“How do you arise to the occasion? How do you adapt to a situation that’s uncomfortable? Cause I think that’s the biggest thing is that is that adaptability feature. Being able to make yourself comfortable in an uncomfortable situation.”–Sifu Singh
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Sifu Harinder Singh is a 23rd generation Kung Fu Master, trainer and author. He and Commander Divine talk about the importance of martial arts and how we need to move beyond the idea of them as simply grappling or hitting. An essential aspect of the martial arts is the mentality and spirituality that it brings about.
- How you need to be like water, flexible and ready to take any form necessary
- How the west has been almost all Yang in the Yin and Yang pair
- How Sifu and Mark both pursued the less obvious paths to get where they are now
Listen to this episode to learn how Awareness and an Unbeatable Mind precede every action.
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Hey folks. Welcome back. This is Mark Divine with the Unbeatable Mind podcast. Thanks so much for joining us today. Got a super-cool guest I’ll introduce in a moment. This is… if you’re listening on iTunes obviously you’re listening to just the audio… but we also have a video so you can find that at unbeatablesite.wpengine.com. Soon you’ll be able to find it at my MarkDivine.com website which’ll be launching in a few weeks.
So I’m excited about that. Cause I’ll be getting my personal blog going again, and doing a lot of work from that platform.
Now, reminding you about our Burpees for Vets Challenge. We’re nearing 10 million burpees committed. Our goal is 22, so still need help. I’ve been cranking away. 300 a day. I was with some of our teammates… our newly minted Unbeatable Mind coaches yesterday… who just finished their year-long certification program. And several of them have joined me in committing to 100,000 burpees.
And we were just commenting how equally horrible and awesome it’s been, right? To have that level of commitment. I mean the commitment has been awesome. The daily… facing 300 burpees every day when you wake up has been both horrible and awesome.
And we’ll talk about that with our guest. It’s just been a really interesting process. So I’m… I’ve passed 50,000.
Sifu Singh: Amazing.
Mark: Yeah, 50,000. So I’m on my way to 100,000. I’ll hit it probably by the end of November. But I’m going to keep going until December 31st.
Sifu: I know you will.
Mark: And then our big challenge we were talking about is what comes after that? I mean, that’s a significant one, so we’re not sure how we’re going to beat that next year. We don’t need to beat it, but it’s gotta be something serious. And having the “why” behind it, of helping vets who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress and suicidal. It makes the suffering pale in comparison.
So burpeesforvets.com. If you want to help us out.
We had a high school recently where their football team did as many burpees as they could in… I don’t know what the time frame was… but they ended up doing 50,000 burpees themselves. Raised $7,000.
Sifu: That’s amazing.
Mark: Isn’t that cool?
So there’s a lot of ways you can participate folks. And we need your help. We need a team. We can’t do this alone.
Also a new copy… the new edition–latest and newest edition–there’s only two. Of my book “The Way of the SEAL” is now available. And if you order it at wayoftheseal.com, we’ve put together a 45 page PDF of all the exercises in the book which are really, really helpful. If you… a lot of people have shown me their copy of “The Way of the SEAL” over the years, and it’s all dog-eared and underlined. And marked up. Because they use it as a training manual.
And now there is a way to just print that out and have all those exercises available as you go through things like developing you front-sight focus and your plan. And your ethos. And your 5 mountain integrated training plan. Wayoftheseal.com, you can get that PDF.
And you can also order some bulk copies. So we have discounted pricing. I think it’s much better pricing that if you try to do that at Amazon.
And I’ve added two new chapters. “Leading in Accelerated or VUCA environment,” and “The Secrets of Elite Teams.” And I’ve edited it, and it’s just awesome.
Well, I don’t say that from an egoic point of view hopefully. I think it’s awesome. Hopefully you do too.
All right. My guest today is… Oh man… I’m going to blow it, cause my phone is like… someone’s trying to call and I can’t see my guest’s full name. Which I was going to try not to blow…
Sifu: Harinder Singh.
Mark: (laughing) I knew I’d do it. Okay. Harinder Singh.
Sifu: Yes, sir.
Mark: And much easier if we call him Sifu Singh.
Sifu: (laughing) Yeah, much easier.
Mark: I don’t know why I find that… my stupid mouth is twisting around…
Sifu: It’s a tongue-twister.
Mark: Where did that come from?
Sifu: It’s from India originally.
Mark: Is it?
Sifu: Yeah, I was born in India. And migrated to Canada. And then came to California to play NCAA tennis. And do my engineering degree.
Now I’ve been here in California longer than ever, so I guess I’m really a Californian now.
Mark: Did your parents come over to work for tech company?
Sifu: No. My dad was in shipping. He was a sea captain in the Merchant Marines. So we moved to Toronto, Canada. And that’s where I grew up.
And then I had a tennis scholarship to go to University of California-Davis. And did my engineering degree–computer and electrical. During the dot-com boom days. And so that’s how I got here.
Mark: That’s cool.
So, Sifu Singh, and if you’re involved at all in the martial arts you know that title means “Master” or “teacher,” right? So Sifu Singh is a martial arts master. He runs a number… a big program in Jeet Kune Do, which is Bruce Lee’s… the art that he kind of spawned and brought into the world. Jeet Kune Do, we can talk about that.
He’s got over 50 schools and he trains all the teachers for the schools. Holds them to a very high standards.
And what’s great about the way Sifu Singh teaches is very, very much in alignment with Unbeatable Mind in that it’s not just about the tactical movements of learning how to fight. It’s all about developing mental, emotional and spiritual awareness. It’s the whole package. Integration.
Sifu: Absolutely, man. We’re beings, right?
Mark: That’s right. We’re whole beings. We’re not just “doings.” And we’re not partial.
And so I love the martial arts… we can start here… I love the martial arts because they’re an early example of a methodology or a path that with the right teacher… like, we were talking about my early experiences with Nakamura. That’s the Japanese Grand-Master. Who was… I call him a Zen master masquerading as a karate instructor. So he had the whole package too.
Hard physical training. Team-work. Sitting in silence on the bench. Cultivating your mind. Adding context through his little Dharma talks. What does it all mean? How do we tie it together? What are the values?
And so it became this integrated training that we could follow. And as we trained and evolved, we could see evidence of it playing out through the accountability and the way that 1st degree Black Belts acted versus 3rd. Versus 6th. Versus 7th, 8th, 9th.
And it was very inspiring as a young guy for me to see that. Because I hadn’t seen anything like that. Everything else in our society was all just kind of loosey-goosey. You might have had a good value system from your family or your church, or your community. But just as likely that it was a hodge-podge-lodge of some good, some pretty crappy. And so people today are just still kind of scrambling to try to figure out context and meaning. And to live a powerful life. Cause there’s just so much junk out there. So much negativity, so much distraction. And so many flawed belief systems masquerading as “The Truth.”
