BY URVIL JAMES VILLARUEL
Feb. 12, 2016, Toronto, ON - There are very few activities in life that will allow you to access your dormant, reptilian brain in a safe and controlled manner. You could partake in a non-stop BJJ roll with a fresh training partner sent in every 2-minutes; you could run an ultra-marathon race; you could swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco Bay; or, in my case, you could engage in a pyramid-set of punches towards a count of 20, with a duck in between each set, as fast as you can, for a consecutive amount of rounds with a partner for 25-straight minutes (that’s 128 punches for those of you who are counting --- over and over… And over).
The great thing about being a black belt is that, though there may be degrees you could work towards afterward, you are pretty much there in class because you want to be. Thus, testing your will, in large part, is the name of the game. Can you push past thinking brain into reptilian brain? Don’t think, just do.
A lot of cross-talk happens when you get tired. “This is ridiculous.” “How much more time is left?” “I’m exhausted.” “I’m thirsty.” “My knuckles are beginning to bleed.” However, the truth of the matter is that these are all just thoughts. You are not your thoughts, your thoughts are just a part of you. The whole objective here is to get rid of your thoughts. So, can you not think and begin to do? Very difficult for some.
We each have our own strategies for coping with this kind of punishment. You could call yourself names; you could train yourself to disregard your last set; or, if you've really been paying attention, you could even let out a bellowing cry to - shout out - thinking mind; pushing you past the mind into no-mind.
Ultimately, as with all seemingly esoteric and mystical endeavours, there are many ways to the way-less. Many paths to the path of no-mind. But the million-dollar question still remains: who's really in charge here? Is it you? Or just the mind that thinks it’s you? There’s only one way to find out.