Guilderland, NY – I believe that all animals play a big role in society, and especially us human ones. Animals offer lessons and character enrichment for people of all ages. The therapy of watching any animal in nature or in domestic settings can be fulfilling. Today, however, I will focus specifically on cats.
Cats have significance in Asian cultures. Their representations can be seen in art dating back millennia, as talismans, for example the Japanese figurine Maneki-neko (beckoning cat), and as movements or stances in the martial arts. Of course as a Master of Taekwondo, cats appeal to me because of the martial arts lessons they offer. There are two categories of lessons, as there are two sides of the yin yang, and two main foci at our school.
The first category is the physical aspect of Taekwondo. A cat is simultaneously the fastest land animal and at times seemingly the laziest. The ability of a cat to be completely and utterly relaxed one moment and ready to battle of attack the next represents the pinnacle of desire for any martial artist. In class we practice sequences of relaxing and tensing. Mastering just this one aspect of martial arts is what makes technique excellent. Cats are masters of this, and if you have watched Bruce Lee at all, you now see how he was a cat.
The second category is the character aspect of Taekwondo, something we spend a great deal of time on at GMA. Cats possess three great character qualities that we can all benefit from applying.
Relax. Cats really know how to relax; I mean completely and utterly relax. Take this lesson and watch a cat relax and take note of how while they relax they are not sleeping, they are looking, watching, observing. This relaxation comes with a sense of satisfaction in just being alive and looking around. We need to take a moment to do this as often as we can.
Play. Cats have an incredible sense of playfulness and excitement about things that are different, new or move. Yes this is instinct, but again it is a lesson for all of us to play more. See the game or the fun in the mundane tasks and take time from your seriousness and the problems you might face to laugh or play.
Observe. Cats love to watch. Anything. Everything. Sometimes I think us humans try to do too much, say too much, act too hasty. I know I do. We can use this lesson to spend more time listening, watching, waiting and planning. One of our parents of an after school student often reminds the student that they have two ears and one mouth, so they should use their ears twice as much. Cats definitely do this quite well, we should practice much more.
The next time you see a cat, think of these things and try to learn their lessons. Cats simply love to lead by example.
Master Rice owns Guilderland Martial Arts and holds a 6th degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. Master Rice is also a Math teacher at Guilderland High School. Guilderland Martial Arts offers classes starting at age 4 as well as an afterschool program and summer camps.
For more information please call (518) 690-1269.