Episode 10: Self-Awareness As A Martial Artist
In this episode of the Martial Art of Self podcast, we look at self-awareness as a Martial Artist. What is self-awareness, how and where does it apply?
Self-Awareness isn’t a magical potion that is going to make you great and transcendental all of a sudden. It is rather challenging, tough work and an ongoing, never-ending process. It will bring many good, bad and ugly parts of ourselves to the limelight. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary. It is a key that will unlock new doors to ourselves that we didn’t recognize possible.
The saying is that the truth hurts. Self-Awareness will be hurtful. But it is also said that the truth shall set you free. Self-Awareness will also do that.
In this episode I discuss what I have come to understand self-awareness to be at the moment, how that understanding is not stagnant but ever moving, flowing and expanding as I walk and live my life, as well as discussing an example where and how I apply the principle and state of self-awareness in the practice of Martial Arts.
Music by Fidelis Spies
[00:00] Welcome to the Martial Art of Self podcast, a podcast about bringing the essence of martial arts back to self.
[00:12] Hi everyone, this is Aldin, and in today’s episode we are talking about what is self-awareness, and what is self-awareness as a martial artist?
[00:22] What does it even mean to be self-aware? I would say self-awareness is a state where I am observing myself and I am observing my movements, my expression, what I think, how my thoughts look like, how they move within my mind, what my emotional- and feeling reaction are, knowing and discerning, and being able to discern and tell when I am in a reaction and not clear, when I am no stable, when I am stable, when I am grounded, when I am not grounded, when I am being objective, when I am not being objective, but reactive.
[01:08] It is knowing, seeing and being able to say when I am being dishonest with myself, when I am deceiving myself, or when I am trying to trick myself however so slightly that may be. It is also knowing and understanding and seeing that I may not know everything about a topic, or about a part of myself, such as where exactly a pattern of behavior or thinking that I participate in, that exist in me and my design started or emerged, and became part of me, but at the same time self-awareness implies and is to know and see that being honest I can see that I can figure that out by ways of self-introspection, self-investigation through applications such as, for example active self-reflective writing, or journaling, or speaking, and so on.
[02:26] Being self-aware is knowing, seeing and admitting to myself when I am fooling myself when I am being spiteful when I am being judgemental and don’t really have an acceptable reason for such behavior, or such participation in those experiences, or expressions.
[02:52] It is being in this kind of constant self-observative state, observing myself and observing my every move and movement inside of me, inside my mind and inside my body and then actively, and deliberately make the decision myself on how I want to approach and respond to this moment, to this situation, to this circumstance – like how I would like to respond to a reaction I am having to something, or someone.
[03:32] Being self-aware as a martial artist, is to know – I would say to know, see and admit and audit yourself in moments where you are slacking off and not doing your best you can and you are letting, accepting, and allowing reasons and justifications that aren’t really true, and valid to get in the way of your practice, or in the way of your living as a martial artist.
[04:08] Self-Awareness in this context is also, auditing, seeing, recognizing and admitting to yourself when you are accessing and acting, for example, egotistical, and from a state of ego. Like when you go into superiority, for example, or a feeling and state of thought where you see, define and judge yourself as better and more than someone else due to your, for example, better skill, or skill-set in martial arts, and so on. It is then also to see, recognize, admit to yourself that you can change that – that really, when you are honest with you, you can see that that is not a viable and respectable way to live and act and behave and treat another, for you see in your self-honesty, in your self-aware state that you wouldn’t like to be on the receiving end of such behavior and treatment either.
[05:07] So, self-awareness includes the act of self-auditing, I would say, but isn’t just that. It is being informed about what goes on inside you, in your mind, in your body, and in your being, but not just that. It is possessing knowledge and alertness about minute movements of thoughts, emotional- feeling reactions, physical patterns, and behaviors, but isn’t limited to just that attribute, or attribute-set. It is a form or act of intelligence, of possessing intelligence about yourself, your reason for doing certain things you do, for having certain thoughts you do, for reacting to people or things certain ways you do, for having certain relationships to people or something in your reality, such as martial arts, for example, or a particular exercise or movement or experience; for doing certain things, for why you are living certain ways, for why you are doing martial arts in the first place, for example; for why you love martial arts, to know the true core reason why martial arts is such a deep part of your live and what the core real true motivation is that keeps you doing and going within your practice, even if often the practice is very hard, difficult and challenging as you may know, and very long, and requires a lot of commitment, and dedication, and effort on your part, and time. Yet, self-awareness isn’t just that intelligence. Self-awareness, I would say, implores the ‘state’ of perceiving, and sensing, and ‘feeling’ yourself and what is going on in you, in yourself, in your thoughts, what and why you speak the words and ways you do, how you behave, and why you behave, and act certain ways, your quirks, and so forth.
[07:18] Self-awareness includes all of those attributes, all of those states and all of those actions, yet it is not limited to only those. I always discover new attributes about what self-awareness is and what it includes, which expands my view, my perspective, my understanding and my definition of the word and the concept and the principle or principles of self-awareness, and how to live it.