But in a really good martial arts system led by an aware… or started and hopefully the lineage kept up by an aware master, who had done the work.
And what I mean by doing the work is that internal work. When you do the internal work of meditation, concentration, awareness, development then you see things more clearly. You see truth more clearly. And you’re able to transmit that.
What do you think about that? Does that resonate with your whole experience of the martial arts?
Sifu: Yeah. I mean, if you think about it, everybody from the outside looks at martial arts as like punching and kicking and grappling…
Mark: I never looked at it like that…
Sifu: You know what I mean? Nowadays it’s MMA and UFC and they lump everything together. But really what is it? It’s a journey of self-discovery. Discovering the cause of your own ignorance and figuring out who you are.
That question of who you are… I mean, martial arts is what’s led me to it. And it’s truly understand who you are so you’re grounded in that in knowing what are your strengths, your weaknesses. How you deal with opportunities and threats. And how do you rise to the occasion? How do you adapt to situations that are uncomfortable?
I think that’s the biggest thing is that adaptability feature. Of being able to make yourself comfortable in an uncomfortable situation.
Mark: Absolutely. Well a lot of people say, “Well, I had a lot of that in sports.” And when I hear that, course I don’t want to challenge them. Cause that’s their belief system, and there is a lot of good stuff in sports. That can have some similarity to a martial art. But they’re not the same.
What do you think is missing from the typical Western athlete’s developmental path so to speak that exists in a martial tradition… a good martial tradition?
Sifu: So I think that the best coaches… the really good ones… they do kind of overlap a lot with the martial traditions. But I think in a general sense what’s maybe missing is that cultivation if you look at the side of stillness. Looking at that Western mindset in sports is more about Bigger, Stronger, Faster.
Mark: About winning.
Sifu: About winning. And you must win. And when you think about winning, and you’re focused only solely on winning, that’s like one of the diseases of the mind. To be focused only on victory.
Whereas if you look at the martial arts aspect is investing in loss. You invest in loss. You put yourself through the chaos over and over again. You get dropped 7 times, you get up the 8th time.
That’s very important. That perseverance that it builds and develops and investing in losing… We were talking earlier about in Tai Chi holding a stance. And how powerful that really is but you’re investing in this loss of time, loss of everything but you’re just going in deeper, and deeper and deeper. And you wouldn’t think rom a Western standpoint that standing still for an hour in one spot is going to make you a better athlete. It maybe doesn’t make that kind of connection.
But that stillness that you cultivate in that… there’s three levels of stillness. There’s stillness in stillness. Then there’s stillness in movement. Then there’s stillness in movement into chaos. Which you know so well from your SEAL background.
But that cultivation of those three things… First, we can’t be still in the chaos…
Mark: Yeah, some people try to start at that end of the spectrum. It doesn’t work.
Sifu: It doesn’t. You gotta start with the baby steps. Can we first just sit here and be still?
Mark: That’s why a lot of people mistake… They think, “Oh, you know a life of internal work is all sitting on a meditation bench.” And that’s where you start. And then even that you start by just counting your breath. Which is doing something. There’s movement, right? Your mind is moving.
This is why people think, “Well, I can’t meditate.” Well it’s because you haven’t followed the process. You start by learning to focus. What are we focusing on? It doesn’t matter. Just do. Focus on one thing.
And then when you can stabilize your concentration on that one thing, now we can go to the next step. Which’ll be beginning to witness. And that’s where mindfulness comes in. But people haven’t learned to stabilize their brain.
But then you get off the bench and try to find that focus. You have to go crawl, walk, run again. Where’s the focus in the movement? And then, “Can I do the witnessing? Where I’m constantly…” The Buddhists call that the simultaneous mind.
Sifu: Yeah. Can you watch yourself…?
Mark: Can you watch yourself and then begin to curate the quality and the directionality of your thinking? Good.
Now get on the mat.
Sifu: Let’s get into it.
Mark: Get into it.
Sifu: And now you’re bring a totally different version of yourself to the game. I think like what you’d mentioned with meditation… I’m giving talks or I’m talking to people and I’m saying, “Hey,” always the ask the room, “How many people have tried meditation?”
Everybody raises their hand. And I say, “How many people have succeeded?”
There’s like 2 hands out of 100 still up, right?
Mark: Right. And they’re usually kidding themselves.
Sifu: Right. You’re like, “Did you really?”
But the thing is that we live in this society where our thoughts are running so predominantly. Thousands of thoughts a day. How can you expect to go from thousands of thoughts a day to nothing? To the no-mind.
Mark: It’s not practical. And not only that, people don’t realize that our brains simply weren’t wired for the amount of information that’s being thrown at us today. I read somewhere recently that a human being now takes in more information in 1 week–I could be off on that. Maybe it’s 2 weeks. Doesn’t really matter.
Take in more information in 1 week than you did in an entire lifetime 100 years ago. That makes total sense. Just this massive crush of information. And your brain… if you haven’t taught yourself on how to declutter and focus and find your way through… then it’s just this overwhelm that leads to some form of insanity or imbalance.
Mark: So we need these practices to get back to our center.
Sifu: You know that saying, “If your mind is not at ease, it’s in a state of dis-ease. And I think that’s where all disease comes from.
Mark: All disease comes from the energy of the mind. How you think.
So how did you get involved in the martial arts? Give us a little bit of your back-story.
Sifu: I was 6 years old when I started. I started also in karate. Washin Ryu Karate. And did that from 6 to 19. And then I went off to University of California. Focused on tennis while I was in Davis.
And what ended up happening when I was graduating, went to a bonfire. A graduation bonfire in Ocean Beach, California. Up in Northern California.
And we were late. So we were the last group to arrive, myself and 5 of my friends. Everybody else is celebrating. Exams are done, so they’re down on the beach about 100 yards away, and we’re in the parking lot.
And you know that saying, bad things happen to you when you least expect it? Having a good time, right? So crack open a few beers. “Hey, we survived another year. Cheers.”
And literally out of the darkness, out of nowhere, 25 local gangsters came.
Mark: Holy cow.
Sifu: They were looking for someone. My roommate was standing on my left–happened to look like one of the people that they were looking for. And it was mistaken identity. It was one of those moments.
And literally they approached, and as they approached a guy to my right was smoking a cigarette. And their leader or the voice guy asked him, “Hey, can I borrow a cigarette?”
And the moment he asked to borrow a cigarette, boom, they were on him. Took him to the center. Made a formation. So they fought in a formation, so they had a plan.
