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Being Morphological Beings

posted Sep 3, 2011, 4:58 PM by Eric Banks

We all desire to change something about our lives: where we are, how we are, what we are, or who we are...  But, until you are fed-up enough, low enough, broke enough, shamed and defamed enough, tired enough, lonely enough or angry and determined enough to do what you must do to break your chains and flee from your painful-comfort zone, you will remain where you are, how you are, what you are and who you are."

-EDB 09-14-10



I didn’t hear it nearly as often this January as I did last, the radio commercial that irked me to no end every single time it rang in my ears.  It annoyed me basically because it advocated the belief that you can get something for nothing.  Which commercial, you might ask, am I talkin’ about?  Well, first let me preface this by emphatically stating that I am NOT baggin’ on anyone who has a weight problem—heaven knows I’ve battled that issue myself, so I understand.  The commercial I’m referring to is the one (or the many) that says you can drop the pounds by taking a pill AND WITHOUT changing your lifestyle.  That means, you can take this pill and lose weight, while STILL eating all the craptastic stuff you want, and you can STILL be a lazy, inactive couch potato.  Something for nothing…so goes our society?  Bugs me.  Irks me. 


There can be no true change without, you know, making a change.


It doesn’t take a genius to understand that change, real change, takes time, and it takes real effort.  I believe that change, whether it’s the type we desire and purposefully pursue, or the undesirable kind that is thrust upon us, is really about two things: letting go, or taking up.  Sometimes we have to “let go” of things that are no longer useful, or are maybe even harmful to us.  Sometimes if we are to grow, we have to “take up” things that are beneficial, and more often than not, it’s the combination of both letting go and taking up that propels us down a new path.


When we “let go”, and leave something behind, we change, we morph.  When I was a kid I can vividly remember thinking: “Man playin’ with toys is… GREAT!  Why don’t adults do this?  When I grow up,” I vowed, “I’m gonna still play pretend with my Star Trek stuff…”  Well, the years passed and I simply let go of the toys because they no longer interested me as they once had.  I don’t think it was a sudden thing, but a gradual letting go, so it was quite easy.  Sometimes, of course, letting go happens abruptly, again, either by choice or by circumstance, and yes, sometimes, letting go is a big fat challenge.  Several years ago, I decided to give up refined carbohydrates (white flour, high fructose corn syrup, et al) in favor of more natural and healthier alternatives (whole grains, natural sugar, etc.).  That…was…a challenge, especially since tasty junk foods like donuts, chocolate chip cookies, and ice cream are my kryptonite.  When I gave up the refined junk, I knew I HAD TO take up the fruits, veggies and less processed foods because otherwise, I would always be answering when those delicious donuts called out to me.


“Taking up” can be difficult and is rarely a gradual, easy-going, unnoticed thing, I think.  When one takes on a new habit (good or bad) one has to put some thought and energy into it at first, before it becomes easy and effortless.  For instance, back in October, I started doing 100 pushups a day.  The first day or so was easy, but the following days were crazy-hard!  After about two weeks, it became a little easier, but I still had to think about doing it and I still had to strain to finish the task.  Now, I hardly have to think about it, and the day just doesn’t feel right if I don’t do all 100 before I leave the house.  Think of a time, a New Year Resolution, perhaps, when you decided to workout more or eat better, or get more sleep…how challenging was that “take up”?  Are you still doing it?


As I stated before, I believe that most of the changes that we make or seek to make involve both letting go and taking up; you have to balance out the equation, so to say.  In order to change the way you think, you have to let go of erroneous or damaging beliefs, and take up truth and a more positive outlook.  If your goal is to save money, your spending will to decrease, and the amount that you purposefully throw into your savings account will need to increase.  When you want to stop smoking, not only must you stop buying cigarettes, you gotta start a new and healthy habit that will fill the void left by the letting go.  If you want to conquer your fears, you have to let go of irrational thoughts and take up the challenge of staring fear in the face, even when you feel like fleeing.  And yes, yes, this principle works with our training too.  In an effort to improve my basic technique, kata and kumite, I have to first determine what I want / need to let go of (dropping the eyes, for instance) and what I need to take up instead (an intense and steady gaze, for example).   For a faster, more powerful and flowing punch, I have to let go of excess mental and physical tension and take up right breathing and correct internal activation.  For a kata that comes alive, let go of rote, staccato movement and take up motion that begins at and flows from your center.


Like everything else, morphing is a process for us humans, but that’s what we do, we morph, we change.  From the instant we’re conceived, we’re in a state of flux and I believe this has to be true of our training as well, and just like any other life-form, when you stop morphing, you stop growing…   Morphing into something better, become better than you are today is definitely demanding and is hardly ever instant, and will almost always involve letting go of things that are of no use, or that weigh you down, and taking up those things that are beneficial.  Yep, you know you can’t get something for nothing, no matter what they may try to tell you.