Monday, August 25, 2014

Today Is Victory Over Yourself Of Yesterday

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

How we think makes all the difference. The way we position ourselves in the world makes a difference. The words we use makes a difference. If that makes the difference and offers the biggest returns, isn't that where we should focus our attention?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Shoshin: The Beginner's Mind

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

Shoshin (初心) is the concept of the beginner's mind. It's derived from Zen Buddhism and is most popular in the Japanese forms of martial arts. In the US, a lot of the spiritual practices that have transferred over have come from Hindu and yogic traditions, and along with it, the idea of the monkey mind, or the cluttered mind.

We all know we get distracted, how cluttered our minds can become. There is a value to also focus on attaining shoshin, the beginner's mind. To let go not just of clutter, but of ego, and this want to never allow yourself to be less than special, to become the true student. It's why without this understanding, the idea of becoming a student becomes more like becoming a cult member. Learning only the things you agree with, growing the ego, becoming more special and leveling up vs learning the hard valuable lessons, letting go of ego, become just a student and having to bow to another.

Monday, August 11, 2014

How To Have A Healthy Day

As Ice Cube said, "Today was a good day."

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

During the era of emotional grunge, or hip hop songs about living an extravagant life, came a song from Ice Cube about having a good day. The rock scene was full of sensitive male screamers crying about their life never living up to their high expectations. On the other end was hip hop and living an indulgent life that lived up to your wildest expectations. It's to be expected, the haves and the have nots. One side lamenting about never having enough, the other side aspiring to have everything they ever dreamed of.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Being Alive In Martial Arts

Photo Courtesy Of Magyar Balázs

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

The difference between BJJ and many other martial arts is aliveness during sparring

Let's define aliveness:

Aliveness describes martial arts training methods that are spontaneous, non-scripted, and dynamic. Alive training is performed with the intent to challenge or defeat rather than to demonstrate. Aliveness has also been defined in relation to martial arts techniques as an evaluation of combat effectiveness

BJJ, along with mixed martial arts (MMA) and a few others are considered reality based fighting. It must stay grounded in reality. Not necessarily always self defense but always real reactions.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

I Got Five On It

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

In martial arts, there are basically five limbs (appendages) attached to your body. Your arms, legs, and head. I can use any of these limbs individually or in combination to throw you around like a rag doll, and you can use any of these limbs to retaliate. In a fight, these limbs will be the determining factor in victory or defeat. They are our the essential physical assets and in primitive times they were the only assets we had, the only resources we needed.

These five extensions symbolize assets and resources...

Especially our time.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Untangling Complex Situations

Rafael Mendes and Rubens Charles "Cobrinha" Maciel locked in a complex guard position

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

Martial arts was created to help us understand the tough situations we find ourselves in

There are so many ideas from martial arts that I find to be transferable to any situation. To think martial arts is only about fighting or cheap parlor tricks is a mistake, and if you train martial arts purely for those aspects you're leaving a lot on the table you can benefit from. Maybe because we compartmentalize and don't transfer knowledge well (here's martial arts, here's everything else), maybe it's the Puritanical foundation of American culture where we take everything literally and at face value (a punch just represents a punch, what else could it mean), and it's why we need a good bonk or two to the head through fighting to realize martial arts is so much more than physical conflict.

Sadly I have met few modern teachers of any martial art who have been able to accurately convey this message, and my goal is to remedy that. Nothing more ironic than to be a black belt on the mats and a white belt in life (or the board room).

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Are You Running Low On Fats?

Our views on fats has changed a lot in 30 years

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

For thousands of years, people ate saturates fats. Several decades ago, due to rise in heart disease, it was decided that saturated fats were bad, in it's place came an increase in refined carbohydrates (sugars), low-fat, low-calorie processed foods, and man-made fats such as trans-fats and polyunsaturated fats. This also increased monocultures and GMO crops to meet the rising demands of a low-fat culture. Animal protein was replaced with man made protein products, using mostly corn, soy, and wheat.

Like many things with health, when it sounds too simple, it may be missing the bigger picture. Removing animal fats and saturated fats sounded like a simple easy fix yet it made obesity, diabetes, and heart disease worse. Health and science is complex and the more we study, the more complex it becomes. Intuitively many in the science world felt that the saturated fat hypothesis was overly simplistic and now after several decades, our views on fats have shifted back to the way it's been for thousands of years.

Like views about genetics, we thought many diseases were related to environment and heredity, then for decades people who had an overly simplistic view of genes thought genes explained everything, diseases were preordained. Now that we understand more about genetics, we know it is still about environment and heredity.

Time magazine along with nearly every other media outlet published stories that it's time to end the war on fats. That the USDA guidelines about saturated fat intake was wrong. Fat is an essential nutrient and without healthy fats as a form of fuel, we turn to and crave sugar. That is the direct relationship that has harmed our health for the past few decades.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Why Low-Fat Diets And Statins May Cause Alzheimer's

Healthy brain vs Alzheimer's

APOE-4: The Clue to Why Low-Fat Diet and Statins may Cause Alzheimer's

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By Stephanie Seneff, MIT Senior Research Scientist


Alzheimer's is a devastating disease whose incidence is clearly on the rise in America. Fortunately, a significant number of research dollars are currently being spent to try to understand what causes Alzheimer's. ApoE-4, a particular allele of the apolipoprotein apoE, is a known risk factor. Since apoE plays a critical role in the transport of cholesterol and fats to the brain, it can be hypothesized that insufficient fat and cholesterol in the brain play a critical role in the disease process. In a remarkable recent study, it was found that Alzheimer's patients have only 1/6 of the concentration of free fatty acids in the cerebrospinal fluid compared to individuals without Alzheimer's. In parallel, it is becoming very clear that cholesterol is pervasive in the brain, and that it plays a critical role both in nerve transport in the synapse and in maintaining the health of the myelin sheath coating nerve fibers. An extremely high-fat (ketogenic) diet has been found to improve cognitive ability in Alzheimer's patients. These and other observations described below lead me to conclude that both a low-fat diet and statin drug treatment increase susceptibility to Alzheimer's.


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