And that was the first time that fight or flight really hit me. I mean–been in the dojo, been in sparring–in that environment. But not like this. Not like this kind of… even one on one street fights here and there as a kid. But not like this.
Mark: 25 against 1.
Sifu: Not 25. And they were on something. Could see it in their eyes. They were just not with it, they were not there. And they didn’t care. And then it started right there. Had to make the decision–that was my friend. I need to do something, but the thing was I didn’t know what to do.
So I did nothing heroic that day. There was a guy with a 2×4. He swung. I went up and I blocked just reacted. And I started to run and they’re chasing me. So there’s a group beating on him, and a group chasing me around the cars. So it looked much like a football game where everybody’s trying to tackle me. It wasn’t like a Kung-Fu movie where they’re going to come one at a time.
Mark: And what’s going through your mind at that time?
Sifu: Now that was when I experienced the coolest feeling. Where everything slowed down. And everything was moving. I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t afraid. But it just slowed down. It just was moving like I was in “The Matrix.”
Mark: Did you have a sense that if you could just isolate these people one at a time, you could just…?
Sifu: You know, at that time, I couldn’t even… that didn’t go through…
Mark: There was no tactical thinking.
Sifu: Yeah. There was no tactical thinking at that point for me. I just experienced the zone. I clicked into some natural survival instinct of mine and everything slowed down and I was just moving. And everything was moving really slowly. It was like this perfect chaos was kind of it. But I didn’t know what to do.
And divine intervention…
Mark: Isn’t that crazy after how many years of karate experience? I had the same experience where I had a black belt and I got tackles and choked out. And I’m like, “How could that be?” And it’s because I never really learned how to fight.
Sifu: Never really did. Outside in that chaotic environment. Where people don’t care.
Mark: When it’s not just a “Hey,” sparring match…
Sifu: There’s no referees, there’s no senseis. There’s nobody to help you. And that was the first day that I experienced that.
And it was Divine Intervention we got saved. Cause the 2 guys just happened to walk by…
Mark: The ones they were looking for?
Sifu: The ones they were looking for. And they forgot about us.
Mark: (laughing) Just peeled off and went after them.
Sifu: Just “fft.” left us there.
And then I left from there. That was the day I left and I was just like, “Man, I’ve been doing this Karate for all these years.” And so big blow to the ego. Lots of shame, lots of anger. I was just consumed.
I was like, “Man, I’m never going to let this kind of thing happen to me again.” And that anger really what took over for me.
Mark: Did you use that anger as a determination factor to get some real training?
Sifu: Definitely. I did. And then I graduated so I got a great engineering job and I had all the money in the world. So now I was like, “Okay, I’m just going to train. I’m going to find the best masters in the world,” that I could.
And then the first 2 that I got–1 was a gentleman by the name of Paul Vunak. He helped the first hand-to-hand combat program… that was SEAL team 6.
Mark: What was his name again?
Sifu: Paul Vunak.
Mark: I knew Paul. Yeah, I knew about him.
Sifu: And at the same time, I went to a Tai Chi master. Because… okay, you’re going to laugh. I wanted to learn the Death Touch because I was so pissed off. As crazy as the listeners… yeah, this is true man. Can’t make it up.
I wanted to learn the Death Touch. And “Who’s going to teach me the Death Touch?” Nobody’s going to teach me it. So I got a book on it. I started to see the meridians and the points and all this. And I said, “Hmm. I’m just going to enroll in medical Chi-gong. Cause nobody’s going to actually teach it to me. And so I went into it to learn the Death Touch but ended up learning the Healing Hand. My teacher, taught the process which is really cool.
You learn to look at your emotions. You learn to balance them. To clear them out. Forgive your attacker, and then out comes the other end… this guy going totally nuts, Kill Bill, wanting to do the Death Touch… to the Healing Hand. Now I’m doing energy work. And I cleared myself and my own energy.
And it was like 2 paths. There was that and then the other side. Which was the extreme violence of what to do. Jeet Kune Do and then learning from my teacher and then eventually I took over for him.
And went off on my own. And as I did, got more experience with law-enforcement, police, Special Forces, SWAT, Secret Service. Various agencies. Just kept building it and building it from there. And training that side–the killer instinct side. And the consciousness side.
And together it… I’m here now.
Mark: Yeah. That’s terrific.
Mark: Aah… Jute… Jute Keen Do?
Sifu: Jeet Kune Do.
Mark: I had it backwards. Jeet Kune Do. What does that stand for?
Sifu: “The Way of the Intercepting Fist.”
Mark: Interesting. And as you said that the image of Bruce Lee intercepting and doing his really rapid hand movements and then striking.
Mark: Interesting. So Bruce Lee founded Jeet Kune Do. It’s interesting cause he didn’t have a whole lot of time to develop it, did he? Cause he got killed.
Sifu: At a very young age.
Mark: And so what was it about the art that allowed it to survive and to be such a powerful force? If he only put it out there for a few years?
Sifu: I think that one of the key things…
Mark: Simplicity, probably…
Sifu: It is the simplicity. Cause what he said is JKD is simply to simplify. So with that simplicity… he studied 26 different arts. He took elements from 26 different arts–not equally. One art he may have taken a philosophy. From another art he may have taken a technique. And so different arts he’d put together and he really studied and researched them. He was a genius at that time.
Especially at that time frame. Here we’re talking in the ’60s and he’s advocating grappling and all the things that you’re seeing in the UFC. Whereas the regular, stand-up martial arts weren’t really thinking about that realm at that time.
But he really did was he conceptualized it to find the truth, the common thread amongst all arts. And with Jeet Kune Do–The Way of the Intercepting Fist–at the highest level really what it’s about is perception and awareness. So if I can intercept my opponent, so I can intercept them first on their technique. But then if I can make myself more aware and more in the moment and in the feeling there–that can intercept them on intention.
And then I can go even beyond that and intercept the situation before it even happens. And so…
Mark: It’s interesting the commonality between the word “Perception” and “Interception.” Both of them require “Ception.” Which is awareness. Perception precedes interception.
Sifu: Yes. And that’s the key thing. And that’s where the stillness comes in. Talking about earlier.
And so in Jeet Kune Do, the other thing about it is it’s an art where you’re looking at all 5 ranges of empty hand combat. So you’re looking at the kicking, the punching and the trapping–which is very unique from the Wing Chun Kung Fu–and then you have the stand-up grappling, and then you have the ground grappling.
And then we now also incorporate weapons. So things like edged and blunt weapons. So a lot of what I work with like law-enforcement and military and stuff is all edged weapon stuff.
