The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Can't Sleep? Try the world's BEST sleep technique--6000 year old "Warrior Sleep":

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Years Resolutions

Setting goals isn't is exploration. Setting an easy goal is like deciding to drive to the 7-11: no surprise if you make it. But a new, difficult goal? You are mapping the territory of your inner and outer life, measured in the resistance you experience. Your values, beliefs, perceptions, and positive/negative emotional anchors, all exposed. Striving and "failing" shows you where work needs to be done--becomes the finest teacher in the world, if only you will listen.

An awake, aware being would understand both his capacities and the territory to be traversed, would never set a goal he could not meet. Have no worldly needs or wants beyond the steady production of "chop wood, carry water." But the only way to reach this point (for most of us) is to learn our perceived limitations and steadily expand our boundaries at the same time we anchor our centers. It is a lifetime of work...but do you have something better to do?

New Year's Resolutions on Diamond Hour Show
Saturday, January 1, 2011 1:00 PM
(724) 444-7444

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

One Million Breaths

"The beauty of your words, the charm in your actions, the allure of your movements all depend on the amount of silence you create within. Humans have the capacity to go deeper and deeper into that silence. The deeper you go, the closer you come to the Infinite."



Looking into the person I would like to be at the end of 2012, the path seemed to be one of greater commitment to the process of awakening. The best decision I could devise was a level of discipline that would demand near-daily excellence and focus for approximately an hour a day. That was the origin of the "Million breath" idea. There are qualities of mind and perception glimpsed only during my deepest meditations and flow states. Parallax between these and intense martial focuses, orgasmic states, ceremonial trances (sweat lodges, fasts, etc.), "Warrior sleep"-style trances and more implies a doorway to something beyond ordinary "creativity" or alignment. A million breaths over four years will give me the daily experience of slipping between my own breaths, between my heartbeats, into the silence.

While there are aspects of advancement I will not pursue (dissolution of the ego cocoon is...a little severe for someone with a six-year-old son) but this one is purifying without being destructive to my constructed self. It seems...a reasonable middle path. Yesterday I totaled about 550 by the time I went to bed. That included seated breathing, joint rotations, yoga, TacFit Warrior, martial arts motion, entering flow state, and finally pre-sleep preparation. Slept well and deep. Today and tomorrow are recovery days. I suspect that keeping track of my dreams would be informative.


Monday, December 27, 2010

My first public declaration of a New Years Resolution: one million conscious breaths by December 31, 2015. Got 400 today. Keep you posted.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

May you have the joy of Christmas which is hope
The spirit of Christmas which is peace
The heart of Christmas which is love.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Warrior Sleep

Questions from TACFIT Warriors!

Q: What is the scientific proof that the "Warrior Sleep" program provides rest more efficient than sleep?

A: the "Warrior Sleep" program is based, in large part, on the "Yoga Nidra" technique, considered to be one of the highest yogic practices. Thousands of years old, it is traditionally considered to be equivalent to three or four times its quantity of sleep. While I know of no specific scientific tests verifying this assertion, what CAN be said is that the deepest ordinary sleep state is Delta, dreaming sleep, when both psychological and physical tensions are discharged maximally. We wobble in and out of Delta--probably an atavistic protective mechanism left over from a time our ancestors needed to check the environment for nocturnal predators.

As you practice "Warrior Sleep" you are literally training your mind to discharge these tensions more effectively. My personal experience verifies that you can reach a point where your body is asleep, while your mind is awake--a truly amazing experience, and peaceful beyond belief. What lies beyond that? I've yet to discover. Exploration suggests that a 20-30 minute session of Warrior Sleep can DEFINITELY compensate for a night's short sleep. Advanced practitioners are said to use this technique to cut their sleep needs to less than three hours a night. While this has not been my personal experience, it seems within the realm of possibility.

What I can say, with total confidence, is that whether you call it "Warrior Sleep" or "Yoga Nidra", this is one of those secrets everyone should know. Everyone deserves a great night's sleep, every night.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Seven Thoughts For Today

1) I can measure how much yoga I need by the way my body feels first thing in the morning. Cool, light, and flexible? A minimum. Heavy, stiff or sore? Add fifteen minutes on Yoga Days (Wednsday and Sunday)

2) Can feel that I'm a little off-balance. Handling the stress, but I'm not feeling a lot of emotional range--very focused. Have to go deeper, be more centered, give the Christmas season more time to kick in. Then again, the mid-way point between Thanksgiving and Christmas was when my Mom died. This time is always difficult.

3) Working on "Devil's Wake" after Tananarive took her run-through is interesting. We have some different takes on characters and situations. Nothing too extreme, but it needs full attention.

4) And full attention is hard to come by because of the TACFIT Warrior launch. I've been doing this exercise for the last month, and conclude that it works superbly as a stand-alone exercise system, but even better (for me) as part of an overall program. Because the emphasis is enhanced neurological efficiency, the motion becomes pretty darned complex at the higher levels (the basic levels are pretty easy). For those of us who are already flexible, balanced, and strong, you can get through the first three exercises (of six) with a smile. Then...the horror hits. Wow. When cumulative fatigue enters as a factor, "breezing" through the last three exercises is a mournful fantasy. This is serious work. And the guided coaching auditory track--I love and HATE that guy. Yeah, it's me. And I can hear myself curse at me, in my head. I remember back twenty-odd years ago when the "Firm" videos came out, and Toni and I used to curse the "Nazi bitch" who barked orders at us and hinted that we were lilly-livered couch potatoes. Fun to hear the voices in your head rebel against the idea that you are stronger and more powerful than you think. You think we'd EMBRACE the idea of our own excellence. Sadly, that simply isn't as true as it could be.

5) Doing five pages a day on the TWELVE DAYS screenplay. I'm following one character through the story at a time, just seeing what each character knows about the situation. And the situation in this story is pretty grave, threatening the stability of the entire world. Fun to create a story with that kind of sweep, but also a LOT of intimacy: most of the story is told through the eyes of the mother of an autistic child, an ex-military man on the edge of dishonor, and a spunky and perceptive reporter. We'll see if I can keep the circle tight.

6) Tananarive is teaching at Antioch University this week. More pressure, for all of us. Must remember to breathe, and keep a sense of humor about it all. There is so much to celebrate in life...and so easy to get swamped in the minutia. Big Picture time.

