The reason why you should take a martial art.

I don’t make it public often that I practice martial arts and self protection variables. The reason for this, Sun Tzu once said “weapons are omens of war” and by doing a martial art, you essential turn your body into a weapon – now do not jump the gun here! the title does say “the reason why you should take a martial art” and that is because that is what I believe, the reason I don’t tell people I do is for the same reasons why cops don’t wave a gun around. If you make a big deal out of it, someone will notice that being said – let me tell you, why I think you should take a martial art.

When I was 14, I nearly died. I went out one night skateboarding with a friend (unannounced to my parents… sorry mum) It was about 1am in the morning and it was the 23rd of December (two days before Christmas). We were walking up a big hill when some guys drove passed in a black sedan. They yelled at us, threw bottles and I acted out and gave them the finger trying to be cool. My friend ran off, they turned around and I got caught between two guys in their late 20’s who were looking for a fight. I was honestly terrified, but what happened next changed my life forever…

Now I know what you’re thinking, a “Mr Miyagi” type character jumped out from the shadows, a good citizen stepped out of the local bar and saved me, a cop drove past just in time! a good guy pulled over and helped me… well… you’re wrong.

No one came to help, it was just me and the zero skills I had to defend myself. They beat me until I couldn’t stand or breath, I am not going into details but it wasn’t pretty. I am not saying this for sympathy, for pity etc. that is just what happened that night. I woke up a few moments after they went to go look for my friend, I crawled into a bush and waited for them to leave. I remember not feeling any pain at all, it was far too dark to see any of the blood on my white shirt. I heard them run past and yell out to try and scare me out of my concealment, I heard them talking about how they had to find me and kill me or I would call the police. Well, they didn’t find me or my friend, they eventually left. I walked the few Kilometres home limping like a zombie (the mental image actually makes me laugh right now) and I ended up passing out yelling out for help about 20ft from my front door. I thought I was going to die, I actually accepted it. I woke up inside my house, the police were there and my family were crying. I remember being in the ambulance and seeing my whole body covered in blood. They told me “You’re going to be okay” but honestly – I wasn’t. I woke up in hospital and spent the night – It was the worst Christmas I have ever had. I don’t even remember it, the presents, the people, the lunch and dinner. I don’t remember anything for about 8 days from the pain killers but what I do remember was the dentist re-positioning my jaw and teeth back into place. I never really talked about it, my friends came over to see me but they didn’t understand and for the first time in my life, I realised I was alone… not the alone where you don’t know anyone at the bar or party… just alone in a world full of people who will never know what it’s like. I eventually became angry at everyone, when I look back now I feel ashamed of how I acted and wish I knew what I knew now, or that I could travel back in time and tell my younger self “hey, you’ll be stronger one day and you’ll feel safe again”

When I was 17 we did Aikido at school for extra curriculum. I thought it would be fun and something to do, by this point I was angered constantly and struggled to find peace within my mind and even though the assault was 3 years ago, it was also yesterday in my mind. I would explode as soon as i felt threatened, punching wildly at the air in hopes to push the non-existent or minimal threat back in any situation. I was being controlled by my emotions like fear and anger. I walked into the Aikido room, blue mats littered the floor. I had done karate as a kid and thought I was a pretty decent fighter, I went in with the mentality of hurting people when I should’ve been thinking of protecting people. The first day, the teacher called me to the front of the class, he asked me to attack him – I thought with my cocky teenage hormones “easy” he had me floating in the air for a second, or so it felt, before palming my chest into the floor. I was flattened. I got up and charged him again (like an absolute idiot haha) he put me down again.  By this point, I was kind of embarrassed, my friends laughed in the class and I lay on the floor having a good look at the ceiling.

The Sensei asked for me to train with him for the rest of the lesson, I did as instructed. Everyday before class, he would ask me to attack him, each day I would be flattened, this went on for weeks. The classes at school ended, although I didn’t give up. I kept attending his classes outside of school just to prove him wrong.

One day when practicing techniques he said “you fight too hard, too much anger, too much effort – this is why you lose. I use your energy against you” in that moment, it had finally clicked.

Aikdo is not about brute strength, it is not a martial art to be abused. It is about realising you have no control of life’s energies but merely redirection, misdirection and applied direction. He told me I was too angry, He asked me why and I told him about the assault and how I was afraid and that from fear, anger arose. he asked me to do something similar to what I goatinlgy imagine a Jedi from star wars would say “accept your emotions, then let them go” he had told me about meditation and how stilling your mind may give me the clarity I seek.

