Read about the Life Lessons Sifu Joel Rizzo has learned through his practice of Martial Arts
Q: (Students)What is the single, most important lesson you've learned in your years of martial arts training?A: (Sifu Joel Rizzo)
This is a simple, yet complex answer, so I will start off with simplistic ideas and then see where I go from there, as this is a simple one hour treatise on the subject and I will be entertaining this as if I was speaking on the subject as the timeline does not dictate a great organizational feat;
Quite simply, the lesson would be life lessons, not just one lesson, but the lesson of life itself.
It changed everything I knew and understood to be true, from every angle and every way possible. It continues to do so to this day. It is about a way or the way of life or the courses that life that would teach me about the way. Quite simply, it is a certain way of doing things to accomplish and achieve results. In order to do these things, you must have a great deal of faith and in time you will develop the understanding.
What is obviously and typically taught, that kung fu is hard work. This is obvious to anyone who trains anything or tries to master or accomplish anything of true value. What is seldom taught, that there is a way, which is universal. It is life and death, growth and decay, or a myriad of concepts, as it will teach you about every thing if you are open to its lessons. If not, you are doomed to repeat them.
What I mean by this, is that when I started out in the martial arts as a kid and even as a young adult, it was hard work, hard training, discipline, confidence, attitude, strength, dedication, devotion, loyalty, etc... That developed a hard fighter and great martial artist. It is true; this is a way, but only part of the way.
I understand more now and I know that accomplishment without proper faith; faith in infinite intelligence, in my sifu, in me, the system, my students, co-workers, or to sum this list up, in others, those good and not so good, is of utmost importance. Without others, there is no system. And learning changes with it, as you can learn something from everyone, even those less fortunate than yourself.
This bring us to balance, harmony, karma, or essence, the universal energy or universal truth or another way of citing infinite intelligence from another angle; intelligent design.
Having faith in the system, my sifu, those around me and more importantly, infinite intelligence, allows you to accomplish more than one could normally achieve without it. It can come around in many ways. Without faith in all areas, it is difficult to achieve mastery, or true mastery, and I don’t mean the new definition of mastery. You know like everyone is a master, a CEO, the president, the manager of everything. I am talking old world concepts here. In a world that no longer has cashiers, clerks, secretaries, janitors and the like, as they have all been replaced with Managers, Sales Professionals, Administrative Executives and Engineering titles respectively. Let’s take the title out and go Old School here.
Getting back to balance or the Universal balance or the Universal Law that will govern all that you choose to utilize or discard and allow you to achieve more or less as you see fit for yourself.. Law, and not confusion, is the dominating principle in the universe; justice, not injustice is the soul and substance of life; and righteousness, not corruption, is the molding and moving force in the spiritual government of the world. Everything will always balance for better or worse through this law or karma. You just need to understand that the difference between deserve and desire and the law makes much more sense. Just because you desire something or think you deserve something, doesn’t mean the universal law of balance or karma agrees. With this in mind, goals should be set with definite of purpose, a positive mental attitude the capacity to accomplish for the right reasons.
So universal truth comes into play here, and it needs to be honest self-truth, as lying to yourself only gets you nothing or nowhere no matter how much you don’t like it. Karma and infinite intelligence must think that truth is real enough to balance your growth forward, otherwise you growth is in a decay pattern. Simply put, going the extra mile in every aspect of life in a positive, righteous and magnanimous way, will move you forward in life lessons of achievement and accomplishment.
If you provide more service on the job than is expected, or train harder that required, and be a better person even to the nastiest of people (as you must treat them as extra special because they need the most help as they are the farthest from center), and those around you do not compensate you for this (just one example), the universal law of balance must and will do so for them. It just may not be on your timeline if you so allow that (Definite of Purpose helps here). This law is simplistic and must keep the universe in a perfect state of balance and harmony at all times. Sometimes results are seen right away, sometimes it may take a lifetime to understand how and why. Faith and understanding the truth plays a big role here and you can modify and change this as time goes on.
Lets step back here. In my 20’s, I had to learn how to regain my life from two major injuries, that required physical therapy for multiple years in a row, every day or many days a week, and several hours a day. The second time, I was told that I had a 5% chance to ever walk normally again. All of the western doctors and therapists told me what every athlete never dreams of, or talks about. Their words sat heavy in my mind, and more importantly, in my heart. The first time was hard enough to regain normal control of my physical abilities, but a second time? Apparently I needed to learn something missed the first time around! That was just the beginning and was the tip of the iceberg. I will leave the inspiration to other writers like Martin Krieg in Awake again.
As things became worse, I was less enchanted to the “western” way of health and healing and desperately searched for new ways to solve my issues, as I was determined to life a normal life again. Don’t get me wrong here, as I am red-blooded American and proud of it!
