Life is communication

Life is communication

One flawed parenting script was to say “I never want my kids to go through the same hardship I did.”

Dear Boys,

I was wondering why are Hollywood actors paid so much? I mean, there is no such thing a Batman, and yet, Christian Bale are making tonnes of money playing a fictitious character. Why is George Lucas earning like crazy having created Star Wars from nothing. It is insane to earn that kind of money doing something that is essentially non-existent!

So are actors liars? They basically fake it to make it. So much props and effects to make something imaginative look real. Everything that is take as fake, people flocked to watch it. This can extends to business people, politicians, religious leaders, cult leaders, motivational speakers.

The I realised. It all boils down to one word: COMMUNICATION.

Nothing, absolutely nothing works, without communication. There will be no team work, no collaboration, no celebrations, no creation, no life, no nothing. everything; DEAD.

These talented people are not liars, they didn’t create nothing out of nothing. Everything that happens, brought into the world, are work. Work that people communicated with others, to get them to do the work in a way, one single person cannot do. Communication is the key to life.

It is not only our human dimension, communication on a broader sense, works in ways can cannot be seen. A flower, communicates with the bees, through their vibrant colours. All mediums possible are used for communication, sound, light, magnets, weather, radio waves, cosmic energy.

Interaction happens all the time, like it or not. It is only in our capacity as a human being to facilitate the interactions through meaningful communication.

That boils down to another important point, “SELF-Communication.”

If you boys has been brought up from birth, being told that you have been disadvantaged, bullied, the world is unfair, unkind, unwavering, all the messages you both will get is that, you need to be self centered, cruel, manipulative to survive. If the message is that of grace, gratitude and greatness, then you boys will be empowered, decisive and resourceful. The self communication starts with communication within the family. Sure; as your dad, I am also a human adult with my own limits, fears, flaws and pain. My own self communication is also a work in progress, but of course, I need to make my communication to the both of you a different matter. I try as much as I can, tell you boys stories, inspire you, motivate you, and keep my own demons away from your child’s purity. Sometimes I succeed, more often I fail. My dad’s communication with me wasn’t the most ideal, and most of  the things I’ve learned, I was glad I learned it from the good friends I had with me since young.

One flawed parenting script was to say “I never want my kids to go through the same hardship I did.” In fact, as a parent, your dad, I cannot fully protect you from all the pain and suffering in the world, that’s not a dad’s job. My job is to arm you boys with the right resources to deal with all the cruelties and unfairness the world is going to duke it out with you. You both is most likely going to walk the same path I did, faced with the same kind of shit I went through, I can’t stop that, but I can given you guys a better message in your head, than what my dad gave me. I want you boys to be armed with a superior mode of communication, a better way you talk to yourself, to get yourself out of limbo. You can walk the same difficult path as you parents did, with the limited resources, but you will know the path better, more prepared, we will help you along, but you, and you alone have to walk that path, with your own skill, your own level of self communication. If all your self communication is a constant berating, self depreciating, own-self  blame own-self type of mind script, then your journey will be difficult, no matter how much resources you have.

So there you have it, the fundamental difference between a Hollywood star and a Prison convict is that constant self talk in their head. One is able to skillfully communicate the emotions and roles so much so that the people watching it shed tears, paid millions, adored by all. Or one who is able to manipulate his/her victims for their own self centred gains, to succeed criminal goals, damage society, and hurt those people who loved them so much. More importantly, I hope I am able to arm you boys with good, quality self talk so that you boys grow up to become strong independent men, capable of inspiring people with your ability to communicate your goals and aspirations. That all starts from within.


Fighting to teach you fighting

Dear Boys,

You know your dad is into martial arts, specifically, Aikido. And for any martial arts dad, I naturally would like to impart some of that to you boys. No, I try to resist that. I want to resist putting my opinions on you boys, and instead I would like you guys to develop your own interest. If it happens to be martial arts, then okay, that’s great, if it is not, then that’s okay too.

Yes, I bought a junior kiddo gi for Ian many years back, so much so that you have outgrown it and handed it down to your little brother. It was more of a ‘costume’ thingy than it was a proper martial arts regime.

Life sometimes is a matter of Jekyll and Hyde.

I did try to teach you fundamentals of karate kata, but you didn’t catch on. And now with your little brother coming of age, I think it is time for me try and start something like this again. more on the fighting part, less of the martial arts part.

