Reinventing the Wheel / by Tom Maloney

Xtreme Martial Arts, Super Blast Cardio Kickboxing, Fusion Martial Fitness Crunch, Ultra Deluxe Powerflow Yoga, Special Pranic Breathwork Meditation , Heated Sweatacular Namaste Mindfulness Downdog Flow Class (set to bongo accompaniment). You get the idea.  At what point is the constant adding, fusing, synthesizing, and combining of movement modalities less beneficial and more detrimental to real, lasting results for the practitioner? This is a hard question because it is not a recent phenomenon. Most traditional martial arts styles we have today are in fact combinations and fusions of styles that came before them. How close are the forms we have today compared to what they looked like at their inception? It’s hard to say.  It is natural for things to change over time as disciplines are passed down from person to person.  However this natural change seems to be in stark contrast to the uniquely modern pattern of restructuring entire disciplines for the sake of novelty. Society is moving fast and attention spans are shrinking. What does Trish the Kundalini Yoga teacher do when Sam the Kundalini Yoga teacher down the street offers the same class but with drums, lights, faster flow, aromatherapy, and a 30 minute time frame instead of 60 (same results, half the time!)?  Sam’s class is more fun! Its shorter and there’s music! My brain doesn’t have to work as hard.  Its easier.  You're also not making any progress.

More than ever the brain craves constant stimulation and when it doesn't get it, anxiety arises. When our handheld glowing blue screens turn off, there is an impossible void to fill.  Dopamine has been surging full force all day with the prospect of one more click, one more list, and one more slideshow.  Maybe the next one will hold the promise of resolution I’ve been frantically seeking. 

Its not the outside world that needs to change or the time tested and complete disciplines passed down to us. What needs to change is the brain. We need to embrace the anxiety and sudden loss of stimulation. Thats where true growth happens.  The brain and body crave a state of less external input and simplicity.  Less is more and more is less.  The wheel has been invented. It is perfect in its design and purpose.  We just need to relax, unplug, and let the wheel do its job for us.