Friday, May 19, 2017

The Clouds sometimes make it appear as there are no Mountains in sight!

This morning I had a rather nice debate with a friend of mine and quite a debate it was - she is an attorney.  It was an interesting conversation about veganism.  For those of you that do not know, I have been a Vegetarian for over 18 years and a Vegan for over 8 years. At the time of writing this article some years ago, I hadn't made the jump to fully becoming Vegan and I considered myself 99% vegan, but due to the fact that I am a diabetic, at times, I struggle with things to eat when I am traveling.  

My friend pointed out to me that it is mostly about preparation and choice. She is 100% correct.   I have to admit, at times I fall short of just that.  When I travel, I sometimes resort to dairy products, breads etc.  hence why I am 99% vegan.  I do agree with my friend wholeheartedly, that dairy and the carnivore diet does cause a great deal of suffering on animals and the planet at large, but that is another conversation to be had.  

My goal with this post is simple - at times we make judgments and I have to be honest, I have done this quite often in my life.  We as a society judge people on their looks, their views, their diets, their social hierarchy in society, their religious beliefs and political affiliation etc. Just look at all the silly comments and bickering that goes on Face Book.  My goal has turned from looking at situations and making a snap decision to seeing many layers deep then what it appears to be on the surface.  I am doing my best to understand the root cause, before I react and make any decisions.  

For example: while debating with my friend, she spoke about Veganism and asked "Why don't I just cut the little bit out of dairy that I eat?"  I agree - with her and said "I should," I just have to make that commitment and prepare and do it.  I can't make excuses, I can't say there are reasons, even though sometimes I have a few.  What I need to do is make the decision and do it.  I easily make decisions much harder than this on a daily basis, so with some effort this will be easy.   I then thought I would play devil's advocate and ask her opinion on smoking and drinking.  She doesn't smoke but believes smoking is bad, for those forced to endure - for example - second hand smoke.  But if a person consciously chooses to smoke that is their choice.  I also asked about drinking and she said the same.  I then commented saying - "that many people make choices based on their own preferences.  No matter whether they are good for them or bad or society at large.  We as a country or a civilization look out for the better good of all mankind.  Why else wouldn't we just allow everyone to destroy the planet with pollution or possibly child labor laws.  There are rules put in affect to stop the destruction of the planet and humankind.  No matter where we live - we are all interconnected a great deal closer than one would imagine. Why is it though that we have mixed emotions on things like smoking, drinking, drugs, over eating etc.  Why as a society do we turn the other cheek?"

I then asked my friend - what about the layer that go much deeper. For example: If I drink milk, it causes pain to the cow producing it for many reasons.  Why do we not think of the ramifications of cigarettes and the migrant workers who have to work for pennies on the dollar producing it, or the land that is being destroyed to produce the tobacco, or the litter from all of the people who discard their cigarettes out the windows of their cars or toss the old cigarette on the floor?  The layers are many aren't they?  If we eliminated cigarettes there would be a host of bad things going as well.  Alas, people have freedom of choice, so we allow them to chose - hence why companies make a fortune on things that are bad.
This all stirs up thought,  I hope would get you to thinking.  I go back to the simple solution. Try to think in layers.  Try your best to act with a global consciousness.  Do not fall back on the simple choice of saying "what can I do about the big picture?" the doing nothing syndrome.  The simple answer is,  just your actions, creates a wave f consciousness and actions within others. If you chose to act a specific way, then some may follow. If you speak about a specific issue then others may listen.  Try your best to  "Be the Change in the World, you want."   Do not just write off, "well this is what I do, or this is how it is."  Do your best to make a difference. Even if your best is not 100% - it will most certainly make an impact on the world we live. See yourself as  the conduit for greatness - Be the example............. Live the example and change the world - one little step at a time.  Be a part of "The Change in the world we want".......It starts with a simple decision and a simple action. 

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Do you do the martial Arts? Or are you a Martial Artist?

Do you do the martial Arts?

