THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CLINCH

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Years ago while competing to get my second Dan black belt, I severely damaged my knees. So I decided to try my hand at learning how to box. My first few attempts in the ring ended badly for me; I was knocked out twice, and three times I was so exhausted by the fourth or fifth round that I could not continue the fight. This was quite a blow to my fighter’s ego, and I could not understand why I couldn’t go the distance with guys who had far less experience in combat than I had. After this happened a few times I sought out a veteran boxer to help me find out why, and that was when I discovered something very important. I was approaching my fights with the same mentality with which I had been trained by my masters in Taekwondo, which was “go in, find the other guy’s weakness and end the fight quickly”. This worked well for me when I was sparring in competitions that usually lasted 2 or 3 rounds, but in boxing the fights last much longer and the amount of contact is much higher. My veteran friend explained to me that I wasn’t using my ‘Clinch’. The clinch is a defensive tactic which basically sees a boxer tie his opponent’s arms up so that they become entangled and any attack is rendered ineffective. For those of you who happen upon a boxing match, you may sometimes see boxers hugging during a fight. This is not to show affection; rather it is a boxer who doesn’t have the energy to counter his opponent’s punches tying up his arms in a clinch.

 

There are usually two reasons why boxers clinch. One is because the boxers are tired and they think they have no other choice. The other is because one of the boxers is getting pummeled and needs to stop the onslaught. … When that’s happening, clinching allows you to break your opponent’s momentum and get some much needed breathing space to gather your wits and some energy with which to continue. The exact same thing applies to real life: Sometimes the pressures of work and life and financial problems get so overwhelming that you are in danger of getting knocked out from the onslaught. At this point I would advise you to clinch your opponent to avoid serious damage to your physical and spiritual health. There are several simple and effective clinch techniques which I have discovered over the years; one of them is to take a couple of hours off and retreat to a corner to pray; another one is to switch off all electronic devices around me and just enjoy the silence. There are other effective clinch techniques as well: pausing work and going for a long walk to clear your head; reading and meditating on your favorite verses of scripture; even focusing intensely on something entirely different from work or business like your children or your other loved ones. These are all clinch techniques that help me take the edge off the pounding I receive on some days when I go to the office, because I know that if I don’t tie up my opponent’s (work) arms I could fail woefully at a critical project or I could suffer some form of physical or mental breakdown. Even an afternoon nap sometimes is a good clinch for work.

 

Whatever form of mental or spiritual clinching you employ, be sure not to do it too often so that you won’t become lazy and complacent and lose the fight. Mohammed Ali used one of the most effective clinching techniques against a near invincible George Foreman and won what experts billed as an impossible fight. You too can use effective clinching to beat impossible odds in life, because you are built for success…just learn to pace yourself. Cheers! Check out my other content on www.ifeanyiubawords.com, and subscribe to my You Tube channel The 360 Degree Mastery.

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DIAGNOSING ADDICTION TO SIN

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A couple of years ago, I began suffering from terrible, crippling pains in my knees. I went to see a doctor and he sent me in for an X-ray. The X-ray revealed that I had severe arthritis in both knees, and that the years of abuse and injuries from practicing several martial arts plus my poorly managed weight had all contributed to damage my knees and ankles to the point where I couldn’t run or squat without almost passing out from the pain. I was devastated because martial arts and physical exercise are among the few things in which I found genuine pleasure and personal challenge. The doctor suggested I go for knee replacement surgery in the near future, but to manage the pain he prescribed the controversial pain killer Tramadol. Now Tramadol is a narcotic drug, and a pharmacist will only sell it to you if you have a doctor’s prescription. He put me on a daily dose of 50mg twice a day, and warned me to make sure I seek further treatment, as the Tramadol was only to help me manage through a critical period at work.

