Martial Arts Memories – 1994 to 2008

Recently I used Legacybox, which digitizes your outdated pictures and videos, and I wanted to share the collection of martial arts pictures I received back. These pictures are some special moments from 1994 to 2008.

As a child, I loved all things martial arts and aspired to become a Ninja Turtle! It was my mom who thought instead of punching and kicking in the basement on my own, I’d be better off with formal lessons. So on my tenth birthday I was surprised with martial arts lessons and I haven’t look back. That love for all things martial arts has become my life and provides for those in my life. I’m also honored to share my love and knowledge of the martial arts with others. Though I never turned into that Ninja Turtle, I’m very grateful for what the martial arts have provided me and these pictures remind me of the positive influence and experiences one can have by practicing a martial art!

To view the album, click here.

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Martial Arts Memories – 1994 to 2008

Don’t Speak Ill of Others

“Do not speak ill of others, no matter what, otherwise you will be like the old Chinese saying, ‘You can see the faults of others quite clearly, but cannot see the dirt on the back of your own neck.’” ~ Grandmaster T.T. Liang

T-T-LiangThe above quote is from a book I just finished entitled, Steal My Art: The Life and Times of T’ai Chi Master T.T. Liang. It was a wonderful read and I hope to write a review of the book in a future post. This quote has stuck out this week as I’ve been on my way. First I will admit that I am guilty of speaking ill of others. By writing about it, I feel it helps me work through my thoughts as well as make a statement of how I hope to handle situations in the future.

I don’t feel I’m one to speak ill of others insensibly, but I’ve caught myself when a situation with another person doesn’t go the way I planned. My initial feeling is to be angry or frustrated at the other person and also with myself for letting it reach that point. Sometimes I let the emotion get embedded in my day or maybe even longer throughout the week, affecting other areas of my life and my teaching. I’ll find myself sharing these emotions with people around me, possibly to people who don’t even know the other person. And while I think talking about your feelings is a valid way to work through difficult situations, I’ve really started to be aware of how I’m talking and who I’m talking to.

I have three goals I’m working on when it comes to situations like these. First, I’m trying to avoid the emotions altogether that are attached to the situation. If I do get emotional, I want to take some time to think and approach it calmly at a later point. I once asked Professor Pedro Sauer how he handled situations like this and he said, “Always take twenty-four hours before reacting.” Simple, but great advice!

Secondly, I want to only talk about the situation to the person directly involved or discuss my approach to what Grandmaster Liang calls an intimate friend, “…these are the people with whom we have a close affinity. No matter what they or we do, no matter if we are together or apart, such friends always care deeply for each other.” By talking to an intimate friend, I’m able to get a different perspective with less risk of spreading ill will or adding to the gossip mill.

Finally if the situation or person in question comes up in conversation with someone other than an intimate friend, I want to respond positively no matter how I personally feel.

I know all of this is easier said than done, but now it’s out there and with practice I know I can at least get better!

Don’t Speak Ill of Others

Why I Practice The Martial Arts

This past week during my classes I started thinking about my purpose and time in the martial arts. I always seem to reflect on this question as the month of March is the annual founding of my dojo, Ryer Martial Arts Academy, and even more inspiring this month marks forty years of formal martial arts training for my teacher, Master Zach Whitson. I asked myself what is the purpose of all this practice and teaching? It takes up a whole lot of my time and time is one thing I can never get back. So I set out to sum it up into one sentence and here’s what I came up with…

“I practice the martial arts to live a safe, healthy, and happy life.”

My first reason for practicing the martial arts is to know how to protect myself. I want to have the skill to survive if someone would ever threaten mine or my family’s safety. Secondly, I want to lead a healthy life. For over twenty years, the martial arts have been my vehicle to remain active and physically fit. The martial arts have influenced the choices I make even down to how I eat. Finally, practicing the martial arts makes me happy. I find enjoyment learning a new technique, trying to perfect it, and then passing this knowledge on to others. It’s the teaching of the martial arts that I enjoy the most. It makes me very happy to see other people experience the positive effects of the martial arts in their own life.

I know why I practice, but be sure that you know why you are practicing!

Why I Practice The Martial Arts

Introduction

My name is Joshua Ryer and this is my first (of hopefully many) postings on a personal blog that I’m titling “The Way of Ryer”. The term “way” is often used to signify someone’s direction in the martial arts. For anyone who knows me; knows martial arts are everything to me. It is the lens that I see life through. For several years I have been an avid writer in my own journal and recently I’ve wanted to take my writing online to share with others. The goal of this blog is to share my thoughts as I find my way balancing my practice, my academy, and my family. I hope you enjoy!

Introduction