Quite often I ask my students this question - "do you do the martial arts - or are you a martial artist?  For most they look at me and stare with a confused look.  Others smile as if they understand nodding at all the appropriate times.  For the most part I believe there are a select group that eventually understand the answer to my question.  This is what I call "Oblivious Ignorance."  Quite simply - "you don't know what you don't know."  To me the martial arts is a way of life. After performing for many years as a child, there was a light that went off in my head and I knew that I would be a martial artist for ever.  I knew that no matter what career I pursued, or where my life journey took me, I was taking it as a martial artist.  

It doesn't have to be all consuming and the only thing you do, or your only part of life.  In other words, you don't have to train 24 hours a day - 7 days per week.  However if you are a martial artist, you only live as one.  Again, this doesn't mean to cut your hair and put it in a Samurai knot and walk around town in your Ninja Tabi, bowing at everyone you see, talking in riddles with broken English. 

To me I live the martial arts on a daily basis 24/7.  I have been doing the martial arts for so long (over 4 decades) I can't separate the two.  I can't go home and say, I will not live as a martial artist because every part of me,  lives as one. I can't leave the training floor and take off my uniform (Gi) and say I am done being a martial artist for the day.  The uniform or the belt of my students doesn't represent who I am as a martial artist.  When I think, I use strategy - derived from my martial art training, ideals and lessons taken from all of my teachers, all of my trials, tribulations and injuries etc.  When I deal with people I strive to act with compassion, empathy - traits I learned from years of martial art training and years of living.  When I run into struggles and life throws me lemons - I use my skills of patience - which I learned from training, teaching, dealing with students and their parents and being an owner of a school as well as all the physical lesson.  I never look at things as problems - I look at them each as unique situation, similar to that of a math problem. I only need to think of the equation to come up with the answer to the problem and those decisions are rooted in me being a martial artist.   So my mind can sort through the issues and make lemonade out of the lemons martial art style.

When I wake up in the morning I do it as a martial artist - throughout the day, I live as a martial artist and at night when I go to sleep - I lay my head to rest as a martial artist.  You see for me, the physical training is what brought me to where  I am now and my physical training may slow down as I get older and  I have to remain a physical warrior on a daily basis.  When I am not training physically -  I use my spiritual training and mental training as a martial artist, to live as a warrior.  I consider myself a martial artist.  So I ask you, do you do the martial arts or are you a MARTIAL ARTIST??  

Shihan Allie Alberigo is a career martial artist with 48 years experience, 25 in which he has taught 10's of thousands of students since he has opened his school.  If you have any questions or requests for future blogs, do not hesitate to email him or post a comment below.   

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Heart of A Flower - Kajo Waraku


Even though this is a few years old, it still stands the test of time.  You may think of things in your life today, that may be totally relevant to what I am speaking about.  The tragedy I speak of in this video, is old news now.  However, the same thing goes on every day or at minimum we are hearing tons of bad and negative things on a daily basis. I hope you like this.

I have been training in the martial arts for well over 4 decades. I look back and sometimes can't even believe where the time has gone.  When I was a young child I remember looking at my parents, seeing them, thinking they were old.  Never realizing that there was a possibility that I would be that age.  I now look at my life and take inventory of what I have accomplished, what I have accumulated and where I am currently.  I can tell you the one thing that is my most prized accomplishment, was easiest to acquire, because it was becoming a dad.  It didn't take all that much effort, nothing compared to all the others things that I have accomplished.  Training in the martial arts for over 48 years, running business', buying real estate, paying bills and doing my best to succeed in this monetary world we live.  The funny thing is that all of those things have brought me happiness, but nothing has made more complete then that of being a father to the most wonderful daughter on the planet.  This is simply a lesson in understanding that it is really the simple things in life that create beauty.

A sunset on a beautiful summer evening, the first flakes of snow falling in the brisk cool air of winter, the butterflies in your stomach when you lay eyes up the person you fall in love with, the pride that streaks through your body, when your children succeed at taking their first steps, the taste of a well prepared meal - cooked with love and of course as a martial art teacher, seeing someone take the same pride and love you have for your martial art and the martial arts at large.  

These are all things that we take for granted on a daily basis, yet without us even knowing these items fuel our very soul and make us human and allow us to live life with a purpose.  It is our solemn duty to live our lives to the fullest in the most positive of ways.  When we wake up each morning we can ask ourselves three questions.