Mark: And that becomes easy once you’ve mastered the other 5. Because the weapon’s just an extension of your hand.
Sifu: It is.
Mark: Allows you to apply some leverage, and force in other ways.
Sifu: So the Chinese teach the weapon last. But the Filipinos–and I teach Filipino Kali–teach the weapon first. So they teach the weapon first so there’s a concept called “de-fanging the snake” for example. And if I have a blade and you have a blade and you were to strike at me I should cut your hand. Instead of going to a head or vital target. I have more range when I have defanged the snake. Now you don’t have a weapon anymore. And then I can follow up–finish or let the snake go. As it says.
And then that applies to everything else. The weapon creates those attributes. So first thing I actually do is start people off with match sparring. Because as soon as you’ve got a knife–even a training blade–in your hand and you start moving around. It brings out that athletic, cat-like movement. There’s no time to think, “Should I step here, should I step there? Should I do that?”
You’re moving much more naturally. Much more athletically. And it doesn’t take as much of a… power is not necessary cause it’s a blade. So even a woman can be just as deadly with a blade as a man can. And it starts to develop attributes. And attributes are the real secret to martial arts anyways. Timing, spatial relationship, sensitivity, footwork. Distancing, things like that.
Mark: Right. What does a typical training session look like for your clients?
Sifu: So I have different clients. Some come to me for fitness. Others come for mindset. Others come for martial arts. But the ultimate is to have it all.
Mark: The integration of that.
Sifu: The integration.
Mark: We were talking about I tried to do that with SEALFIT. I had the functional fitness gym, and then I had the yoga studio-slash-mind gym. And then I had the mat room. We had a variety of classes, and so the ideal athlete, ideal person. Ideal training model would be I’m going to do 3 of the functional fitness classes, and I’m going to 3 or 4 of the yoga and meditation classes and then 2 or 3 of the martial arts classes.
But ultimately 2 things. One is that’s still dis-integrated, right? And one of the reasons that I created Kokoro Yoga is because I had had that experience too. In fact, I had a Crossfit–this was before I started… One of the reasons I started SEALFIT was because I wanted to integrate. But I had trouble doing it. Let’s just say.
Because when I tried to do it I had them in separate spaces, as separate programs. And I asked people to do all three. Which was sort of like what I was doing beforehand, but all 3 of them required me to have 3 different memberships at 3 different types of studios. Each with a different schedule that conflicted. And it was very hard to do.
And so I said, 1 way to do that is to put them all in one place. Which sounds like what you have. But then the ultimate way to do that is to put them all into one training session.
Sifu: Into 1 training session.
Mark: And so that’s what we’ve been working on with Kokoro Yoga.
Sifu: So that’s what I do with most of my guys that come through. Because it’s gotta be… so the knife sparring let’s say… or the martial art aspect brings out the killer instinct. The meditation, the mind-boxing, the Tai Chi brings out the stillness. The kettlebells and the body-weight exercises bring out the physicality of it.
And then when you put that whole beast together, you have something that is created that is so different, because you hit the entire human being on all aspects. The fight and flight gets exercised. And fluidity and flow. So I kind of like to look at it that way. So we get the fight and flight going, and develop the fluidity and flow together gives us freedom. And fitness then is just an end-product, right?
Mark: Yeah, we were talking about the… one of the highest forms of Tai Chi was just to follow the symbol. The symbol being the Yin-Yang symbol.
And most people listening to this have an idea what that is, but if you don’t, you can just imagine a circle with kind of a snaky, or wavy line…
Sifu: An “S” in it.
Mark: An “S” right. The Yang represents action. It represents the male or dominant activity. So that’s like the energy of CrossFit workout or fight is very Yang.
The Yin represents more feminine, surrender, reception. Receptivity. Internal focus. And so that is trained through the Tai Chi, Chi-gong, stillness.
What a lot of people… so the symbol is trying to represent that the two are always in conflict but also in balance. And as you develop yourself, the ideal training system will have you go back and forth between Yin and Yang, Yin and Yang until the ranges between the back and forth start to narrow. To where ultimately you’re riding the line between Yin and Yang. And that’s where you have stillness in action. In that center-point, that line.
And then over time that line becomes a point. And that point can be represented as the now moment. In the now moment, the ultimate reality is there for you. And whether you’re going to fight, sitting on a bench, driving your car.
Sifu: Right here, right now, man. That’s what it’s about. The present moment is talked about a lot. It’s the rage in all the books.
Which is a good thing. That it’s actually out there now. But it’s something that’s very easy to conceptualize, but kind of hard to really, actually achieve.
Mark: Right. Until, all of a sudden, when you begin to perceive it, you realize it wasn’t hard all along.
Sifu: Right. Cause it was there.
Mark: You just made it hard. It was always there. It’s such a conundrum. That’s why they say it’s a paradox. What you think is real ends up being opposite.
What I love about great martial arts training is it’s like opposite day. You get in there and you realize that the reality that you thought was real is actually unreal. And what you thought was unreal is actually real. And when you start to live from that place…
Sifu: (laughing) Digest that one, guys. Yeah, you know, it’s that change. It’s that constant change between one or the other, because in the Tai Chi, the change between the Yin and the Yang is the still point. The point that between the future and the past is the now. The point between the inhale and the exhale is the still of right now. So if we can train ourselves to go there…
The thing is like, the moment we become aware of a thought, for example. That moment we’re still. That might be for like a millisecond. Two seconds til the next thought comes when you experience the moment.
And we just have to train it that way. I kind of like to call it… you look at meditation and we’ve heard mindfulness and all that… but it’s a boxing match with your mind. Is where it’s really got to start. Because we are… like you said… bombarded with so many thoughts and so much stimulus.
That hey, to get back to that still point, we have to retrain this monkey in our mind. Some people call it a junk monkey. And I’ve heard it said, “A double-fisted drunk monkey,” for some people.
Mark: You’ve got to grab the monkey by the tail, slam him down a few times.
I love the metaphor of… I use it a lot… of your mind is like an untrained stallion. It’s beautiful. It’s freaking powerful. And it will kill you if you get too close.
But when you train the stallion it’s still beautiful, it’s still powerful. But you can ride that sucker for 40 miles an hour for hundreds of miles and it’ll be happy as can be.
Sifu: Now it becomes your workhorse.
Mark: Now it becomes your horse.
Sifu: It becomes yours. And it’s limitless. I mean, you know from your background, you know everything that you’ve ever achieved. I mean, the title of your book is “Unbeatable Mind.” It’s all there.
Mark: It’s all in the mind. I love that.
