CLEARING THE WAY THROUGH SPIRITUAL MARTIAL ARTS
by Sensei Sequoia
WELCOME TO HANTA YO …. The Martial Arts, although fighting arts, are at the deepest level about the fight over ones self. We find our own internal contradictions to be our true enemy. Gaining control over energies is the purpose of discipline and focus. We may then utilize this focused energy toward healing, well-being and creative expression.
Usually people are fixated in their attention. This is a condition when excessive interior dialogue, unconscious bodily function and perpetual emotional consideration keep us stuck in limited areas of our body/mind. The work of Martial Arts is designed to spread consciousness to the extremities of our body so that the hands and feet have as much awareness in them as our thoughts and feelings. The over all effect of conscious work through Martial Arts is to produce a human being who is vitally centered and able to be a positive agent in all aspects of life, including conflict.
Hanta Yo is a Lakota Sioux term that means, “clear the way”. It indicates the intention of drawing on the Great Spirit to clear the way while you do your part with faith. All mystical, conscious work, including yoga and the Martial Arts, are about “plugging in” to an infinite source of creative potential. Techniques vary but the goals are identical: to conduct the life force more dynamically through the body/mind of the human being. Hanta Yo uses breath, conscious movement, balance, discipline and strong intention to accomplish this goal. The process involves The 9 ways of Hanta Yo: the rock way, the lightning way, the fire way, the water way, the wind way, the tree way, the earth way, the heavenly way and the love way. Each way involves a different approach to exercise. While we work out physically, the psychological component is also operative. This is understood as the transmutation of ego through three apparent phases: (solid) rigid, (mellow), and (gas) empty.
The 9 Ways integrate the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual realms of being. Hanta Yo assigns an appropriate action to each of these 4 realms using the following formula of the 4 R’s, Relax the body, Release the emotions, Rest the mind and Recognize the spirit. Tension in any of the four realms impedes the flow of ki. In order to have “flowing ki” the body must be in a relaxed state, allowing both negative and positive “charges” in the emotions to be released. As this occurs the mind is given a rest from it’s chatter. Simply recognizing or remembering the Spirit stimulates “ki” flow”. So we find that tension can be released even eliminated with the “flame of attention”.
The fundamental goal of the Martial artist is “centeredness”. Ideally the very presence of such a person maintains harmony in the immediate environment. However, when the ideal is not the reality and conflict arises, the martial artist is trained to handle most situations. The self-defense techniques that are a basic part of the work enable the martial artist to be a positive force in containing a potential or actual violent situation.
Training involves strengthening the entire system through exercise, stretching, coordination, balance, stamina and conscious movement. Classes provide a “theater” of interaction where students can smooth out rough areas of their movement and psyches. The phases of ego transformation from solid through liquid to empty are encountered, as students repeatedly must confront their limitations. The opportunity to “flow or grow” appears again and again both within the classes and in the larger scope of social relations.