Taking time to clean house…….

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This is not so much a martial arts thing, but over the years being in martial arts has required me to do this.  Sometimes, as painful as it can be, you have to clean house and remove all the things, and people that don’t serve you any longer.

It is not cruel, there just is no choice….

Martial arts is about success, business is about success, school is about success, life is about success. But if there are people and things that try to keep you down, then take out the trash!

If you are considering a journey into the world of martial art many people will likely mock you. You know, they makes those stupid 70’s chop socky movie noises etc….. The reason they would do this is not important, just the fact they do it! You don’t need these negative people!

Sometimes they are family, the closest people to you. But you have to deal with it! I will not take advice from people who have not done what I do successfully. It is like have your pastor fix your car!

If you want to be successful in any field model those who are successful! Do you know that your income is the average of your close friends? Do you know your fitness level is the same as your friends? What do you want in life? More of what you have or something different?

So from time to time take a look at the people in your life, especially in social media and get rid of the dead weight. It can be hard, but well worth it!

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The Learning Never Stops!

Master Curt Mason

Now when I talk of education I am not just referring to school. I am a high school dropout, but that does not mean I have not been educated. Martial Arts training is one of the most important forms of education as far as I am concerned, but it is not the only one! Now I would never in a million years suggest to anyone to follow the path I did and leave school. However if you think that “school” is the end of your learning you are sadly mistaken, and will ultimately fail in life. There is much more.

I have taken a lot of courses over the years, not including the ones I did for martial arts training and business purposes. I also took auto mechanics, and have learned a great deal over the years on computers and operating systems. I am the administrator to the website and the domains we have. My most recent endeavor has been learning another language, Romanian.

Keeping the brain active is of vital importance. Reading, writing are great ways to do this. Don’t sit in front of a computer all day long!! That is brain death!. If you can travel to other lands and learn about other cultures. The more the mind works the better life becomes, stress is reduced and your quality of life as you grow old will improve also!

Reading is KEY, it keeps the brain active and alert well into old age!

I may have quit high school but I never stopped learning!

Yours in the arts,

Grand Master Art Mason

Founder: Art Mason’s Peaceful Warriors’ Martial Arts
http://thepeacefulwarriors.org
519-551-2228

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There are things you should never do for money……

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My mentor and friend Keith Hafner said this to me about 7 years ago.  I had to agree with him, but each day as I live my life ,I understand this more and more.

Money is not the root of all evil, dumbass, stupid greedy people are! Money is a tool! It is a medium to exchange for good and services and nothing more! It is a cliche, but “you cannot take it with you.” You will die just as you were born with NOTHING. If you are poor or rich, it is all the same thing.

Money is a lot like the leaves on a tree, when the tree is healthy, it grows lots of leaves.  Now, back to what Keith told me.  There are things you should never do for money.

I have my own personal list, and the list does not matter as much as the reason for the list. I will not do anything that violates my core beliefs! When I do this, I damage my self image, and make my self “emotionally bankrupt.”  Now we need to separate the media lies here as we look at this list I think people should live by. You may begin to want to say “that should like..” Don’t do it. The people in the news are irrelevant, and we don’t know the facts, we only assume.

The reason is media, like government is in the business of making money ANYWAY they can! The have no conscience or limits.

You should never…..

  • Lie
  • Cheat
  • Steal
  • Blackmail
  • extort
  • sell yourself (prostitution, sex trade, nude pictures etc)
  • Drug sales, manufacture etc etc etc..

All this seems to be pretty logical, but as the world continues on it was to the elimination of the “middle class” more and more people with become desperate, and do these desperate things.

The world is abundant, and life can be very beautiful. But it all gets down to how you think! If your thinking is bad, your life results will be bad. If your thinking is good, then it will be good.

There is some great reading you can do to help you on this path, but you would have to read! No sit on your ass and do nothing! Leave me a comment if you want to know what books I recommend.

What does this have to do with martial arts? Well martial arts is a path, part of the life journey. It can bring you to understand many things, including your personal moral code of conduct. We all make mistakes, but repeated mistakes are habits, bad habits. It takes time and effort to correct them. But bad habits can cost you everything you hold dear.

Live life on PURPOSE, not by habit.

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And the warrior said……..

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Warrior – This is a term I see kicked around by many people, mostly out of ego. I fight in MMA so I am a warrior. Well no, you are a fighter.  Some fighters are warriors’, but not many.

A warriors is not something someone becomes, it is something they are. There is nothing wrong with not being a warrior. It is in fact a simpler life if you are not.

A warrior is someone who never follows the status quo or does something because others think it is right. They have their own path.

If they fall, they get up again, but without thought or pride. They don’t mind that they fell. They realize pain and pleasure are a point of view. So they remain in the middle.

They are confrontational in nature, but violent only when necessary. Death is not feared but embraced a part of life. They follow the rules only when they don’t conflict with their own core beliefs.

