Thursday, December 29, 2011

Reality Kung Fu

Many will come to a martial art school have great expectations enjoining. In many cases many would like to become an instructor of the martial arts. However, few realize how difficult it is to maintain a true martial arts school, especially a traditional school. Finding the proper space, equipping the school with the necessary training equipment, paying for insurance and overhead, and meeting the monthly bills can be a daunting process. For this reason, many traditional schools close for the simple reason they aren't able to meet the expenses needed to maintain the school. Unlike commercial schools, where contracts are employed and high rates are charged to maintain the school survival. Traditional schools, do not utilize contracts, the initial cost for training is low cost as compared to the commercial schools. Money is never the objective of the traditional school, passing the Arts down to the next generation it is a traditional schools primary purpose.

Everything done at a traditional school is based on one's honor. The teacher gives his word to do his very best to train the student to the best of his ability and gives his word, to help the student in every way possible. Because of the low costs involved, it is imperative that a student pay their monthly dues on time so that the teacher may maintain the schools viability, when this does not happen, far too often traditional schools close their doors forever.

A teacher's job is never-ending; we must maintain all forms and techniques so as to be able to pass this on to new incoming students. Forms and techniques is not the way we fight in Street condition, they are only used as a means to learn the way a martial artist would move in various situations. There is no such thing as the ultimate technique or form, that will make one the perfect martial artists. However, there is no other true way to learn the martial arts without the use of these prescribed forms and techniques which teaches a student how to move and utilize various techniques for self-defense purposes.

It should be obvious that in a street condition where self-defense must be employed for one's personal safety nobody can dictate what move or technique you may need to survive the encounter. Traditional forms and techniques are used to train an individual to see opportunity and apply the appropriate technique for that specific moment in time.

Far too often, new students coming into a school have a misguided understanding of what it's going to take to succeed in becoming an expert in the martial arts. Unfortunately new students tend to think that just by learning a martial art, they will never be hit. This could not be further from the truth. Whereas, the truth of the matter is in learning the arts you will more often going to be hit rather than be able to hit your opponent. It takes years of trial and error in applying once techniques to be able to ward off a constant barrage of attacks from an opponent. Only then, will you be hit less often. Far too often, when a new student experiences being hit for the first time they drop away from the school.

To become proficient in the martial arts one must be able to prepare himself or herself for great disappointments. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you will lose. How you deal with winning and losing will play a big part in how proficient you will be in the martial arts. In the old traditional schools of martial arts a student was required to be able to accept a strong hit so as to prepare them self to withstand such an attack and not fall apart, thus enabling them to counterattack.

There is no such thing as one perfect martial arts style, if this was the case we would need no other style of martial art. Many who are not experienced at being hit no matter how good their martial arts skill is, will usually fall apart and lose their self-control thereby causing defeat. A true martial artist is expected to be hit and is able to withstand the shock of being hit so he may counterattack.

Hitting and being hit is part of the training program. Part of the training is to withstand a strong blow to your body; this is accomplished by breath control and not becoming rattled when hit. But rather to maintain one's composure, withstand the strike and counterattack with the appropriate method. This should be evident to newcomers into the art, yet it is not. Ask any heavyweight boxing champion of the world if he has ever been hit and you will find that they will tell you they've been hit more times then they care to remember. It was their ability to withstand blow for blow that enable them to become the champions they are.

Some may recall the famous motion picture entitled Rocky, this motion picture painted a true picture of what a boxer must endure to become a champion. Boxing is a rough sport to say the least and requires years of training and brutal punishment to withstand 15 rounds in the ring. However, there are rules to boxing, which do not exist in a true martial arts encounter. In a boxing championship, there is always a referee present in the ring to see that no illegal blows are thrown. When we are in a street encounter, there are no referees; there are no rules, anything goes, and usually does.

In a street condition is no such thing as a fair fight; anything might be employed in order to win. This includes broken bottles, knives, even guns. It is true, that being proficient in a martial art can and will give you the upper hand for victory and self survival. However, this does not mean that you are untouchable. For this reason, it takes a special kind of person to excel in martial arts training. The very term martial arts refers to military arts, which primary purpose is to win at all costs, which can mean even putting your life at stake during an encounter.

