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Discipline Trump Philosophy

Have you ever met someone that espoused profound moral and spiritual philosophies, but did not implement those things in their lives? Hypocrisy, failing to practice what you preach, is one of the quickest ways someone can lose respect. Intuitively, we all know that what we do is what we truly believe. Knowing is doing and doing is knowing. Behind this lies a simple fact of our humanity: discipline always trumps philosophy. Whatever habits we reinforce continually dictate most of our behavior, especially when we feel threatened or are facing adversity.

We often believe that the state of our lives is primarily due to what happens. In truth, most of our life experience is internal; the thoughts we repeat to ourselves, the feelings we dwell on, and our own self-expression all have a bigger impact on why we are the way we are. Getting married, the birth of a child, or winning the lottery are all incredibly positive life events. The death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or another life tragedy could be quite harmful. Despite how impactful these might seem to be, these events do not produce much change in happiness. We eventually settle back to the same level of happiness we were at before one of these life-changing events. Whatever is most natural to us is what we still do.

This means that the most reliable way to change our behavior is to change our habits. How do we change our habits? The first step is to bring attention to when we are acting out of the habit we want to change. At Tumfo Tu, experienced Instructors start the student out on that journey with meticulous and repetitious correction.

These corrections range from how to form the hand all the way to changing patterns of thought. Correcting habits of movement is certainly valuable, but can only produce so much change in that habit. Before the body moves, thoughts and attitudes move; emotions move. Habits in managing the energy of our emotions are much harder to address on our own. At Tumfo Tu, the exercises and experiences the students have are specifically designed to provoke instinctual and spontaneous reactions so that they can be trained. Without this, you could learn a lot of things that won’t be usable in daily life.

With self-protection, the worst you do in training is the best you can do in an actual situation. This is based on the understanding that we can only operate out of what we truly know; not what we think about. Even if we understand the dynamics involved in handling multiple attackers, we have never really learned a thing if our emotions cause us to freeze in that situation. Change has to come from the inside out, and our habit must be to turn inside out every day.

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