Mastery Practice – achieving growth and a better self

What I learned from Karate, Piano, Rock Climbing, Yoga


Living Wholeness Ayurveda

Mastery Practice - for better self

Mastery Practice to be better self

Mastery Practice

To own our own mastery – we practice continually at the best of our ability (concentration, physical power, strength, concentration, understanding) as we progress from beginner to mastery, we surmount many challenges and become a better self. Mastery of our self is generally the first accomplishment and the most important for doing our mastery practice. Skill development becomes secondary.

We must continually approach our continual learning from a “beginner’s mindset” letting go of what we think we know so we can learn the next step afresh like the beginner can and does. If we get stuck in believing we already know, we miss what’s immediately in front of us.

Along the way we must become highly disciplined and overcome ourselves at each turning. Repeating the basics (knowing there is always more to discover in the most basic move, song, or posture).

Great epiphanies (insights) come from regular standard, boring even, mastery practice not the peak experiences. Through daily constant repetition of the mundane, the mastery practice yields its true wisdom.

The Mastery Practice is not an Endpoint but a continual Lifestyle

Karate or any practice (including wellness) is not an end point to achieve but a way of life that we do every day until we become it (the Karate man/woman, the wellbeing).

My mastery practice incorporated and continues to focus on developing excellent physical fitness, weight management, vitality and with new additions more longevity beyond my yoga practices.

Karate also engendered an attitude of passionate curiosity, attractive welcoming, positive encouraging while letting go of control to listen more and be less reactive with a ready relaxed responsiveness. Some are mostly focused on fighting, which helps some people in that stage of development but for me my mastery practice meant conscious evolvement and less focus on winning against others and more internal development of self and becoming a better, fitter self.

Now as I move beyond my former Karate practice, I wish to maintain my mastery, at an advanced level, explore other forms and add the missing longevity and healing practices that the Indian monk Bodhidharma brought and were incorporated at the Shaolin temple, that created Kungfu and ultimately Okinawan Karate that I have practiced.  I am excited to expand my mastery practice in this next phase.

I also want to balance and focus more on development of Yin (inner receiving work, or beingness the meditative part that was the twin foundation of older martial arts practice- almost missing from my previous practice) and the outer Yang practice (physical culture and doingness that was our main focus).

“He [man/woman] is unripe: the heat of the fire of suffering, will mature him … Through suffering (and rigorous training) he [man] will attain to an eternal happiness which nothing can take from him.” – Abdu’l – Baha

From Shifu’s Yan LI (regarding QiGong and KungFu): Posture and Mind in QiGong is very important during practice “practice, focuses the mind only on the workout and we let go of everything else” – a mini retreat for refreshment and renewal like meditation leaving the world outside and go to inner (mastery) practice keeping at it by focusing on the body and the moves.

Body relaxed but not-lazy, straight but not stiff. So, Qi, energy, flows properly. Find a relaxed way to do it all. In time, this will also have a surprising effect on our mind. Simply by standing straight it can help increase our positive feelings.

Focus completely on what you are doing and let go of any worries or concerns. The workout acts like scissors cutting through our thoughts and giving our mind and body a place of refuge and stillness. The more we practice the easier it gets to access the peaceful state of being.

Begin dedicating time to your mastery practice (whatever you choose for yourself). If mind is full of thoughts, don’t resist but gently let them go. As you continue your thoughts will calm down on their own.

Buddha told guitar playing student who had trouble with meditating does the sound of guitar come from tight or loose strings the student replied neither it’s produced by a balance – Buddha said same with the mind, the way to meditate is to be tight and relaxed. Work with the body not against it. As beginners we start out tight and relax over time.

Five hearts mastery practice for Kungfu or your Wellness.

In shaolin practice they say the beginner has five hearts over time as practice improves the five hearts become one –

Use your heart and mind to believe – believe exercises will help you. Faith is the seed from which positive change grows (if faith is not there it’s like the seed is burned and nothing will grow).

Focus mind and heart with body, – mind is like a monkey must focus it on breath and movement. Don’t allow concentration to be weakened by desire for a feeling. And if you get a feeling of a peak flow, don’t get moved to pride. Effort must continue even in temporary non-achievement (stay with it regardless) for ultimate results and progress.

Be loyal to your practice – use willpower to develop belief and focus. Willpower will strength if you stay the course.

Make your mind and body peaceful so you can understand yourself – enjoy self without desire (peace then reached). Emotions change breath. Breathe peacefully and it returns to natural and even – giving peaceful nature to practice and life. If not, peaceful that is what spreads to practice and life. This is one of the nine powers of mind; we have a choice over what we allow ourselves to feel and think.

Become everything you do, enjoy the moment. – beginning won’t feel much, over time your body will start to feel things happening – recognize it and start to cultivate it. The aim of practice is to get a deeper understanding of yourself.

Bring this sort of discipline and practice to your life and to your wellness practice now and you will heal, you will thrive, and you will excel.

Meditation – become the Mastery Practice (of life)

Let life become meditation! As you reach for mastery and let it fill you, everything becomes meditation. Join me in a life of meditational choice for the better life, a better self – Take on a mastery practice not to just develop a skill but to challenge and become a better you. This is what practices like music, rock climbing, yoga, and karate have taught me.

Regards and may you become a Master of your Life,

Jim Montrose

Red Roan Ranch

Living Wholeness Ayurveda

Imagine it, Be it, and very importantly take inspired Action now,” Jim Montrose.

Living Wholeness Ayurveda

Copyright February/March 2024

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From the N2 (Cape Town towards George) Take the first Swellendam exit (left). This is the R60. Proceed (1km+) through the 4 way stop and continue approximately 2-3 km and look for a sign for the Hermitage. Make a hard right (270 degrees). After the turn continue about 200 meters and turn left at first road (dirt). Proceed 300 meters and turn left into Red Roan Ranch and go to bottom of hill (the main house).

(Coming from George to Cape Town) Take the third exit (R60) right. Proceed (1km+) through the 4 way stop and continue approximately 2-3 km and look for a sign for the Hermitage. Make a hard right (270 degrees). After the turn continue about 200 meters and turn left at first road (dirt).  Proceed 300 meters and turn left into Red Roan Ranch and go to bottom of hill (the main house).

GPS:  S34 degrees 01.367 minutes, E020 degrees 25.193 minutes. Note most GPS units (Garmin, etc.) have the wrong coordinates for Red Roan Ranch.

Call if you have trouble 071 959 0786 or 083 290 1283