As I have already stated, being hit is part of the learning program, yet many people join a martial arts school thinking the art itself will prevent them from being hit at all. This is far from the truth, as one can get hit more times then you may like. Half of our training is learning how to withstand a strike to any vital point of the human body as well as having no problem in returning the vital blow to one's opponent. If a student to get past this barrier of the fear of being hit then the chances are very good they will be victorious in a street encounter.

In reality the martial arts is the world's dirtiest form of fighting. Anything goes when it comes to self survival. I have had more people drop away from the martial arts training because they had some illusion that knowing martial arts would prevent them from being touched in any way, shape or form. Those who succeed in this art are those who have a realistic view of what combat entails.

In conclusion, I don't say these things to frighten people away from training, but rather to make you aware of what might be expected if you decide to join a traditional school of self-defense. If you join a school knowing these facts, you will have a much better chance of surviving a brutal street attack. It would be a grave error to mistake a traditional martial art school from a commercial school where this kind of contact is limited. The reasons for this are simple to understand. Commercial schools primary purpose is to gather as many students as they can for the purpose of making money. Whereas, a traditional school primary purpose is not the amount of students they gather but rather to teach a method for surviving brutal street, assault.

Finally, it is you who must make the final decision as to what you want from the martial art you are learning. If it is sport, competition and trophy winning then a commercial school will serve your purpose well. On the other hand, if you're looking for street survival techniques you would be better served in a traditional school of martial arts that deals with reality.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The End of Times

Eversince the dawn of the Neanderthal, mankind has been in mortal combat. Real combat is seldom seen in the movies, or TV, it is simply too graphic to show to the public. The truth of the matter, is warfare is a horrifying sight. First, let me mention that fighting in and of itself is an ugly affair. There is no such thing as a pretty war. Idyllicly it would be a beautiful dream to see brotherly love amongst all mankind, however, this dream is more far-fetched than the one I'm about to speak of, namely self-destruction. The real question is, why do people fight to begin with? I think most can answer this question , namely money, the total lust for power, position, and control of others.

The bulk of our national debt is spent on the tools of war. Billions of dollars of our national budget go towards development of new weapons that have one purpose and one purpose only, namely to destroy life. I think because of the nature of man, it is most unlikely that we will ever see the end of fighting. If fighting is to stop at all, I think this will only happen when we encounter the next nuclear holocaust and we destroy the world completely. Is this possible? I think it should be obvious, it is very possible. It is just a matter of time before some mad man pushes the button to start the beginning of the end of mankind. It is only a matter of time, and circumstance that this will occur.

The only way to prevent the total annihilation of all human kind, is a total ban of all nuclear weapons, which I doubt I will ever see in my lifetime or my children's lifetime. All it takes is one madman to start the beginning of the end. I would think most would agree we have plenty of those madman in the world today. To me it is more shocking that it has not already occurred. Most are unaware that we came within minutes of a nuclear disaster at the time of John F. Kennedy. This occurred when the United States put up a naval blockade against Russian ships to deliver nuclear devices to Cuba. It was a standoff, I will never forget, for I was part of that engagement. This was known as the Cuban Missile Crisis, which Cuba was building military sites which would enable them to launch nuclear missiles at the United States. It was a frightening affair that will always stay embedded in my memory.

It would be a wonderful thought to think mankind will be around for a long long time. But I am not that naïve to think that this could be true. As smart as mankind is, we are equally that dumb. If a natural disaster such as an earthquake, global warming, meteor strike to the earth, or some other natural disaster doesn't finish us off, I'm sure, mankind will destroy itself.

In my opinion, it is only a fanciful dream that all of mankind will someday unite as brothers and sisters in this world. The reason for this, is that mankind's frailties will always prevail namely, greed, hatred and power. In my humble opinion, total world enlightenment is highly unlikely. Even the Bible predicts an end to mankind known as Armageddon. It would appear that even God himself does not think man has a chance to discover peace on earth.

None of this is to say that there are not any good people in the world, for the truth of the matter is there are numerous amounts of people who feel the way I feel. But because of mankind's frailties the end of times is inevitable, it is only a matter of when.

If you're an avid news observer, I believe it's quite obvious to see all the violence that is occurring in the world around us. People against people, state against state, country against country, the list of violence goes on and on. I can't recall in my entire life when I ever watch the news where I did not see violence of some sort going on in the world. There have been many predictions about the end of the world, they come and they go and some will tell you this is been going on since the beginning of recorded history. This is true, but the odds of any one of these predictions coming true is highly favorable in today's tense world. Each year another country attains nuclear weapons, they are not decreasing in number,rather, they are increasing in number. All it will take is for one country to push the first button, this will start the chain reaction that will ensure total worldly annihilation. It is idyllic to think that all of mankind will discover brotherly love before we destroy ourselves completely.

