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The Wu Yi Jie He Family System of Chinese Healing and Martial Arts

QiGong - Quality of Life

Posted May 1st, 2011 in Articles

Weekday Warrior

The Art of Balance
By Kathryn Korchok

"Most people die at 21 - they just don't get buried until they are 72. They put one foot in front of the other and go through life that way. They don't feel passion anymore. You need confirmation that you are alive, and in competition you're looking for that extreme intensity that makes you feel alive."
        George Picard

Sifu George Picard

It's not about fitness or competition - it's about balance. It's a lifestyle that takes into account healthy choices, positive relationships, a strong work ethic and a focused commitment to all-round achievement. Do you have what it takes?

Think about the word "warrior." Do you immediately conjure a vivid image of a fighter with a noble spirit and a particular outlook on life?

Throughout history, many countries and cultures have valued the warrior. In Asian tradition, the Samurai warrior was held to a code of ethics and a set of moral principles that informed the way he conducted his livelihood (warfare) and his life. The code included concepts such as honour, loyalty, respect, wisdom, valour and focus.

But, more importantly, the warrior code struck a balance between war and peace. The ancient Samurai learned not just the art of war but also the art of poetry, calligraphy or painting The warrior code was a perfect union of mind, body and spirit in harmony or balance. As martial arts master George Picard (see profJle) notes, "It's the pen and sword in accord."

Today, the word warrior reflects a similar set of ethics and conduct. From battlefields to boardrooms and from sports stadiums to soccer fields, the term warrior is often used in a positive manner. It connotes cliscipline, focus, strength, dedication, effort and consistency.

A few decades ago, the term "weekend warrior" \vas coined, and it referred to people who dedicated themselves to high-intensity weekend workouts. The week¬end warrior was an unbalanced sort and prone to injurv. Today, the weekend warrior is passe.

"Nobody in the fitness industry advocates exercise just twice a week," says Louise Blais, White Oaks assistant club manager, who prefers the concept of the "weekday warrior." "In the last 20 years, we've evolved our training philosophies. In the past, we emphasized volume - more hours, more time, more, more, more. Now, we emphasize intensity over a shorter duration. You have to be really smart about how you train."

Louise - who has summited Mount Kilimanjaro and competed in a 600 kilometre trans-Rockies bike race - is all about balance, a healthy outlook and a support¬ive family and work environment. She believes that it's important to be successful in all areas of endeavour and that success in one area of life can inspire success in other areas. She holds down a high-energy position at White Oaks, trains and in several disciplines, is happily married to Andre and is mom to three She credits her family with supporting her, being part of her lifestyle understanclirlg what it takes to achieve personal best.

"You need to be knowledgeable and resourceful because today you just don't have time to waste," notes Louise. "To be a successful weekday warrior takes discipline, sacrifice and an everyday consciousness of moving in the right direction. Even if you're not a serious competitor, we want you to be a weekday warrior."

George Picard is the founder, owner and head instructor of the Glenridge Martial Arts Academy in St. Catharines. He teaches karate, kobudo, tai chi and qigong and also trains in iaijutsu, kenjutsu, ken do and jiu-jitsu. George, 53, has been involved in his discipline for 26 years.

HIS SPORT: MARTIAL ARTS

George competes internationally and has placed in the top three in every tournament he has entered except one. An international coach and judge, he has received numerous awards and honours including International Instructor of the Year in 2002. He was inducted into the Action Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2001 and in 2005 was named tai chi master from internationally renowned master Helen Wu.

HIS BALANCE: In his role as "father" to four grown children, 10 grandchildren and the 80-plus kids who train with him, George wants to inspire them to understand boundaries, discipline and a sense of community. To practice and live the qualities of caring, understanding and gratitude, Glenridge Martial Arts students raise money to sponsor two underprivileged children.

HIS INSPIRATION: The Eastern healing arts. As a qigong healer, George trains and teaches qigong healing arts to cancer patients in Niagara and Toronto. To raise money for Hospice Niagara, George created and produced "Arts of the Ancient East," a stage production featuring top martial artists. This 2001 show was so successful that he is currently producing "Arts of the Ancient East II." He is also planning a book based on stories, anecdotes and life lessons learned. As George notes in one chapter, when the student is ready the teacher will appear.

HIS GOAL: "It's not about the trophy, but the ability to compete - win, lose or draw. The need to compete brings out the best in you. Competition is like comparison - if you don't have competition, how do you know what your best is? In competition, an inner spirit comes out bringing everything to the point where it has to be ... where things are sharper, crisper, faster, more perfect and more balanced. That inner spirit can't rise without competition. Bringing your passion to the forefront requires other people."

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