7) I'm reading "Henry V" now. Just finished "Hamlet." Reading one scene of Shakespeare aloud every day is a tremendous ritual. I don't have the time to read everything I'd like, but at the very least I can ensure that a chunk of my input is the highest possible quality. I do believe you could combine Shakespeare with the bestselling writer of your choice (say, Stephen King) and have a pretty good foundation for a writing career.

Such rituals are critical to building what I refer to as "the machine" or "the garden". This is the automatic, ritual-driven aspect of our writing, the actions engrained to the point of unconscious competence.

The pieces are

1) Input. Reading. Read ten times as much as you write, and a level UP from your intended result.

2) Output. A story a week, or every other week, until you are published regularly. THEN it is permissible to work on longer projects., to the tune of 2-5 pages a day.

3) Flow State. Improving the ability to enter flow deeply and swiftly.

All of this can be implemented in the Diamond Hour. Fifteen minutes of Shakespeare, thirty minutes of writing, maybe fifteen minutes of joint rotations or yoga. That's sixty minutes of bliss, work, and health. Not bad.

And the beautiful thing is that if I just do nothing but this, at the end of a year I'll be healthy and will have produced two books. That's not bad for an hour a day!

How can YOU plan a "perfect hour" to move you toward your goals?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Diamond Hour and Dexter

Diamond Hour and Dexter

Had a great "Diamond Hour" show on Saturday. We were talking about a concept related to mastery, "I.D.E.A."--Instinctive Designation of Energy and Attention (I love XXX, don't you?).


The approach I take to developing this skill (everyone has moments of it. The greatest among us seem to live in that space) is to have balanced goals, to breathe consciously five times a day, to seek elegance in thought and action, to break the goals down into small enough chunks that we are evaluating feedback multiple times per week (at least) or per day (preferably.)

I'm going to enjoy doing the show even more once TACFIT Warrior comes out. Until now, the best I could do in telling people to seek an efficient physical discipline is make suggestions like "The Five Tibetans" plus (for instance) the "Kettlebell Interval Training for Women" DVD put out by Maureen Martone, as hyper-efficient and effective fitness products. It was never fun to send people to a bunch of different places to get the basic pieces they needed. Now, for the first time, there is ONE place I can send them that has all the foundation they need. Customizing the program will require additional research, study, mentors, etc. But...that's life. There's a big world out there, with six billion people who have different histories, personal realities, and goals. All a general teacher can provide are the basics.

The foundation would be Mental-emotional health. The feeling of being comfortable in one's skin. Waking up in the morning happy to be you. Going to bed at night grateful for the day. Being able to love and be loved. There are practices that are quite productive on this level: meditation, journaling, prayer, therapy, flow-state activities and more.

We all have problems, which can be like rocks clogging up a pipe. We can either remove said obstructions, or flow around them. Preferably, you use some combination of these: seeking self knowledge, then using that information to remove obstructions. Or being fluid and flexible enough to move over, under, around the problems. This often requires a "shrinking" of the ego self, a lack of Self-awareness, and a control of negative emotions.

This is also necessary to move forward against the inevitable criticisms. No one ever makes substantial progress in their lives without running into people who try to tear them down, doubt their decisions, question their ethics, and more. And that simply has to be all right with you. If you take ANY action that has the chance of leading to greater than average results, you are violating social rules. Common wisdom leads to common results. This is just the price you have to pay.

If I define several steps along the path of growth: from Adulthood (taking responsibility for our actions and emotions) to Awakening (responsibility for the experience of life, bringing unconscious value structures and beliefs up to conscious awareness), then the potion called "self-love" is just wonderfully valuable. It not only gives you the strength to move forward (why should you take special efforts to improve your life unless you just flat love you?), to accept and give love to others, and to resist venom from spectators. Of course, there are levels beyond this, but it is a darned fine start. Most people who display negative beliefs and actions in their lives display cognitive and emotional dissonance if asked the simple question: "do you love yourself?"

I'd say that people who cannot exercise an hour a week, can't focus on transformative goals, or are not in loving relationships most commonly draw a blank when asked a question like this. Oh, they can work hard, until their backs hurt or their brain turns to mush, but can't put conscious care into realigning their spines or generating a healthy, controlled sweat. They can be good friends, but not learn the rules of exchange that lead to love and sensuality. Often it seems that they are afraid that if they really knew themselves, they wouldn't like what they found. This extends to believing that if others really saw them for who they are, they'd run screaming.

Last night's Dexter touched on this. Won't go into it too deeply, but this season has been about Dex exploring his humanity, the meaning of his monstrosity, the desire for connection and family, his ability to give and receive love. And the fact that people he cares about, and respects, see more of him than he ever intended for them to see...and find him human. Yes, an extreme portion of the human spectrum, but human. "One of us" as they said in Todd Browning's immortal Freaks.

Most of us don't have to go as far, as deep, as Dex has to go to make contact with something uncorrupted. At one point he makes one of the most touching declarations of love I've ever heard, promising to keep another's "darkness" with his own. I almost lost it. Wonderful, wonderful moment.

There is something beneath that darkness, Dexter. There is light. And beyond that, there is a non-dualistic state that is not-light, and not-darkness. For Dex, unless he finds an extraordinary balance, this would be spiraling into an endless void. Light will be enough.

For most of us, Light is heaven. Great season.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

I.D.E.A.: Instinctive Designation of Energy and Attention
Sat., December 11, 1:00 PM pst
(724) 444-7444

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Life is 99% Action and 1% theory.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

When writing, I like using Adobe Buzzword, or a Word/Dropbox combo--that way I can switch computers, and there is automatic backup.

Today is a fasting day...

Today is a fasting day...

Every other day. I was asked how I maintain focus despite the blood sugar crashes, and so forth. The answer is that I don't get them. Oh, it used to happen, but that was when my body was primarily a sugar-burning machine. Now it has been trained to burn fat, and the difference is wonderful.

Here are some points:

1) Ease into the I.F. slowly, if necessary. Speak to your doctor and/or health care support team.

2) Try the 101 if I.F. is too tough for you. That is: every other day, eat nothing but fresh fruit and vegetables. This change can save your life.

3) Aerobic exercise. Especially Tabata-protocol (twenty seconds of sprint work, ten seconds of rest) trains the body to burn fat efficiently. 15-20 minutes of this three-four times a week can change your life.

4) Visualize. Think of your body as an automobile. Food that is not burned as fuel is stored like gasoline-filled bladders hanging off your car. Imagine that. Now think of the absurdity of feeling that you need to fill up your tank when there are hundreds of gallons flopping around the outside!