I am not one to stand on a corner with a sign saying the end of the world is near, but I think the facts speak for themselves, with all the tension we have in the world at this very moment. Nothing lasts forever, and if nature itself doesn't destroy this world, I firmly believe mankind will do the job for mother nature by total self annihilation.

In conclusion, would it be fair for me to say that there is no hope at all for mankind? I won't say this, for there is always hope. But it is my humble opinion this would entail a miracle of some sort. All those who agree with me, can only hope and pray for such a miracle. If mankind can wake up in time, we in fact have the abilities to create a wonderful future for all of humanity. Just maybe, mankind will wake up in time, before we have to pay the ultimate price.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

How the Martial Arts Came to the United States

It was during the Japanese-American war that our American soldiers ran up against an enemy that surprised them completely by their fighting prowess. The Asian people due to their genetics are generally much smaller than the American who tend to be bigger, taller and heavier in weight. However, when Americans came face to face in close quarter combat with the smaller Japanese soldier, they found his fighting skills to be superb. In many cases, the larger built and stronger American soldier fell to the fighting tactics of the smaller Japanese soldier. This was his country's first encounter with the so-called martial art called Karate, and anotherr art form known as judo. The very nature of the system of karate is to enable this smaller, weaker individual to overcome the larger, stronger individual. This is accomplished, by use of sophisticated techniques and the ability to hit vital areas of the human body.

It wasn't until the end of the war that many Americans who stayed in Japan learned this art and brought it back to the United States. Today our own armed forces are trained in the use of hand-to-hand combat using many of these methods. Up until this time these Asian fighting arts were not known in the United States, and one of the first to introduce these arts was a man named Bruce Tegner, who wrote a series of small books displaying the arts of judo and karate.

Without getting into sophisticated anatomical weaknesses of the human body, it is safe to say that there are many points that cannot be developed to withstand certain strikes employed by the martial arts. To name a few, the eyes, throat, the brain stem, the solo plexus, the groin, the kidneys, and the bladder. There was once a book written called "the medical implications of martial arts blows." This book was written by a doctor who described the damage that could be employed by use of the strikes to these vulnerable areas of the human body. The result of hitting some of these areas could range from complete blackout, blindness, extreme pain and even death.

Because of the effectiveness of the strikes, it was of little consequence how big your opponent might be. With proper training, the smaller person could overcome the larger. What is needed to be proficient in these arts is muscle memory training so that you move instinctively, and with precision to hit the point. Of course, speed helps, but with proper muscle memory training. Speed is naturally increased. As for physical power, much less is needed due to the vulnerability of these target areas. It is said, that 12 pounds of snapping power can break almost any bone on the human body. If you were to pick up a bathroom scale, and squeeze it with all your strength, you would see this scale register very little. However, if you take the scale and making quick snapping motion with your hand, you will see this scale jump significantly. Even a child can learn to break a piece of wood 1 to 2 inches in thickness through the use of these techniques. This is more than sufficient power to take down the strongest individual.

Of course, learning the martial arts, does not come easy. It does take years of practice and dedication and the ability to endure the hard workouts necessary to train both the body and mind. Each individual is different and how fast they will develop sufficient skills to defend themselves in a brutal street attack. In reality, there is no one art or one technique that in itself is sufficient to defend yourself in all situations. The ways we can be attacked are too numerous to list. Therefore, it takes years of practice in a multitude of techniques that must be learned and developed to their perfection. You must have no fear of hitting or being hit, as well as having no reservations to employ these techniques for your personal safety, as this is the very nature of fighting. No matter how good of a fighter, you may be, if you cannot take a blow, no matter how good your skills are you will lose. Therefore, we naturally train to strike other people, but we also learned how to deal with being hit ourselves and not falling apart.

