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Jeff Brooks

Bodhisattva Action and Martial Arts
By Jeff Brooks

Martial arts and Buddhism, especially Zen Buddhism, have a long relationship, but the nature of that relationship - its limitations and its potential - has not been well understood.

The Zen Mirror: Every Day is a Good Day
By Jeff Brooks

To understand that every day is a good day takes courage because on some days we will suffer.

Karate: An Antidote to Modernism
By Jeff Brooks

In karate, as in any traditional art, it is the continued self-polishing, the negation process of deep, austere training that allows an understanding of the deeper levels of the art.

Morning Practice
By Jeff Brooks

To start the day with a morning prayer: meditation as part of our martial arts practice begins to condition the mind and aim each person's life toward placing our attention on our present and in so doing makes life more meaningful.

Zen Mirror - Every Person Can Be Great: Advice for Black Belts and Others
By Jeff Brooks

Long term martial arts students benefit not just from physical improvement, but from a transformation , a rebirth each time they practice as they shed their old skin to feel their body more alive and senses more acute.

Do versus Jutsu: Which Side Are You On?
By Jeff Brooks

If you can't define -Do and -Jutsu it is hard to get any good traction in the discussion of which of those two you do, which of them your teachers or their teachers did, and the merits of one or the other.

Human Relationships Versus Fragmented Images
By Jeff Brooks

A traditional martial arts dojo provides a venue for genuine human sharing and communication within our modern society which is too frequently characterized by fragmented relationships.

What is a Dojo?
By Jeff Brooks

A dojo isn?t a room, or a group of people, an art, or style, but is instead something that sustains us -- an accumulation of spiritual capital.

Zen Mirror: President John Adams on 'No First Attack'
By Jeff Brooks

How this president dealt with martial conflict reminds me of the qualities of mind and philosophy we often associate with karate.

Meditation: Just Do It!
By Jeff Brooks

It?s simple, but profound -- meditating in a relaxed, stable posture, not moving, withdrawing our senses, and letting go of objects of thought; coming face to face with the way our minds influence and distort our reality.

Yin, Yang Mind: Esoteric Thoughts On Kata
By Jeff Brooks

Looking at kata in a different way may lead to a new understanding.

Hidden in Plain Sight: Rediscovering The Wealth Of Kata
By Jeff Brooks

Although much of the oral tradition of kata has been lost, much of its knowledge has been reverse-engineered and re-discovered.

Five Dollars
By Jeff Brooks

A true life confrontation with muggers proved also to be an internal confrontation with the self.

Nothing to Lose
By Jeff Brooks

Too many martial artists fall into the trap of constantly seeking to accumulate more information about their art rather than developing their own mastery of it.

Hidden Arches: The Gateway To Mastery
By Jeff Brooks

The principle which we call arches is part of a sophisticated system of movement and knowledge of body architecture which was fundamental to pre-modern karate.

THE ZEN MIRROR: Life & The Scenery of Life
By Jeff Brooks

If we recognize the ultimate purpose of our practice we will never be distracted by the shifting scenery of our lives.

Zen Mirror: The Aim Of Practice
By Jeff Brooks

The meaning of his action that day prompted much speculation, but upon his death his life took on symbolic significance and inspired us.

Zen Mirror: Every Move You Make
By Jeff Brooks

The actions that I take now and the actions I took in the past constitute my life and the state of happiness or unhappiness I have created to live within.

The Zen Mirror: Crippled By Comfort
By Jeff Brooks

It takes work and an unusual degree of insight to see that there is something unnatural and harmful in an inactive life.

The Zen Mirror: Battle and the Ocean of Mind
By Jeff Brooks

If we fail to recognize that we live in an ocean of mind that creates the way we see and act within the world then we will get lost in procedure and forget our true mission.

Buddhism And The Martial Ideal: Part 1
By Jeff Brooks

There have been times when the tools of Buddhism have been put to non-Buddhist ends, yet when you look closely, the centrality of the warrior ideal in Buddhism itself is evident.

Buddhism and the Martial Ideal, Part 2
By Jeff Brooks

Great warriors such as Genghis Khan and King Ashok who used violence to gain power and territory, later stressed the Buddhist ideals of education and harmony during their reign.

Zen Mirror ? All Perfect
By Jeff Brooks

Only when near death, having let go of his own worldly attachments, could this samurai truly grasp the perfection of the moment he was in.

Zen Mirror: The Cultivation of Simplicity
By Jeff Brooks

Instead of defining ourselves on the basis of our likes and dislikes, what if there was a better basis on which to make choices in our lives? What if we understood simplicity itself as a valuable thing?

Zen Mirror: Different And Better
By Jeff Brooks

There is a certain disease that is keeping martial arts in the dark ages and preventing civilian martial arts from developing and becoming the well of knowledge, expertise and personal achievement that it could be.

The Zen Mirror: Bun/Bu - Coercion and Persuasion
By Jeff Brooks

Mastery of the polarity between coercion and persuasion is the fundamental challenge we face as individuals, leaders, warriors and parents.

Zen Mirror: The Kingdom Within You
By Jeff Brooks

For every action we take on the world around us there is a corresponding effect on the world within us. The implications of this fact are the single most important point to understand if we are to have a truly cultivated life.

