Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams

These are the main ideas discussed in this book:

  • Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment (Lao-Tzu).
  • Nothing is impossible to a willing mind (Book of Han Dynasty).
  • To be patient is to have the capacity of calm endurance. To give yourself time is to actively work toward a goal without setting a limit on how long you will work.
  • As long as what you are doing at the moment is exactly what you are doing at that moment and nothing else, you are one with youself and with what you are doing – and that is ZEN, while doing something you are doing at the fullest.
  • Know your limits: You must learn to live in the present and accept yourself for what you are now. What you lack in flexibility and agility you must make up with knowledge and constant practice.
  • Power of mind is infinite while brawn is limited (Koichi Tohei).
  • Life unfolds on a great sheet called time, and once finished it is gone forever (Chinese Adage).
  • The mind is truly a source of power, and when mind and body are coordinated, ki manifests itself (like spontaneous flow of steady strength or energy).
  • Softness triumphs over hardness, feebleness over strength. What is more malleeable is always superior over that which is immovable. This is the principle of controlling things by going along with them, of mastery through adaption.
  • Control your emotion or it will control you (Chinese Adage).
  • The secret of kime (tightening of the mind) is to exclude all extraneous thoughts; thoughts that are not concerned with achieving your immediate goal.
  • The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be (concentration and relaxation go hand in hand).
  • By visualizing success rather then failure, by believing “I can do it” rather than “I can’t”. Negative thoughts are overpowering only if you encourage them and allow yourself to be overpowered by them”.
  • To generate great power you must first totally relax and gather your strength, and then concentrate your mind and all your strength on hitting your target.
  • Karate is half physical exercise and half spiritual.

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