Get what you want, love what you have.

  • By Martin ACTON
  • 15 Aug, 2017
Some people say that it is good to enjoy the moment and to be grateful for what we have. They say that to be constantly striving for more is like trying to fill a black hole, it is unhealthy and the main cause for peoples disgruntlement.

Other people declare that because we are human beings we are created to push beyond our limits and expand our comfort zones every day, by reaching for bigger and better things that will ultimately result in us becoming great. Which do you agree with?

I have given this some thought and I have come to the conclusion that both are right. How can this be, you may ask? Well for me, to be happy peaceful and successful requires a balance between these two paths.

Recently I went to the Glens in Northern Ireland, with two friends and we hiked for a few hours in the forest. As we got to the top of a high hill, we found that there were more hills to hike. I stopped to take a rest for a couple of minutes and to appreciate the beautiful scenery of the mountains and the ocean below. I also looked back at the distance we had come. It became clear to me that a short rest was adequate because the long hike was not yet finished. The lesson I got today from this experience was that it is important to enjoy the view from where you are at the moment. Relish how far you have travelled. Be grateful for where your journey in life has led you so far. Live in the now. But realize that with the gifts that you have received comes great responsibilities.

Each one of us has the obligation to excel. We should not rest on past glory days, wins and success, that will result in us becoming self-complacent. We should stand up face the world head on, every day, and give the best service to others that we are capable of giving. Actualize more of our potential and strive every day to become a more mature, loving and considerate citizen on this earth. We have to face the fears that come to us and go into them to make more of our lives. Play on a bigger scale. Use our creative talents to be, do and see more. This drive to substantiate our greatest selves has been woven into our DNA and to deny this is to negate our human nature.

As we push and expand our comfort zones, set higher dreams and raise our personal and professional standards, we will create a certain level of discomfort. This is how our world has evolved from the Stone Age days. It was built by people who felt the discomfort with the way things were and knew they could do better. Think about Martin Luther King, Gandi, Mother Teresa, Einstein. Love what you have, and go for what you want. Enjoy the journey up the mountain. Finally, keep your eyes on the mountain peak. Until next time I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Acton sensei