I remember going home and thinking about this for hours. I researched meditation so I could practice it alone in my bedroom. I thought on the revelation I had come to while speaking with him. I came back to the class next week and when he asked me to attack, I simple stood still and waited. He bowed, he told me I now had an understanding of martial arts. It is not simply to attack or be attacked, but to be still and allow for clarity to flood your mind, so when something disrupts it, you can direct it away from you. when you move quickly, you cannot focus. All this time, I had forgot how to centre my emotions and be still, I kept wanting to go and hide from the way I felt, so I would explode emotionally to push others away. I realised that being angry about what had happened, was destroying any chance at happiness I would have. I continued Aikido for another 6 months at his Dojo, the Sensei left for another state and while usually I would be sad before – I had no issues letting go. I was no longer angry about what had happened, I realised that it had simply been and gone and all I could do was decide how I would let it affect me.

The reason I am telling you this, is not because I want you to learn a martial art necessarily to defend yourself (yes that is one of the many benefits) but to learn how to discipline your mind and strengthen your body. There is a quiet peace and confidence i gained from Aikido and for years to come from many other martial arts. Knowing I can defend myself and others I love has brought me peace and confidence, knowing to not “control” my emotions, but simply be still and let them “pass” or “be deflected” has made me a very rich man in my heart and mind.

Aikido taught me many lessons in life, about the flow of energy and emotions, how they can be utilised against you or for you. You can learn this from not just martial arts, but all things in life if you look closely enough… things like yoga, meditation, agriculture, gardening, driving, cooking, painting – I simply found it through this.

If you have trouble within yourself, within the world maybe you should learn a martial art? being physically and mentally confident and stable, can surely not be a negative. Please do not go in with the attitude of “I am going to learn how to beat up people” that’s not what true martial artists are, they understand that violence is real but peace and compassion should be mandatory, if anything I wouldn’t say “martial arts saved my life” I would say “It showed me how to save my own”
Thank you for reading,
OJW.

 

in-sense

On the brevity of life

Most people don’t know the word “brevity” so I will elaborate for some of you – the word “brevity” is just a pretty way of saying “shortness” (such wow, such amaze)

There is a book called “on the shortness of life” by a Greek philosopher called “Seneca” and it was honestly the best $9.99 I ever spent. It is about 100 pages long and I honestly only needed to read the first 50 pages for it to change my life. I recommended picking this book up, taking a moment to read 4-5 pages a day (psst! that’s called time management baby!)

“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realise that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.”

– Seneca “on the shortness of life”

 

Seneca mentions many other things that you might not learn until it is too late. The biggest for me was reading “we waste our time doing needless tasks for thankless people.” as humans, we yearn to belong, by doing so we usually find ourselves doing things we later come to regret or things we would have not done for someone else or even for ourselves simply because they normally would not interest us. I think most people should know by now that people take advantage of kindness relentlessly (not all people but they’re out there) I say this from a realist point of view, even though I still choose to believe in people and that they will do the right thing – you must also protect yourself by not needlessly discarding your own valuable time. I have hurt people, taken advantage of people and done things that still keep me awake at night – that being said, when I look at whats in front of me, I don’t waste anytime on whats behind me and certainly will not bow my head to any man or woman who expects myself or anyone I love to submit their precious time on our journey here to simply benefit them.

Do you struggle with saying no to people? are you a crowd pleaser? Have you done things for or still do things for people simply to fit in or make others happy when you know at heart you do not want to? well then maybe you should read “on the shortness of life” you will not regret it.

Remain strong & gentle also.

Regards,
OJW.

Stills taken in Hamburg, Germany by OJW 2016.

a wound and a scar

4WARD

lovesick

progress

Why I don’t drink…

And why you might want to quit also…

Now I am not here to tell you how to live your life, I am just here to hopefully… HOPEFULLY inspire you to make a change in your life that you believe is beneficial to it. That being said – here is my story and why I don’t drink anymore.

I started drinking at a young age of about 13-14 (behind my mothers back and knowledge) a friends father purchased us a bottle of Bundaberg rum and I do not need to tell you the rest of that unpleasant night. My friends and I thought we were pretty cool at the time but as we got older and our hormones, bodies, mindsets and lives changed the affects of alcohol did different things to us. I was already angry enough as a teenager, I never went to school, I always got into fights and whenever the chance arose I would binge drink at parties with friends which would ultimately lead up to more of the previous situations. I never once thought it was my mindset or surroundings I placed myself in, it was only after I was about 19 years old when my girlfriend at the time asked me why I could never have just one beer and why I felt I had to get excessively drunk each time drinking was an option… I honestly couldn’t answer her question and I was shocked that I didn’t know how to answer it either.
She slowly helped me stop drinking as much, I noticed a significant change in my physical and mental health. I certainly didn’t regret waking up on a Saturday or Sunday sober and hangover-less.
I was going to the gym before this point and I noticed how much stronger and muscular I became after not drinking as much, this helped motivate me even further and I started to take gym and lifestyle seriously.
I also noticed I had saved more money than I ever had before due to the fact I wasn’t spending it on alcohol, buying spicy senorita’s drinks, late night cab fairs home and entry fees to clubs. I realised it was the right time to cut drinking out completely after I had moved away from home. I was living with friends and the environment was very supportive. I did 4 months sober and then 1-2 months here and there after that – only having a few drinks on birthdays and special occasions.