You are fighting for your life, health, and happiness. It isn't easy...but there is nothing more worthwhile.


Today is a fasting day. I'm gonna be irritable. I'm also going to get hella work done. And feel kinda prowly. It's a good trade.

Monday, December 06, 2010

The three most important things in life:
1) Be kind
2) Be kind
3) Be kind

--Mother Teresa

Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Go HERE to get your free copy of TACFIT Warrior Challenge WorkOut videos, a glimpse of the future.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My children are not my possessions: it is my job to deliver them safely to their future.

Being able to accept love is as important as being able to give it.

When did you stop enjoy living inside your body? What stands between you and a joyous, energetic, sensuous existence?

Change Your Body, Change Your Destiny

(Anyone who has been following me for the last twenty years knows that I've been working to integrate a full body-mind approach. The breakdown was that I could find no physical technique powerful enough to complement the mental and emotional aspects of LIFEWRITING. That...has changed. I've known International Martial Arts champion Scott for eight years, been been both student and friend of this remarkable man. For the last year, we've been working on an integration of our approaches to body-mind fitness, and are finally ready to share the results. Before TACFIT Warrior is released to the general public, here's last your chance to become part of something very special, VERY exclusive, and very profitable...)


TACFIT $5,000 Giveaway: Forge your Body-Forge your Destiny

Don't let the $5,000 be the ONLY reason that you transform your life. Sure, being given five grand will certainly encourage someone to take a leap, but it's only a bridge to recapturing the limitless potential of intrinsic motivation. But before we can feel intrinsically motivated, we need to be able to change our untrackable, unpredictable and undesirable habits.

Want to know how to change any behavior, any habit? We made a promise, and here's the answer:


1. Identify the habit you wish to change.

2. Identify what you want to change it to.

3. Raise your energy level.

4. Practice the new habit.

5. Fail successfully.

6. Start over again.

Not only has this process been instrumental in taking my business from out of the garage 15 years ago, to an international organization with gyms and centers worldwide... not only has it transformed my mental faculties from severe learning disability to becoming a keynote speaker for MENSA, FLETC and the NSCA... not only has it resurrected me from being deemed physiologically double my chronological age to HALF, but it is a repeatable, trackable, predictable, knowable science that thousands of students of mine have used for success in their lives.

Unfortunately, most people fail because they:

1. Know what they don't want, but not what they want.

2. Don't raise their energy level before attempting the change.

3. Don't understand the cyclical nature of life: you have to fall off the horse many times before you really learn to ride.

Anyone who has maintained a regular exercise routine knows these things, organically: in other words, they already know everything they need to know to succeed at anything they may ever wish to be, have, or do in life. The secret of how to transfer those skills from one arena to another has been hidden...

Until now. Beginning tomorrow, you will discover TACFIT Warrior: The Science of Mind-Body Exercise

And your life may never be the same.

(Pssst! Want a peek at the future? Did you know that certain types of exercise can actually improve cognitive function -- can actually make you SMARTER? Tomorrow, you'll have your chance to download a TOTALLY FREE mind-body workout challenge, just a little "peek" at the kind of exercise program your grandchildren will take for granted!)

And with that sneak peak, we are one day closer to the most radical fitness contest in the history of the internet... check out this video for clues on how you'll become the owner of 5Gs (and much more as a result)!

Who Dares Wins,
Scott Sonnon

Monday, November 29, 2010

"The constant effort to obey in all the ways we know and understand, will reveal the evidence of new growth of the soul." Patanjali

TACFIT Warrior is almost here...

You guys know I've been promoting the idea of a body/mind connection for years. This is the very very first time I've ever been able to put the whole thing together in one package. Frankly, I couldn't do it by myself--I needed an expert in physical training, and Scott Sonnon is the best I've ever found.'s the second peek at what we're doing, as well as "Insider Access" to the $5,000 Giveaway. This is something very special--there has never been a program like this, or an opportunity like this. Click here or keep read more----->

When Scott Sonnon decided to risk it all at the World Martial Arts Games in Las Vegas on a mad attempt to finally, once and for all, prove that something he had used since childhood, something validated by his Russian coaches... something he had proven in coaching of Russian Spetznaz, Israeli Special Forces, US Marshals, and other elite teams around the world... could accomplish the "impossible" in the civilian world... and was prepared to risk the company he'd spent well over a decade creating (imagine the crowing of his internet critics if he'd lost! The YouTube videos would have gone viral in minutes)... his laconic Russian business partner had just nine words for he:

"Well... I guess you'd better win then, hadn't you?"

To have any hope of this he needed a team, a KILLER team of coaches, people with more than mere skills. He had to be able to trust them implicitly, because they would literally have his life in their hands. And as important as the various physical coaches would be, his mental fitness would be just as critical.

And I am honored beyond belief that I was chosen to stand beside him.

I wear a lot of hats. Besides being a New York Times bestselling writer, I have a coaching credential in Scott's exclusive Circular Strength Training system, as well as a Master level hypnotist credential, work as a life coach, and am former Kung Fu columnist for Black Belt Magazine. A yoga and tai chi instructor, I also have three black belts, and have lectured on the structure of myth and consciousness at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. At the prestigious Moonview Clinic in Santa Monica, California, I've provided stress counseling and physical integration support for movie stars, princes, and captains of industry.

And I had theories of my own, worked out over forty years of study. I'd taught pieces of it to thousands of Lifewriting and Tai Chi students...but never had the chance to put it all together.

Scott and I have been friends for years, together created the breakthrough Path Workshops, where we shared a very tiny cluster of high-level technologies with a select group before tucking those radical ideas back "in the vault" for years for further testing. Despite fantastic, life-altering results, more integration was needed: we wanted a "turn-key" system, where clients could expect maximum results for minimum time and sweat.

Now the final moment had come, and Scott believed that I had the skills and the heart to help him on this critical passage. For ten months, we worked together closely. I wanted to be certain that Scott's goals were clear, and in alignment with his values, beliefs, and emotions; that he was taking this risk not for ego, but for higher goals that would inspire him through the inevitable fatigue and discouragement to come.

We were also clear on another "hidden" goal, one which, in all honesty, would not be revealed to the public unless things went well in Vegas.

And what happened...?

Scott came home with a locked jaw, a dislocated rib, a herniated spine, a loose tooth, total exhaustion, and... FOUR gold medals, a silver, and a bronze!

The truth was evident. Inarguable. The stage was set.