Martin Acton's Aikido Institute

By Martin ACTON 05 Dec, 2017
You were born to achieve, accomplish and succeed. You were not born to fail, to suffer and to just exist. You are unique just like every other human being on this planet. There are no extra people in life. So we need to wake up, to realize the value within and share that value. There are no failures in life only choices and results. If you have made a few bad choices and the results are not what you want, you have the power within you to make new choices and create better results. It is possible!
Right now take a look at where you are in life. What goals do you have for the future? Most people don’t accomplish the goals, not because they set the goals too high, they set the goals too low, play it safe, and don’t believe in themselves. Lets set the bar higher. Tell yourself “ It is Possible! ” “ It is Possible! ” “ It is Possible!”
When I was a teenager I loved Mohammed Ali, and Bruce lee and they inspired me to become the person I am today. Mohammed Ali was intelligent, handsome and courageous both in the ring and outside. I loved the way he put everything into all his fights. He would predict which round he would beat his opponent. Regardless if he did it or not, he shouted out his intention! How may people are that brave?
No matter how bad it is, or how bad it gets, I’m going to succeed! “ It is Possible! ” “I t is Possible! ” “ It is Possible! ” I have dream to use what I learnt in the USA and Japan to help educate people here in North and South Ireland and the UK to help people become their true, original and authentic self. My tools to serve people are Ki Aikido, meditation and massage. There is nothing better than watching a person leave you, walking a little taller, feeling better and believing he or she can be who they want to be. I love being a “ Character Builder ”.
Feed your mind with positive words everyday! Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death! Tell yourself “ It is Possible! ” “ It is Possible! ” “ It is Possible! ” even when you have no evidence to show, keep telling yourself “ It is Possible! ” There is nothing more powerful than a made up mind!
It’s a struggle sometimes to do that especially when you have negative people around you telling you that it is impossible. You can’t do it! That constantly remind you of your short comings, the things you lack, and the reasons they see for stopping you.
There is a story of two very young boys aged six and five. It was winter in Montana in the USA and the two little boys were playing on a lake that had iced over. As they got further out on the ice the six year old fell through the ice and into the freezing water. The five year old was trying to save his little buddy but he could not reach him. The six year old went under the ice and started drifting away. The five year looked around and saw trees nearby. He ran and climbed up a tree, he pulled and broke a large branch from the tree, and pulled it back onto the ice to his friend. He started to beat the ice like a wild man hitting it with every thing he had. The ice cracked, and he got the six year old out. When the paramedics arrived they resuscitated, revived and warmed the six year old. When they got him in the ambulance they looked at the 5 year old baffled, amazed and astonished that such a little guy could save his friend in such a way. They thought is was miraculous. The paramedics were scratching their heads trying to figure out how this tiny, puny little nothing of a boy could go up a tree, break off such a large branch by himself? Then come back, beat and break the ice and save his friend? There was an old Indian observing and listening to the amazement of the paramedics. He said “ I can tell you how he did it! ” “ How?  They asked. “ How could he do it ?” The Indian said “ There was no one here to tell him he couldn’t do it! ” You can build an ideal life for yourself. It is possible! Until next time I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Acton Sensei
By Martin ACTON 30 Nov, 2017
The amount you experience suffering in life is linked to how much you are resisting the fact that things are the way they are. When you experience suffering or discomfort you will find there is resistance. If you can change your attachments and needs to preferences, you will then be able to let go of your need for control over the uncontrollable. When the what is, is not what you want it to be, you will not suffer over it. The external events and people will not control your peace and happiness. You can avoid suffering only to the level that you are willing and able to let whatever happens to be ok. The individuals that live by rules, have-to’s and shoulds, suffer a lot because no matter how hard they work to protect their rules and push others to follow them, the rules will sometimes be broken. The more rules, the more inflexible they are, the more often they will be broken, the more they are broken will result in you creating suffering for yourself.
B.J. was a young man that suffered a lot in life. When he was born his father left and his mother hated him because every time she looked at him she saw his father. This got worse as B.J got older because he had his father’s looks and mannerisms. He was constantly told he was no good, that he would never amount to anything, and the world would be a better place if he had just died at birth. At school B.J. was introverted and other kids teased him for being slow, calling him stupid and weird. He tried hard to do what his mother and teachers told him and to follow the rules to the letter, but the more he tried the more he failed. He became very depressed, angry and got into fights every day.
One day he met a lady called Maria and he was captivated by her. She was a teacher in his school and she was the first person to treat B.J. as a real human being with respect and concern for him. She introduced him to meditation to help him control his anger and to discover how to stop reacting to what others said and did to him. He loved the meditation sessions and he learnt to see himself in a new positive, affirmative and loving way. His grades started to improve and he was able to make friends which was something he has never been able to do before.
One day when B.J. was in a meditation session he had a deep realization: Just let whatever happens be ok! You work towards the outcome you want, but you are unattached to the results. Your suffering is replaced by a deep compassion for all living things, including yourself. You let go of suffering and you gain the presence of mind to act effectively and appropriately. You become more competent and the attempts you make to create change works because you are better focused. When handling challenging situations, thoughts and feelings you don’t resist or suppress them, you accept them as completely as you can. You can ask yourself the following questions to find the way to proceed: “Given that this is the situation, what now?” “Moving ahead, how can I create what I want?” By using acceptance you empower yourself to heal, change, or release any unsettled mental or emotional stuff.
B.J. realized that his mother just could not love him the way he wanted and needed her too. So he accepted this and let it be ok. She eventually went and got treatment for her mental challenges and she improved over the following few years. B.J. and his mother now have a much closer relationship and she tells him that she will make a better grandmother than a mother. She is sorry for the negative things she did and said in the past. B.J. is growing into a fine young man with a bright future.
If you stop resisting, the discomfort will stop. You may experience sensations and these may be intense, however, the intensity will not be negative unless you resist it. More importantly, when you stop resisting, you will become much more effective in creating any external change you have a preference for and not an attachment to. It is my hope that sharing these things, you will be able to try them out for yourself and discover they work. Until next time I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Acton Sensei.
By Martin ACTON 23 Nov, 2017
You will never fail as long as you keep going! There will be good and bad days and sometimes the bad days seem to outnumber the good, this is where faith comes in. You can acquire whatever you most want to accomplish if you just keep your eye on the outcome you want and keep doing whatever it takes to keep moving forward. The only person who loses in life is the one who gives up, quits, sits down and says
“ENOUGH! I am done. I give up.” You get and keep success by continuing to give your best shot every day. When you get hit it hurts, but wipe the tears away, take a deep breath and tell yourself “I can handle this!” Do something and things will turn around and you WILL win!

What is your idea of success? How will you know when you have it? What does it look like? How does it feel to be successful in your opinion? What will you be listening to and talking about when you have it made? Can you taste success? Does it have an aroma? I asked these questions to a monk a while ago, he gave me this answer, “To live day by day using what skills we have to obtain a happy love filled life is real success.” This is a beautiful answer I thought.

You can have the power, the knowledge, the wealth and the accolades, the choice and decision is up to you. How much are you willing to face your fears? To do the things others won’t or can’t do? To say “I was not born to fail! I was born to grow into a beautiful, happy, loving, abundant and mature person. From today I cast off all my old doubts, fears and inhibitions that have held me back and NOW I am revealing to the world the real, authentic and genuine me. I will dream big dreams, I will start to work smart and not only hard, I will make today better than yesterday and I will succeed. When our attitude towards ourself is positive, and we think on a big level and our attitude towards others is generous and compassionate, we attract big and generous percentages of success back to us. Be a giver, my friend.

Some people use PMA for a while but stop because they become lazy or they receive a setback and lose faith in it. They start off well but a negative event or events cause them to flip their talisman to NMA. This attracts more negative setbacks, despair and defeat. Are you going to let your mental attitude make you into a has been? Or are you going to roll up your sleeves, believe you will succeed, and become the historical person you are meant to be?

