Studying MMA will make you a Better Person.

I was there to witness the Renaissance of Martial Arts, the birth of modern-day MMA. I was just coming of a hand injury sparring with Riddick Bowe which brought the heartbreak of an injury release from my promotional rights contract with Don King. I moved back to Seattle and was invited to come train at AMC (The first “Intentional MMA” gym in the US). The UFC was functioning but it was really a show about competing styles.

Satoru Sayama’s (tiger mask) inspiration was starting to leak into the US and AMC had a few guys that had already fought in Pancrase, and Shooto but no one really knew what they were doing yet.  You had The UFC, Shooto, Pankration, Vale Tudo, Luta Livre and Pancrase as outlets to fight, but no one was quit sure how to train (Generally everyone had a single foundational style as a base and they were just pasting on other skills as they could)… the Sport was born before the competency of its athletes caught up.

Seattle was a true melting pot of martial arts at the time and AMC had produced a number of Muay Thai & Kick Boxing Champions but It was Matt “The Wizard”Hume that was pressing into the NHB, MMA, Pankration concept.

I don’t know how intentional it was at the time, but Matt scheme in fighting was truly unique, He refused to allow any of our individual expertise to own the day, or the fight. Matt insisted upon the “Medici Effect” (although I’m not sure the term had yet been coined) “The Medici Effect” is the idea taken from the wealthy Medici family, whose patronage brought poets, philosophers, scientists, painters and other artisans from around Europe to Florence, Italy, between the 13th and 17th centuries. Bringing these talented people together and allowing them to collaborate is believed to have kicked off the Renaissance period, a period of human history marked by great innovation.

The new rule of fighting was not how do we conform to a style, but how do we become a more complete fighter? We learned to always look for inspiration from other styles or experts. We were constantly reminded to ask; why we did what we did, as opposed to assume it was correct. Fighting became beautifully liquid, for anytime you added a treasure of action you had to then question your previous reactions. We deconstructed all the movements, rhythms, angles, approaches and constructs of each style, as we were seeking to fit them into a sport that they weren’t originally intended. We looked at every training option as an option because it was about the outcome and not the existing model

There was a new excitement about the martial arts, not just the styles, but the history and culture of the styles. We now felt as though what we thought was once mundane information, might now hold a the keys to unlock a previously untapped potential. The argument of what was best style, was as irrelevant as asking what is better, music or painting? Learning to understand one art, can bring a greater beauty to the other. The new conversation became what can we use from each style to make something new? How can we turn the puzzle pieces to find a fit?  Can we somehow create a more beautiful picture?

It has been 20 years and Mixed Martial Arts continues to expand its reach in seeking inspiration from around the globe and into history. Creativity is the new normal and a necessity in becoming the best.

Study today’s Greats such as , Conor McGregor, Demetrious Johnson, Tony FergusonJoanna Jedrzejczyk, & Cristiane Justino Venâncio (Cyborg)…. The list goes on and on. They are all innovators in the sport with many crossing over and finding success in other venues because of their refusal to be constrained by unhelpful boundaries.

Take a look at your life, your business, and your dreams. Have you bridled you potential or are you open to innovation and inspiration.

I want to challenge you to start doing 3 things today…

#1: Create a team of Innovative inspiration! This might be a virtual team that is build listening to Podcast such as the Fourhourworkweek.com. You might find your mentors reading books like Tools of Titans or The Medici Effect. Or you might find them in networking with others that share the similar passions.

#2: Start journaling, I don’t mean like “dear diary” although that is okay, But start waking up  and writing down your thoughts on your dreams, and what you can do, explore, or delete to achieve them. Or take a moment before you go to bed and jot down your successes, challenges or new thoughts from the day.

