Body Mind Spirit (BMS) has been designed as a complete martial art that allows the practioner to apply it in any walk of life. Central to the understanding of BMS is the concept of holistic self-defence (HSD); this allows you to perceive martial art from a very wide perspective in which you use your training to deal with any threat to your body. In other words, practising HSD helps you defend against a virus entering your body, poor posture, negative thought patterns, verbal abuse or an actual physical attack.
BMS accomplishes this by drawing from 4 main areas of study they are:
1. Meditation: the practice of which strengthens the relationship you have with yourself. It deals with your “inner” life so that it does not disintegrate when you are threatened.
2. Chi Kung: strengthens the relationship between your breathing and movement. It has far reaching effects on your health and execution of self-defence techniques. It is a moving form of meditation.
3. Martial Science: is the study of actual self-defence techniques, body mechanics, and combat strategies.
4. Martial Art: teaches you how to apply the other three areas directly to your life. Like any art it deals with self-expression; in the case of BMS: how well you express yourself under pressure.
Each of these four areas develops essential qualities in the BMS practioner. Continued study of BMS gradually brings a deep sense of balance between the energies of the body, mind, and spirit (or emotions). This is one of the “higher” aims of authentic martial art; one that is unfortunately lost in most martial sports. This sense of integration in oneself gradually leads the martial artist into a sense of oneness with the world (and ultimately the universe) for they are both made using the same laws as ourselves.
BMS is a powerful system for street self-defence, it is not a sport and so does not train for tournament fighting (which is governed by artificial parameters). It neither utilises high kicks or “flashy” techniques nor are participants required to dress up in uniforms and wear coloured belts. Classes are conducted in normal clothing, and a syllabus of 10 Grades forms the backbone of its teaching.
The word meditation comes from the root “to mediate”. In the case of BMS, the mediation will occur between the mind and the body via the feeling (emotion or spirit) and will follow an exact process.
The meditation process in BMS is referred to as dynamic meditation. This is defined by the fact that it will be done with you supporting your own weight (standing), and for the most part, with your eyes open.
The sequence is as follows:
1. Centre the Body – This is the process of becoming aware of the positioning of your centre of gravity.
2. Align the Body – Correct skeletal alignment is crucial for good health, spatial awareness, and freedom of movement.
3. Define the Body – This deals with energising the nervous system, increasing the sensation of your own body, and in turn, your primary senses.
4. Harmonise the Body – If one studies many forms of meditation it becomes clear that one of the primary foci of them all is awareness of breathing. Meditating on the breath starts to harmonise the body – especially the timing between the heart and the lungs – which is so crucial in pressure situations.
1. Developing peripheral awareness in the senses: hearing, sight, and touch.
2. Developing a seamless web of awareness.
In the Chinese language there is only one character for breath, chi, and power. We can assume from this that the ancient Chinese sensed a relationship between these three things. A rough translation of Chi Kung is “breath work” or “time spent working on the breathing”. It was of paramount importance to the Taoist* monks practising in the Shaolin temples. Moreover, there are many classic texts written on the subject, some dating back to 1500 BC that go hand in hand with the development of Chinese medicine and acupuncture.
BMS looks at how to harmonise breath and movement together so that in a conflict situation we can free them. If the breath ‘freezes’ during confrontation, our movements will also tense up and we will either go rigid, shake uncontrollably, or in extreme situations, lose all control of our bodily functions. By practising Chi Kung we can free ourselves from this debilitating reaction and move unhindered. Remember, you will always be hit by an emotional blow before a physical one, and it is the emotional attack that makes us react (much like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car). The practice of Chi Kung is made out of a series of exercises that are also extremely beneficial for promoting strength, health, and vitality in the body.
*Taoism is an ancient form of Chinese religion or spiritual philosophy.
Each human being is undeniably unique and possesses particular individual idiosyncrasies, however, it cannot be denied that we are built using the same blueprints. In other words, we all have two arms, legs, eyes, hands etc., and we are all animated by three primary energy sources: the body, the mind, and the spirit. We also all have similar reaction patterns, for example: everyone reacts in the same way when kicked in the groin! The section that is referred to as “Martial Science” in BMS is the study of these general laws of how a human body works and reacts. Some of the areas covered in BMS are:
* The use of body mechanics and leverage to generate force. (You do not need big muscles to defend yourself but you do need a good relationship with the ground.)
* How to manipulate your opponent’s centre of gravity.
* Recognising the signs of fatigue and psychological disintegration in your opponent.
* Using the opponent’s primary reactions to control them.
* Understanding the mechanics of visual perception in relation to speed and “telegraphing”.
The final area of study, “Martial Art”, is a culmination of the previous three. Like other arts, Martial Art is about expressing yourself. In our case the body is the instrument and the theatre is the “arena of conflict”. How well you can express yourself under pressure, whether confronted with an awkward customer, or in response to physical violence, depends on how well you have integrated and embodied Meditation, Chi Kung, and Martial Science. There is always a gap between what you learn in the warm-blooded situation of a self-defence class, and cold-blooded reality of life. By studying Martial Art we hope to decrease that gap.
Some topics included in this study are:
* Common methods of attack.
* The effect of alcohol and other drugs on aggressors.
* Common ploys used by muggers.
* The use of the voice and gesture to disarm and control your opponent.
* The psychology of aggression.
This area also looks at the effect fear can have on your life. We all carry fears around with us everyday – some more deeply buried than others. We all have felt physical and emotional pain – and have all learnt to avoid it. One of the original goals at the root of martial art is to provide the student with a tool that he or she can use to overcome these fears and move on. This leaves the student free to pursue their true goals in life and meet more efficiently their responsibilities.