How will you know if you have and are using PMA? A Positive Mental Attitude is the correct mental attitude. It is made up of plus characteristics such as optimism, hope, faith, integrity, courage, generosity, kindliness, patience and good common sense. If you apply PMA to your daily life the payoff, reward and result you will obtain will be success, good health, wealth, contentment or whatever other definite desires you may have in life. Nothing will be denied to you as long as you follow the Universal laws of Infinite Intelligence and protect and respect the rights of all human beings. We had a dual purpose in life; To develop, grow and mature into a genuine loving person. The second purpose is to contribute to improving the world by helping others obtain their dreams, hopes and desires. If we do this, then we can say we have lived a successful life. Until next time, I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Acton sensei
By Martin ACTON 14 Nov, 2017
If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you like to win, but think you can’t,
It’s almost certain you won’t.
If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost.
For out of the world we find
Success begins with a fellow’s will –
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you are outclassed, you are
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can win the prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man.
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he CAN. Anonymous

I love this poem and I hope it inspires you and touches your heart as deeply as it touches and inspires me.

This week I met a young man that came to check out my guided meditation class. He was really angry and suffering. After the session, we had a chance to talk privately in my office. He was angry because he had just lost his mother. I asked if she had been ill for a long time. He said she was the healthiest person he knew, she never got sick, not even a cold. A couple of weeks ago she went to the doctor just for a checkup. A few days later the doctor called her to come back for the results. He sat her down and without even looking at her told her that she had a week to live. Of course, this news was shocking and the poor woman didn't even question his opinion, she accepted it 100% unconditionally. Within three days of hearing this news, she was dead.
This shows how powerful a thought or a belief can be. I know another man that was very successful in life, he was rich, well educated and at the same time suffered from poor health. One day he had a heart attack and the doctor in the hospital told him that they were sending him home to die. There was nothing they could do for him. He should not even blow his nose or bend over to tie his shoe because the simplest act could kill him. Now, this also way very shocking news. The big difference was how the man responded.
He was a physicist and when he got home he started experimenting using his mind. He thought about all the years he had spent studying, gathering information, chasing money, playing with women and he asked himself what good is all the knowledge in the world if it can’t save him?
He started to reflect on his life deeply and the times he was most happy. He discovered that having sex with lots of women did not make him happy. Making boatloads of money did not fill the emptiness inside. He found that in his life he was most happy when he was giving love to others. Not taking it. So he delved deeper and discovered that by suppressing his emotions he had made himself ill. The next step was to look at how to restore his health. He discovered the releasing technique. He found a secret that no one knew before, that behind our emotions are three roots, the desire for approval, the desire for control and the desire to be safe. By releasing his wants he was able to get to a level of imperturbability. His health improved 100%. He never saw a doctor again for 40 years. he went on to make even more money by helping people learn his secret. And he wanted for nothing and everything just fell into his lap.

So the lesson I want to share with you this week is to be aware and careful about what thoughts and beliefs you are holding onto. Whatever you believe you will find evidence that it is true. I have many wealthy acquaintances and when I talked to them about how they became wealthy, they all believe money comes easily and naturally to them. I also come from a blue-collar working-class background. My father thinks money is the source of all evil. That it is hard to make money, and if you are rich you must have ripped someone off. Consequently, he has no money.

I know many people who are lonely and can’t find a suitable partner. They believe all the good men are taken, married. Many men I know think women are good for sex only. Then these same men complain that they have no one to love them. I have women friends who love and adore their husbands completely and they believe their husbands feel the same way about them, and they do. I have men friends that would never have sex with anyone but their wives and they are really happy and secure in their marriages.

Many people come to me and they are afraid of taking tests.
When I ask why? It is because they believe they are going to fail and that others will see them as being failures.

I have students that have PhDs, Mater degrees. I have taught brain surgeons, lawyers, judges. These people believe they can learn easily. They love to study, take tests, and strive to grow and improve their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

One group of friends and acquaintances are very pessimistic, negative and unhappy. The other group feels optimistic, hopeful and are thankful for what they have.

There are no wrong beliefs whatever you believe is true for you because your beliefs are based on your education and life experiences. So I do not wish to change anyone's beliefs. I am open to all opinions. The way I look at thoughts, opinions and beliefs is by asking myself: “Is this thought, opinion, or belief resourceful or not?” If it is I accept it and apply it to my own. If it is not, I respect that it is what another person has found to be true and I let it go. Until next time I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Acton Sensei
By Martin ACTON 07 Nov, 2017
Fear can have a paralyzing effect on your life. You feel unclear, restricted and helpless.
When we persist in thoughts of fear, we actually create a very powerful energy force, and consequently, we attract the very thing we fear. People then ask how can I deal with this fear? You created it, so you can let it go. How? By recognizing your fear and all feelings are simply just a form of energy. You don’t have to judge the emotions as being good or bad with your intellect. You just close your eyes, put your head down towards your chest or stomach, invite the feeling up into your stomach or chest, feel the energy. Imagine there is a door or window in your stomach, open it and imagine the energy flowing out. Let it go. Give it your permission to leave. It wants to leave. It is not good for your body to keep this energy inside. Wait until it is gone then close the window or door. Next, give yourself approval and you will feel great. I do this every day and I know it works.