So what’s so cool about a good martial arts and a good instructor like you is you can lead someone to discover that for themselves. We were talking earlier about how all the katas and forms and all that–those are just tools. They’re like arrows in your quiver. And you use them to tame the mind.
You think you’re using them to learn how to kill somebody or defend yourself… That’s all important, but the still, tamed mind doesn’t get into a conflict.
Fighting without fighting
It’s the most interesting thing. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again here, but when I didn’t have total confidence as a human being, fights found me.
Once I became a SCARS instructor, and I actually knew in the very most simple, precise way how to take another life. Never had another problem. And it wasn’t because people ran away from me or anything. It’s just that total confidence, there was something about that still-point or that deep confidence that just… like, The Matrix shifted, and all of a sudden bad guys just stayed away.
I’ve never been challenged. (laughing) As I say this, someone’s thinking, “I’m going to go challenge Divine.” I dare you to come right now. When Sifu and I are sitting here.
Sifu: (laughing) I got your back, man.
That becomes like the art of fighting without fighting. The highest level…
Mark: And at the master level in the old days, the 2 masters would face each other and they could tell right then…
Sifu: Yeah. They weren’t even going to draw their swords. “He’s got me. I’m good to go.”
Mark: You could tell if someone was… may not have been better than you, but if they were more present than you in that moment. And you had the fidelity or the perceptual capacity to see that, then they would just… One would bow to the other and they’d walk away. They wouldn’t need to fight.
Do you have that level of mastery?
Sifu: (laughing) I think that the only thing I’m a master of is being a student.
Mark: (laughing) Great answer. Yeah, there’s no there there, is there?
Sifu: Yeah, there is no… What did Bruce Lee say? “Don’t pay attention to my finger pointing the way to the moon. You can pay attention to the finger–the starting point–or the moon. You miss all the heavenly glory that’s in between.”
Mark: Oh, that’s terrific.
Sifu: We’re never going to get…
Mark: He was such a poet, wasn’t he?
Sifu: He was the man.
Mark: Some of the things that he’d written in his journal.
Sifu: And he was an avid researcher. That’s the thing. In that day, he was researching everything he could get his hands on. A lot of the quotes that he wrote were actually from other people. And he just was putting them together and looking to always make himself better. Looking to find that limitless potential that’s within him.
Mark: Let’s talk about him. He was murdered, wasn’t he? How did he die? Or am I thinking of his son?
Sifu: His son died on the set of “The Crow.”
Mark: There was supposed to be a blank but there was a live round.
Sifu: It was supposed to be a blank and there was some kind of live round. Something like that.
And with Bruce Lee, the medical community says he died of a brain edema. But there’s many theories on that as to what happened and what caused it. And what were the issues behind it. And the people that he was dealing with at that time in his life.
Mark: Did he have some unsavory elements in his life because of the Hollywood connections and things?
Sifu: Well, imagine this. So he went to Hong Kong. He’s in Hong Kong and becomes big in the Hong Kong movie industry. And now the big break comes and it’s with Warner Brothers in Hollywood. And the people that were pushing him there, weren’t allowed to come with him. He’d left them there, to come over here. So there were a lot of people that were pissed off. So you can imagine the different people that are involved in that kind of industry. That weren’t too happy.
Mark: It’s interesting, the parallels… The grand-master I trained with Nakamura–he’s still cranking away in New York and just has an amazing tribe of warrior/scholar/athletes. He was the head instructor for Koch and Shai, Mas Oyama’s group. And Mas Oyama who was famed for cutting the horn off of a charging bull.
Sifu: Yeah. The “God Hand.”
Mark: Can you imagine? Again, that’s like a very specific skill that he had developed.
Anyway, so he sent Nakamura to the United States to kind of get the system up and running. And starting in Manhattan.
So Nakamura did that for about 10 years, but then he didn’t like the ethos or the value system of constant fighting and competition and pushing away kind of less advantaged people. Or less fit. And so you could say, in a sense, that there was a lot of ego in that organization. And Nakamura had worked really hard to subdue the ego and to be more selfless.
So he left. To start Seido. And guess what? The organization came after him. And he was shot in a dark alley. And narrowly avoided his life being taken from him.
It’s interesting how the martial arts world has all of these kind of like shady kind of elements to it.
Sifu: There’s a dark side, for sure.
Mark: Cause it’s the dark side, yeah. Those who are in it for the fame or the glory or the money. It’s no different than business. If you’re in it for the wrong reasons–the outer material, the ego–at some point misery will find you.
Sifu: Yeah. Absolutely.
Mark: But if you can maintain your center–that still point. And do it for the right reasons. Like you could start a business that serves humanity by doing whatever service you do, but also protecting the environment, and be a conscious capitalist. And you’re going to find much more meaning. You’re doing things for the right reason.
Sifu: I think martial arts, when people ask me what business I’m in. “I’m in the business of courage, confidence and clarity.”
Sifu: That’s really what we are doing. I mean, we’re giving people courage that they didn’t have to honestly express themselves. You’re giving people confidence to deal with fear and what’s the biggest fear that everybody deals with these days?
It’s actually not the fight or flight based fear. It’s the fear of what everybody thinks. It’s the fear of not being good enough, or not being accepted.
Mark: Not making as much money as your neighbor. Not having the biggest house.
Sifu: What’s the biggest fear in the world today? It’s public speaking. That’s ridiculous. If you think about it, you’re going to go up and you’re going to speak. You’re not going to get shot. Nothing’s going to happen to you.
But they’re afraid of what people are going to think about them. And I think that is like the biggest… it’s like robbing you of your life. Your life-force, your purpose here. If you’re worried about what somebody else thinks.
And I think that takes you away from being who you are and honestly expressing yourself.
Mark: And then it’s magnified by social media.
Sifu: Of course. Cause all they talk about is what’s great. “Look how great my life is.” And it’s just a weird world we live in, especially now.
That’s why I really think a lot of these traditions from the martial arts and yoga… Ideas that really bring you back into the now. But also allow you to… give you the tools to adapt. So when we’re in the moment–I call it the high performance zone. It’s easier to understand.
And when you’re in the high performance zone, you have like 3 super-powers that are available to you. And that’s across the board.
Number 1 is connectivity. Our ability to connect to a) ourselves–thoughts feelings, emotions, and the time and space where we are. And b) to people with us. Like you and I. We’re connecting right now. We’re hanging out and having a conversation.
We’re connecting. Now if I connect to you, I connect to my opponent.
I learned to connect to my son and my wife through martial arts. I wasn’t too good at connecting to people, until I learned how to use empathy and connect to my opponent. So it transferred over.