In conclusion, we must always keep in mind there is no such thing as a fair fight. There's no such thing as dirty fighting or even illegal blows. Someone who attacks you in the streets has no qualms of using anything necessary to overcome you, therefore, you must be willing to go to any measures if you wish to survive a street attack. What you see on television, in fight scenes is pure fiction. Real fighting in the streets can be vicious and brutal. Keeping this in mind, you must always train as if it was the real thing. Fighting for survival is not a sport, it's real. And if you are unwilling to do what is necessary to protect yourself, you just might be the next victim of a vicious attack, which could mean the cost of your life. The martial arts presents us with a chance to survive street attack, but how well it works depends on how hard you work to attain it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Start of New York Tournaments

The difference between traditional martial arts schools and commercial schools is great. Some would ask when were commercial schools introduced into this country? And what is the difference between these two types of martial arts training schools?
When I first began my martial arts training, little or nothing was known about the martial arts in the United States. The only reason I discovered it, was because I was born and raised in lower New York City along what is known as the New York Bowery or the beginning of the Chinatown area. My reason for searching out martial arts was because when I was very young at the age of nine, I was severely beaten up, and was on the verge of losing my life without medical intervention. After many months of recovery, it was some Chinese friends that I had come to know in Chinatown that advised me I should learn how to defend myself better to survive in the rough New York streets.

I will bypass my training years here, and move ahead to the time the martial arts was first exposed to New Yorkers. This story is going back and arose about the 1960s, in New York City. There was a few great promoters of the martial arts at that time, namely a man called Aaron Banks, Edward Parker and Gary Alexander. Banks was from the New York City area and ran a school known as the New York Karate Academy in midtown New York. Master Edward Parker, was located on the West Coast in the California area. The two had decided to run a huge tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The name of this tournament was called the East Coast versus West Coast. Every known school of the martial arts was notified on both the East and West Coast to attend this competition. By that time the martial arts have spread somewhat in both the East and West Coast and I would venture to say at least 2000 contested showed up at the front door ready to fight. Most everyone who attended were shocked to see the amount of martial artists all in one place. We all felt this was going to be proven as one of the best fights and martial arts histories in New York City.

Needless to say, once the fighting began it was furiously hard and devastatingly brutal. Both the East Coast and West Coast were out to prove who had the best martial arts. At that particular time in martial arts history, there were no rules per se, other than the rules that came from the Orient which stated there were no rules other then to get the knock out winning blow. This meant you stepped into the ring, with no protection whatsoever, because that's the way we were taught we would fight in a street condition. No cups, no mouthpieces, Just two hands and two feet and a eagerness to win was all you enter the ring with.

As the fights progressed the physical damage increased. Contestants incurred injuries ranging from shattered teeth, ears pulled off, bones broken, and in a few cases, almost blindness. By the time the fights had ended many ended up in the hospital. It was so brutal that at one point, the New York Police Department was called after the tournament had completed because they thought they would be a major riot going on in the streets.

Because of this brutal melee that had occurred at Madison Square Garden, New York City voiced its opinion that such competition would not be permitted. It was so violent New York City would not allow this type of tournamants to go forward, as they beleived such fights were a danger to human life. . New York City wanted a set of strict rules and regulations had to be put in place before any other tournament would be allowed. This was to ensure that such brutality would not occur again. If this demand was not met, it was decided that martial arts tournaments such as this would not be permitted again in city limits.

Some months later, I was informed that a governing body would be organized known as the I.C.M.A., which stands for the international convention of the martial arts would be organized. This meeting was held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. The top names in the martial arts were invited to attend this meeting to establish a set of rules that would safeguard the martial arts tournaments to continue within the city limits. Attending this meeting were the top names in the martial arts, some of which you may recognize as, Chuck Norris, Joe Louis, Gary Alexander, Alan Lee, and myself, which represented Westchester County.

After a great deal of deliberation and haggling back and forth as to what we would permit and not permit in tournament fighting, we came up with a set of rules. Only light contact to the face would be permitted and groin strikes, throat strikes, spine strikes and kidney strikes would be forbidden. Forceful body blows would be permitted to the midsection to declare a clear-cut hit. Once the city was notified that we had a set of firm rules in place, only then did they permit the martial arts organizations to compete with one another in martial arts tournaments. And so started numerous martial arts tournaments to be organized and run within New York City. However, even with all the safeguards we put in place, still many injuries resulted, as old habits of training die hard, which meant many still went all out to win and to hell with the rules. It took many years of refining the rules and enforcing them that helped prevent serious injury within the ring.