Some people suggest you ask yourself “Why am I feeling afraid?” This can produce more negative results and send you deeper into a negative state. When you throw out the garbage you don’t pick through it and try to figure out if this is smelling bad or rotting. Why is this so dirty? You just throw the garbage out. When you feel afraid, angry, sad, etc, you are focusing on what you don’t want. You are having give and take with the thought and it is attracting similar thoughts, this results in you feeling bad. I hope this makes sense. If you can understand this process then you have the power and ability to feel fantastic every single day! You never have to have another bad day in your life! Impossible you say? I say if you are prepared to take your mind off autopilot and focus it on the things you want and practice this technique you will feel much better. If I am wrong what do you have to lose, maybe an hour of your time? but if what I say works then you are going to be much better off, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Dan (not his real name) came to a guided meditation class I was teaching a few months ago. He was so stressed out, aggressive and angry during the session. No matter what I said it just made him feel worse. He fell into a state of deep depression and remained there for about three weeks. Every day he sat in a depression having give and take with all the bad things going on in his life, the country and the world. He lost hope and started drinking every day, this did not help, in fact, it only made things worse. Three weeks is a really long time for someone to be in this state. His friends tried to reach out to him but he just either ignored them or told them he was fine. Now Dan was very fortunate he had a strong wife and she does not take any nonsense. After three weeks she blew up and told Dan “Either get your shit together or I want a divorce! I am not putting up with this poor me crap anymore”. She tore into him and told him that if he wanted to die then do it quickly. Why wait and make others suffer? She shocked and scared the depression right out of him. I asked her if she was afraid that dealing with Dan the way she did may have pushed him to commit suicide? She looked me straight in the eye and said “He just needed a kick in the butt to see things in perspective. Which did he want more his wife and children or to feel sorry for himself and make all our lives hell? If he has chosen to remain in that state his wife would have taken his kids and left him. This was not an idle threat. She said treating him with kindness was sweet love and that was not what he needed. He needed tough love and that is what a real partner needs to be able to give sometimes.
Dan got up the next morning got cleaned up, went to work, and within a couple of days, he was back to his normal, positive, and motivated self.

Many successful men have a good woman in their lives. If we are fortunate enough to have such a woman we need to let her know how precious she is. Until next time I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Acton Sensei 
By Martin ACTON 01 Nov, 2017
When love is felt for your enemy, it makes the enemy impotent, and powerless to hurt you. If the enemy persists in trying to hurt you, he/she will only hurt himself/herself.
Two negatives do not produce a positive. If you hate me and I respond with hate. The result will just be more hostility, division and prolonged animosity. So how should we deal with a so-called “enemy”? I say love the person! Don’t hurt, maim or kill the person. The word I want to drive home is the “enemy” is a PERSON! He /she has hopes, needs and wants just like you and me. What do all of us want? To be loved, understood and respected.

Love is not an emotion! So what is love? It is energy in motion. People say to me I hate such and such a person. When I say “Love the person”, most people react like “Are you mad? I just told you I hate him/her! How can you ask me to love him/her?”
We have strange ideas about love. In the relative world, we say “I love you”. As long as you do what I want. When you stop doing what I want, We say “I don’t like you anymore.” “I hate you.” “I wish you were dead!” “Get away from me.” In the relative world, we hang on to or fence in the other person. Human love does not want to share with others but rather wants its own personal satisfaction. Genuine, real and authentic love wants to share its love and the more it is shared the happier it is. There is no longing, wanting or demanding in genuine love because longing, wanting or demanding is separation. When we feel separated, isolated, detached we are lonely. We become nervous, irritable and defensive.
Real authentic love is oneness. It does not allow separation. It is impossible to love one and hate another. When we do that we are not loving. The other person is doing something for us, that is human love. When you love someone because he/she is doing something nice for you, that is human love. True love is unconditional. In true love, you love the person who opposes you. When we are truly loving we love everyone equally. This is the highest level of maturity a person can grow to. But this is why we are here, to grow, to mature, to be able to love unconditionally.

When you think a thought, you send out energy. If I think a bad thought towards you, you can feel it. You may not understand it, but you will not feel good towards me. If I think a good thought towards you, you will feel much better being with me. If I send loving thoughts to you, you will want to spend more time with me because you feel so good when we are together. Most people mistake ego approval for love. Because it is not genuine love it is not satisfying. Therefore we continuously need and demand it. This only produces frustration, anger and hostility.

Authentic love is the cohesive force of the Universe. It is attracting, incorporating, and constructive. It affects anything, everything and everyone it is applied to. Governments cannot right the world, but when enough individuals wake up to being genuine love then the world can, will and must change. Where is this genuine love? It is found inside you at your core being. When you release, extend and give out the energy of true love you impact everything in the most positive way. This is how we should be living every day.

I will share a story to try and make this clearer.