And we were ready to create something new. Something that had never existed before, for which the entire scope of previous RMAX productions had only been a foundation, and that my own LIFEWRITING, Hero's Journey, and other teachings had never been able to nail down--I hadn't possessed the right PHYSICAL "core" for my work. That issue no longer existed.

We wanted to have done the work for you, my friends. To make it so simple to succeed that all you have to add is sweat.

Click for a clue!

(Pssst: want to know how to change any bad habit, and gain any new one? Stay tuned tomorrow and you'll get the secret -- totally FREE!)

Be The Hero In The Adventure of your lifetime!

Steven Barnes

Sunday, November 28, 2010

YOUR Chance to Go For The Gold!

All right...I've been busy as heck for the last year. ..and we're finally ready to peel back the curtain and let everyone see what Scott Sonnon and I have been up to. You'll have the chance to get a totally free workout, earn a chance at 5000.00, and be the first to see what I honestly believe to be the most advanced body/mind product ever created. Hell, it might be the FIRST real body-mind product, in several critical ways. Here you go...


On September 18th, 2010, a 40 year old athlete, retired due to physical and psychological trauma, exited that retirement and entered the World Martial Arts Games in Las Vegas Nevada, against some of the finest competition on Earth.

At stake? Merely everything: his body, his reputation, and the company he had spent a decade building. Some said it was for the Gold medals, some for glory, and some for the sheer honor of honest competition. All of that was true, but there was something else that few suspected.

After twenty years of study...ten months of grueling training...two days of soul-shredding exhaustion and all-out, flesh-tearing, competition against behemoths ten years younger and 100 pounds heavier...

He had done something no one in the audience, and none of his competition ever suspected: proven something critical, in the most pitiless laboratory on Earth. And only then was he ready to share it with the public.

What was it? All we'll say is that you won't have to pay the price Scott Sonnon paid. And it won't take you twenty years.

You only have to wait a few more days...and take a chance at winning F I V E T H O U S A N D D O L L A R S.

We're still keeping our cards close to the vest, but you can learn just a little more...HERE

Friday, November 26, 2010

Guys who listen to what women SAY they want in men...or women who listen to what guys SAY they want from women...are headed for trouble.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Every day I work, work out, and find a way to tell the people I love that I love them. Every single day. It brings me enormous joy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Never miss a chance to tell the people you love that you love them. Never forget that one hug, one smile, one kiss...will be the last.

I am rather OCD, but because my actions are distributed between body, career, and relationships, people think it's healthy and cool.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Step #7: Dark Night of the Soul

Dark Night of the Soul

"My soul is full of discord and dismay..."

The Dark Night of the Soul is the moment when it feels that all of our abilities and efforts will be insufficient to meet the task at hand. In "Hamlet," there are many such moments, but one that clearly looms large is his accidental murder of Polonius, an old retainer listening behind the curtains as Hamlet upbraids his mother.

His mother Queen Gertrude believes her son is deeply shamed, and she's probably right. In addition to shame, however, there is self-doubt, homicidal fury and doubtless other emotions all mixed together. Powerful emotions cloud reason and perception, making it difficult to see options that are directly in front of us. Who among us has not had such moment? In fact, it is almost impossible to achieve anything of worth without cycling through moments of exultation and depression. One of the most fascinating things is that we tend to have selective amnesia. We just don't remember that the depression is part of the cycle, and we come through it, we survive, and go on with our lives. And that lack of memory is probably a tool of the ego: after all, if we remembered that we had had survived failures and disappointments in the past, we wouldn't be afraid of the future and might, just MIGHT actually act with courage and decisiveness. And if we did that, we would change.

And of course, our egos can't stand THAT.

Here's a trick that has worked for my clients: the next time you're feeling GREAT, write a letter or record a your future self. Heck, you know you're going to be depressed again, why kid yourself? So create a message to that depressed "you", telling yourself whatever you'll need to hear to get yourself going again. Then, either give the letter to a friend, or tuck it away safely, to be used the next time eating Draino starts looking good.

You'll be amazed at the results!


This Saturday: note the new time
Increase your energy:
Saturday, November 20, 2010 12:30 PM Pacific Standard time
(724) 444-7444
Call ID: 77111


The Five Tibetans are the biggest bang for your buck: 10 minutes to basic fitness. Totally free.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds"--Patanjali

Increase energy:
Saturday, November 20, 2010 12:30 PM PST
(724) 444-7444
Call ID: 77111

Increase Energy!
Saturday, November 20, 2010 1:00 PM Pacific Standard time
(724) 444-7444
Call ID: 77111

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pun of the day...
"Silent, grim, colossal, the big city has ever stood against its revilers. They call it hard as iron; they say that no pulse of pity beats in its bosom; they compare its streets with lonely forests and deserts of lava. But beneath the hard crust of the lobster is found a delectable and luscious food. Perhaps a different simile would have been wiser. Still, nobody should take offense. We would call no one a lobster without good and sufficient claws."--O.Henry, "Between Rounds"

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm revisiting one of my favorite old books with an eye to sequel...or a story extending a premise established by my younger self. Tricky.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What the Dalai Lama Taught Us About Transforming Our Negative Mind

Attack the problem at its root: beneath anger, greed, and the need for power over others is one root emotion: fear. Deal with the fear in yourself, and you have no need to believe the masks worn by others. See them clearly, and it is easier to address that core issue, unmoved by their excuses and obfuscations. Fear and love compete for the same place in our hearts, and the hearts of others.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Monday, November 08, 2010

Choose your tribe carefully

One division of animal species is pertinent to human behavior, especially when it comes to finding lasting love.

"Tournament" species and "Pair Bonding" species are very different in sexual behavior. "Tournament" species males and females have a low threshold of sexual activity: males will jump on anything, as frequently as possible. "Tournament" females will mate with a variety of different males, demanding little fidelity or investment of resources. Needless to say, the "Tournament" males don't stick around to raise the kids--it simply doesn't make sense in terms of energy investment.

"Pair Bonded" species, on the other hand, have more elaborate mating rituals. Males and females are far pickier. They pay attention to the behavior of their prospective mates, selecting for those who will make good parents, and stick around to raise the kids. Such species include those who mate for life, and engage in far less "cheating." Females insist on males building nests, providing protein, and exhibiting the capacity to bond to and raise children. is quite tempting to ask what happens if we apply these two categories to human beings. Humans, clearly, have the ability to go either way on this one. I recently monitored a series of Facebook exchanges by women who are disenchanted with the males in their lives, considering men a waste of time. They proposed simply getting pregnant, and "raising the next generation of men" themselves, to create the kind of men they want.

