Tag: private classes

Independence, Boundaries and Self Defense

Safeguard Awareness — Vision is the ability to see what others only dream

Today, we celebrate 240 years of Freedom in the United States

Freedom and Independence from oppression.

While today, we face oppression globally from corporations, we also face oppression personally, every day from the distractions and fears we give our power to, that take away from our being present and appreciating and living our lives fully.


Have you ever been in a situation where you felt taken advantage of, or have you felt trapped in a situation, or forced into a position were you feel berated, mocked or attacked?


Perhaps it was a physical attack. More commonly, on a daily basis, we face mental, emotional or spiritual attacks. All of us have been in a difficult relationship or situation at some point in our lives. You might even be living in a situation like this right now. If it happened long ago, it could still affect you in ways that you don’t even realize.


Most of us have had some kind of toxic relationship with a family member, friend, partner, or a professional relationship. What makes those relationships and interactions toxic? These destructive patterns and relationships trigger and control us by feeding our fears, dominating and belittling us, instead of feeding the purpose and potential of our unique soul. These toxic relationships are insidious in that they can affect our inner-dialogue and sense of self, when we believe the criticisms and fears of others.


Training in martial arts points to a larger truth — self-defense encompasses all dimensions of a person’s being, setting healthy boundaries for ourselves on all levels:
  • spiritually
  • mentally
  • emotionally
  • physically


Setting healthy boundaries with others means taking your power back from anyone who would manipulate, steal from or attack you. In any way. This applies to all relationships in your life, whether they be strangers, acquaintances, friends, family, co-workers, classmates, spouses and partners, past and present — and even yourself, if you have internalized their attacks and criticisms.


Setting healthy boundaries helps you maintain your focus, vitality and health — and may even save your life. To create healthy relationships with nurturing family and friends — it must first start with yourself. You must find and appreciate your own unique value and cherish your own nature. Then you can create boundaries to protect what you care about.


If your boundaries are crossed, get centered and present — reclaim your power, so you can deal with a potential threat to your balance and well being.


When we compromise our sense of what’s right for us, our boundaries are compromised, and we loose or give away our power. 
When we are irritated at others, and feel annoyed at them and feel the need to criticize or condemn them, pay close attention to the impulse behind it — is it some trait we hate or refuse to see in ourselves? 
Think back to a time when a friend or family member judged or criticized us, and made us feel flawed, unworthy, bad or wrong. If the criticism comes from a place of compassionate support — I like to call “Heavy Metta”, or “tough love” — we usually feel an “aha” moment that inspires us to catharsis and growth. 
But if the criticism is aggressive, mean spirited or cruel, it usually comes from a place of self-righteous indignation, intolerance and anger rooted in insecurity, spiteful self-loathing and internal-ignorance of the aggressor. In these situations, if we accept and believe the judgement of others, it sucks our spirit by giving our power away to the person(s) who is lashing out to fill their own internal conflict and fear.
If the attack is physical, the aim is to dominate or steal some sense of power, energy, resources or life from us — whether personal or impersonal. Likewise, if the attack is emotional, mental or spiritual, it also steals our life, energy and resources from us.
So in martial arts training, we learn to be present, and self-aware that we can create healthy, nurturing boundaries for ourselves and our families, friends, communities and country. It all starts with ourselves, to be the change we want to see in the world.

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Are you Ready to Change Your Life? Learn how any obstacle can be an opportunity

Are you ready to change your life?

Have you encountered problems in your life where you feel attacked, dominated or just overwhelmed?

We all have at some point – maybe your job, an irritating family member, financial burdens, a painful injury, severe weather, an obnoxious neighbor, a bad haircut, or who died in the last “Game of Thrones” episode – most of us are struggling with some tragic situation almost every day.

When I was growing up, one of my greatest struggles was with my father — a quiet, funny, tough, street-wise man — who was also domineering, alcoholic, sometimes cruel, demeaning and abusive. I learned to deal with it by isolating myself, being introverted, and becoming very sensitive to my Dad’s slow-burning, explosive temper — especially after he’d been drinking.
There were times I remember my little sister hiding behind me in a corner of my room, as I pushed through our terror to try and protect us from Dad’s rages after he’d been out drinking.

Instead of being bitter about it, I realize the experience fostered attributes I might not have otherwise: empathy, being protective of family, vowing never to become alcoholic, and a passion to express myself through art, and martial arts.
Despite the turmoil, my Dad encouraged my passion for artwork and martial arts. I’ll never forget when, at my High School graduation, with a tear in his eye and lump in his throat, my father told me how proud he was of me (since he’d dropped out), and how sorry he was for many of the things he did; he said he wanted to make sure I grew up to be a better man than he was. He passed away just 4 months later.

Even though it was rough growing up sometimes, I realize — especially after becoming a parent myself — my Mom and Dad were both doing the best they could, and I appreciate all the opportunities they gave me. I miss Dad more as time goes on, and wish I could have thanked him before he passed. I wouldn’t change my childhood at all, even if I could. It’s helped me grow to be who I am.

Dad and I, 1982.

Through the courtesy and rigor of martial arts practice, we learn to defend ourselves from physical attack — the first, most obvious threat to health and well-being. In the beginning, we learn a system of strategies, that teach us attacks targeting us are bridges to opportunity for survival, learning, and improvement.
As we progress in training, and integrate those strategies into our being, we realize that those physical techniques are metaphors for how the strategies can be applied to any aggression or obstacle in our daily lives, to improve self-expression and communication in how we relate with friends, coworkers, and family.
Even further, as we continue to train, we realize those same strategies are powerfully effective in overcoming personal barriers in our own spiritual growth.

Here at Vajra Visions, I share an innovative system that integrates
the principles of the Taoist martial art Bagua Zhang (“8 Trigrams Palm”, the art of transformation),
with the mystical Elements of Tantric Buddhism – a holistic system designed to cultivate each student on all levels.

Experience the Vortex — Discover your inner-power and evolve with the Ancient wisdom of Vajra Bagua Zhang (金剛八卦掌 “Thunderbolt 8 Trigrams Palm”), the Circular Art of Transformation!
Take the next step in your evolution – join our classes today!

Training available in person and remote/private video classes online!

Instructor: Shifu Dennis Mace began Martial Arts in 1982, and now teaches in Seattle, WA
with thorough, hands on detail, emphasizing courtesy and ethics, and is committed to cultivating each student’s authentic skills and improving their overall health and empowerment. He is also available for workshops and seminars!

Introducing 3 new Bagua Zhang Package Programs at Mace Martial Arts!

Introducing 3 new Bagua Zhang Package Programs at Mace Martial Arts — quarterly, 6 month, and full year — for an immersive learning experience, with more support and resources to help guide you to your goals. Each of these 3 programs include group classes, private lessons, full uniforms (shirt, pants & sash), half-off workshops, testing fees and membership fees all at a package discount.