The Second Installment of Seven on an Examination of Martial Arts and Chakra.
The Sacral Chakra
Martial Arts in all of its various disciplines has often been associated with the quest for enlightenment or spiritual growth. In order to attain functionality on a higher level spiritually, one needs to understand the basics and take it step by step from there. The following is going to be a basic explanation in the correlation between martial arts and chakra/spiritual energy. In this we will cover: The Relation, The Location, The Color, and lastly The Balance.
The Relation: In my opinion, the Second Chakra is one of the biggest obstacles facing the modern martial artist. The reason being that the second chakra's concern is your happiness. This is a double-edged sword if I have ever seen one. This chakra drives us to be joyous, pleased, and pleasured. In that way, it can conflict greatly with martial arts which is typically painful, grueling, and laborious. Faced with that, the dance that can ensue to try to please the second chakra is what I see drag martial artists down. It basically acts as the second decision-making process in a martial artists path. The first chakra is responsible for making people start. The second chakra makes them choose if it is worth their time or not, even if the person doesn't realize it is in action.
The Location: It may come across as lewd to some readers, but the location of this chakra pool is just as fitting as the last one we covered. I consider it to be the biggest obstacle the modern martial artist faces, and it is at the weakest area on almost every martial artists body. The pelvic region.
Here's a brief explanation on why that is: As said before, this chakra's main function is to put a smile on your face. So what better place to be located than the area on your body with the most nerve endings. Anyone out there get a 'light bulb' moment?
It's funny how it works in training, really. The first chakra is normally what gets people to come into martial arts. The drive for survival and to keep themselves safe. Once they feel that they have attained enough knowledge to protect themselves (Which, by the way, is never the right amount because you can't train for everything, and if you do then you can't keep it fresh all the time. You have to cycle the training.) they leave. I blame the second chakra as it wants you to be happy, not hurting. Once your first chakra's need for protection is 'satisfied' by the lies that most students tell themselves of their supposed proficiency, the second chakra kicks in saying that you deserve some time off. A break from training turns into a month off. A month turns into a year. Training becomes a distant memory that everyone I talk to seems to have when I bring up martial arts. Everyone has the need to say "Oh yea, I used to do (Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Tang Soo Do, Muay Thai - take your pick I've heard them all)". When asked why they left most of them don't even seem to have a grasp of how or why they stopped. 'It just happened.' That's the usual response. I can't help but feel that they are only saying that to make themselves feel better.
My first Sensei always said "It's easier to sit at home on the sofa and watch tv than it is to come to the dojo and train. That's why for every hundred students that walk into my school, I know I'll be lucky to even get one black belt out of them." He was right. Over the years that I've studied and trained I haven't even been able to get someone to train with me more than five times, let alone through a whole year. The drive this chakra has to make you content is insatiable, but we will dive into that more later.
The Color: Once more, the color for the chakra couldn't be more fitting. Its color is orange. This has some effects on us. The second chakra exists to make us happy, when we see its color worn on a person, its association is that the person is of a cheerful personality. Someone who is active, a 'go getter', positive. The kind of person that you would like to be friends with, or at least not mind knowing. People that surround themselves with this color tend to take on these traits as well, so it fits.
I once knew a girl in college who at a young age decided that the color orange was underappreciated. As a result of this decision, she felt that she needed to make orange her favorite color and wear it almost every day and have it present in every area of her life. She took on all the attributes listed above for the color. It just radiated from her. However, she also took on the negative sides of the color too. You see, since this chakra is aimed to make you happy, it doesn't focus too hard on the intellectual side of your life. Due to this my friend came off as slightly air-headed despite being quite intelligent. It is just the effect the color has. Keep this in mind, being happy is a good thing. You can't go too far in life if you constantly despise everything. There is too much of a good thing though, and the quest for joy can derail everything else that you are working on. Tread carefully if you find yourself on this path.
The Balance: Maintaining the balance of a healthy and active second chakra is difficult on its own. Throw martial arts into the mix, and it can sometimes be a recipe for disaster. However, the self-control that comes about from martial arts training is an incredibly useful tool when taming the second chakra.