#3: Look outside you preconceived ideas for inspiration and innovation. Look around you with an open mind, Challenge your methods, and the models that you may have let previously constrain you. Look to innovate and be a creator.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rising above Fear and Cowardice

“Most of us live two lives. The life we live, and the un-lived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.” ~ Steven Pressfield

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If your anything like me you are fascinated by Victory and Success. I look at people who seem to walk in a perpetual state of success and I think how do they do that? I read and listen to some of the most successful “Life Coaches” or motivators such as  Stephen Covey, to Anthony Robbins to Tim Ferriss to Mark Devine, the list goes on and on…and I think wow! What insight. What do I lack, what presupposition or habits do I have that keep me from living within this success. There are moments where I am a rock and the courage shines forth like lightning and then there are other times where it vanishes like smoke.

 

It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” ~Muhammad Ali

As I’ve studied these men and their wisdom it brought me back to something familiar but somehow foreign… I know that in learning, the moment of owning a concept making it your own, is when the opportunity  and capacity for action occurs. So today I want to take what been soaking into my soul and to turn these principles so you might see them again  but maybe in a way that might affect spark something in you.

Today I want to look at a verse of scripture… Now don’t run.  If you look at this your see that this is for you no matter your belief or view of the bible. You might just find something beautiful  and useful here. You see conquering fear, success isn’t a secret. These are universal concepts that are understood by many. The secret is allowing your heart to grasp them.  That’s our goal today.

Now I have to sheepishly admit that as  a Christian man, a husband, father, former pro fighter and  Pastor, I’ve held on to a  bible verse as a lucky rabbit foot for much of my Christian life. But the problem is I was given this verse early on and thought I understood it, because I was familiar with it. I would get it out when scared and rub it like Aladdin’s lamp hoping for a plume of courage to come rolling out. Unfortunately knowing the verse and understanding it, are not the same. It’s like saying I grew up with a mother and sister and therefore I understand woman, Yikes. Seeing something all the time doesn’t mean you understand it.

Sometimes it is only in pain that our hearts are awakened to take a new look at something. Recently I’ve been taking  time to re-examine my heart, my life, my motivation and my character and I’ve come back to this verse and asked what does it really mean can it help or have I failed its gift?Or is there principles within it that if I grasp will re-establish my courage.

So lets look at the verse. It comes from a personal letter from Paul (the mentor, teacher, life coach of Timothy) to Timothy. A young man placed in charge of a multiple house churches in the city of Ephesus this was a city where the churches and culture were being torn apart from within. Paul wants Timothy to step up and quash the squabbling to bring a message that brings unity within the people.  This has to be a tremendously hard time for this young man as he dealt with timidity, anxiety, social pressures and personal stresses. In the letter we see this charge.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (KJV)

Yes, your probably familiar… That was my problem also.

First off the  KJV (above)  I have to say takes some liberties (as all translators must) in trying to capture the meaning that maybe aren’t helpful to us today. It is easy to lose the realization of plasticity or words and miss the most literal or conceptual translation.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (KJV)

Lets start by looking at  “the Spirit” (There is no definitive article in Greek and therefore can and probably should be translated as “a spirit” not “the Spirit”(most modern versions use “a” were the NIV takes spirit out all together as says “we were not made timid”).

The Greek word here is transliterated as pneuma: and means spirit, inner life, self, disposition, state of mind,  spirit being or power. 

So this is less about a spirit being given us or implanted in us (Holy Spirit) and more about who, or how we are made to be, what are very nature is.. Lets keep going.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (KJV)

The word “Fear” here comes from the Greek word transliterated as Deilia. This should be translated as “cowardice” and not “fear“. Let me explain the difference. Fear is what leads to Cowardice. Fear is an emotion that leads to the flight or fight response. Cowardice is the response of flight or shutting down. In studying the etymology (origin of the Word) of cowardice its roots comes from french and latin meaning “one with a tail” or “to turn tail”.

There is no shame in fear, When I fought I always felt fear, but knew it was a helpful tool to prepare me for the battle I was committed to.  When we feel fear in our relationships our dreams and think oh no there is something wrong!!! Fear is normal cowardice isn’t your weren’t made to run or cower but to stand!

