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To See What Others Do Not See

By Terry Bryan

There is an old Shaolin Monk saying which described the legendary Shaolin Monks as having incredible abilities, almost mystic in nature:

“When Looked For Could Not be Seen,
When Felt For Could Not Be Touched,
When listened for Could Not be Heard…

In reality, their incredible skills were developing the ability to see what others did not see and to hear what others did not hear. This ability is called Zanshin in Japanese which means total awareness and probably best described in English as intuition. The Latin translation of intuition is best described as “in to you” and it describes the process of taking information from the outside world and bringing that with meaning into your knowledge base. Two people can see the same thing and have completely different things. The ability to see the little things is the real difference between success and failure.

I survived 3 combat tours in South East Asia because I indeed developed a sense of awareness. As a dog handler, I learned early on to depend on the dog’s eyes and ears because he could indeed see and hear things I could not which in many situations made a difference between life and death. There were other things I had the ability to hear but did not understand and yet later became second nature to my survival. For example, at time the insects and small animals would go silent, almost undetectable to the average person, but to the trained warrior you knew that meant that someone was approaching. These little signs are everywhere and many times become instinct even if you don’t know exactly what is cause your “Gut Feeling”.

These subtle signs are everywhere from personal relationships to successful business operations. In many of the mastermind groups I belong to, one of the most valuable information you walk away with is developing the ability to see something in the eyes of another person, especially a successful person in a field you are interested in.

With the help of many mentors and coaches over the years, I have now developed the ability to look at a real estate investment opportunity or a business and very quickly identify the issues needed to correct to improve performance. Much like the times I spent working with elite athletes and helping them reach their peak performance, many times it takes just a few minor adjustments.

To develop your inner awareness it is important to work on detachment and seeing things the way they really are, not how you wished them to be. Once you understand the truth, or as my mentor Dan Kennedy would say, “The NO BS Truth” then you can create realistic goals and action plans. Later you can use your mental powers to create the future that you desire.

Don’t ever underestimate your abilities to feel the truth or what is called the 6th sense. In my opinion, women have developed this to a higher level than men and because of this, if Diana ever tells me something just doesn’t feel right, I will stop… go back and relook at everything before making a decision.

I think martial artists are good at developing this awareness because of their relaxation or mediation techniques most styles use. By letting the mind go a few minutes a day, you let the subconscious take over and grow. Many people have found that if they ever have a problem that during the meditation process the answer comes to them, or maybe taking a walk and thinking of something else completely, that all of a sudden it just comes to them out of nowhere.

Once you learn to combine the ability to sense or feel the right solution; combined with the specialized knowledge you get from hanging out with other successful people, you will be amazed of your achievements. While getting the specialized knowledge you need in the field you are working on is important, don’t neglect training your inner self. You may indeed discover your most powerful weapon of all.

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About the Author:

Terry Bryan is the former General Secretary for the USA-NKF (National Karate Federation), the official governing body for the sport of karate with the US Olympic Committee. He currently is the Executive Director for the American Black Belt Academy, a 501c3 non-profit organization located in Colorado Springs. Terry is a regular contributor to

To find more articles of interest, search on one of these keywords:

benefits of karate, benefits of taekwondo, benefits of martial arts, mental skills in karate, martial arts mental skills, zanshin, awareness in martial arts

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