REMEMBER: The drive held by the second chakra to make you content is insatiable. Don't forget that.
Enough is never enough as far as an unchecked second chakra is concerned. To help illustrate this, think of yourself as a cup. You want to be content so you aim to fill yourself. Liquid pours into you and you excitedly think 'This is awesome. I'm going to love this so much." Then you go from simply enjoying it, to chasing it. When this happens, the bottom of your cup is removed. Now the liquid is pouring through you, and there is no amount that will ever be able to fulfill you. If you don't pay attention to it, the second chakra can lead you on a self-destructive path, whether or not what you are doing is normally productive.
For example, push ups are good for building upper body strength and working on your core if you do them correctly. Now let's say we have someone who loves to do push ups, it's their favorite exercise. They do them every other day at first. This is alright. Then they don't feel like they are getting enough of it. So they start doing them every day. Hundreds and hundreds every day. That doesn't sound very smart, does it? Especially considering that most people who love to do push ups that much are fitness enthusiasts who know that the body takes a certain amount of time to recover its muscles. Yet, every year, no matter where I am, I run into at least three people who do this. When I try to correct them, or even just talk to them about it, they either get incredibly defensive (usually claiming that I have no idea what I'm talking about), or look at me bewildered as if they had no idea what they were doing wasn't healthy.
The same people who get defensive are also the ones that I get to hear complain constantly, not only on how their arms hurt, but that they can't seem to see any results from their work outs. Imagine that. I speak from personal experience too, though. There was a time span of roughly a year when I trained obsessively. My body was in constant agony, and I still couldn't help myself. Thankfully, I have had some instructors who have taught me to do what was necessary to get more out of my training, and life too.
Read this next part carefully because I don't want anyone to miss this very important advice: Slow down. Relax, and breathe. This applies to all aspects of life. In martial arts it is this: You can't get everything from what you are training in today if you are busy thinking about what you will get from training tomorrow. In the end, if you are focused on the next session and not the current one then you will feel unsatisfied. Even in the grueling training of martial arts you'll catch yourself chasing happiness. The joy of being a better martial artist. The irony is that when you do that you can't focus on what kind of martial artist you are in that moment, so when you do become better you don't see it at all.
Let's look at this in another way. If someone is in a fight and winning they may get caught up in the sensation of winning and start wanting to chase it. While still in the fight they begin to think about how good it will be when it is over and wondering what the next fight/victory will be like. Then, suddenly, they find themself catching a nice uppercut right to their gut and then three more to the head. Don't get too wrapped up in thinking about what's next. Being in the present moment is a big part or martial arts, and will aid greatly in dealing with the second chakra.
One more way to see how this chakra can effect you. It can make you flat-out lazy. This is the decision that most martial artists face when it comes to the second chakra, and where most decide that it is not worth it. Do the benefits out weigh the pain? Naturally, being a martial artist, I say yes. It's an amazing journey, and there are many different types of benefits to be had. Health, Mind, Spirit. It's all there. Sadly, the Way of the martial arts is a calling that not all hear.
If you are intent on being a martial artist then do this to bring yourself into balance with your second chakra. First off, meditate on what your weaknesses are as far as chasing happiness goes. It could be sleeping too much, playing video games, anything. Then forgive yourself for having them. The more you beat yourself up over something negative that you do, the more likely you are to over correct and go right back to doing it again because (Oh, the big cosmic joke this one is) you want to make yourself feel better and overindulging in those things are the most sure-fire way you know to put a smile on your face, at least for a little while. After you have forgiven yourself, if it is a truly bad habit such as: drugs, alcohol, or self-induced pain you should go through the appropriate channels to get yourself taken care of.
If it is a simple pleasure: naps, games, working out. Do what I said before, slow down. Drink it all in and enjoy it. By doing this, and combining it with moderation, you can gain a very clear and healthy second chakra poised for you to get the most of your martial arts training.