“Fear is like fire. You can make it work for you: it can warm you in the winter, cook your food when you’re hungry, give you light when you are in the dark, and produce energy. Let it go out of control and it can hurt you, even kill you… Fear is a friend of exceptional people.”
~ Cus D’Amato

So thus far it might be better said.” we weren’t created as cowards, our inner nature isn’t designed to flee or turn from fear or discomfort. But we have been designed and given”…?”

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (KJV)

The word the KJV translates as “power” (transliterated as dynamis) Where we get dynamite but even more pointedly the word dynamic . This word expresses an outward action or effect. It is normally used to try to express the ability to perform a particular activity, a specific capability. But ability falls short of what it means. For this word doesn’t express the aptitude but the actual expression. It isn’t a feeling or untapped potential. I think it might be presented most accurately as we are given the Do or Doing within us.

“Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment.” ~Tony Robbins

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (KJV)

The word “love” is translated from Agapeo, In my language studies the greatest difference in this word and Phileo  (“brother love”) isn’t in regards to the depth of affection that one feels but the action of commitment toward the emotion. If we make our decision based upon only ourselves we will allow the emotions of the moment to rule our actions. If we live for something greater that ourselves. If our lives are directed by more than just our momentary satisfaction, if we can  see past the moment of fear and choose to act in love and not cowardice.

“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.”
― George Lucas

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (KJV)

This last word transliterated “sōphronismos” is a tough one and the KJV translates as a “sound mind“, other version use “sound judgment. This term has such nuances as to be translated as rational, intellectually sound, without illusion, purposeful, moderate, prudent, modest, restrained, and disciplined.

It was a word that was used  in Stoicism, as a cardinal virtue. I think of it as your courage is to be used not recklessly, or without intent ,but with purpose and intellect. Our courage should have laser focus. We might say today; That our courage, our heart should reflect our drive and commitment to our mission our calling and our charge above fear above our emotion and above our comfort.

I’ve rewritten this text  in a way that speaks to my heart and hopefully reflect the intent of the text, Maybe it will speak to yours as well

“We weren’t created as cowards, our inner nature isn’t designed to flee or turn from fear or discomfort.  We have been designed and given the ability and capability to act, and do. Cowardice is defeated and fear overwhelmed when our hearts are directed outside ourselves, when our minds are focused, and directed by just goals, a clear mission, and a powerful calling”. 

This verse isn’t about hoping God will give you something to take away your fear or discomfort. or that he will stir up in you the strength to succeed. It’s a reminder that all you need is in already in you. Take the step, commit yourself, be the Champion you were  made to be.

Your dreams are waiting.

Doug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It’s Time!”~ Bruce Buffer

What makes MMA so unique, Why does it have the fastest growing fanbase in the world? Why are so many great leaders, entrepreneurs, and top thinkers getting involved in training?  There are many reasons, but let me share two today!

 

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” 
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

#1: It is the clearest mirror in sports. Here is what I mean, there is no sport in the world that wins and losses are as personal as in Combat Sports (MMA, BJJ, Wrestling, Boxing, Kickboxing). When you win, you beat another man or woman, you consume all of who and what they bring to the mat. You don’t beat a team, there isn’t the opportunity to blame a racket or a familiarization with a golf course. It measures your heart and says in that moment who will dig the deepest, who will spend themselves for greatness. The beauty and tragedy is the more you reveal the greater you opportunity for victory and the greater the pain of defeat. MMA gives you the opportunity to see who you are in pain, when the pressure is on and you can’t find your breathe. How will you react when there is someone who clearly has more experience and skill is standing across from you and their one goal in that moment is to dominate you. Will you dig down? Will you find the grit to win despite the  odds?

