture, knowledge, and practice of Irish stick-fighting, past and present.