Slaying the tiger

I have often heard about patting tigers but never fully realised exactly how dangerous it actually is until I was standing barefoot at the entrance of the grassed enclosure getting ready to actually enter their domain where by the only thing between me and these 200kg fully grown power houses is a trainer with a small thin stick of bamboo. I hesitated for an instant, as my mind was flooded with catastrophic thoughts. Be present, seize the moment, use your training, come on Zen man….was no use as I felt like a condemned man about to meet his maker. Then the smell hit me…not entirely unpleasant but pungent enough to get my attention

Is it fear holding me back?

I can do this; it is only the fear of what might happen that is holding me back. I have been to this place many times before. You hit the wall, you find away around it. Use it as a metaphor for acknowledging the powers of the thinking mind and how it easily tricks you into thinking then believing then acting out an entire life based on old habitual patterns that are just re runs of prior negative experiences that keep you held securely in place unable to move until something rocks you to break the pattern.

Here comes lunch

So here we go. Maybe if I tip toe he will not notice me. As I take the first step into the park it seemed the 5 great cats stopped in unison and lifted their noses into the breeze. Hmm here comes lunch….me…..catch that thought, pay attention to the senses, be prepared to go all the way, be neutral….now my training is working. As we edge closer to the largest tiger I have ever seen slowly but surely turns his head, looks directly at me, daring me to go closer.

Patting a killing machine

Then all of a sudden I am actually sitting next to this great cat patting him firmly with intention and purpose, knowing that at any moment my life could be over. Choosing not to let that take me away from the sheer exhilaration of feeling the taught muscles sinew beneath my hand. Though these tigers are brought up in captivity, they are all healthy, superb killing machines and it is in their primal nature to stalk, hunt and eat.

The meeting of warriors

I really did slay the sabre took tiger today…well not really but though I was way out of my weight class I did acknowledge the meeting of great warriors. Over and above that though I was able to use my training to acknowledge the fear and limitations I was feeling, observe it, not be crippled by it, become present, see the situation clearly for what it was, and act with clarity…all in the space of a blink of an eye.

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The essence of Andy's teaching is correct martial arts training is a great method of personal growth. It can be studied on the surface to get fit and learn self-defense and it can also lead to incredible changes in self-confidence, self-esteem, self-discipline and self knowledge.

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