When a MMA fighter loses, their hearts are broken, because they haven’t lost a match. They’ve been beaten as a person. It takes a different type of character to re-engage after a loss. It is beautiful, and mesmerizing to watch a fighter choose to try again, to reinvent themselves as one that will let a loss temper them and fuel them to greatness, not to break them.

“I don’t want to die without any scars.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

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#2: It takes a new courage. MMA, and BJJ are really infants as sports go in the US. We are just being introduced to fighters in the sport that grew up watching the sport or somehow got involved as teens in the sport. But for most of us. This is a sport that you enter as an adult. Your character, identity and track record has already been established. To enter into MMA, it’s a new deep end of the pool. Most of the “Hall of Famers” from the past have endured deep pain and entered the sport because they had something to prove. They needed a vehicle to either re-invent themselves of to find who they were.

Nothing has changed, to get in the ring, the cage, or to walk out of that mat. You will find that you have something added to you, or at very least you will find a clarity in your character arise. You will learn to control your fear as opposed to your fear controlling you. You will find a new courage arise that give you a strength in every area of your life.

I titled this Article “It’s Time” Bruce Buffer (UFC Announcer) proclaims this every time he announces a fight. I’m not sure if he realizes the profoundness of his statement. We all need defining unescapable moments to look in the mirrors of life and to decide who will will be and how we will react to our challenges and inner doubts.

Be the Champion within you!

 

 

Is the Killing of Women, Children & Infants in the Bible the Action of a Loving God Part 2

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So the question that I hope to tackle in this post is “Do we have a proper perspective on death?” Before I get to far down the road I would like say, that this is by no means a feeble attempt to goad you into feeling better if you lost someone you love. I am not seeking to make cheap excuses or to hide the tragedy of the loss of life, I will try to look at the issue of death and dying in a logical manner that maybe we could reconcile some of the perceived tragic and sometimes brutal events that seemed to be committed in the bible.

What I hope to accomplish is that you see that God’s charter is consistent throughout the bible. I also want to qualify that I am trying to write this in a brief setting that is accessible to anyone that might stumble upon this post. I could write a book going into incredible depth on this subject, so if it seems as though I’m not going as in-depth as I could you’re right  ( I would welcome your comments or questions and I promise I will respond)

So with all that being said lets dive in. When I initially looked at these text where God orders the death of these women, children and infants, I was shocked and thought wait a minute this is a little extreme here. Why would God do that,  As I thought about it and tried to align myself with God’s potential perspective, I came to the conclusion that this could be a loving act if this was the best thing for all that were involved. My next hurdle was; Ok how can death be the best thing…

Here is what I came up with, When I/we look at death we see the end of something. Generally we see the end of growth, beauty, potential, relationship… (This list can go on and on I’m keeping it short on purpose) God on the other hand, is one that is outside of time, at least the way we see it, so there is no loss, there is only fulfillment. Let me show you what I mean. Lets look at one of the things that we mourn; “potential” for example ( We can do this with anything that we could come up with on our list)

We might say in death someone loses the potential to impact the world and others. God says I am creating the most effective impact in their death. We see things in the here and now. God sees the from the beginning of creation to the end of this world all at once and he has orchestrated each life and death in a way that it might have the most effective impact. Especially in this situation that has been recorded for all to see. The question that we have to ask is what is the impact that these deaths as well as the deaths of others will have upon us. Will we carry on their legacy by telling their story and its effect on our lives and others? Or does their effect end when their life does?

You might say but they have been robbed of seeing their potential impact and understanding of how their life and death impacted others. Well the Bible speaks to this in 1 Corinthians 13:12  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. It seems that after death that we will have a more clear understanding of our effect than we ever could when we are alive. Imagine if you could see how you actions would affect the next 4 or 5 generations would you life differently? Let me give you a snippet of an example. As a teenager I had moments where I was not as kind as I could have been to others. There response then has effected me today as I have grown in understanding. There is no way that these people could ever know the effect they had. They may even have a false view of my perception of them. I think we can all agree that on this side of the veil we are limited in our view.