Akihiro was 15 years old when I met him. One day I was on my way home from teaching Aikido at a high school club in Fuchinobe, I noticed this young man coming towards me. He was bleeding and looked like he had been in a fight. As he came up to me, I asked him if he was alright? He replied yes. I asked him if I could give him some dressings for his cuts. He accepted my offer. As I got the first aid kit from my bag we started to talk. He explained a group of students from another school had fought with him at the train station. Akihiro was a nice young man but he had a lot of anger inside. He was going home to get a knife and he was going back to the station to kill the students that had attacked him. I took my time dressing his wounds and listened to him talking about getting revenge. How much he wanted to take the life of these students. He would kill them slowly, painfully and extend their suffering as long as possible. When I finished tending to his cuts, he thanked me for my kindness. I asked him if I could go with him to his home to get the knife. He asked why? I told him I wanted to make sure he got home safely and then I would be going to the station myself and if he was going to kill these students then that was something I wanted to see for the experience. He gave me the ok to go home with him. As we walked he asked me questions about where I was from? What was I doing in Japan? When I told him the work I was doing teaching Aikido this really got his attention. He asked me if I had ever killed anyone? I told him I hadn’t and that was something I never wanted to do. But you are teaching a martial art. The purpose is to kill, maim, and destroy the enemy. He said. I explained that was the initial objective when people created martial arts but Aikido is more evolved. We teach how to control ourselves, others and the situations we find ourselves in. We know because of our practising the martial art techniques how to deal with knives, guns and other weapons but our aim is to save life not take it, unless we have no other alternative. And we always have other alternatives. We got to his apartment there was no one home. I asked if he lived with his family? He lived with his father, his mother had died three years ago and his father worked a lot. They hardly ever saw each other because their schedules were so different. The father came home late and left early.

Akihiro ran inside to the kitchen and grabbed a large kitchen knife. I asked if he could give me a glass of water? It was a hot summer day. He gave it to me and I drank it slowly. As I drank it I asked him if he killed the students how this would affect his father? He had not thought about this. If the police catch you, which they will, you will be taken away from your father and not permitted to see him. Your life as you know it will be changed forever and once you cross this line there is no going back. You will have to live with the consequences of your actions for the rest of your life. Your ancestors and descendants will be ashamed of you for killing these young immature boys. You are about to create a lot of bad karma. My words started to get through to his rational, logical, and sensible mind. What would you do if you were me? He asked. Which is stronger your love for your father or your hate for these boys? He put his head down in shame, embarrassment and humiliation and started to cry. I hate these boys. I want them to die! But I love my father more. What can I do? I gave him three options: 1. Kill the boys, 2. Go to the police and report them for attacking you. 3. Forgive them, send them positive energy and let the experience go.
He was a smart young man and I taught him how to do the third option. Akihiro put the knife back and we spent time dealing with the negative emotions letting them go and replacing them with self-approval, and other positive states that proved helpful. He became very peaceful, calm and happy. As I left he asked if I would teach him Aikido. I agreed and he came to my classes at my dojo in Nakayama. The boys who attacked Akihiro were caught by the police and were arrested. They now have criminal records. Akihiro is growing up into a fine young man. Last year he got engaged and married a beautiful girl from Nagoya and they are having a baby soon. His life turned out much better than it would have if he had taken the knife to the station. Revenge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Who dies first? You do. Giving love when others hurt us is very difficult but if we go through the difficulty the Universe will bless us with good things.Until next time I wish you peace love and success. Martin Acton shihan
By Martin ACTON 26 Oct, 2017
The words we speak determine how we feel. The language you choose shapes how you perceive reality. Your vocabulary brings meaning into your life. World class people are the most high spirited people you will ever meet. How they talk reflects their devotion to being an uplifter and elevator of human beings. When they face setbacks you never hear them say “Oh I have a problem!” They call it “an opportunity to create something even greater.”
What results from their positive language is a set of positive sensations within them that supports them to play victor instead of a victim in this seemingly difficult situation.
When world-class people are given information about an upset client, they don’t label the information as “bad news”, rather they label it “a challenge that will help us grow.”
Instead of using negative words, they prefer winning words that inspire those around them to focus on possibilities and keep their heads focused on the goals.The words you use influence the life you live. Choose them wisely.

Kaori was a Japanese high school student that really impressed me from the moment I met her. She had a sparkle of life in her eyes and an excitement for life that was infectious. You could not be around Kaori and not feel fantastic. No matter what she did or said she put herself into everything 100%.
I first met her at one of my Aikido club lessons in Fuchinobe high school. She came up to me and informed me how excited she was to have the opportunity to practice Aikido with me as her instructor. She would do whatever I asked her to and if something was hard and I asked her if she could do it, she always replied with a smile, “This is challenging me at the moment, but please give me some more time and I will get this down!” I would check on her a little later and she would have the technique down. Kaori was a really hardworking, focused and sincere young lady.
One day she was practising for her 3rd kyu grading and her partner got really upset. The other girl started shouting at Kaori and said something that I did not understand but I could tell by Kaori’s expression that it cut Kaori very deeply. I separated the girls and told them to come to my office after practice and we would sort this problem out.