They are neither alpha or beta, and they cannot be controlled. To them cooperation must be mutual.  They are the lone wolf, their pack is life.

They understand peace and war are a choice, and each has its time.

They are uncomfortable in their comfort zone and thus strive for the change that is inevitable. People either love or hate them, both are accepted. They live a moral life, but their morals not someone else’s.

Often they are quiet, simply watching.  Never boasting, showing off, or talking of position. Many times they appear neutral.

A warriors does not think he is a warrior, he just is.

They live life on purpose and die with purpose. They don’t seek greatness but greatness tends to find them.

They embrace life and the change that life is.

They are truly alive.

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A Important Message to ANYONE who ever QUIT

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Have you ever quit anything in your life? Well that is a rhetorical question because we all have! But it can become a very bad habit.

I grew up very fortunate in my life. I had wonderful parents. We did not have much money, but we always had food on the table. But as a child I had very little ambition, I tried a lot of things, then I would give up if they became challenging. Here is a short list.

  • I played hockey, goalie and I was good! But I quit
  • I boxed, was pretty good, but I quit
  • High school, yep I dropped out 6 months into grade 12 with a “B” average. How dumb is that?
  • Manager of a Radio Shack at 19 – YEP quit!
  • Life Insurance sales – quit, blamed the company for not training me right.
  • etc, etc etc

The list is far greater, but I don’t remember them all! So what happened???  In November 1984 I decided to take martial arts lessons. I found a teacher I liked and began the journey. I decided no matter what I was NOT GOING TO QUIT! I set some goals, short term, long term and very long term, and just did it.

But why did it work? The training made me feel wonderful and I held on to that feeling when I was not training. I would play it over in my mind all the time. When I reached a goal I wanted more! So I kept going. Setbacks didn’t matter, I loved what I was doing!

So why did it work? I was HAPPY doing it. So then martial art training made me happy? NO IT DID NOT!  I decided to be happy and trained in the martial arts. Then the 2 became linked, and all my goals and personal dreams happened.

What I did not know, is how this works in life  too.  It is the destination, not the goal that makes you happy. It is the journey.

You can have anything you want in life, if the image and thought of it bring you joy! If there are negative feels to it, like fear or apprehension it won’t happen.

There are many FORMER martial arts practitioners out there reading this, many my former students. Sometimes you have to quit for reasons that are legit, often it is just a cop-out. A time of feeling negative about things, disappointed even.

If you allow it, and understand this idea. Martial Arts training can be the catalyst, the vehicle to greater things in life. It is a journey of the self. It turned a habitual quitter into a winner. It can do that for you too!

Get back to the dojo and just do it!

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The Secrets to Success and why Failure is a GOOD thing.

From White Belt to Black belt
From White Belt to Black belt

So what is the real secret that many martial art school have to increasing the self esteem of a child, or an adult for that matter? It is very simply the belt system.  Now just about every martial art has a belt system, but its effectiveness is in how it is used.

The problem we have today with children is partly based in our school system. This idea of “no child left behind.” destroys achievement. Without achievement development is destroyed. When I was a kid you could fail a grade. There is nothing wrong with failure, all success comes from it. Having things handed to you without earning them causes the ultimate failure.

With are belt system there develops a drive, and inspiration to achieve. Plus they must EARN their promotions. They can fail tests! Each month a “tip” is add to a belt if they have progressed enough, following the tenets and the 3 A’s of training.

After 4 or more years, when each step is completed they are eligible to test for Black Belt. This becomes a driving force for improvement and a sense of pride in their lives!

The keys? Constant progress, measurable progress, with the fact that there are requirement that must be met. Failure is a good thing, it is a self esteem builder because it teaches to never give up!

The problem with our youth today is everything is given to them. They have no drive, no ambition, but a sense of entitlement. What kid needs a cell phone? Go out and play!

Great success in life come from overcoming hardships, failures and obstacles. Giving things without earning them destroys self esteem. A kid who shows up at school and passes, not doing the work is being dis-serviced. Psychology is wrong in the believe failure hurts self esteem. It help to develop it!

I once had a parent tell me she never wanted her child to do anything he did not want to do. I wonder what she was going to say when he wants to quit school?

Failure is part of life, I have failed at the things I am the most successful in. It builds strength, character and self esteem!

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Would you use your training in a fight?

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I get asked this question a lot. And the question is OK when it is coming from a layperson, but it is the ultimate of a stupid question if a martial artist asks it. Last week I had a guy come in to the school for information. I knew immediately he was not serious, and perhaps a “spy” from another dojo because of how he presented himself.

He proceeded to tell me of ALL HIS EXPERIENCE in the arts. Yeah OK, sorry dude but 10 years is nothing. I have 31 and know some people with 50. I feel like a kid, so this guy is cradle material. But he then proceeded to tell me know he would never use what he knows in a fight.