Well what about the potential of relationships, When we die our relationships are severed. God see’s it as the opposite. As we live here on earth we are in a constant state of competition with one another. We misunderstand each others motivations and communications and our insecurities always cloud our ability to truly experience intimacy, trust and community. God has a plan where we will be in the most pure and perfect relationships. There won’t be competition or misunderstanding. Our security won’t be in how pretty we are or how successful we are but in whose we are. We will all celebrate the King as well as our citizenship of His Kingdom together. And our relationships won’t even be the best thing. We will be in the presence of the one who not only loves but is love. It will be glorious.

But what about their potential success you might ask? Well you have to fall back on the impact paragraph somewhat because although success in a career or anything else is ultimately just away to make us feel better about our selves, it’s a grab for significance. And for what? This could get depressing. Solomon Expressed it this way vanity of vanities! All is vanity.  What does man gain by all the toilEcclesiastes is a book that really examines this question look at Chapter 2 here. When we die is when we will receive our reward from a just God that sees the impact that your life had. They way we see success may ruin us as well as our impact. The way God sees success has eternal rewards. Well what about the potential of developing our identity? Well we are doing a horrible job at that aren’t we, People suffer from every self-induced ailment under the sun because they think they have to create an identity for themselves.

My son is 9 and already is getting lost in wanting to impress friends and teachers to perform in school and in sports. A few short years ago he could rest in just being my son, knowing that he was always loved, always protected and always provided for by his mom and dad. We don’t develop identities, we rob people of them. Your identity should rest in being a beloved child of the King.

I would like to share 3 verses with you  on death that will hopefully give you a little clearer view of how we are to see death. The first is  2 Samuel 12:22 He said, “When the child was still alive, I fasted and I wept because I thought, ‘Who knows? Yahweh may have mercy on me that the child will live.’ David mourned the dying of his son, He wanted to have time to love and invest himself in his son, to watch him grow, maybe even to watch him become a king. But he knew that the death of son was not cruel to his son. David was the one that was hurt, David was the one that in which he said maybe the Lord may have mercy on me? It is appropriate, it is good to mourn the loss of the ones that you love. But is their dying that we should mourn not their death. In death David knew his son was in a better place and that he would see him again.

1 Corinthians 15:55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” After Christ rose from the dead, we see Paul almost mocking death, for there was no more mystery, no more fear, no more power that you needed to fear or mourn. We should miss those that pass put we no longer need to question their end, They are in the hands of a loving and just God.

Of course we have to look at the easiest verse in the Bible to memorize John 11:35 Jesus wept. I love this verse because although Jesus knew he would raise Lazarus from the dead He wept, Why because he knew the pain that was caused he saw the broken hearts of those he loved. Death was is the enemy that Jesus came to overcome, it is our greatest reminder of our sin and brokeness. When those that we love die although Jesus is their security I believe he still mourns for you and for me He cares about our pain.

There is little that is better on this side of death what is, is mostly bad; selfishness, vanity and conceit. But there is something that we can do better here and that is to serve and to sacrifice, Some pour themselves out in an instant and through death and others over a lifetime.  Paul put it best in Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. I think about this verse like this to live is Christ…. His name reflected who he was, His character, His purpose, His passion. Which means while we are still here we are to be about Loving one another, bringing unity and hope to all that we run into, To lifting up those that are down and speaking truth in love to all those that we can impact. We are to be a servant to all and we are to be bold about the hope and future that is found in Him and His sacrifice.

So I am sure you noticed I have not addressed the potential or certainty of Judgment in death. You can be assured that I will peal that onion next time or this is longer than I wanted already. Today we looked at understanding death in a general sense

So our next post we will look at Does this do something for those that are being killed (are they in a better position than if they lived and what sort of judgment should they get)

Blessings

An Unconditional Love for You

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So often we feel alone and unworthy. So often we push away from the idea that we might be accepted because we can’t accept ourselves.
Here is a great reminder for you of God’s loving pursuit for us.