After the lesson, I returned to the office and a few minutes later the upset girl came in. She was really angry I asked her what the problem was? She said she hated Kaori because she never messes up and there is nothing she cannot do if she wants to. This made the other girl angry, jealous and to feel insecure. I asked the girl was this Kaori’s problem or some internal issue that the girl would have to resolve? The girl had no idea how to answer because her anger was blinding her to see reason. So I asked her to go home that night and meditate on this and that tomorrow we would talk some more. She left and Kaori came in. This was the first time I ever saw Kaori upset. She asked me to forgive her but that she had only been doing what I had told her to. She did not know why the other girl was so upset and why she said such a nasty thing.

I told her that we all have demons that we face when we are trying to improve, to grow and become our genuine self. The girl had an experience with one of her demons and that it will take some time and education to help her. This frightened Kaori because she had never thought something like this would happen. We talked for some time and she could see that learning Aikido is not just a physical activity like playing soccer or some other sport, but that it involved a spiritual and mental side to it. She realized that she had triggered something in another person and that was something she would like to learn more about so that she could help others on a deeper level. This really inspired Kaori to study Aikido more.
The following day the other girl came to me and informed me that she had been up all night and still had not found the answer to this problem. We decided to do a guided meditation together and we would work on this after school that day. After my last lesson, we met in the hallway and went to the Japanese garden. This is a special traditional garden with miniature idealized landscapes designed for contemplation and meditation. I had prepared a script to guide the girl to find the answer within. After one hour I finished the guided meditation and asked the girl for some feedback. She was very happy with what she had discovered about her lack of confidence, jealousy and anger. She asked if I could work with her on these issues to resolve them? I agreed on the condition that she had to apologize to Kaori for the nasty remark she had made. She agreed. The next day Kaori came to me and thanked me for helping the girl. The girl had apologized to Kaori and now they were better friends than before.
I worked with the other girl for about 6 months every day after school and she was able to release the anger, insecurity and jealous feelings, she also learnt how to deal with problems on a more mature level instead of reacting, hitting out and blaming others she was able to face the problem and realized it was her problem and by taking responsibility for it she could fix it. Both girls grew closer and became best friends. They graduated high school and decided they wanted to become professional Aikido Instructors so they moved to the headquarters in Tokyo and became live in students. Both girls are now world-class instructors and I am proud of both of them I did not give the name of the other girl because I do not want to embarrass or cause her to lose face. Until next time, I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Sensei
By Martin ACTON 17 Oct, 2017
To deal with aggression and difficult people is not easy. Aikido teaches us to develop a positive consciousness. When someone is becoming agitated, confrontational and getting up in your face, what are you going to do?

How you think and deal with your thoughts is very important in Aikido. Everything begins with one thought. The more you have give & take with that thought the more it will lead you to a good or bad result.

How do you extend a positive mental attitude? This is a very popular question that Instructors get asked all the time.
You can do it many ways:
When you are very cheerful. We say you must be extending positive energy.
When you feel healthy. Oh, you must be extending positive energy.
When you are really motivated to do something. You are extending positive.

From another point of view. Some people look at it as energy flowing through a person when the person performs an activity, exercise or technique.
When you think a positive or negative thought you are extending energy. If you think negatively towards someone, yet at the same time smile at the person pretending to like him or her, the person knows your real thoughts because the person can feel the energy you are sending to him or her. So in reality, you are only fooling yourself. It is smarter to honestly let the person know there is a problem and to see if there is a way to resolve it together.

One day my Master Tamura Sensei came to me and asked me to teach a 21-day intensive Aikido course to a group of businessmen. I agreed and the lessons were to be taught at their company facilities. I prepared for the lessons and left to begin teaching the course. It was about a 3-hour train ride from my home. That meant I would either travel 6 hours a day or I could stay at the company for the duration of the course. I decided to stay at the company.
The first day the lessons started most of the businessmen were keen to study. However, there was one manager that took an instant dislike to me because I was teaching Aikido in Japan and I was not Japanese. The first thing out of his mouth to me was a derogative question full of contempt “How can you teach Aikido to us? You are a foreigner!” He used a bad word to describe a foreigner. I smiled and explained my credentials and how I was Tamura Sensei’s private student, etc. He folded his arms and told me loudly he did not give a blah blah blah about my credentials or experience I should not be teaching Aikido as I was NOT Japanese. I offered to leave but the other students apologized and pleaded with me to stay and teach the course. They convinced me that they would follow the curriculum and do what I asked them to. The manager said to “I have to be here because my company wants me here but I am not doing anything for you!”
The class started everyone bowed in, except the manager. He sat with his back to me, showing his disdain and contempt for me.
Every day for two weeks he would do what he could to embarrass, criticize and to prove his point that I was unqualified to teach Aikido. This one day he really pushed my button and I called Tamura Sensei and asked if he would replace me. Tamura Sensei was the kindest, loving, and most giving person I have ever met. After listening to my complaints and “poor me” story, he told me that I needed to stay and complete the course. This manager was a great blessing to show me my limitations and when I could accept him and love him then I would gain the victory.
I meditated on the problem and what I discovered was that I was extending negative energy back at this manager and justifying it in my head, that he was a racist. If I did not change my thinking and the way I responded to him then this would scar me for life. I needed to send him my approval regardless of what he said or did. I would extend my energy more positively. How did I do this?
He would hiss at me and tell me I was stupid. In my head, I said, “I love you”.
He would say
“Your Aikido sucks!” In my head, I said, “I love you”.
“I have a Karate friend that will kick your butt” “I love you”.
“I will see to it that you never teach here again!” “I love you”.
“You will not be paid your transportation fees”. “I love you”.
I felt responding this way protected me from any negative energy coming at me. I felt great inside, calm, confident, peaceful and fully in control of the situation.