Zen Mirror: The Golden Age of Martial Arts
By Jeff Brooks

The mission of the true martial artist now is as critical as it was in Tokugawa era Japan or in the time of Bodhidharma and the Shaolin Temple in China.

Zen Mirror:The Duty of the Martial Artist
By Jeff Brooks

A warrior?s skill, power and life itself have no meaning or purpose unless the sense of duty is clear, and we act in accord with it.

Viewpoint: There Are No Blocks In Advanced Martial Arts
By Jeff Brooks

The chances are good that you know a lot of martial artists who could take their defensive ability much further.

Zen Mirror: Protecting The Dalai Lama
By Jeff Brooks

As practitioners of self defense we are both the defender and the thing we defend. Those functions coexist in us as individuals but also in our relationship to our families, communities, nations... We need to be sure we perform these roles with a single, just mission. Then we can be healthy and strong, and the world can be transformed.

ViewPoint: Resilient Arts & Resilient People
By Jeff Brooks

There are cultural rigidities in the way martial arts is often practiced that inhibit the progress of the students and produce spiritual and technical rigidity.

Time, Space & Mind: The Three Dimensions of the Reactionary Gap
By Jeff Brooks

To strike your opponent successfully you need to enter through a gap in his defenses ?by overpowering the opponent, deception, or finding a weakness in his posture. In medieval Japanese budo these openings in the opponent?s defenses, these opportunities to strike, were called ?suki.?

The Zen Mirror: Moving from the Center
By Jeff Brooks

We need to prepare our mind and life for balance just as a warrior must walk to be sure that he does not loose footing on uneven surfaces.

The Zen Mirror: The Nature of Water
By Jeff Brooks

Unlike water that adapts to conditions, we can also to some degree determine the conditions in which we live. Thus our ?true nature? does not describe some permanent inherent characteristic, but instead we reflect conditions of life and a universe of our own making.

Zen Mirror: Obstacles and Good Fortune
By Jeff Brooks

In martial arts training you will encounter obstacles. If we treat them as external to training, something to get rid of so we can get back to training, we will inevitably be defeated by one of them.

Viewpoint: How to be Strong
By Jeff Brooks

People who do well in martial arts are not necessarily the ones with the most talent, strength, speed, aggression, experience or even will power. They are the ones with the greatest faith in the efficacy of their own actions.

Martial Arts: Karate, Taekwondo, Kung Fu - The Effects of Unison Movement
By Jeff Brooks

In karate, taekwondo, kung fu and other traditional martial arts training we learn to practice the same sequence of the same moves, simultaneously. If you do this you are more likely to function competently and successfully in life since you learn to subordinate yourself willingly to group action.

Zen Mirror - Training in Interesting Times
By Jeff Brooks

Those of us who are practitioners of karate or other martial arts recognize that during interesting times that the path is sometimes smooth and sometimes steep. We recognize that in the moment of violent confrontation, of physical or emotional shock it will be too late to train. We will either be prepared at that moment or we will not.

The Zen Mirror: The Cultivation of Gratitude
By Jeff Brooks

The chief antidote to dissatisfaction and constant unfulfilled desire is not among the usual candidates - working harder, accumulating possessions, or gaining status or power. It is instead to encourage our own gratitude.

Zen Mirror: What is Success in the Martial Arts?
By Jeff Brooks

How do we measure success in the martial arts? It is not the same every moment for every person but in the long run there are a set of guiding principles we can rely on and which we can use to measure our achievement.

Zen Mirror: The KEN ZEN Ideal -- Martial arts and Zen As One
By Jeff Brooks

A Zen teacher in his official role as police officer brings a unique prospective to his daily patrols and law enforcement responsibilities.

Zen Mirror: Martial Arts Initiation
By Jeff Brooks

In modern society that lacks traditional rites of passage or initiation methods into adulthood the dedicated study of karate or martial arts might serve this function.

Zen Mirror: Logic and Freedom: A Fresh Look at Classical Zen
By Jeff Brooks

Most western martial artists have come in contact with Zen somewhere in the course of their training. But has the westernized version of Zen missed the point?

Zen Mirror: This Magic Moment
By Jeff Brooks

There is no doubt that in times of hardship people succumb to despair, raiding, addiction and savagery. But people can also band together in a spirit of respect and shared values and recover their humanity through training in karate, taekwondo, kung fu, judo or in any other martial art.

Zen Mirror: The Locus of Subjectivity
By Jeff Brooks

As we mature as a martial artist our locus of self-defense expands to include protection of others as well as our self.

Zen Mirror: The Ark of History
By Jeff Brooks

History is made of stories about the rise and fall of cultures; stories of vitality and decadence, raids and defense, heroism and treachery. That is the human tale. And it continues, unchanged, today. But it is also true for us.

The Buddha Game
By Jeff Brooks

A Cop's recount of a police incident and arrest is combined with Buddhist outlook to illustrate how personal choices and actions can define one's life path and happiness.

Who Are The Good Guys
By Jeff Brooks

A cop story and how law enforcement philosophy and outlook fits the precepts of his role as karate teacher and practitioner of Zen.

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