So thankful to my friends at Explore God for producing such fantastic resources like this video. Check them out at http://www.exploregod.com

Is the Order to Kill Women, Children & Infants in the Bible the Action of a Loving and Gracious God? Part 1

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So here we go, lets see if we can tackle what I think is one of the most controversial and maybe difficult subjects in the Bible. The idea of God commanding the killing of woman, children and infants. I will say in being someone that interacts with Atheist both on line and off. This is one of the subjects that comes back over and over again, and with that being said I had to come to a understanding of “how could a just and loving God command the killing of these people”?

So here is how my quest started. When I was a young Christian and came across these text and sought out council, I would generally just get the “His ways are higher than ours and we can’t understand why God would do these things.” Or occasionally I would get the answer that “God had to protect His people from the heathen influence of these pagan worshipers.” Although neither of these answers really sat well with me I didn’t know where to find the answers or who to ask so I came to the point of just pushing it to the back of my mind.  It seemed almost impossible to reconcile why God would kill especially the little infants, it just made no sense. 

So lets look at one of these texts and talk about it, just in case someone wants to say no God doesn’t say that. Or what he means is young men and not children or infants, It is just not so.

1 Samuel 15:3 So then, go and attack Amalek and utterly destroy all that is his! You must not spare him, but kill both man and woman, both child and nursing infant, both ox and sheep, both camel and donkey.’” The Lexham English Bible makes it pretty clear as do all the other versions, everyone is to die. 

Normally I would spend a ton of time tying in context and trying to set the stage so people can see what is going on here, And normally this is where people trip up, they don’t understand context. But sot so much here; This is pretty straight forward. There are many amazing things to be gleaned from the story and Saul’s disobedience and crazy choices of who and what he chooses to spare. But God’s command is pretty clear, Kill everything.

So why? Why would God act so cruelly, or better yet have his chosen people act so cruelly? So lets go back to this idea that His thoughts are not our thoughts, they are higher, that God’s thoughts  are elevated and superior. Isaiah 55:8-9. This doesn’t mean that we can’t understand His thoughts, but that we have to reach, that we have to be intentional to have a mind that thinks beyond what we normally would and I don’t mean being so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.

Here is what I mean, So many of you know I have done a ton of  hot topic discussion groups where I would take on these types of issues with no prep and just let it fly. It really helped me over the years in developing a critical thinking process that deals with this type of issue more quickly and effectively. So now I look at this type of text and think hmmm let me look at this from multiple angles. Either God is cruel and vindictive or I am missing something. Let me do an inventory of my thoughts… Let me slow down and question what are my presuppositions, where are my emotions taking me? Am I in a good position to access the text before I start questioning God? So I ask…

#1: Could this be a loving act?

# 2: Do I have a proper perspective on death?

#3: Does this do something for those that are being killed (are they in a better position than if they lived)?

#4: Does this do something for those that do the Killing?

#5: Is this supposed to do something for us?

#6: Why kill the people and the animals? is there something to having these grouped together that I am supposed to see?

There are other question that could be asked of the text but this is a good start to clearing the hurdle of God’s character. 

So #1: Could this be a loving act for everyone involved? Of course it could. Now if it is or not has yet to be determined, But could it be, yes. It has to be said that when we say love we don’t mean affection in the sense of cuddling up in front of the  fire eating chocolates together. But commitment to the affect that the action has on someone. If God is loving then what he does is best for the objects of His Love / action/ commitment. Therefore if we can see that His action is what is best for the individuals being affected then it is loving.  If we start here  this places us in a position to receive with open mind and we can determine if this God is consistent with the God we want to trust with our souls. We will control our thought and not let our thoughts control us.

Our next post we will start to determine if this is a loving action that God has taken. So be ready for  #2 Do I have a proper perspective on death? And let me just say this will get really interesting, this one always forces people to do a double take!