Right. Men raised by women without the slightest capacity to find bonded relationships, and are hostile toward men. Who are, in essence, deluded. Imagine how delighted I'd be if I heard a group of men, unhappy with women, hatching a plot to adopt girl-children to raise "the next generation of women" according to their own twisted needs. The horror. The horror.

That is all the dysfunction anyone could ever want to find. And even if you aren't interested in having kids, the lesson is clear: if you want to find lasting love, it would seem non-optimal to behave like a member of the Tournament tribe. Our hindbrains aren't good at fine distinctions. That means that males who push for sex rapidly, who jump from partner to partner, and have previous children they aren't engaged in raising are BAD choices if you want a lasting love, girls.

And I hate to say this, but those women who jump in and out of bed quickly, who insist on being "just as sexually aggressive as men" and have had trouble implementing birth control are simply RADIATING "Tournament" tribe. While there are exceptions to such rules, it suggests some pretty simple rules if what you're looking for is a long-term relationship.

Tananarive and I did a LOT of work before finding each other. She made a commitment not to become intimate with a man who didn't love her, who wasn't looking for a long term relationship. I hadn't gone quite that far--but I clearly remember the night before we met. I had had the "best" day of my life in terms of attracting women. I was in the groove, firmly in the Tournament Tribe vibe. I can't put this delicately: women were falling all over themselves, giving me their phone numbers, writing me love poems within an hour of meeting them.

It was amazing. I'd hit a Vibe I'd been looking for my whole life, and it terrified me. I could see the void opening to swallow me, the very void Oscar Brown Jr. wrote about in his life-saving song "Ladie's Man""

"Back as a boy, I longed to be

The fella women loved to see

and have them all consider me

A Ladie's Man..."

And this verse led inevitably to the morose:

"What tricky trade might I have tried

Had I not laid preoccupied

But then, who's ever satisfied

A Ladie's Man..."

My dear friend Gordon Lewis played this song for me when I was about 22. Only took me 25 years to grasp the truth of it.

Oh, yeah. An infinite succession of no end at all. And in my lonely room, I literally dropped to my knees and prayed. I knew that this was not what I wanted. What I wanted was a partner, a help-mate, someone I could really be myself with, reveal my deepest essence.

And I could feel, right then and there, that the only way I would ever find it is if I was willing to wait my whole life, if necessary. And I meant it. And never had a chance to find out just exactly what that meant, in behavior...because the very next morning, I met Tananarive.

Choose tribes, people. Be sure you'll be happy with the results...and make your choice.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I extend the assumption of equality to anyone who does the same. But if your theory of gender, race or politics depends upon "the other" being morally or intellectually inferior to you...I reserve the right to look at your finances, physical condition and relationship history to see if you are quite as special as you seem to think you are.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

in the end we go to poetry for one reason, so that we might more fully inhabit our lives and the world in which we live them-- Wiman

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Bad News: Obama's trip to India WILL cost 200 million a day! The good news: that number is in Rupees, not dollars.

We are driven more by emotion than logic. If you don't work to clear your perceptual filters, you will be controlled by them.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010 1:00 PM PDT
(724) 444-7444
Subject: Intermittent Fasting!
Call ID: 77111

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Diamond Hour Talk This
Saturday: Intermittent Fastin
1:00 PM Pacific Daylight time (last PDT day of the year!)
Connect via phone or VoIP (Skype, etc.)
(724) 444-7444
Call ID: 77111

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Do Positive People Live Longer?

External events do not control our moods--our perceptual filters and beliefs do. We can be miserable in a palace, or find bliss in a windowless cell. Adults are responsible for finding and maintaining joy in their lives. Children blame their parents, friends, and society. The choice is up to you.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Monday, November 01, 2010

How many hugs do you need every day to feel fully alive? For me...about five.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Drugs only work by imitating chemicals already made by the brain. Train your mind to produce good feelings--set yourself free!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Because there was a rooster on the other side? Because it had evolved legs? Because its muscles, tendons, and ligaments provided the leverage for propulsion? Because it had eaten enough corn and worms to provide energy? Because its sensory apparatus provided information that there was food on the other side? Because...because...

There are actually endless possible answers to that question. All interesting. All partial. And in the same way, we have endless possible reasons why we, as human beings, do the things we do. If you are a biologist, you might answer the question one way. An evolutionary psychologist, another. A behaviorist, another. And so on, and so on.

If you are a writer, it is critical that you have the best-rounded understanding of human and animal behavior that you can manage. You must have a solid theory of WHY we do what we do, and be prepared to defend it through the structure of mythic argumentation. I just made that term up, but hopefully you know what I mean.

If you are interested in getting the most out of your life every day, you need to be able to look at the motivations of human beings from every conceivable angle, and each perspective will teach you something different. Don't get "stuck" in one point of view, like some political bigot who can only see his side of the issue.

If you are interested in minimizing the stress in your life, you MUST understand how your mind came to interpret your life situation as threatening. How and why it engaged a warning system designed for escaping tigers when the bill collectors call. When your kids misbehave at school. It is NOT a tiger, and you have time to take a deep breath, calm your responses, and think things through--if you let yourself.

Every road you take will show you a different face of the mountain, which is always, always, larger than our experience of it.

Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it did. What you believe that means says more about you than it ever will about chickens or roads.


I don't like to put ads here, but it would be unfair not to tell you guys that, for just three more days, the


If you're a writer, you don't want to miss this.

Order your copy TODAY at:

When the child you were, and the ancient you will be BOTH agree upon your actions and life are blessed indeed.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Satisfying your needs is critical. Striving after "wants" is a game. Differentiating between the two is critical to a happy, healthy life.

Monday, October 25, 2010

End Bullying:
1) protect kids and shame bullies
2) make good kids strong
Japanese community centers have great judo classes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Laughter brings many benefits, such as increased lung capacity and the ability to tolerate idiots"--Robin Burchett

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Shakyamuni Buddha

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Many people who order their lives rightly in all other ways are kept in poverty by their lack of gratitude. Having received one gift from God, they cut the wires which connect them with Him by failing to make acknowledgment.

Women are judged more by beauty, men more by power. This is unfair to alpha females and beta males. Deal with it.

We attract people at our level of energetic integration...and below. If you don't like what you're attracting, you have work to do.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I enjoy speaking of the pure forms of meditation, stripped of cultural artifice. Here are some basic ideas, moving from VERY simple to more involved. If you can integrate one level, move on to the next.