After the 21-day class was completed he came and bowed deeply to me and apologized for the way he has acted and how badly he had treated me. He explained that he had hated foreign people because in the second world war an American had raped and killed his grandmother and he wanted revenge. He took his revenge on me. But he felt I had responded every time to his attacks only with positive energy. He respected my internal strength and commitment to walking the Aikido path. We connected heart to heart and all the animosity was gone. I thanked him for his honesty, apologized for the wrong that had been done to his family by the soldier and hoped we could train again in the future. we parted as good friends.

After I got back to Tamura Sensei’s dojo, Tamura Sensei took me out for a special dinner to thank me for doing the course. I was given an envelope and informed that the manager from the company had instructed Tamura Sensei to give it to me. There was 100,000 Japanese yen inside. It was a thank you present. The manager gave me the highest recommendation he could and promised to secure the contract with Tamura Sensei so that we would be the only Aikido group to teach at his company and its promotions. This was really a big contract. Tamura Sensei was very happy. Inside I felt very fortunate to have this experience.

I share this hoping that it will help you to deal with difficult people in the same way. Everyone responds to love. By giving the person approval the situation will improve for the better. Test it and see for yourself. Until next time, I wish you peace love and success. Martin Sensei
By Martin ACTON 10 Oct, 2017
Everyone has stuff going on in their lives. We like our stuff, we cling to it and identify it as being part of us, it is my stuff. What do I mean by stuff? I mean things that we don’t like, things we complain about, things that upset us. You say you don’t like your stuff? Really? Well if you don’t like your stuff why are you clinging to it, suppressing it and carrying it around with you like a bag of garbage?

I have worked on a world level since I was 16. I have worked in England, the U.S.A and Japan for long periods of time and not just going for a holiday for a week or two. This has taught me people are the same all over. The only difference is the language we speak and the colour of our skin. Our thoughts, feelings and actions are the same. We are all human beings trying to get through life as best we can, trying to deal with what life throws at us and we are all into figuring things out in our heads.

I was thinking about what I should share in this blog today and I remembered an important lesson I learnt in America. In 1987,  I was  27 and was living and working in L.A. California. I lived in a bad neighbourhood in Huntington Drive. At that time there were two gangs fighting the Crips and the Bloods.

The Crips are mainly an African-American gang. They were started in L.A. in 1969 by two men called Raymond Washington and Stanley Williams. The Crips are one of the biggest and violent gangs in America. They have about 30,000 to about 35,000 members. They are engaged in murders, drug dealing, robberies and lots of other criminal pursuits. They are recognized by the use of the colour blue in their clothing.

The Bloods are made up of mostly but not exclusively African Americans. This gang was also started in Los Angeles. They wear red in their clothes and they have special gang symbols and hand gestures that they are identified by.

At the time there were a lot of drive-by shootings going on in L.A. by these gangs and it was becoming more and more like a war zone. I wanted to help try and solve the problem by offering the young people another option. Instead of joining a gang to turn their focus to sports and education. I wanted to use basketball, boxing and several other sports and educational programs to motivate the young ones to set goals to develop themselves into leaders. A good way to reach the young people was through the churches in the area I thought. So I put my ideas down on paper and set out with my proposal to meet the various church leaders in the area.

The response I received at first was that I was cute being from Ireland and a nice novelty. After they saw that I was serious about trying to assist they started coming up with the “ Yeah but … ” responses. It turned out these leaders were more interested in talking about the problems than actually doing anything to solve them. The other response was I was too young to understand the complexity of the problems. Having grown up in Northern Ireland in the troubles, I did not see things their way. It was clear that the solution was not going to come from these churches.

Next, I reached out to the grassroots leadership the community activists and shared my proposal with them. They were interested and thought it was a good idea but the problem came to lack of funding. I was an outsider and they did not know me from Adam. I told them that I would set up fundraising programs to support the program but I would need their members to assist in the fundraising campaigns. They wanted money but not the additional responsibility or making it. Lastly, I approached schools in the area and offered to start after-school programs to help the young people. I again was rejected because it was too dangerous to bring children from the different parts of the city into a local school. If one was shot or beaten up the schools would be held responsible.

I looked at the situation and realized this was not my fight. It was time to let it go and let things play out as they would. Soon after I left America and went to Japan to get on with my life. At that time I did not have the skills, experience and knowledge I have today. Aikido and living in Japan taught me the skills I need to help people and that is what I am doing every day.

