As defined, Self- Awareness is the conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives and desires.
You might ask what the hell does this have to do with Ninjutsu and that I come here to learn things that apply to the real world not some made up BS to attract wannabes!!
Well, let’s dig in a bit. A key characteristic of high level athletes, military personnel and martial artists, is that they are keenly aware of what is making them tick. Now the standard definition is really about the brain and the conscious thought processes, what I am going to say is about the rest of your body as well. The mind and emotional side is only ½ of the equation. Your body tells you things every day, like “you idiot, that coffee was freakin hot!”, but there are subtler hints your body throws at you as well.
After a training session you feel a soreness in a weak area, that is a simple sign that you should be training that a bit more don’t you think? Can’t kick as high? Yeah that’s that damn thing called flexibility. What about that craving for a salad with lean chicken? You sure that isn’t a call for better nutrition in your diet?
Like I said some things are subtle and we need to be self aware in order to act upon them. Your diet is one area that I believe too many of us cave in and ignore our body telling us clues. If we are hungry do you crave something healthy or is it the empty calories you want? Which did you choose? Why did you go to McDonalds when you knew that double cheeseburger was going to feel like a lump in your stomach for the next few hours? Oh wait …that’s that thing called discipline, but that is for another post.
Being self-aware should reflect into all aspects of your life, why did you treat that person that way, did you give your all in the dojo or workout or even work today? A ninja is required to know about themselves in order to make good decisions regarding their mission. But this should be taken as a guide that it should also be throughout your life.
I have had many students ask me how they are doing in training. Normally, my first Socratic answer is “ How do you think you are doing?” If they hesitate and are doubtful, they probably already know they are not where they should or could be yet, but their level of self awareness is not high enough for them to recognize this and they seek out validation from someone on this question.
So, I want to leave you with tangible items for you to implement in your training, here goes:
- Start journaling your thoughts, emotions, food cravings etc.
- Ask yourself why is this occurring? Then ask it again after you write down your answer and again and again until you peel back the onion and get the real answer. (So simple to write, so difficult to do!)
- Think Socratically! The knowledge is their you just have to recognize it (and read about Scorates!!)
3 Simple steps that will begin your deeper understanding of Self Awareness!
Airyu – Living the Ninja Lifestyle
Ps: This is part 1 of a three part series!!