My first question to him was “why would you be in a fight?” Especially since that is an ego based event and us in the arts should be above this. He had no clue the difference between a testosterone based “fight” and having someone wanting you dead. Ok, that is fine. He then asked would I use what I know in a fight or real defense situation.

How could I not? That is like asking me to write with my left hand rather then my right. There are so “special” techniques, no hidden secrets, martial arts study is a study of movement of the human body, YOUR body. It is self mastery. Anyone tells you different they are selling something. This knowledge will then help you to defend against an attacker, because they do not understand these things. All they understand is their ego, that they are angry or desperate to have something.

With study of any real martial art it becomes what you become. You cannot separate it from yourself anymore then you can your lungs. The more you study and train the more you understand, the better you become. The only competition is with yourself. The journey has no end.

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Musings : Missing but never lost!

Master Art Mason 2010

I remember back in 1990 i got some very bad news. The mother of my children, and one of my children both became gravely sick at the same time. Things looked very bad for both of them. This really took the wind from my sails. At the time I was running a school for my instructor at St Clair College 2 nights a week, and teaching the other nights, as well as my own training. Suddenly things came to an immediate stop. Life got in my way. I tool an emergency leave of absence from Chrysler and try to figure out my next move. Things were very hard.

But like everything else in life, things change, get better and I was back to my normal routine within a new months. I always remember a meeting I had with Master Hollohan when he told me, “no matter what happens in life no one can take this away.” He was very right!

The last 5 years of my life have been again very challenging. Things went south for me back in July 2010 at the death of someone very close. From there it just multiplied. I dealt with a divorce, my son Curt leaving the business to go on his own in Sudbury, Curt’s first boy having issues at birth, my mom’s health took a turn for the worse, and I went blind from cataracts. Business took a big dive when I could not renew the lease on Dougall. We had to move several times. The vultures were circling but I am still here.

There is a popular believe that I lost my way. People blamed my relationship with a lady in Romania, they said that the business was entirely Curt and I did not know what I was doing. I found out who my friends really were because many turned their backs and walked away. But that is fine. I have all in life I need. One thing I never understood was why people would go ask my son Curt about me rather then ask me, did you really think he would not tell me? But that too is life.

I never lost my way, but I did have to step back. Nothing is more important then your health, and also your sanity. Being a martial artist was never ONCE in question If I still wanted to do the business of martial arts was the real question. Funny with all I have dealt with all my life some viewed this as weakness. Makes me laugh honestly. People will always see what they want to see, that is the nature of the human.

Today I feel stronger then ever, working at getting myself back in shape. I am able to focus once again on building Art Mason’s Peaceful Warriors’ Martial Arts Institute back to its former glory and beyond. I am again teaching and handling all aspects of life. This is the most driven I have ever been to do this. Even at the beginning. My personal life is great and thanks to a short visit by the woman I love from Romania I feel very centered. But after all these years I have learned to keep my private life PRIVATE.

I was missing but I was never lost. If you thought I has fallen from my path perhaps you should have looked at the park bench I was sitting on. It was a stop along the path. Please try to remember “your opinion is always equal to your illusion.” Everyone was wrong.

Martial Arts training can truly change your life! If you would like to learn more about just how please visit our website by clicking the link below.

Find our more now!

Yours in the arts,

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Master Art Mason
http://thepeacefulwarriors.org

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My First Day Training in Martial Arts

Black Belts 1993

Art Mason 2nd Dan Black Belt 1993

I began my martial arts training at the age of 24 on November 10 1984 in Windsor Ontario. When I decided it was time to join a school I looked around for several days until I could find an instructor I liked, who also offered classes for swing shift workers. It was Chung Oh’s School of Tae Kwon Do, offering both Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido for adult students. “The Art of Self Defense.” The school was based out of Kitchener Ontario, the instructor’s name here was Philip Hollohan.

The first night in the school was very strange. As I walked from the dressing room wearing this very white uniform, and nice white belt tied around my waist i entered the Dojang. Master Philip greeted me, check my belt and I was for some semi private instruction with one of the senior students. I was amazing, but I felt like a complete moron. I could not do anything!

Weeks passed into months and soon it was time for my Yellow Stripe test. I was so nervous I thought I was going to vomit. But the test went well and I passed. It was my first time meeting Grand Master Oh also. More time passed, I was training 4-5 days a week and loving it. Often times at night with my son Curtis in tow. He would sit at the back of the dojang and play or watch.

By the time summer arrived I was close to Green Belt. After my green belt exam I was asked to go out to a branch location twice a week to help the instructor there and learn about teaching I was thrilled! When I joined I did so with my children’s mom. She was an amazing martial artist.

Around the time I hit the Blue Belt mark my son Curt was 4 1/2. So he began his training very young. a few years later I enroll my other 2 children Scott and then Lisa.

All made the Black Belt ranks.

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