The lesson this taught me was that you cannot help people to change or solve problems until they are open and ready to change. Even then most people will resist change because of fear, being comfortable with their problems and having bad habits for a long time. The sad thing is we don’t have to suffer!. We have the knowledge, the technology and the skills to be happy peaceful and successful, but until we come to the point of being sick and tired of being comfortable yet miserable, things will just stay the same. I hope this can help you see that when you focus on problems all you get is more problems. When you let it go and focus on what you want you have the power inside to create the life you want. Problems or solutions, which do you choose to give your energy, attention and focus to today? Until next time I wish you peace love and success. Martin Sensei
By Martin ACTON 03 Oct, 2017
What others think about you is none of your business. The most important thing is what you think of you. So much time, energy, and life are wasted worrying about others opinions, wanting to be liked by others, needing to please others.
Real mastery and bonafide leadership are all about ascending above social approval and getting to self-approval. No matter how many people tell you that you are great it will not give you the security you are seeking. Because people change on a dime, one minute you are like a god the next instant they hate the sight of you, ignore you, or abandon you. Social approval is fickle, unpredictable, and utterly fragile.
Look at historical people through social approval eyes and see if what I am saying is true. When the world is telling you that you are wonderful, be careful because then you are heading down the wrong track. When the world tells you that you are bad then you know you are doing good.
Respect yourself. Live by your values, be authentic, run your own race and build your dreams. Be true to yourself. At the end of the day, you may have messed up or may have been successful, either way, you walked your walk and learnt the lessons of the day. That is how a master and authentic leader walks.

Seiji was a young man that wanted everyone to like him. He would do anything for anyone as long as they gave him approval. In elementary school, he was always the class clown. He made people laugh, but not always with him, a lot of the time people were actually laughing at him. In high school, he tried to buy friends. If you spent time with him he would give you presents, buy you things and he constantly tried to impress and please others. When he let someone down he felt terrible. Of course, a lot of people avoided Seiji because they did not want to be indebted to him. A few not so high-level people took advantage of him and took him for all he had. Leaving him alone, abandoned and rejected.
One day I met Seiji as I was giving out flyers for my classes at the train station. He came up and asked if he could help me? I accepted his offer and we gave out the remaining flyers. After that, I took him for a coffee and a chat.

He asked me about Aikido and what I was doing in Japan teaching a Japanese martial art? Why was I not teaching English? That would be a much smarter way to earn the money he said. I answered his questions and tried to explain that I love Japanese culture and Aikido is one of the best things Japan has to offer to the world. It teaches self-control, respect for oneself and others and builds harmony and peace. Suddenly he started to cry and became very upset. Why do people not like me? He asked. I am so lonely. I don’t know what to do with my life? Maybe it would be better if I just died. We were sitting in a coffee shop and people were starting to look and it felt uncomfortable. So I suggested Seiji come back to the dojo with me and I would try to help him.

When we got to my office I took him and we meditated for some time. This helped calm him and to clear his thoughts. He was then more open to what I had to say. I asked him what he wanted most in life? He replied to be liked by others. It felt good when people liked him. But when he could not make them laugh anymore or when his money was gone, so were the friends. I explained that his problem was that he was seeking social approval too much and no one can give him the approval he seeks because he was looking for it in the wrong place. This got his attention. When we want approval it means we lack it. This feels very bad. So we have to choose which is better to want approval or to have approval. Of course, he said to have approval. The problem is people don’t know how to obtain the approval they seek. Consequently, they run after external things, money power, position, etc. We need to stop. To take time, and look inside for the approval.
I told him to do the following exercise. Close your eyes, put your head down and focus on your stomach or your chest. If you feel bad, in your imagination open up a door in your stomach or chest and let the energy out. It feels good to let the energy out because it is not good for your body, and it wants to leave. When the energy is gone, close the door. The Universe does not like a vacuum.
So please imagine a white pearl in a dark room on a black table. This pear is giving out light, warmth and love. This pearl is located in your centre. In your imagination let the light, warmth and love expand out to your stomach, down your legs, into your feet and into each of your toes. It feels so good there is nothing to compare it to. The light, warmth and love expands to your chest, shoulders and slowly down both arms into your hands and into each finger. You are feeling ecstatic. every atom, molecule and particle is feeling alive, healthy and wholesome and it feels incredible. It is so hard to put it into words, it feels that good. The feeling expands into your head and you are in Nirvana, Heaven or some other really beautiful place everyone wants to go to. Give yourself more, more and more approval. Have an approval bath. Once you are overflowing then nothing or no one can bother you. You don’t want or need anything. You can then give your approval to others and watch as they suddenly change. This is what everyone wants, needs and is hoping to find.
When we finished Seiji was converted and he begged me to let him join my dojo. I could not beat him away with a stick. He was so resolute in his determination to walk the path. He grew into a very mature man. He became a therapist and counsellor. His practice is growing more successful every year. Life is good. You just take it one day at a time.
We are all searching for something. Peace of mind, security, etc. I hope something of Seiji’s story can touch you and help you get through life a little easier. Until next time I wish you peace love and success. Martin Sensei
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