 

I began taking Tramadol as prescribed, but after some time I found that the duration of relief was starting to reduce. I needed to take it more than twice a day if I was going to get through work, and without talking to my doctor, I upped my dose to 50mg 3 times a day. Before long I discovered that 50mg wasn’t taking the edge off the pain anymore, so I started taking 100mg of Tramadol per dose. Shortly after that my doctor relocated abroad, and without his prescriptions I couldn’t get Tramadol from the pharmacy close to my house. Unfortunately Tramadol is available on the black market at a very high price, and I began to buy from a local dealer just to get my fix. At the height of my addiction I couldn’t get out of bed without popping a 100mg pill of Tramadol and taking it at least 2 more times before evening. The mellow feeling it gave me soon became a requirement for my productivity. I had become an addict without even knowing how or when it happened. The wakeup call came when I took a sizable amount out of my wife’s ATM one day to buy a few tablets of painkiller. I realized what I had become; the very thing I taught my students to stay away from…a junkie!

 

Getting off Tramadol was not easy; I prayed to God for relief, and forced myself to stop taking any sort of painkillers. I started going to the gym again and began using the treadmill to walk at least 1 kilometer a day. It was painful, but I stuck at it. I weaned myself of my addiction and endured the agony, forcing the muscles in my legs to get stronger so that they would take some of the pressure off my bones. Slowly the pain in my knees reduced to an ever present ache, but at least I could handle the aching. Now I can box and use a cross trainer without relying on drugs…as long as my wife helps me massage my knees at night.

 

Sin is a lot like drugs in so many ways. We often resort to sin as a solution to a problem, and most of the time we get into it innocently. But like drugs we soon find that we do not get the fulfillment we experienced the first time we committed the sin, so we sin some more. After this we begin to develop a tolerance to the sin and our conscience no longer bothers us when we sin, so we start to commit other sins that complement the original sin. Finally we become so addicted to a sinful lifestyle that we sacrifice the most important of all our relationships – our relationship with God – just to enjoy that lifestyle. The only way out of sin is to draw closer to God and try hard to live according to the standards that He set for us. This is not easy at all, and many times we will find ourselves in pain and agony while we try to live sin free. But the good news is that living a sin free life opens up a blissful and joyous world of communication with God, because that is His original plan and purpose for us. Living without sin is difficult, and many times in your life you will fall short, but as long as you do not allow yourself to remain in the sin, and as long as you do not let your spirit build up a tolerance to sin you will find that the pain of living sin free will not last; God in His love will even provide you permanent solution to your problem (1Corinth. 10:13).

 

So in this 2019 try to wean yourself of your dependence on and addiction to sin. The fewer the sins we have in our lives, the happier and closer to God we will feel. Don’t manage the pain; deal with it and I promise you that it will subside. Happy New Year and God bless us all as we resolve to live sin and guilt free.

 

Follow me on social media and check out www.ifeanyiubawords.com for more content and information on how to get my books. Cheers!

LIFE AS A VIDEO GAME: AN INTERESTING ANALOGY

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I like video games. No, scratch that…I LOVE video games! Ever since my friend Ike brought one to school and convinced me to skip classes and go to my house and play Mario with him, I’ve been hooked. Over the years I have been an avid follower of the gamer culture, and I have invested a lot of money in my games. I say ‘invest’ because I understand the role of digital entertainment in my own personal process. Video games help me develop my problem solving capabilities because the sort of games I play have cool puzzles and tests which you must pass before you can advance to the next level; they help me improve my goal setting process because for me few things are more rewarding than playing a difficult game on the hardest level all the way to the end and seeing the end credits roll and the CONGRATULATIONS! Message light up the television screen. Another thing computer games do for me is improve my hand eye co-ordination and my mental reflexes in actual combat scenarios, so that when I’m sparring an opponent I think faster and react better. But I guess that as a married man the greatest benefit of my gaming habit is that it keeps me occupied and out of trouble when my wife is away from home on trainings or attending meetings. I love my games; Street fighter, Halo, Mario, Tomb Raider, Winning Eleven, ISS pro…I own them all and I play them enthusiastically because they help me relax after work.