Today, tournaments are run with much more safeguards in place, such as, mouthpieces, groin protectors, and body armor. This was a far cry from the old way martial arts tournaments have been run through the centuries. However, tournament promoters were fearful of occurring hugh lawsuits for bodily injury, so heavy contact became a thing of the past. Because of these changes in approach, many martial art schools that opened in the tri-state area would limit the amount of excessive contact. Point fighting, which meant , just come close but no contact is made to the individual was commonplace. The only schools that followed the old ways of full contact became known as traditional schools. Fighting contests within the school resorted back to the old traditions, just two hands, two feet and win no matter what.

Today, it is extremely difficult to find a traditional school, most have been replaced by commercial schools which do relatively no contact fighting at all. If competition fighting was allowed at all, the individual had to be heavily protected so no bodily damage would occur. The real useful street techniques that would stop an attacker in the streets were forbidden. Needless to say it is these very techniques are the ones that can protect oneself in a brutal attack on the streets. These target area's were forbidden in commercial schools, even though these still remain your best bet to survive a street attack. Area's, such as the groin, throat, eyes, kidney, bladder were no longer taught as primary targets.. Commercial schools forbid attacking these vital areas which completely waters down the arts effectiveness in real street fighting conditions.

Some of the other differences between a commercial school and a traditional school are mainly associated with money. Traditional schools rarely charge for much of anything other than one monthly fee to attend the school. There were no contracts, your word was your bond. There was no such thing as children's classes, only adults and usually they consisted of males only because of the extreme training involved. Techniques were taught the way they have been for centuries. This meant strikes were permitted to the vital areas of the human body, namely throat groin and even the eyes to some extent. Anything that was effective to bring down an attacker in the streets was taught. Many of the old traditional schools went by the wayside because Masters no longer wanted to teach a watered down art. Commercial schools grew in number, offering children's classes, children's birthday parties, and only tournament point fighting where vulnerable areas of the human body were forbidden to hit. Even in what is called cage fighting today which is considered extreme fighting, the vital areas of the body such as the growing eyes and throat are forbidden.

You must keep in mind that the martial arts was taught for strictly for life or death situations. It was never considered a sport, but rather a tool to protect oneself from brutal street attack. The streetfighter has no rules whatsoever, they will do anything to attain the upper hand in a street fight. Street fighters have no qualms in using knives, guns, broken glass, or anything at his disposal to win. Traditional schools, realize these facts of street survival and also would use anything available to defend oneself as well as attack primary areas to survive. Sadly, traditional schools are shying away from the original methods of self-defense. Commercial schools would rarely teach these methods for defense, thereby making there techniques less effective in real life. And yet commercial schools today outnumber traditional schools fifty to one.
It became so difficult to find a traditional tournament in the United States that at one point in my life, I decided to travel to Taiwan where I could compete in an old-style traditional tournament. Tournaments in Taiwan are under the control of the Taiwan government, and fought in the traditional way. There was no protection, in fact, you had to sign a waiver that if you were killed in the tournament, the government would not be held responsible. The ways of the warrior has gone by the wayside in this country, and i am sad to say because of it the techniques taught in commerical schools could well fail to stoped a brutal attackers in the streets.

With each passing year in this country it is becoming increasingly harder to find a traditional school, as most of being replaced by the commercial school. If you are looking for a school to baby sit your children,commercial schools suit that purpose perfectly. However, if you're looking for a school of pure self-defense with time-tested techniques that work, I suggest you try to find a traditional school. The techniques taught in traditional schools are indeed violent, but needed if the smaller weaker person has any chance at all in defending against the larger, stronger opponent. To negate the practical techniques of the defense is like sending a soldier to war, but not issuing the ammunition for the weapons. How do you think he would fare facing an opponent with a loaded gun and you with an empty gun? I think the answer is obvious.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Holiday Message to All

With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas just ahead of us followed by the coming new year. I'm sure most if not all are saying where did the year go? The passage of time is never-ending. As each year passes, we lose loved ones are situations change and maybe they go from good to bad or bad to good. There is no telling what each new passing day will bring each of us.

