The Tao of Kaizen
(The path of constant and never ending improvement)
The Law of Negativity
• The warrior seeks peace and is a master of resolving conflict (budo). He strives for peace but does not allow himself to become a victim. Knowing that he can’t do any good if abused, victimized or dead; he defends his place in the universe. There are several ways of defending against threats, and the first is simply don’t be there. This is the art of awareness and the art of avoiding dangerous situations and always taking positions of relative safety. When you are there then avoidance is a solution. Angling and stepping off the track is a common tactic. This art demands the ability to give up a position and the traits of balance and agility. The warrior yields to aggression until the time is right for a defense while the civilian stands strong and hardens his position. The warrior looks for the win-win situation while the civilian sees this tactic as weak and ineffective. Before you can look for the win-win, you must first identify the attack. In combat it is sometimes obvious, but in general most attacks to our well-being are subtle and almost undetected. Many negative comments, that do indeed threaten your success, can be neutralized with positive thinking and filling your mind with positive affirmations.
• Positive thinking won’t allow you to do everything, but it will allow you to do everything better than negative thinking.
Know the Kamae – The Law of Traveling Lightly
• The warrior is in constant pursuit of the truth, not things the way they seem to be. He understands the ways of deception and how a clever opponent uses them. Hiding the real and concealing the truth is a clever tactic. In the animal world, false strength and posturing are used to survive. Humans show false strength with exaggerated postures and overblown words to deceive a gullible opponent.
• Showing false strength is a bluff and has some significant weaknesses. Firstly, it is relying on the opponent’s sense of the rational. This is a gamble, and may actually trigger the attack one is trying to prevent.
• Showing false weakness, on the other hand, is a more effective tactic. Lao Tzu said, “Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.” This is the demeanor of the Chinese master that appears to be old and slow, but in reality is agile and powerful. This tactic can be used to pull an opponent in. Birds do this by pretending to have a broken wing, to lead predators away from their nests. If you intentionally show a weakness, you have a high probability of knowing what your opponent’s strategy is going to be, which gives you a tremendous advantage.
• It is said that the stalk of rice with the most fruit bows the lowest. The warrior that has the most confidence in his abilities to fight, is usually the most humble person you will ever meet. Successful people set high goals but take their accomplishments with a grain of salt and give credit to others.
The Law of Forgiveness
• The civilian talks trash. He mocks and ridicules his opponents, in an attempt to intimidate them with verbal jabs and abuse. He believes that by putting them down, his status is increased. The warrior on the other hand, rejects these tactics. He treats his opponents and allies with sincere respect. This is not simply a method of courtesy; it is a method of Black Belt Excellence. Human beings are basically unpredictable. Appearances deceive; an opponent may be far more capable than he appears. The warrior recognizes this and acknowledges his opponent’s true potential. In all cases treat your opponent as an equal and never take any encounter lightly. One of the worst tactical errors is to take your opponents “face”. “Face” is our standing with our friends and in our community. As social creatures, “face” is very important and to lose face is to diminish our own identity. In taking away someone’s “face”, escalation and retaliation are very likely. From a tactical perspective, taking someone’s “face” gets you nowhere. Knowing this, a true warrior always tries to save “face”. He may defeat an opponent, but allows him to maintain human dignity.
• On the positive side, a warrior builds “face”. Build up your opponents’ self-image and status even if you despise them. Always acknowledge your opponent’s position, value and dignity. These gestures cost little but pay great dividends. The civilian thinks that respecting an opponent is a sign of weakness, but a warrior is completely confident in victory at all times and knows that showing respect is a sign of intelligence and a no-lose situation. Position yourself for the future. Today’s opponent may be tomorrow’s ally. Respect keeps the door open.
• Truly healthy people forgive freely. Only individuals with strong self-esteem apologize easily for mistakes and forgive others.
• Forgive your parents
• Forgive yourself
• Forgive everyone else