By James Eke
Wake up. Two words I say to myself like a mantra. Wake up!
For most of us waking up in any real way is something that we think we are doing but never really get around to. Think about how many times you’ve said you want to get more fit. Think about how many times you’ve said you want to lose weight. Think of how many times you’ve said you want to be the endless grocery list of happier, healthier, more peaceful and so on. For me there is just one simple and profoundly difficult thing – Wake Up!
What does that mean? It is my endless dose of reality. It is the fire that I let my life burn in. The embers of that fire is what keeps me going.
So what does that mean? Simple – you’re going to die. We all are. Life is not a circle but a straight line that can be somewhat long (in human terms) or very short. But positive and powerful thing is that this line is filled with possibilities.
You want to meditate and have more peace and calm in your life? Then do it. A friend recently mentioned that they want to meditate and wanted some advice, knowing I’m a long-time meditator. My response was simple “Do it. Every day. Set a time and just do it. Be regimented. Ruthless. Do it. Or you won’t.”
After I said this I realized that this is my view at pretty much everything. Exercise – don’t play at it, live it, breathe going to the gym and beasting yourself. You want to be healthier. Be healthier. Too many of us play at things. We want to be good at the martial arts but we don’t put in the time. We spend it watching others. “Oh wow, that guy is so great. I love the way he moves. Wish I could move like that.” But we aren’t willing to put in the sweat equity. We aren’t willing to do whatever it takes to be the best.
We tell people we are grapplers but we never get on the mats and grapple. We tell people we are strikers but never hit anything. Or worse, we never do any of it with any type or resistance. We are asleep. We lie to ourselves. We pretend. We are just dreaming. When we see that we are not really living, that we are just wandering around through our lives like it is all some kind of foggy dream we realize that we need to do something about it.
If you knew you were going to die next year or five years from now, ten years from now – if somehow you had a date and you knew when it would all end would that change the way you do the things you love and want to do? Would you make sure you made all your dreams come true? Would you waste away and let it all just slip and slide away?
I would like to think that all of you would do the same thing – Wake Up!
Now, waking up and living doesn’t have to be a huge thing. It does however have to be progressive. You have to be honest. You have to be brave. You have to have courage. You have to be strong. You have to have compassion. But most of all, what you have to do is see things as they really are and realize that you already have all the amazing attributes of those great people who have gone before you. You can be the kind of amazing person that you yourself have looked up to. The only difference is the work that you need to do. The only difference is waking up and realizing you can’t put things off, you can’t become this person you want to be ‘someday’ – you have to wake up and realize it has to start today!
Now here is the hardest part of all – you have to see your life as it really is, not as you think it is. If you believe you are fit but would rather take an elevator than the stairs, guess again.
If you think you are a well-rounded martial artist but won’t show up and roll and be willing to be tapped out guess again or if you think you don’t need to work your kicks, punches and weapons and that you’ll grapple your way out of a confrontation, again, wake up. But hey, maybe none of this matters to you. Maybe you are content floating through life oblivious to the reality that is all around you.
Maybe your view of yourself and your life is that mediocrity is ok. Maybe you think that when you are stretched out on your deathbed thinking about the things that could have happened but didn’t you’ll be ok with having not even tried.
For me though it is a constant drumming in my head. Wake Up!
When I think I’ve done enough, Wake Up!
When I think I’m worn out and beat, Wake Up!
When I think I’ve worked hard enough, Wake Up!
When I think I’m fit enough, Wake Up!
When I think I’ve done something because of a certificate on a wall, Wake Up!
James Eke served as a Combat Arms Army captain and owns and runs a martial arts academy, Eke Academy of Martial Arts, in Victoria, BC, Canada. He is a Certified Instructor of Jeet Kune Do, Kali/Filipino Martial Arts and Maphilindo Silat/Majapahit Martial Arts under Guro Dan Inosanto as well as an instructor in the JF/JKD Grappling Association. Eke also has black belt ranks in Karate and Iaido, and is a blue-belt in Machado Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Prof Gary Padilla, head BJJ instructor at the Inosanto Academy.