The original title for my blog was going to be ‘My Darkness to Light,’ with the overall theme being my battle with depression and my journey into a better way of living, with martial arts and holistic arts being essential stepping stones along that path. After playing with this idea for a while, however, I realized that I wanted to focus more on the light than on the darkness. While I have learned to embrace and dance with my demons, they are not who I want to be and I have decided that they don’t get the final say as to who I am or what I create.
The martial arts, as well as the holistic arts that I came into contact with through them, have been nearly omnipresent components on my journey out of darkness. They have helped to light my way. Through martial arts, I found a healthy and productive way to relate to others, as well as to constantly challenge myself physically and mentally. Holistic arts such as reiki, meditation, and qigong, have given me methods by which to find balance in myself. These practices, and the experiences and relationships I’ve found along the way, have given me both existential purpose and a framework through which I can give back to others.
My first martial art teacher, Joe Sheya, told me, not long before he passed away, that I must find a way to integrate these practices so that they inform each other, so that my martial and holistic practices become a single, unified path. Ellis Amdur, a friend and consultant to our Taikyoku Budo training group, talks about how the samurai arts were intended for more than simply being methods for defeating an enemy, but were a means by which the samurai could influence and shape society in accordance with their ideals. Holistic Budo is the culmination of these two ideas, wherein I hope to affect positive change in the world through my writing, much of which is about my martial and holistic art journey.