Then the idea of being like water and to adapt to any situation. Put water into a cup, becomes a cup. Put water into a pan, it becomes a pan. Water goes into a barrier, it can go around it, it can crash through it. And if it can’t do those, it finds a little crack and goes through it, right?
And that feature of adaptability and always making yourself comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
And then I think, most importantly, creativity. That idea of who are you really? That honest self-expression to create and let that person–who you are–out. And create and carve a masterpiece of your life.
Those things are only done in the moment.
Mark: I love that. And a lot of people think creativity is a skill and to me like, creativity is just an expression of your authentic self.
Sifu: I’m with you, man.
Mark: The opposite of creativity is collapse. Collapsing… or contraction is probably a better word. So you can create which is express from your heart center. Or you can contract in and all that stuff that we call creativity is closed off to you.
Sifu: You’re absolutely right. And fear is the biggest killer of that.
Mark: Right. And fear is what causes you to contract. And love or connection, courage… those are all forms of love, right? Whatever word you use, it’s on the positive spectrum, it’s just a form of love. That exposes us to our creative energy.
Sifu: Absolutely. And love… think about it… you can’t have enough love to give to other people, until you first have love for yourself.
Mark: That’s right. Cause it’s going to flow through you. You can’t give it to somebody. (laughing) “Here’s some love, Sifu. Give it back when you’re done with it, maybe?”
Sifu: Yeah, you gotta put your oxygen mask on first before you do it for the person next to you.
Mark: Absolutely. And that right there is probably one of the biggest challenges that people have is they haven’t been taught how to love themselves. Self-love. Cause they’re looking outward and not inward.
Break Down to Break Through
Even when you start meditation, you don’t realize… “Well, I’m supposed to just sit here and touch the void. Or experience God. Or…”
No. What you’re actually doing is turning those little flashlights of yours around and looking inward. And what are you going to find in there?
A lot of people don’t like what they see, and so they avoid it. But that’s the point, when you look inward and you see shame. That’s your work. Work on that. Because that’s a false identity appearing real.
Mark: A false evidence appearing real. As Tony Blauer would say. I love that. A false evidence appearing real. That’s fear. It’s not who you really are.
Sifu: It’s not really the reality. You know, like, people start meditation and they achieve the still point. They get there. And that’s when they quit.
Sifu: Cause now the feelings start to come up. Everything that they hadn’t dealt with…
Mark: And it’s uncomfortable.
Sifu: It’s so uncomfortable. And it’s the worst feeling in the world. I mean, I’ve been through breaking process after breaking process.
Mark: You gotta break down to break through.
Sifu: I like that.
Mark: You have to. You have structures. So just like if I want to build a new building here, I have to bulldoze this building first. I could build a building around it, but it wouldn’t be optimal.
A lot of people try to build their buildings around the structures, without examining them. Breaking or shoring them up. And those underlying structures like shame or something are weak, and so that energy’s still there. And when it starts to collapse, it comes out as anger or anxiety or lack of confidence or fear.
And meditation… I love what you said… when you get to the still point, that’s when you can see. Because you’ve turned those 2 flashlights around and they’re rooting around in there. And all of a sudden, they’re like, “Holy Shit. There’s something in there that’s moving. There’s a shadow.”
That’s why the psychology profession calls it a shadow. There’s a shadow in there. And it scares the you-know-what out of me. I don’t want to look there anymore.
Sifu: There was a teacher of mine did a demonstration for me. And he took a glass of water, and in the glass of water he put some dirt. And then the dirt settled to the bottom.
He says, “This is who you are when you come here to me. And now when I teach you, this is what’s going to happen.” And he starts to whirl the dirt around. So now the dirt is going all over the place.
He goes, “Now this is where everybody quits because they can’t handle the dirt everywhere. But you have to go through that to eventually get the dirt out of the cup so you’re only left with the clear water.”
And I think that, you know, there’s a saying “The mind is the general. The body and emotions are the battlefield. The breath is the strategy. The Chi or energy are soldiers. And then the fighting spirit uplifts.”
So it’s really very warrior like. Cause you gotta go to war with those past emotions.
Mark: Right. And they’re all important. A general can’t win a war alone.
Sifu: Every one is important. And it takes energy to hold onto that.
So, like, when we talk about perception before interception. So that higher level of martial arts or that higher level of business, or… whatever your field may be. Athletics.
Is that extra energy you have. That extra attention… that then is given attention and awareness to then get in the zone.
Michael Jordan wanted the ball every single time when the game was on the line. He wanted the ball. He wasn’t worried about missing. He wasn’t worried about losing. And it happened a lot of him. But he wasn’t worried about it. He had that extra compartment of energy.
And most of us because we don’t clear that part out, it’s like we’re holding balls–like, floating balls in a swimming pool. Each emotion is… Hold them down, hold them down.
Mark: I teach the same thing. That any one of those emotional patterns that we don’t address…. I use the metaphor of dragging a kettlebell around. It’s like you’re dragging a kettlebell.
Or another way to look at it… this is kind of a cool picture that you have this vision for what’s possible in your life. Everyone’s got a dream. Let’s call it a dream.
And that is an attractive force. We’ll call that a magnet. It’s trying to pull you forward.
But all that emotional baggage that you have is like a bunch of rubber bands around you. Tied to a rock. And so you come forward and you’re like… you’re trying to reach that vision. And then these rubber bands just start pulling you back. And you just start sliding, and you dig your heels in. And now you’re sliding back to the rock.
And you’re like, “why am I not getting anywhere?” Or, “Every time I get somewhere I fall on my face.”
It’s this pull. The energy of the negative emotions that pull you back. And all that energy can be freed up to allow you to spring forward to that vision.
Sifu: To let go and just cut the cord to the past. Cause the ghost of the past… I mean, it’s going to sound harsh… doesn’t exist anymore.
Mark: Yeah. It doesn’t exist.
Sifu: Figment of your imagination.
Mark: If it exists, it exists in your energetic field, because you trapped it there. And you have the power to go untrap it. But only you have the power to do that.
Sifu: That’s it. It’s free will, right?
Mark: Free will, yeah. Free will is not free though, is it?
Sifu: No, it’s gotta be worked for.
Mark: You gotta work for it, and also there’s consequences to applied will. So you have to appreciate that we all have free will as humans, but there’s consequences. So free will is not free. You have to deal with those consequences. Positive or negative.
Sifu: Exactly. That’s the law, right? At the end of the day.
Mark: That is the law. Karmic.
Sifu: The Karmic effect, right?
Mark: That’s awesome.
Mark: Where are you going from here? Like, what’s next for you? Are you trying to grow from 50 to 250 schools?