[07:57] An example about self-awareness, and to make it more tangible is that for example when I relate it to my martial arts practice, to be alert, and to know, to see and to admit to myself that when I don’t want to do a certain practice, or exercise of the martial arts system that I practice, because I have built up so many thoughts, and with that so many emotional reactions of, for example, impatience, stress, resistance, irritability, a lot of memories of past moments of feeling all these ways of just wanting to stop and run away and abort the exercise and give up, and feel the sweet relief of giving up and stopping, for example during moments that were really physically and mentally challenging for me, and to with that alertness, with that knowing, that understanding and seeing decide and push myself to be honest with me, in admitting and seeing and acknowledging that I see in fact, and know now how I have gotten myself into this very peculiar, particular state of just not wanting to do this exercise for example, and having this particular relationship of resistance to this particular exercise, and that that is not a valid reason and justification to me to now go on and say — and make the decision to not do the exercise, or the practice, to skip on this exercise and training for today, or this time, for example. To, then with that knowing, with that understanding and that seeing admit and acknowledge that I can and need, actually, to move myself actively, principally, by principle to do something about it, to actively get myself out of this state, by for example breathing, calming myself down, or meditating for a bit, going for a job – jogging a bit, or doing another lighter exercise, just to get myself out of this emotional mind-state that I am, and get myself back more into my body and into the present here moment. And from there to then acknowledge and see that I can do something about it, and if I am being really honest with myself I actually have to do something about it, for there is no valid reason I can claim, and I know this in self-honesty, that I cannot do the exercise, or get myself out of this state, or support myself at least to get out of this state, and at least do a bit of the exercise, or practice, or responsibility, or whatever it is that I need to do, and is part of my commitment that I made to myself to do. And, to then do do something actually about it with the intent and aim to move and lead myself towards ending up doing that exercise and practice and training that I resist, and resisted. I would say that that is an example, in my understanding, in for example this context of self-awareness in martial arts, and martial arts practice. And, this is only one example of self-awareness, and what it includes, and what being self-aware includes, and what it includes to live self-awareness.
[11:58] Self-awareness as a martial artist, I would say, is to not criticize, or also includes, to not criticize, to not dismiss other martial arts styles, and systems, and look down upon them, trash talk them, go into an egotistical superiority complex of claiming one’s own style or practice and understanding and experience of the art and systems and principles and philosophies of martial arts as being the best, or as the most advance. It is to not judge someone else from another practice, from another viewpoint, from another perspective, path, and understanding.
[12:46] Yet, it also implies though to have the courage to, for oneself, drop, let go and discard the styles, movements and parts of a style, or principle or system that isn’t working for one’s own unique body-mind-physical relationship — I mean we all have unique bodies, and beings, and minds for that matter if you want, and thus our relationship to physical movements and systems also varies. But to do that in a way that is non-judgmentally however. Not discriminating a movement, a style, a system or principle of martial arts, or someone’s teaching. Yet, having that courage, and that faith in oneself in knowing when something isn’t the best for oneself, and to have the courage and the strength to stop following it blindly, just because others are doing it, or promoting it. To know that not every single same thing, or system, or style, or movement, or practice, or application works the same for everyone and every unique body. Certain things work better for some, other ways better for others, I would say, and from my own experience.
[14:07] So, Self-Awareness is not a – it is not this magical thing that will transform your life all of a sudden, and make you enlightened, or supernatural, or give your supernatural abilities or anything like that. It is most certainly not a quick-fix pill, and it’s also not the next big thing that everyone will start doing and posting about on social media and talking big about. I mean if anything, from personal experience, self-awareness has quite the opposite effect if you will. It initially especially will bring forth a lot of shit about yourself, and what you do, and your individual design and how you function, if you will, more so than you will ask for if that makes sense. But, it is necessary. The truth hurts, as they say. But, the truth shall also, and will also set you free, is also the saying. Self-awareness is not an automated thing, especially not initially. I mean it gets easier with time and practice to maintain, if you will, that stay of self-awareness — and if you look at it we are really always aware of ourselves, and what’s going on inside ourselves, and when we are doing something, when we are accepting and allowing ourselves to participate in certain thought, emotional, feeling reactions, inner dialogues, judgments, and certain other behaviors, and interactions in our relationships, and how we define and live and have certain relationships to things and people. I mean, we are always aware of ourselves, if we are being self-honest, and stop suppressing.
[16:04] So, self-awareness is not an automated thing, as I said, especially initially, and if anything it is actually a lot of active — a lot of active, and self-directed work that you have to do continuously, but it is worth it. It is one of those core principles, and elementary and atomic tools, or sub-atomic particle tools, or elements if you will, that is the building block from which self-creation, and self-understanding, and self.change, and self-transformation can come and happen, and will with practice and continuous deployment of the practice, and living of it.
[16:58] Thank you very much, I will see you in the next episode.
[17:05] Thank you for listening to the Martial Art of Self podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, then please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes. You can also follow this podcast on Twitter and Instagram. For more information about the Martial Art of Self, please visit martialartofself.com