When I was a kid we played marbles. My pop showed me. Playing marbles was on the long list of games he had mastered, right along with croquet, dominoes, and checkers. I never saw him lose at any of those.
When you play marbles you must decide if you are playing for fun or if you are playing for “keepsies.” When you play for keepsies, you get to keep the other guy’s marbles. This is the origin of the expressions “playing for keeps” and “for all the marbles.”
Real life is always keepsies. Get this through your head and say it with me.
Real life is always keepsies.
This is true with regard to your philosophical life, your emotional life, your physical life and your spiritual life. Thoughts, desires, actions and beliefs have extremely important consequences.
Face reality because life is for keepsies.
This month’s martial focus is Grappling (stand-up wrestling or “clinch work” in the common parlance) and our spiritual symbol is The Bell (contemplation). All of this month’s mettle makers will revolve around these two themes.
Keepsies: Mettle Maker #250
- Warm-up thoroughly for at at least 8 minutes. Do 2-3 minutes each of (a) jumping rope or footwork (b) light calisthenics and (c) shadowboxing, forms, light heavy bag work, or 8 minutes of MBF.
- Train for keeps. Complete this month’s constitutional which is all about directly relevant martial fitness. Get out a heavy bag, grappling dummy, or just a big gym bag full of towels, mitts and gloves and get through this: 25 Seio Nage (put a shirt or sash on your bag or dummy as needed), 100 yards of Bear Walks, 25 Scarf Hold Switches, 25 Bag Lifts (regular or Kansas-style, your choice), 25 Shots, 25 Sprawl ‘n’ Punch, and 1 HB Squeeze to failure. If you finish in under 15 minutes, go back and do 20% more of each exercises 1 – 6. If any of these exercises are unclear, sounds like you need to take one of my classes or buy my Scufflin’ Dice program.
- Move for keeps. Run 1 mile like somebody’s chasing you.
- Forage for keeps. If you want to forge your mettle, don’t shy away from reality — confront it head on. Get up tomorrow morning, walk out your front door, and give yourself 20 minutes to find breakfast. You don’t have to actually eat it if you don’t want to, but say to yourself, “If I don’t find something to eat this morning I’m going to skip breakfast.” I did this on Monday and the best I could do in 20 minutes was some wild onions, some inner pine bark and some pine needles for tea. Slim pickings in my suburban neighborhood because many of the spring plants haven’t shot up yet — see the video below that I made last March. A few calories and some electrolytes could make the difference between life and death in a survival situation. Get dirty!
- Contemplate for keeps. There is a common misconception that contemplation is about shutting out the world or “navel gazing.” What we call contemplation is very similar to zazen, the meditation method taught in Zen Buddhism and is closely related to the Christian “prayer of quiet.” Call it whatever you want as long as you do it. Set timer for 10 minutes (beginners 5 minutes, advanced folks up to an hour). Assume posture of choice and regulate breathing to a slow and steady rhythm. Keep your eyes open and fixed. Do not fidget, wiggle or scratch. Allow your thoughts to dissipate like ripples on a pond and your mind to approach a state of calm and relaxed awareness. Do not think at all, but especially not in words — do not evaluate, judge, make lists, fixate on emotions, let your mind wander, or any of that. Just perceive reality. Click the picture above for more pointers. Stay with regular contemplation practice and you will begin to “break through” and experience true, inner quiet (the presence of God, theoria, satori, “silent illumination,” etc.).
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