Sifu: No. I’m focused more on the core instructors that I have right now. But really my focus…
Mark: Making sure that you’re reputable and the standards are there…
Sifu: Yeah. And I want them to find their version of themselves. Because I don’t want them to copy me. I believe in martial arts for example, Bruce Lee was amazing. He’s a guiding light.
But I don’t want to be Bruce Lee.
Mark: Can’t be. Have to be ourselves.
Sifu: I want to be me. I don’t want to Bruce Lee. I have one life, and I can be inspired by him, but I don’t want him to be me. Or actually, I don’t want to be him. And similarly with my students, you have to lead them to their greatness. Who they truly are.
But lately what my focus has been is working more with executives. And working more with corporations and going more towards that sector. With… I have a course I do called “Battlefield Strategies for Business.” Where we talk about things from the Art of War–Sun Tzu. And Miyamoto Musashi, but it’s balanced with practices. Actual practices where they themselves–the individual taking part–is much more important than the endeavor. Because oftentimes people think you can train your body, train your mind. And you train your craft. But there’s also the spirit. But everybody’s just really working on the craft.
And that’s like, “Oh, I’m going to work harder, I’m going to work harder, I’m going to work harder.”
What about taking a look at the individual taking part and how do we make that person better? First physically. You gotta be strong. Which I’ve heard you say many, manty times. The body is the temple. If you don’t look good, feel good, feel strong like you could do anything. You’re in pain. It’s going to impact you.
Mark: Yeah. At all levels. Relationships. And affects your sense of self. Your confidence.
Sifu: Exactly. Then the mind. Can you still the mind? That’s something you have to train. So whether they call it meditation, mindfulness, whatever… it’s really recalibrating yourself into the moment.
I really like to tell my people, “Recalibrate.” So the present moment is yours to recalibrate to whatever you choose to. Or whenever you catch yourself out of the moment. So recalibrate to that. And set yourself up for success.
And then find out who you really are. Your spirit. So the spirit definition in the Tai Chi is the thoughts of the mind, and the feelings of the heart. What are they in any given moment in time? What is it that you say to yourself when things get not so good? Things are uncertain.
Versus what is it you say to yourself when you’re winning? So you have to be able to take what you say to yourself when you’re winning, and apply that to what you say to yourself in the darkest moments.
Mark: That’s the integration.
Sifu: And that’s the integration. That’s the skill we have to live out.
Mark: At Kokoro–which we have a program called Kokoro camp, where we train and challenge people to find that essence. And then Kokoro yoga. Kokoro means merging your heart and mind into your actions.
Sifu: Very cool.
Mark: And again, these are concepts that seem foreign because they’re Eastern. But they’re universal and they’re really important for us here in the West. Because we’ve been so one dimensional–we’ve been all Yang, no Yin. And that is madness.
Because… and it doesn’t mean you’re weak when you have the Yin. You’re actually stronger. For any guy listening to this, if you’re all Yang you’re just about ready to break. If you haven’t broken already. Something’s going to snap. It’s unsustainable.
You need the Yin. You need the recovery. You need to surrender a little bit to soften up a little bit. And it’s something I’m working on…
Consider the metaphor of a big tsunami blowing through, and you think that the mighty oak or the little willow or the reed is going to be standing at the end, when the tsunami goes through. It’s not the oak. It’s the reed.
Sifu: It’s always the reed. Yeah.
Mark: And so we need more of that Yin in our society. And it doesn’t mean we need to be feminine actually. That’s where people mistake it.
I mean, you and I are not feminine by any stretch of the imagination, right?
Sifu: No, not at all.
Mark: But cultivation of the Yin is our more important work. Because there’s so much Yang. And especially as physical warrior/athletes a lot of that Yang is meant to be trained and developed in your 20s and 30s, but then you’re naturally supposed to go more toward the Yin.
But our society keeps you focused on that. And that’s why people get injured and we burnout.
Sifu: And you get depressed. And you’re like, “Oh, my best years are behind me.” Honestly, that’s a bunch of craziness.
Mark: We’re just getting warmed up.
Sifu: I just turned 40 in August this last year, and at 40 years old, I could destroy the 20 year-old version of me in any physical test, anything… Doesn’t even compare.
Mark: 100%. I could say that right now about the 54 year-old me. I’m much stronger. Much more prepared. Much more resilient than I was at 20, 25. Even as a Navy SEAL. I was still training. But the training in the SEALs went heavily Yang.
And they’re starting to get wise to it. We’ve had the SEALs up visiting our training. Cause the word is out. Like a third of the guys who get through SEAL training have trained with SEALFIT, and I’m teaching them breath control. Through the process of Box Breathing. I’m teaching them what I call the witness process, which is mindfulness meditation. But I give them the practical tools and terms. I divorce it from… I said I take the “Fu” out of the “Kung Fu” for them.
Sifu: (laughing) Cause otherwise you might just have Master Fu Ling Yu in front of you.
Mark: (laughing) Exactly. They don’t want that. They just want the practical. And that’s what I think the business world wants. They want practical. Give us something.
But you can’t hack your way to that still point.
Sifu: No. I think that’s the… the word “Hack” is thrown around… Everybody wants a hack for everything. This take work. This takes work.
Mark: But here’s the thing–and I think you’d agree with it–once you start and once you develop an appreciation for the work, it’s fun. It’s joyous. And it becomes as necessary to your daily life as eating, sleeping, and training physically hard.
Sifu: 100%. It is your anchor. It’s your anchor-point.
And then from that point, everything happens. So when I’m lifting the kettlebell, I’m in the same place as if I’m doing Tai Chi. I’m in the same place if I’m swimming in the ocean. I’m in the same place if I’m hugging my son. It’s that place of freedom, and we can do it in anything.
We can do it right now when we’re talking to each other. We do it when we’re walking along… driving on the freeway. And then when we’re in that place where all of life actually happens.
Mark: Everything’s there.
Sifu: Everything is there.
Mark: Buddha said you can find enlightenment in a single breath if you’re paying attention.
Sifu: That’s it. That’s it.
Mark: That’s awesome.
Sifu: It’s such a simple thing, but it’s pretty complex.
Mark: The most complex and profound concepts are also the simplest.
Sifu: Yes, sir.
Mark: But, you know what? We’re taught to be infatuated with complexity. And with increasing diversification of things into more things. We see that in the material world, we see that in education. We’re all like, “What are you studying?” “I’m studying…” you know. There’s like a ten word sentence that comes after it. And it’s like the smallest little thing. But if you just studied the single point focus and learned to be present you would know all of that.
Mark: Instead of having this…
Sifu: That’s a microphone dropper right there.