 

My favorite video game of all is the god of War series. In this game you play as Kratos; a Spartan warrior who must embark on a long journey armed with twin blades mounted on chains with which he slices and dices his enemies on his quest to destroy his arch foe Ares, the god of war. I love this game in particular because of the high level of blood and violence, and the realism of the graphics as well as the fact that I can relate with the flaws of the hero. Kratos is a tortured soul who seeks to avenge the betrayal of Ares and redeem himself for his unspeakable crimes against the innocent. He has no allies and is driven solely by his rage and his desire to exact vengeance. But I digress.

 

The good thing about video games is that even when you die in the game, you can come back to life and just continue from where you stopped, or you can save your progress and continue playing at a later time. Unfortunately, real life is quite the opposite. You cannot afford to be reckless with your life, or attempt to put life on “pause” because “something came up”. You cannot select who you want to be or switch characters halfway through. There are no “continues” and “extra lives” or “cheat codes” with which to go through this world. We don’t get “free bonuses” and “unlimited” anything because we stumbled on a hidden box containing upgrades to help us make the game of life easier. Finally, you cannot select a difficulty level that makes your challenges simple, or skip the really hard levels because they’re “not fun”. Unlike video games, in life you have to play as you are; you have to play through every single level with no unlimited ammunition or infinite continues because if you die…that’s it. We must live and grow through our experiences and be mindful that whatever decision we take today will most certainly affect our tomorrow. I’m not saying this to depress you, rather I want to remind us that we have one shot at life, and the best thing to do with that shot is to appreciate it by serving The One who programmed the game and gave us an opportunity to play. God expects us to use what He has given us to serve Him by doing His work. Sometimes it may seem like ours is on the hardest difficulty, but if we recall, the bible tells us in Hebrews 4:15 that Jesus lived in the same world as we did and was tempted just as we are. That’s right; Jesus had no cheat codes either.

 

So try to enjoy the life you have, and don’t spend your time wishing for shortcuts through your challenges. If we accept the gift of life and do the best we can with it we can be sure that no matter where the game may end for us, those end credits will roll and when we enter the kingdom we will see the boldly written message CONGRATULATIONS, YOU HAVE COMPLETED THE GAME!

 

You can access more of my written and video content on www.ifeanyiubawords.com Merry Christmas!

ACTUALLY IT SHOULD READ; “WITH GREAT RESPONSIBILITY COMES GREAT POWER”

 

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If you have ever read a Spider-man comic, or watched any of the Spider-man cartoons, or seen any of the Spider-man movies on cinema, you must have probably come across the signature quote of the hero’s late uncle Ben; “With great power, comes great responsibility”. These words define the character, Spider-man and his complete belief in these words is what leads him to perform so many brave and heroic deeds, and make so many personal sacrifices to keep his friends and family and the entire comic universe safe. Those words are so powerful that they have found their way beyond the comic world and even pop culture into mainstream reality. So many people have adopted them as their personal mantra, and a lot of companies, businesses and initiatives use a portion of that saying or all of it as part of their Vision, Mission Statement, or corporate motto. Even politicians and religious leaders have been known to quote the words dreamed up by the late, great storyteller Stan Lee (RIP); “With great Power, comes great Responsibility”. To explain this quote I would point you to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ himself, which he spoke in Luke 12:48; “To whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” This means that if you are blessed with great ability, resources, opportunity, or influence, you are expected to use them to better the lot of the people around you. That is what God requires of us all, and He demonstrated this severally in the bible from Noah to Joseph; from Gideon to Samson to David. When God calls you, He equips you.

 

However, though those words are 100% true, and though they represent the right paradigm with which to change the world and validate our existence, I discovered years ago that even truer than “with great power comes great responsibility” are the words “With great RESPONSIBILITY, comes great POWER!” When you accept responsibility for your life and your circumstances you accept also the ability, resources and opportunity to change it. When you accept responsibility for others you receive the power to help them. I have written before about the direct relationship between the amount of responsibility we accept and the amount of happiness we have. Now I’m writing that when you take charge of your life, you also receive the power to improve it. We can whine and complain as much as we want about how unfair life is, but until we accept responsibility for who we are and where we are, we cannot have the power, or authority to make it better.