1) Stop five times a day, every three hours, and breathe deep and slow for one minute. This is a MINIMUM. Anyone can afford this much time. If you tell yourself you don't, you are lying.

2) Spend 10-20 minutes a day "listening" to your heartbeat. Take your pulse if necessary. Sit quietly, head erect as if held by a string from above. Relax, calm, release your tensions. Relax your face.

3) Slow the breathing. When your mind wanders during your 10-20 minute sessions, "bounce" it back and forth between heartbeat and breathing. If you can "thread" your breath through a "doughnut" of your heartbeat, (those images will make sense once you've mastered the step), you have reached a deeper level of calm.

4) If you've mastered that level, visualize yourself sitting before a mirror. See yourself in the mirror, sitting relaxed, breathing, and feeling/listening to your heartbeat.

5) If you can hold that image, imagine yourself "pregnant" with your own "inner child" self.

6) If you can hold this, listen carefully to see if that inner self has anything to say to you.

Trust me--what I've presented here represents years of work for most people. But the qualities of relaxation, self-love, self-acceptance, visualization, and focus you will develop are profound.

Your Focus Needs More Focus! --Jackie Chan, "Karate Kid"

Both Right and Left, accuse the other side of the same partisan, lying, blind behavior their own side loves. Both have taken the Blue pill.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Repeat After me: "My brain is NOT a garbage can with a hairy lid!"

Those who can't feel the littleness of great things in themselves oft overlook the greatness of little things in others
--The Book Of Tea

Does Stress Make You Ugly?

Please try this: Five times a day, at every hour divisible by three (nine, twelve, three, six, and nine) take sixty seconds and breathe deep, low, and slow. Inhale through your nose, exhale through the mouth. This single change can transform your life in weeks.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Finding a relationship is a matter of balancing beauty and power. Holding it is a matter of balancing head and heart.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tananarive and I will be signing
THE LIVING DEAD 2 at Dark Delicacies at 2 p.m today, 3512
W. Magnolia Blvd in Burbank.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Due to some kind of glitch I
cannot fix, I have no access to the
original LIFEWRITING message
board. I've created a new community
board called the "101" which deals with the same
issues, and all of you are invited to sign up.
As always, we specialize in concepts of
conscious living, conscious writing, raising
energy and other subjects that we've
been discussing can be addressed.

It is the 101 board, and is totally free
and can be reached at:

Hop over, sign up and ask any questions
you want about the issues we've been
dealing with, the questions I've raised,
and more. But ultimately, the best
questions deal with the connection
between career, relationship, physicality
and spirit.

Join us!


Sunday, October 10, 2010

There is no labor from which most people shrink as they do from that of sustained and consecutive thought. It is the world's hardest work.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

TacFit Spetznaz Kettlebell
If you are irritated by marketing hype, I ask you to ignore that twitch in Scott's case--he's just doing what you have to do to get noticed in the marketplace. Otherwise, some of the best, and most intelligent innovations can get lost in the blizzard, and in Scott's case, that would be a tragedy. The reason? He is quite possibly the very best fitness guy out there. I certainly think so, but can't quite separate out the fact that:
1) his stuff is a perfect evolution from flesh to spirit.
2) he is a brother and dear friend.
1) he is an international martial arts champion, and therefore he is simply incapable of creating a product that isn’t effective, efficient, and slanted toward my own interests.
2) His stuff is exotic—there isn’t anything quite like it. Therefore it appeals to the part of me always looking for “something different.”
Separate from those things, his information is just…phenomenal, useful, hyper-efficient, and no b.s. Yeah, he uses hype. But if you look at the fitness marketplace, and all of the utter crap out there, you understand that good people go broke unless they blow their own horns.
That’s the context. About a year ago, Scott started talking about his TacFit program, which grew out of FlowFit and other Rmax International goodies. If the guy had a weakness, it was that his material wasn’t organized for turn-key application. You really had to have a highly developed intuition about your body. His material was clearly sequenced for advanced athletes and martial artists. FlowFit changed that, actually teaching intuition and subjective measurement of stress/strain. In one 17-minute practice he combined all basic components of fitness and physical health, requiring no equipment. Excellent.
TacFit took this idea further, into the development of more advanced and intense components of fitness. He had folded about fifteen different fitness components—that I could identify—into the program, and I simply had seen nothing like it. A sample of his thinking: rather than just doing “more” reps or increasing resistance when a particular level became too easy, he increases complexity, thereby increasing neurological engagement. This was physical exercise as MENTAL challenge. Lovely. TacFit used a variety of equipment, but “TacFit Commando” was designed specifically to be used with no equipment and little room. Perfect for travel.
Scott tests stuff on his “Core Cadre,” special offers and bonuses that take his basic ideas in new directions. He ALWAYS tests his stuff on himself, coaches and friends first, never offering anything to the public he hasn’t proven. Good going. The “Mass Attack” variation was designed to slap on bulk. “ROPE” (Rapid Onset Pullup Employment) was designed to add more pulling component to the program. Brutal. Some of this was the most intense midsection work I’ve ever seen—stabilization at the same time you are working contraction and expansion. The DOMS were brutal.
And then he started talking about a kettlebell program, and I was all ears. You see, Kettlebells are the only form of weight training I’ve ever been able to stick with. No ragging on other forms—this is my own crap, not a problem with weights. Not sure why, really, but the multi-planar motions, emphasis on Olympic-style lifts done for high reps, and emphasis on whole-body motion (there is no isolation) as well as some other factors just turn me on. For the uninitiated, KBs look like cannonballs with handles on them, and are used in a variety of truly bizarre and incredibly fun lifts that have more carry-over to “real life” strength and fitness than anything I’ve seen. In fifteen minutes a day (really!) you can give yourself a whole-body workout that will shame most of what most people spend 90 minutes doing in a gym.
Love ‘em. Tananarive loves ‘em. But since I started playing with TacFit nine months ago, I’d put them aside.
Well, yesterday I finally got my copy of his program. Superb. By selecting complex, multi-planar motions, you are less likely to “get tight” when the motions themselves are almost like yoga. But then, other motions are like MA warm-ups. Or proprioception games. Or drills to improve energy transference. Joe Wilson, one of Scott’s core advanced coaches and the kind of guy who knocks out Shaolin Monks for fun (in a good way) once told me NOT to practice martial arts. Rather, to sophisticate myself, and then just pour that sophistication into whatever art I happened to be practicing.
Well the result of working out with KBs was certainly along this line. And the result of working TacFit Commando was along this line. I did my first workout yesterday, and had to drop down to a 12 Kg weight to feel comfortable. Could feel that there were lines and angles where my flexibility/strength had holes in it. Or is that coordination/power? Or maybe endurance/balance. Jeeze, this is different. It will take another 24 hours before the Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness really kicks in, but I woke up this morning after a fine night’s sleep, feeling great. And last night at Silat practice, without any stretching at all, I kicked to the head, casually. Fascinating.
Look, I’ll keep you posted. I’m still going partially on trust. But I have every reason to trust this man—he hasn’t let me down yet. And the entire TacFit progression has, so far, been the exercise routine I’ve been looking for my entire life. If this is as deep and valid, it’s going to be a helluva ride.