It truly is. Cause like, talking about studying, when I went to university to do my engineering degree, I didn’t like it. Didn’t want to do it. Didn’t even know what it was. Just did it because like, “Oh, I’m gonna get a good job. I’m going to be a millionaire one day. And I’m going to get my sports car and buy a house.”
Mark: (laughing) Like me going to get my MBA. I haven’t used anything except for the 3 letters after my name.
Sifu: It was ridiculous. It was friggin’ ridiculous, right? None of it had anything to do with anything. And it was only when, like, you start to look inside and say, “Okay, who am I?” That question–“Who are you?”
Mark: That’s it. But that’s one of the most famous–I think it was Nagarjuna who came up with that. Or maybe it was a famous Indian yogi. That was his primary practice. Was in meditation on “who am I.”
And it was…as you get more and more deep into that meditation over the years, your appreciation of who it is at that still point gets more and more clear.
Sifu: you get closer and closer like peeling the layers of an onion away. And you get happier.
Mark: And then all the ego stuff, all the outer representations of who you are fall off. And you can get more and more happy, more and more peaceful. Less attached.
Sifu: it’s the stories from the past. That we think define us. And that’s really what we have to let go of. From our experiences, from the experiences of people teaching us… bringing us up. So we’re confined to those boxes.
The only thing that we know for sure is that those experiences are very tiny to the vast openness of the universe that is actually there.
Mark: Right. And that universe wants to flow and when you hang out as those experiences you’re actually in contradiction to what the universal energy wants you to be.
Sifu: How could you be happy?
Mark: Right. You need to let those go and just let the energy flow through you. And that’s what Tai Chi and a good martial arts program will help you do.
But you don’t have to join a dojo. All you need to do is learn how to breath, move, and still your mind.
Sifu: Still your mind one breath at a time. One movement at a time. You could even find it in throwing a baseball. You can find it in hitting a tennis ball. You could find it walking.
You’ve got a book coming out. I heard you use the term earlier. “Mind Boxing.”
Sifu: Yeah. “Mind Boxing: How to win the war within.”
Mark: Awesome. I’m looking forward to that. So it’s out November. So people won’t necessarily be able to run out and order it right now. Because I think this podcast will probably be launched in a few weeks.
Where can people find more about you and stay in touch so they can be ready for that? And we’ll promote that, by the way. On social media, when it comes out.
Sifu: Thank you. They can go to mindboxing.com, or sifusingh.com. And that’s kind of my two main places there. And then for the social media handles sifusingh–Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. You’ll find me there.
Mark: Mind Boxing. Let’s go. 3-2-1. Ding-ding-ding.
Sifu: (laughing) That ain’t the worst…
Mark: I win!
Sifu: You always win man.
Mark: I declare myself the winner.
Sifu: Cause that wars always been, right? 24/7, 365. And when we knock that voice out in our heads and replace it with a positive voice. And then go beyond to the no-mind.
Mark: These are unsolvable. Until you get into that still center-point and then you realize that that’s the point.
Sifu: That’s the point.
Mark: There’s not a concept. It’s so big, so vast, so impossible to articulate with the limited thinking mind–egoic mind–that you’ve gotta stop trying. And when you surrender that’s when the truth is revealed.
Sifu: That’s it, man. So structure and unconditional yielding. You’ve got the structure, the form…
Mark: Close fist. “I’ve gotta solve this!” That’s the form, right?
Sifu: But then you gotta have the unconditional yielding.
Mark: Right. Yin and Yang is right there. The answer is in that symbol. The meaning of life. It’s in that “S.” Go look there.
Sifu: That’s why it’s called the Grand Ultimate. Tai Chi translated is Grand Ultimate Boxing. Tai Chi Chuan.
Sifu: Supreme Grand Ultimate Boxing.
Mark: I did not know that. That’s interesting.
Sifu: So you find it in there. And when you can let go… And I think that’s the key thing. You let go of what’s going to happen, and you’re right here, right now. It’s like Bruce Lee said, “I didn’t hit. It hit all on its own.” Cause if I’m thinking about… if we’re sparring or something like that and I’m thinking about you hitting me or me hitting you. I mean, I’m in the past. Right?
And then if I’m in this state of in the moment. If I’m in the moment, feeling, we’re in the present. But then if I can project forward I can go to the future. And it’s just such a cool thing. And it’s really limitless.
But, like you said earlier, it takes discipline. And it takes effort. It takes a lot more effort to stand still for 30 minutes than to do a hard workout.
Mark: For sure. 100%. It is hard, hard work. The gain from just 15 minutes, the value, the gain from 15 minutes of standing meditation a day is worth 100,000 hours of workouts.
It’s just extraordinary what will come from that. Your change of perceptive reality. The clarity. The energy. The alignment of the spine with the breath.
And that’s why standing meditation is the ultimate practice I believe. Not seated, not kneeling, not laying down. And not moving, like in yoga or a form.
That’s different. Because now you have a goal and you have memory involved and there’s a lot of mental structures when you’re doing a form. Except at the very highest level, the structures appear to fall off, but you’re still following a pattern.
So ultimately standing still drops all the external structures away. And now you’re just left with the internal.
Sifu: Yeah. And then I think at the very highest level… the form starts to play you. So you don’t have to… without the standing that’ll never happen. If you can get to that one point where you’re not doing it anymore, and then the energy starts to move you and the form starts to play you. And then you have a free form, and you’re just floating and that’s called it the Tai Chi flying, right? It’s a cool feeling.
What I really appreciate about you is you have brought in these ideas of the breathing, of the stillness. The more Eastern approach to that strong Western side. Which I think is very important in educating the public. The people you reach.
Because it’s very hard to convince the West of the true power of bringing the two together. When you bring the two together… That’s cool.
Mark: Awesome. Well… this has been a fascinating discussion and you and I could do this for hours and hours and hours I’m sure. But we might end up boring people.
Sifu: It’s a real pleasure. Honor to meet you. And to your listeners, thank you very much for listening.
Mark: Hooyah. Appreciate you being here, and I look forward to more.
Sifu: Absolutely. Thank you sir.
Mark: All right folks. That was unbelievable. So Sifu Singh go to check out mindboxing.com. We’ll promote his book when it comes out in November. You might want to listen to this episode a few times. There’s some real gems in there.
And both of us stand by to help you on your journey and your path. And we’re in this together. And we also need good teammates, cause we’re doing this to help the world be a better place.
Sifu: Absolutely, man. Absolutely. Giving. Give to receive.
Mark: Hooyah. And on that we are done here. Signing off from Carlsbad, California. ‘Til next time. Train hard, stay focused and ride the “S.”
Sifu: Ride the “S.” I like that.
Mark: Out here. Hooyah.