Martial arts is one thing, but fighting is another thing altogether. I would like to teach you boys how to fight. And I’ve been slowly putting that thought in motion.

At 11 years old, Ian, I think you are robust and mature suffice to reason and keep a focus. You will need to know, with a bit more depth on basic striking, kicking and more importantly, taking punches and kicks and learn to get injured, and fight back.

At your age, learning how to fight properly, is like teaching you how to use a rifle properly, so that you are not tempted to use it out of bravado, but out of an educated, skilled mind. If you need to use your skills to fight, to get out of a fight, in a better condition than your assailant(s), then I have achieved my aim. The Martial Arts part can come later.

Of course, there are simple rules of engagements (ROE), you boys, do not go out there to start a fight, but if you got yourself into one, you get out of it, all means necessary. Sometimes in fighting, you have no time for ethics, you just have to protect yourself and your loved ones, if you have to pummel the belligerent to dust, then do it. If it comes down to you or your attacker(s), I’d rather your attacker(s) grounded and pounded, than you. We can wax lyrical about right and wrong later. But of course, do not start the fight.

And now that your little brother is in the same school as you, he will come to you for help if he gets bullied, and you might need to stand up for him. So you might get into a fight because of him, and I want you to win the fight.

The world is a nice place, I want my boys to be confident in their abilities to see the good in the world, but it is also my duty as your dad to make sure you boys are reality-ready. If things takes a turn for the nasty, you boys can get out of nasty with your own nasty dosage of nasty. We must always be ready to be nice, and the only way to be genuine in our niceties, and pleasantries, is to be fully trained and capable in our ability to be nasty and unpleasant. Life sometimes is a matter of Jekyll and Hyde.


Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

A beginner’s class for Aikido, looks like an art gallery.

And the new school term for NUS starts, which means more newbies, which means more friends to make, which means we are back to basics, the whole cycle starts again.

Aikido classes are typically quieter, compared to our fellow neighbours using MPSH 2, such as Muay Thai, Silat, Capoeira folks. There are more shouting, music, banging, punching, which easily drowned Harry sensei’s talking. Watching it, is like watching a TV program with the volume muted. What is more interesting is to watch the students looking intensely at Harry sensei talking, as if they can hear what he is saying.

They can’t. I can’t.

More importantly, Harry sensei as a meticulous teacher, will take pains to explain to the most minute details. And there was ukemi to be explained, how to tuck your chin in, leg’s in a position where you won’t trip yourself going down. There are a lot of instructions to make one movement right. But all those lessons are lost in the din of the large, noisy hall.

Unlike a Muay Thai class, everyone ‘knows’ how to punch, kick or at the very least yell like hell.

There is little or no yelling in an Aikido class, lessons are patiently taught, actions are learned repetitively, in a deliberate and quiet effort. There is no burst of energy, no ego-stroking war cry, no punching the punching bag to your heart’s content. A beginner’s class for Aikido, looks like an art gallery.

So it may appear staid to a beginner, doing ‘boring’ rolls, turning and twisting, which more often, looks and feel unnatural to a newbie. A lot of effort, a lot of work, but you seldom get that sense of achieving something .

I can sense a “Can we get to the sexy dramatic part?” “Are we there yet?” “Where’s the high throws? The dynamic movements? The drama? The cool stuffs?”

It will be long before anyone gets to that proficiency. At best, the first FEW years are spent, on the basics, knowing them, doing them well enough. the speed and skill comes with the understanding on how to apply Aikido techniques and ethics properly. That will take another few MORE years.

There are no short cuts. No easier, faster, life-hack way to learn Aikido. You cannot download an App,or E-learn to become proficient in Aikido. It is a long, hard, quiet, lonely, discouraging, difficult way, and sometimes, you don’t even get a sense that you ‘know’ Aikido.

Unfortunately, in Aikido, particularly, there is never a ‘there’. Where you often get a satisfaction of got ‘there’, then you realize that, the ‘there’ you got to, is not the ‘there’ you think you wanted. Aikido is like a car trip that never ends, if you are that kid in the car, keep asking “Are we there yet?” “Are we there yet?” “Are we there yet?” “Are we there yet?” every 5 minutes, you’ll be very disappointed, and discouraged in your Aikido journey, because you will never get ‘there’. You just have to keep going, and while you are at it, you’ll get better, you learn more skills, and you’ll find that ‘there’ is no longer important, it is the journey that makes the experience satisfying, not the ‘there’.