Most internet marketing gurus make money teaching people to be internet marketing gurus. Isn't this a kind of Ponzi scheme?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

“Let Me In” (2010)

Let’s talk about the new vampire horror film, based on the Swedish “Let The Right One In.” The first thing I want to say is that I won’t go into plot elements as deeply as I did with “The Social Network” (not that I went that far) because plot twists actually are important in this film. However,
It is probably pretty widely known that the film revolves around the relationship between isolated, bullied twelve-year old Owen and a twelve year old (appearing) vampire named Abby. Instead of looking at the plot and how it appears through the lens of the Hero’s Journey, let’s look a bit at Owen and Abby through the lens of the Chakra system.
The Chakras are a Vedic tool similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, starting with the most basic “mechanical organism” needs (survival, sex, shelter) and working up to more evolved complex and subjective needs (love, intellectual clarity, spiritual truth.)
The relationship growing between these two is based on wounds in the heart—both are lonely. Owen’s emptiness is created by absent parents (his father is merely a voice on the phone. His mother’s face is never clearly and directly viewed), while Abby is a…well, a vampire who must remain separate from…well, her cattle. That’s really the only way to put it. We can accept that she is lonely, and wants companionship, but the fact that she requires human help just to survive makes it reasonable to question her motivations.
Be that as it may, if you were to look at a diagram, Owen is threatened on the level of survival (a bit. He is being bullied, but very little bullying actually leads to death. Fear, yes...the real problem is that he has no allies, and doesn’t know how to acquire them). Sexuality? Owen craves a girlfriend, human contact. He is powerless and invisible, and sorry, that’s never terribly attractive. And that leads us to Chakra #3, power. Owen ain’t got it, and he wants it, as we all do (at least enough power to protect ourselves and our values.) And that leads to Chakra #4—love and emotion. He craves contact.
Now, Abby. First Chakra—survival. She needs blood to survive, and needs a human being to fetch the blood (most of the time). Second Chakra—sexuality. We know little, but it is suggested that Abby uses sexual contact of some kind to bond herself to her familiar “the Father.”
Third Chakra—power. She is vastly, inhumanly powerful. Her apparent helplessness is all affectation, and this is actually the heart of the horror. Owen has no way of understanding what he is doing. Anyone who thinks the power differential between Bill Clinton and a 22 year old intern was inappropriate should vomit at the gap between Owen and Abby.
Fourth Chakra: Heartspace. From Chloe Moritz’ wonderful performance, I think we can believe she genuinely likes and cares for her familiar…and Owen. But do we believe for a fraction of a second she would sacrifice herself for them? That she wants what is best for THEM? Her definition of love, and that of any sane, moral human being are vastly different. And without clarifying that difference for Owen, she is exploiting him more than any kiddy pimp or child molester in human history has ever exploited the gap between himself and his victim.
This is real horror. So there we are, with two needy characters doing a sensuous dance around each other, spiraling their way to hell. I LOVED this movie, but the critics who discussed its “romanticism”…well, let’s just say I wonder if they’ve ever had a healthy relationship in their lives. If this is “romanticism” the term itself needs to be redefined.

Monday, October 04, 2010

“The Social Network”

Over the weekend I saw two films, “The Social Network” and “Let Me In” and loved them both. It would be instructive to look at them from the perspective of our core model: the Hero’s Journey and the Chakras. And we’ll do that a bit this week.
“Social Network” is the brainchild of Aaron Sorkin, creator of the “West Wing” and his screenplay is crackerjack. Let’s forget the question of whether this tale, about the creation of “Facebook” is historically precise. Like it or not, that is not the primary job of a theatrical film. The primary job of a theatrical film is to be entertaining and return the investment of the studios…and factual accuracy is often secondary.
Nonetheless a film must have at least the appearance of reality…verisimilitude, and here “Social Media” holds up fine. The basic idea that Sorkin seems to be promoting is that, in terms of the charkas, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was a borderline Asperger type with an enormous hole in his heart, which he tried to fill with his brain. A guy who never got invited to parties…and so decided to throw the biggest party in the world.
The confusion between head and heart is central. Does it ring true? To anyone who has been around nerd (or, say…science fiction fandom?) knows a lot of “Zuckerbergs.” Brilliant but socially inept people, the kind who believe you can be “too smart.” My position: intelligence is problem solving. The only way that can be a problem is if you aren’t aware enough to actually select the right problems to solve. Given this basic premise, we watch Zuckerberg march through the steps of the Hero’s Journey—
Confronted with Challenge: To mature as a human being, to be able to form genuine relationships and advance as a human being.
he is asked to program a social network for fellow Harvard students.
Rejects Challenge: he decides he doesn’t respect the people who proposed this.
Accepts Challenge: to steal this idea and go in another direction.
Road of Trials: A gigantic amount of programming, team building, genuine brilliance and hard work, against the backdrop of shifting social connections. Learning to respect boundaries and promises, to understand what is and is not “honest” or appropriate…in other words, to grow up.
Allies and Powers: his friend and Chief Financial Officer is his only real friend (within the context of the movie). Mark is drop-dead brilliant, no question, and has creativity to burn and an instinctive understanding of the needs of others…if not himself.
Confront Evil-Defeat. “Evil” in the film context is Sean Parker the co[creator of Napster (played beautifully by Justin Timberlake, who continues to impress.) Remember: this is a guy who convinced an entire generation of impressionable young people that stealing wasn’t stealing. And this man dazzled Mark and became his moral guidepost! It is notable that Mark’s parents never appear in this film. He has no family, no outside friends. The social isolation is phenomenal. Mentally, he is dazzling. Emotionally, he is an empty vessel.
Dark Night of the Soul—the success of his empire accompanies the collapse of his personal relationships and the revelation of his emptiness.
Leap of Faith—he does not, cannot take it. He is pursuing success monomaniacally, and has no real concept of the damage he is doing.
BECAUSE he cannot take the leap, he collapses back to the prior emotional level, where he becomes obsessed with winning back the girlfriend he lost and shamed at the beginning of the film, as if understanding that this is the road to redemption.
There will be many who think that his financial success, or his transformation of the cyber-landscape compensate for any failings. That is fine: those people have simply defined their own morality, and there are plenty of ‘em. You need to decide, for yourself, what YOU think the morality of all this is. Zuckerberg ended up the youngest billionaire in American history. He has plenty of time for therapy and growth, and will probably do fine. Even the people he hurt, he made staggeringly rich. So he isn’t really a “villain” even in the context of the film…although Sean Parker certainly seems to be.
What do you think?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Are You A Hero?