The Martial Arts is a system of self-defense as we all know, and encompasses within its teachings,what we call the study of the Tao and the forces of Yin and Yang. As most of us know the art of Shaolin kung fu gained its popularity at the Shaolin Temple in mainland China. Most everyone is aware that the Shaolin Temple proselytizers Buddhism, and Buddhism does not advocate the taking of any life be it human or insect alike. Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone that the Shaolin techniques are heavily tempered as not to take a human life. However, the martial arts was developed for one purpose only, namely self-defense in warfare. A true Buddhist monk would rather have his own life taken rather then to take another's life, as this is the greatest of all sins.

Many of the well known martial arts seen today, such as Tai Chi, BaGwa and Hsing Yi had its roots in Taoist teachings. Tai Chi, Hsing Yi, Ba Gwa are all connected in some way to this study of the two great forces of Yin and Yang, which promote change. In fact, one of the greatest forms of divination ever created by the master Fu Shi was known as the father of the I Ching. This system of divination was based on 64 hexagrams, and if you multiply 64 x 64 you get a possibility of over 4000 various forms of change. Many other art forms of martial arts have been based on this principle of constant change. Today, the I Ching is being used by people throughout the world for guidance in leading a productive and well informed life. You may question what does the I Ching have to do with the martial arts? But if you study the Asian arts long enough, there's no escaping coming across these philosophies built into the teachings of the arts.

The martial arts has so much more to offer than mere fighting, it is a way life, and a way of making ourselves better people. The more one studies the martial arts the wiser one becomes. We come to realize that life is nothing more than a dream passing through our mind. At first glance it would appear that we have little or no control of any of the events in our life. However, at second glance, you come to realize by manipulation of the forces that surround us we can in fact lead a better life.

As we advance in years and gain wisdom, we sooner or later will realize how our life is progressing. We are certainly not getting younger, but rather taking another step towards the graveyard. However, there is hope. If you study hard enough and contemplate the wisdom of these great stages. Those that came before us, came to understand there really is no and, there is only another beginning. The Buddhists believe in reincarnation of some sort and until our soul is fully cultivated we must return to this plane of existance for further purification.. However, once we are fully cultivated we can then enter into some form of the heavenly realm and never return. On the other hand, the Taoist believe we just moved back and blend again back into natures natural forces.

Human beings tend to believe that we are very intelligent. However, most if not all of what we know comes from what other people tell us or or what science says is true. The reality of the situation is, we really can't even trust our own senses. If you look at something, you tend to make a judgment call based upon what you see. However, seeing with our eyes is only a small part of drawing a conclusion. It takes many other parts of the human brain to formulate what you think you see. It is only through our own experiences that we can be reasonably be sure something is real or not, and even then there is no guarantee you are right in your judgment call.

I have spent much of my free time not only in the practice of kung fu, but also in deep study of the sciences and theologies. These studies point to a new understandings of what is real and what is not. As science progresses further new truths are being discovered and older ones cast aside. Today, there are many new discoveries happening in our generation. To name one recent discovery that Einstein's theory of E equals MC squared, has been proven wrong. This theory as most are aware is mainly concerned with energy, mass and matter and relates to the speed of light. Einstein proclaimed that nothing can exceed the speed of light, however, continued research has proved that Einstein's law is not infallible.

Scientists all over the world have always sought to find how the universe was created. The main theory was the so-called Big Bang theory that started it all. However, the question always remained, how could something be created from nothing. Again this brings us back to the study of the martial arts and its many theories. Now scientists all over the world are considering such new theories such as the string theory, which leads to the M theory, which hypothesizes that the universe itself is one large series of membranes much like the human brain. In turn, these theories bring about the possibility of 11 dimensions of time and space. I only bring up these points not to digress from the martial arts, but rather to exemplify how little we truly know about life, God, and the universe as a whole.

Even now as I write this article, I am still unsure of anything. The one thing I can be sure of is that I'm not sure of anything. This is the mystery of life. In the martial arts we start out by learning stances and punches, but as we progress in our studies and learn more about the many theories of the martial arts, we will eventually be asking those four profound questions namely, who am I, what am I doing here, what is my purpose here, and where am I going. All humans sooner or later ask these questions, because life seems to make no real sense of purpose without the answers to these profound questions. Fighting is barbaric, and the only reason we fight to this day with each other, and other countries, is because we have not found the true reasons for living.

As I continue my studies, I become more convinced each passing day that there is a higher power, and our true purpose in life is really to try and develop ourselves to higher levels of understanding, love, and goodwill to all mankind. It is my firm belief, when we achieve this, our rebirth into this world of sorrow, grief, and pain will end.