In 2015 I met a woman who rarely drank either, we went to Woodford folk festival together but we decided to drink. She was a good and had a kind nature, I ended up spoil our time at Woodford folk festival by choosing to drink. She wanted to stay up until 5am on new years eve/day to watch the sunrise. I became too intoxicated and she missed it because of my choices. I promised myself I wouldn’t let that happen again.

I didn’t drink anything until the 3rd of july 2016 that year (my birthday) at by which time she was my partner. I achieved more in that 7 months than I had in my whole life. we woke up and spent time together sober and I realised eventually I don’t need substances to have a good time when socialising and that mindset of “social drinker” or “social smoker” evaporated. I ended up saving 6-7 thousand and going to Europe for three months. The last time I drank was on new years eve last year and I stopped drinking at 1800 so I would be sober for coming into the new year. I drank a few times in Bali since then while travelling. I probably had 2-3 beers when I did and I  haven’t drank for a month since I  left and I can confidently say I feel fucking amazing.

I am once again not here to “dictate” what you chose to do with your money and time, I only hope I inspire you to make a change you believe is positive for your physical, mental and financial health.

I recommend trying a dry month and see how you feel, if you drink do you think you might have a problem? if so don’t be hesitant to reach out to family, associations or anyone for support (including me, you have my email so don’t be shy) because you honestly deserve that clarity and quality of life.

Thanks for reading,
OJW

 

Some new photos for your eye balls.

LIGHT5EEKER

hold it up

holdin’ on.

little light

Discover yourself

Self discovery is something EVERYONE struggles with and so should you.

Some people will struggle less than others and some others may struggle less than certain people – but the hardships, the pain and the struggle  is what shapes you into who you want to be.

When you’re on a path towards a passion or goal in life, there is always going to be hardships, but those hardships are life’s way of asking you “do you really want this? is this what you really want in life? is this who you want to be?” and most of the time people realise “no… it’s not who I want to be or what I want in life” and so they quit and move onto the next path, then the next one and then the next path and so on until they give up completely… but that’s when you have to get back up and keep moving forward because the next path is most definitely the right one for you.

Struggle is life’s way of making sure you are on the RIGHT path. If you give up on a dream… Then it wasn’t your dream. If you give up on a lover, then you weren’t in love, if you give up on yourself… then how will you ever discover yourself? because you get to a point where what you want in life out weighs any struggle, any obstacle and any limitation you may have been given or placed upon yourself.

I have found that the best place for self discovery is within solitude, because here you have time to think and focus. When you’re alone it’s only up to you and you have no one to blame but yourself. That freedom is crippling whilst also liberating… this is the price we pay for all such commodities.

Stay strong, Stay uncomfortable and don’t be too hard on yourself while on your journey here.

with love,
OJW

photographer by me as usual, some hidden photos from the EURO trip archives.

R U S H

lonely light

sleepy lightning

Anniek

Life is a mindset.

It’s time to stop running, stop making excuses, stop lying to yourself and others, stop putting others down. It’s time we look deep within ourselves and tell ourselves that “I am pulled to what I dream of, whatever it may be. To be pulled to the mountains and the streams, to staying healthy and strong (mentally and physically) and to the people I love, especially my lover (if you have one) so I can continue to be pulled forward by my vision of a better life,  full of passion and power, full of laughter and love”

If not for you, then think of who you are doing it for, think of your children, your brothers and sisters, your mother and father, you soon to be wife.

Be strong against the waves of life, but do not shy from the ebb and flow of them, sometimes fighting the tide is what drowns you, instead of floating out on the ocean to rest and draw upon your strengths.

Stay strong, stay humble and most of all stay vulnerable.

OJW.

“I choose” mantra to be read in the mornings and evenings for 60 days. Read this to yourself each day and night to steady yourself in trialling times.

I choose…

To live by choice, not by chance,.
To be motivated not manipulated.
To be useful, not used.
To make changes, not excuses.
To excel, not compete.

I choose self esteem, not self pity.
I choose to listen to my own voice, not the random opinions of others.

I choose to do the things that YOU WON’T so I can continue to do the things YOU CAN’T.

 

B O W

B O W

DARk

DARk

SHE-MOON dedicated to Mikyla Meckelson

SHE-MOON dedicated to Mikyla Meckelson

UNFORGIVEN

UNFORGIVEN