Are You A Hero?
What is a hero? I mean, if we use the “Hero’s Journey” mythic structure to create fiction, control the process of writing, AND to design our lives, it behooves us to explore the question. To define the term.
Every single one of these emails either deals with the direct application of this pattern, or the practical experience of living according to this age-old wisdom. Examples from my own life, or the lives of my friends, family, business associates, or historical personages.
And this Saturday, we’re going to have an extraordinary opportunity to talk to a man who is not only one of MY heros (and teachers, and coaching client) but a man who would have been celebrated in any culture, through all of time—we love our warriors. Even more, we love warriors who are intellectual, family men, and deeply spiritual. And my guest on Saturday’s Diamond Hour meets this challenging standard brilliantly.
Here’s my definition: a hero is someone willing to put it on the line for their own happiness and health, her family, his community, her spiritual beliefs. They risk life and limb and ego to find truth, to disclose lies and cruelty, to bring love and security into the world.
Heroes can be warriors, healers, teachers, parents, craftsmen, artists, guardians, or those who maintain the walls. And no matter how you slice it, Scott Sonnon qualifies. Teacher, author, family man, spiritual aspirant, athlete, trainer of warriors, and four-time gold medal winner at the World Martial Arts Games (most athletes don’t win four gold medals in their entire careers!). I’ve had the honor of knowing Scott for almost ten years, known him to be a man of honor, integrity and courage, with a beautiful family and lethal martial arts skills. He is a genius, a synthesist who was the first American martial artist to be invited to train in the former Soviet Union, and learn secrets unknown to all but the privileged elite. And over the last few years I’ve watched him become a man of deep spiritual conviction, following the guru Amma, who, in my personal opinion, is one of the few genuine transhuman souls walking this planet.
This is a man who entered the World Games the oldest, and one of the smallest, men on the mat—and triumphed. I agreed to be his coach because he was NOT doing this out of ego, but because he wanted to provide an example to America—and the world—of what free, courageous people can accomplish when they give it everything they have, and dedicate their results to a purpose larger than themselves.
If you are a writer, businessperson, a Diamond Hour aspirant, a parent, or just someone dedicated to being the best you can be, you MUST listen in, ask questions, and learn from this remarkable man of simple faith and International-level skills. This is a “can’t miss” no-brainer, totally free, and 100% real.
Sat., October 2, 2010, 1:00 PM Pacific Daylight time

Connect via phone or VoIP (Skype, etc.)

(724) 444-7444

Call ID: 77111

Detailed connection directions are here:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Giant Step Forward For Jasonkind...

Jason took the Gold!
My six year old son Jason took a Gold Medal this last weekend, at his first “real” Judo tournament on Sunday. On Saturday he couldn’t get to sleep—too excited, too hyped…too scared.
“Were you ever scared?” He asked me, curled up in his blankets at bed time. “When you did tournaments, were you ever scared.”
“All the time,” I said. “Fear is just your body and mind getting ready for action. The problem is being afraid of your fear. Ashamed of your fear,” I said. “It’s like fire. Understand it, and you can use it to cook your food. Don’t understand it, and it can burn down your house.”
I snuggled up next to him, holding him in my arms. “Jason, this is why I have you in Judo. So that you can learn about your emotions. Fear is like an ocean of lava. You have to learn to surf on it. Let it power you. Carry you. It will make you stronger, more focused…but you need to be clear on what you fear, and what you love.” I paused. He was looking up at me, his eyes shining, and I prayed I could be strong and clear enough to convey what was in my heart.
“Jason, you said you wanted a black belt. Do you want it?”
“Well, a black belt isn’t about being able to do throw and holds…although that is a part of it. It is about learning about dealing with fear, loss, pain, disappointment…and victory. It is about becoming a Man, Jason. I swore to God that I would help you become a man, and this is one of the tools I’m using.” I kissed the cool, smooth skin on his forehead. His little hands gripped at me for dear life.
“This is what I want. You think of a single technique. Your best technique. And you just try to get that. You can fake another technique to set him up, make him move, but just concentrate on one, all right?”
He nodded, mutely.
“And aside from that, I want you to pay attention. I want you to be a good sportsman. Win or lose, if you will do the best you can, then we’re going for ice cream. As far as I’m concerned, you’re a winner. That’s all I want: be focused, fight hard, fight fair, be a good sport. Can you do that?”
He nodded. And kissed me good night. “I love you, Daddy,” he said.
Meaning: I trust you, Daddy.
So Sunday morning, we got up and dressed. Jason said to me: “I’m going to be like a scorpion. I’ll be still until I pounce.”
Sounded good to me.
We arrived at the gymnasium at 9:25, five minutes before the tournament began. In a crowded lot, we found a parking space near the door, and walked in. The gym was packed wall-to-wall. We barely entered before his name was called, and he went to sit at Mat #1 with the other kids in his age group. I repeated to him: “good sportsmanship. Choose one technique. Do your best.”
He nodded. They called his name, and he walked to his side of the mat. His opponent faced him. The judge called “Hajime! (Begin)”
With his face perfectly calm, Jason walked across the mat, closed with his opponent, drove him back with a perfect Kuzushi (unbalancing) and took his leg with a perfect Osotogari. Boom. Full point. Match over.
Ten minutes later, he had his second match. He did EXACTLY the same thing. Boom. Match over. First place.
I’d never seen him with such focus. For the rest of the day, he was just a kid, running, playing with his buddies, whining…my Jason. But for those minutes, he had it. He got it. For just those moments, I saw the man he will one day be. I was beyond pride. It wasn’t about me.
Jason doesn’t belong to me. But it is my job to deliver him safely to his future. And on Sunday, he took one giant step.