Then I met this Chinese instructor, Jung Shee Doo Wai. He was different than the others. He clearly saw the world differently than I had been raised to understand. I listened, but wasn’t sure what to think, but being desperate, I would entertain the ideas, even if only to understand why he had them. Then he blasted me with destiny and karma. It was the first time I had heard this in detail as it was very pointed towards me and VERY difficult to accept. As I came to learn and understand, it developed into the universal laws that govern life. Maybe it wasn’t all that different than I had been taught after all.
He started by claiming that if the methods that his family worked, that maybe there was some truth to what he was saying and that I need not believe it, that just had to do it as his ancestors had taught him. I agreed. Within months, I was walking 90% normally to the amazement of myself and all of those around me that had seen my struggles internally and externally. If this seems hard to digest, just know it was probably harder for me, as I was raised to believe that ancient cultures, non-American ideas, and everything non-western was false and fake and off the path to Heaven, as we knew it. Yeah, it was like that. That in itself was a long journey and a crash course in the universal truth.
The rest is history or as he put it, “The Proof is in the Results”.
Indeed they were.
I learned that there was a different way doing most everything I had learned or come to know. A true scholar was a martial artist, a mathematician, a musician, a writer, a businessman, an environmentalist, a cook, an herbalist, a family doctor and self-healer, astronomer, astrologer, a scientist, etc…and lastly, a boxer. In essence, a master of their own destiny. Some may say jack of all trades, master of none. This is far from center, as once you truly master something; gaining true competence in other areas becomes much more easily obtained but not easy and faster. The same concept that was held among top kung fu masters, that once their son accomplished the family system, learning other systems came much more easily and was expected.
I now eat monk diets, or diets the family learned from Buddhist and Taoist monks, sages, shaman, and other esoteric individuals. I eat watermelon for fever, take ginger for the stomach and head energies, eat peppers or egg combinations for certain types of aches and pains (or at least used to), and the list goes on. I also help friends, students and family and their friends and family with great success. I understand what western medicine doesn’t in areas of nerve mapping and functionality, cancers, fresh and healthy foods and their function with herbs, teas, and more.
As we are only as strong as our weakest link, and being creative and artistic, I obtained a degree in Engineering and do well at any type of civil and traffic engineering I am set forth to do. I love chemistry as I use that with the understanding in the herbal combinations and physics, the boxing, biology of the body and that around me.
That led me to herbs and as pursuit in the study of herbs, and more importantly, herbal combinations or ancient chemistry. More is not always better, but balance and perfection is. Then understanding the formula for different energy types and boxing to different body shapes, or modifications to success and understanding more. Herbal combinations used for overall health, specific health issues, and for overall kung fu, and specific kung fu training and to achieve a better understanding of the universal truth, or the truth of myself.. This led me to the learning of tea and the inherent function with herbs and health and kung fu training and its goal towards accomplishments in conjunction with tea. Then there was feng shui, geomancy, and the balance of the energies of everything around me, not just in living things, but everything. Closer…
All this helped me understand my kung fu training and self more and more. The more I learned, the more I understood what I knew and became more aware of how much I still did not know. The more you know, the more you realize that you don’t know and must learn. “He that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened”, for only by patience, practice and ceaseless importunity can man enter the Door of the Temple of Knowledge.
In turn, you continue the understanding on the mind and its functions and human nature and the nature around you and how they are inter-related and inter-connected wit our exterior and interior. You learn about the power of thought, its effect on character, and its effect on the body and your health, its purpose; hence the aphorism, “As man Thinketh, so is he.” Then you realize the functions and purposes of the mind, the spirit and not just the body as understood in my youth, as the body is only a servant of the mind.
Let the Mind guide you;
Let the Spirit Drive You,
And let the body protect you.
Jung Shee Doo Wai
All that we achieve and all that we fail to achieve is the direct result of our own thoughts
Now I understand sacrifice as I have never understood before, and I understand accomplishment. I know endurance and perseverance and now understand what Michelangelo stated about mastery, that if one truly understood how difficult it was, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all. What others see with accomplishment is instantaneous; what master’s see transcends decades of the hardest work imaginable.
He who would accomplish little, must sacrifice little;
He who would achieve much, must sacrifice much;
He who would attain highly, must sacrifice greatly.
I do not add these quotes without the understanding that these lessons are of utmost importance to me and who and what I have become, as they are as much a part of the universal truth as possible. With this comes the understanding that one must have a positive mental outlook or develop one along the way in their journey, as without it, you are doomed to repeat mistakes, or develop the true understanding why we study history, to avoid making te same mistakes (or lessons of life) over and over.
This brings us back to the universal energy or truth, because without it, there would be nothing.
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