 

As a banker I used to complain about how my efforts were not being rewarded, and how my career was at a standstill because the bosses were being unfair. But when I decided that the direction of my career and my future was up to me, I suddenly became aware of all the options and opportunities available to me, and I could take action and make decisions that made me better, richer, and happier.

 

So, in the context of the words of the immortal Stan Lee, spoken by the greatest of all superheroes; “Take responsibility to help others, but first of all take responsibility for yourself”. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and I urge you to live this festive season the way Jesus lived…by using what you have to take care of others. Check out my website www.ifeanyiubawords.com and remain blessed. Cheers!

 

PS: Thank you Stan Lee, for everything…Excelsior!

YOU MUST OWN IT BEFORE YOU CAN CHANGE IT

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Over the years I have posted numerous articles and write-ups on my blog and my social media pages, and each time I’m always careful to post only what I know to be truth through personal experience and many hours of deep thought and prayer. But of all the lessons and advice I have ever posted, this one is to me one of the most powerful and effective lessons I have ever learned.

 

Emeka was a young Taekwondo-ka I trained with back when I was competing in tournaments. He was one of those fellows who you would call naturally gifted; long limbs, flexible and with good reflexes, Emeka made Taekwondo look beautiful. His kicks were strong and his footwork and stances were textbook perfect. In fact, with the right training and attitude, Emeka could have gone all the way to the world championships…even the Olympics. Yes, Emeka was THAT good!

 

But Emeka had one serious flaw which I believe derailed his chances of becoming a world class martial artist. He always had an excuse to give every time something went wrong. If he arrived late for training and missed a spot on the team, he blamed it on traffic, or the rain, or something else; whenever he lost a match, he complained that the referee was being partial to the other guy; if he failed to break a board during grading test; he blamed it on the person holding the board. That was Emeka for you; he blamed everyone and everything else except himself. Before long he was dropped entirely from the team and his conclusion was that the coach was tribal and jealous of him. The last time I saw him he was hanging around the National Stadium, obese, unkempt, telling anyone who would listen about his glory days as a fighter and how the envy of those he was better than caused them to conspire against him and end his career. I tried to feel sorry for him, but it’s hard to feel pity for someone who never took advantage of his unique gifts, or took responsibility for his failures.

 

If this story does not strike a chord with you, then you’re not being sincere to yourself. Our society teaches us to hold others responsible for our failures, and blame something other than ourselves for our shortcomings. We are conditioned to believe that our poverty; lack of education; disadvantages, and even spiritual immaturity are the handiwork of “the enemy”, regardless of our decisions, lifestyle or lack of commitment. People flock to churches where they are told that unseen enemies are to blame for their lack of wealth and physical and psychological discomfort. They spend time praying and fasting against their fellow man, and seeking for miracles from heaven in the form of “covenant helpers” to magically provide them with things that so called “unbelievers” wake up and go out and achieve every day through hard work, dedication, and personal sacrifice. We are a society of blamers, and between the secular zeitgeist and the religious programming, we are taught to blame and not own.

 

Success is a process, and that process begins with first owning your reality. Whatever your reality is right now; whether it is your fault or not, you must accept responsibility for it before you can change it. When I finally decided to accept responsibility for my failures I discovered that I was no longer concerned with whom or what caused them. All I was interested in was how to change the situation. Yes there are bad people out there who seek to take from you and destroy you, but there is also a God who loves you and will replenish and multiply…all you have to do is accept responsibility for where you are and begin to work towards getting to where you want to be. If like Emeka you choose to blame everyone and everything else for your failures, you will never hold yourself responsible for your success. Remember that where you are today is as a result of the decisions and actions that you – or someone who has authority over you – have taken in the past. So if you want a change you need to accept responsibility for your shortcomings and work towards overcoming them. Are you poor? don’t blame society or government, accept responsibility for your finances and start working toward riches. Are you obese? Stop blaming your moods and circumstances and accept that it’s your responsibility to get fit. Are you unhappy or dissatisfied? Stop blaming your past, accept your present, and begin to create your ideal future now! So accept responsibility for what you don’t have today, and when you do you will become empowered to go out and get it all.

