Life’s so stressful for Evesham and the people of the world
15th January 2011
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Today’s blog is from London Chinatown TaeKwonDo Chief Instructor, Mr Neil R. Hall. 


It’s been one of those weeks.  Our classes started back from the long New Year break to a welcome of constant, torrential rain.  In the first class, there was a power cut which left us teaching in total darkness.  In the next class, I smacked a toe just stepping on to the mat and it left a nasty bruise, then a drip from above became a flood through the ceiling and the mat was covered in water.  On the way out of the door to the next class, I grabbed my coat and brought the coat rack down on my head, with just about every coat, scarf, hat and fleece I own.  And of course, there were plenty more stresses, many minor and some very serious indeed. 


So it was nice to hear yesterday that despite all this, someone felt that spending ten minutes with me was a tremendously calming experience.  By rights, I should have been frazzled, so why was I so calm that those around me could share it? 


That’s an interesting one.  In our martial arts, we teach people not to be distracted by feelings of irritation or thoughts of unfairness.  In a real confrontation, if the person you are fighting isn’t doing it right, you don’t have the luxury of stopping and making them abide by the rules.  You just have to get on with it.  So the ability to accept things as they are and continue un-phazed is rather important, and we teach it in our classes.  But like most things in martial arts, it’s something that doesn’t stop being useful in class.   We teach our students to take this state of mind with them into all aspects of their life.  Accept that things happen, accept that life can be unfair, accept that it doesn’t always go as you had planned, and calmly move on. 


This “acceptance” isn’t unique to martial arts.  You find it in religion, in counselling, in self-help, and many other things, but it doesn’t come easy.  Serenity doesn’t just happen.  You have to learn it, and work at it – but you can do it, if you try. 


Now this isn’t the same as detaching from life.  The martial artists in our school are not taught to ignore injustice, or put their heads in the sand.  Far from it: they are taught to stand up for what is right.  Nor do we claim that this is a simple quick fix to take away all your pain.  Some things in life are just too enormous, too painful; to carry on cheerily would be downright abnormal. 


But many of the things which stress us, and cause us to behave badly ourselves and to others, are the simplest things.  If there’s a power cut, that’s just an opportunity to try something new and fun.  If you break your toe, that’s a lesson in being careful.  If there’s a flood… well, perhaps we were all a bit too sweaty and needed a wash.  And if the coat rack falls… you know, it only took a few minutes and a couple of screws to fix it.  No big deal.  

About the Author

Neil H

Member since: 28th January 2011

Neil R. Hall is the Chief Instructor at London Chinatown TaeKwonDo, which has become one of the region's biggest martial arts schools since arriving here from its Chinatown home, in 2008. Find out more...

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