 

Because before you can change it, you have to own it. Check out my website www.ifeanyiubawords.com for more content. Cheers!

If I were to ask you to name a boxer, I can almost bet that you would say Mike Tyson, right? And why wouldn’t you? Iron Mike Tyson is known as one of the most phenomenal and brutal fighters to ever step into the ring. Virtually all of his professional victories were knockouts, and the man had a brute strength and raw punching power that the world had never seen since maybe the days of George Foreman. Tyson was incredible, and there was no one on earth who could withstand his devastating left or right hook. He used to knock opponents out in the first or second round…if they actually got that far, and after each fight his opponents always said the same thing; they were trying to land a punch or retreat, when BOOM! A single punch out of nowhere laid them out flat. For casual fans of boxing, Mike Tyson was fun to watch because his fights were over before you could even start to get bored. But that was his problem right there. Iron Mike always went into each fight looking for the single punch knockout because that was what he was used to. He was not trained to draw a fight out and exploit his opponents’ weakness. When he lost to James Buster Douglas in 1990 it was because of one simple reason; Douglas drew the fight out and made Tyson work for 10 rounds. Tyson did not know what else to do. He was exhausted. He was used to finishing opponents with one punch before round 3, and he had no answers for Douglas’ barrage of blows in the latter rounds. Unfortunately, that is also the problem with most of us. We go into situations and challenges looking for the single action that will solve the problem immediately, so that we can score a victory without exerting ourselves too much. That’s not the way life works, despite what we may have been taught, or what we see on television. Life is a drawn out encounter and you often have to go toe to toe with our problems for hours, or days or weeks or months, chipping away slowly, going through the process, before finally we achieve victory. This applies to almost everything we are faced with; whether we are trying to create wealth, or do well in school, or solve a personal or professional problem. Any boxing trainer worth his salt will tell you that you have to study your opponent, while you dance him around and throw jab after jab to weaken his defenses. Once in a while you may solve a problem with one swift action, but don’t think that you will always win that way. When you try a solution and it doesn’t work, don’t get discouraged: try something else, approach it from another angle, rest a bit, regain your strength and go at it again. People who approach their problems in this manner rarely ever lose, because they understand the reason for the process. The process builds physical and mental and emotional strength, and each problem you solve equips you with the tools to deal with the next, bigger challenge. So, don’t try to be a one technique knockout artist. David had danced and destroyed several carnivores before he came up against Goliath of Gath, and even after that victory he fought many long, drawn out battles which he won. So many churches promise their members one single solution to solve their problems, while they know fully well that this is not the truth. Face problems with faith and a determination to find a solution no matter how long it takes, because if you expect to win immediately you step into the ring, your disappointment will be even greater when you lose. Be patient and keep jabbing, dodging and weaving, and I can guarantee you that not only will you outlast all your problems; you will also develop the skills you need to solve even bigger and more challenging problems. Check out my website www.ifeanyiubawords.com for more life affirming content.

GOD DOESN’T DO “DIFFICULT”, GOD DOES “IMPOSSIBLE”…LEARN THE DIFFERENCE

A couple of months ago when my wife was away, I was left with the responsibility of playing both mummy and daddy at home. One of the things my wife excels at is keeping our son cool and comfortable while he sleeps. My boy is a little high powered dynamo, and if you keep him in a hot, uncomfortable place he begins to sweat and quickly develops rashes all over. That night I put him down to sleep and turned the fan on at low speed to circulate cool air around the room. I had not taken two steps into the corridor when the inverter started to beep and all the lights went off. Crap! I dashed outside and put on the generator, only for the infernal machine to konk out a few minutes later from lack of oil. Double Crap! The night was especially hot, and I could see beads of sweat starting to form on my son’s brow. I was out of ideas. I was supposed to have had the generator serviced WEEKS AGO, but I kept putting it off because after all, it was still working wasn’t it? Now that I needed it to work, there was no oil to run it. And because I had been putting off servicing the generator set for many days, I did not have engine oil in the house. I was dismayed. My boy could get very loud and cranky when he’s uncomfortable, and since my wife was away, I would have to be the one to hold him and rock him, and bathe him, and powder him, and sing to him, and fan him through the night. NOT my idea of father son bonding.

 

Knowing that it was too late to go out in search of engine oil, I cast about the house and gathered all the empty containers of oil we had used in the past. Then I artfully poured out the droplets at the bottom of the containers into a small plate and carefully drained the meager contents into my generator. Offering a prayer to God, I pulled at the starter and the generator roared to life. Reciting psalms and bible verses I stayed awake praying that the generator would not konk out again, because it was a really hot night. I remember falling asleep that night thinking to myself “how come I’m only praying over this generator when I failed to do what I was supposed to do?” Prayer is not something you do only when you sin, prayer is something you do every day!

 

Have you ever noticed that in our society we have reduced prayer to a cheap substitute for hard work and discipline? Prayer has become a product that every Tom, Dick, and Harry peddles as a cure all for every minor setback and challenge; a convenient and inexpensive salve to replace work and labor…an easy substitute to grit and effective living. If you don’t have the patience to flesh it out, then you can just pray it out. This is why government officials are surrounded by marabouts and charlatans who tell them lies and feed their greed, then turn around and lie to their congregation that if God does not physically do it for them they will never get it done. We have replaced integrity with spirituality in the workplace; schools are shutting down and churches are springing up…along with the rate of corruption, robbery and kidnapping. We now rush to spiritual houses instead of hospitals for treatment, and when things do not go well for us as a result of our negligence and carelessness, we blame our ‘enemies’ for our misfortunes and pray for God to punish them with ‘holy ghost fire’.

 

We now spend so much time praying for the things we want that we neglect the true purpose of prayer. We are only concerned with what we can get and not what we can give or who we can bless. But some of us are slowly becoming aware that we are drawing away from the true faith by living in a false reality where God is supposed to give us everything we want whether it is in His will to do so or not; a fake reality where it does not matter what we say with our mouths or think in our hearts, as long as ‘Pastor’ continues to promise us miracles; a sham of a life where anyone who does not agree with us or worship where and what we worship is of the devil; and a counterfeit existence in which your enemies (whether real or imagined) exist only to prevent you from achieving your goals no matter how mundane and unproductive, and will surely be consumed by fire from heaven because you said so. Dear friends, God is not a genie or some all-powerful spirit who exists to snap His fingers and provide you with goodies, neither is there any amount of prayer that can substitute for doing the right thing at the right time. Prayer is first and foremost the purest and most genuine form of communication we have with the Almighty. It is an activity we must approach with reverence and enthusiasm if we are to get the best out of the practice of sincere prayer. Let me share a secret with you; prayer is a two way channel! Oh yes, when we pray we are open to HEARING from God as well as SPEAKING to Him. It is a demonstration of the power we have as creatures of God because when we pray right, everything created begins to move and shift and transform in response to our supplications, with the purpose of bringing what we communicate with God to pass. Therefore, we cannot afford to trivialize this direct access to heaven. Do you know what happens when you abuse access? It shuts off!

 

Let us develop a habit of doing what we are supposed to do first before dramatically throwing ourselves down before The Father. When we pray to God, let us approach His throne with an attitude of complete submission and preparation to hear before speaking. When we pray right our spirits receive refreshing (think of it like cool rain falling upon a parched and weary traveler in a scorching, unforgiving desert), and as we unburden our souls, let us be mindful of the fact that not only does God hear, but He also speaks! Finally let us filter our requests through the veil of mercy and love, so that only genuine needs and complaints will find its way through to God. We can try this; is what I am asking for going to prevent someone else from accessing the goodness of God? If the answer is no, then modify or delete. God loves to hear our voice, that’s why He is ALWAYS available to listen to us. But before we come crying to Him let us make sure that we are truly asking for the impossible and not the merely challenging. After all; He has given us the grace to do the difficult…it’s the impossible that He likes to intervene in.MAN HOLDING BABY