1) What am I going to do today to make a difference?
2)  What am I going to do today to make someone else's life better.
3) What can I do to create and contribute to a legacy that will change the world for the better?

Monday, May 8, 2017

Convenience Morality! What is your True North.


Convenience Morality
When I was a young man around the age of 20, one of my martial art teachers taught me a very valuable lesson.  Actually the reality is he did it unintentionally by stealing from me.  Just recently another person that I thought was a friend of mine and a high ranking grandmaster did something similarly by showing me their true colors in a conversation we had, unveiling he had been holding a grudge for many years and never truly looked at me as a friend.  In the first story the teacher didn’t technically reach into my pocket and take my money or go into one of my bank accounts and steal.   We had entered into a business partnership together and he went back on a series of promises resulting in a huge amount of money lost for me and years of time wasted.  The deal was, I would work hard and put in the time and make money through a series of companies we started and we would invest the profits into real estate, later flipping the properties for a profit and keep growing the business. 

At one point he decided he was going to live in the very house we invested in and make it his permanent residence.  In turn, I was going to lose out on all the time, money, effort and energy I had put into this first deal.  He justified his actions 100 different ways, skewing the facts but the reality was, he was living in a house I worked hard for to buy.  This was one of the most valuable lessons I ever learned.

Skip ahead 35 years, as a martial art teacher running a rather successful martial art school I deal with people on a daily basis interacting with hundreds of people.  While the majority of clients are kind, honest, loving great people, I have seen a trend that supports my theory, leading me to believe that a majority of people will do what is right, expected and proper as long as it fits neatly into their schedule.  If it takes above and beyond effort to do what is correct they may stop, making an excuse or finding a reason to walk away and not do anything at all.  I have come to one definitive conclusion - society has adapted what I call “Convenience Morality.”

In a many situations people are frozen in the feeling of ease and comfort.  One of my mentors and self-help guru’s Tony Robbins talks about the human desire to experience pleasure.  I agree with his statement.    Sometimes though this quest for pleasure may be short term and result in long term pain or at a minimum wasted time - RE: drinking alcohol, smoking, drugs, stealing, cheating, over eating or eating improperly etc. Another example that is less drastic may be procrastination.  Waiting till the last minute to study for a test and then cramming.  This person may pass the test but they will forget the material just as quickly – resulting in wasted time due to the lack of actual knowledge for time spent.  The initial desire to experience pleasure is destroyed by the long term result of long lasting pleasure. The same goes for Morality.  What can I do today that is easy to help people?  There are a small percent of the population that will go out of their way to help people if it doesn’t fit into their comfort zone or pleasure.  For example if we help someone and it makes us feel good, and is easy to do, we may do it. But if we know helping someone may create pain for us, a larger group of the population will avoid it.  This again, is a matter or convenience or comfort.

I have proven this over and over again when I run charity events in my martial art school. With the mass volume of students I have in my school we could ban together and make a considerable difference.  Unfortunately, when I speak to my students, parents and friends, they look me in the face and yes me to death.   They don’t actually go out of their way to help.

Recently out of 350 people asked to help raise money for the C.T.F – Children’s Tumor Foundation only 30 people stepped up and actually helped us raise money.  Some I really pressured and the only reason they did anything was to avoid the pressure I was putting on them on a daily basis, while others stepped up willingly.  My pitch to all students was to simple, go out and ask 5 people to donate.  It didn’t matter if they only raised $20, which is a very small amount.  If we multiplied that by 350 people we would have raised $5000.  Instead 30 people went above and beyond and we raised $2700 dollars.  10% of the people put the effort forward, while 320 people stood by and did nothing. 

Now in their defense, I can say, they are all great people: who knows how busy, involved with other charities or not aligned with this event they are.   Maybe they are not comfortable with asking others, maybe feel funny or do not like the feeling they get when put in this situation.  Maybe what I feel is right, is totally 100% different to them.  

Again, this supports my theory of “Convenience Morality.”  If it is not entirely inline with their life, then they step away and do nothing.  Another quick example is litter.  I continually still see people throwing garbage out the window of their car, the biggest being cigarette’s.  When my daughter was about 10 did a cleanup of a park with her girl scout troop – she cleaned up nearly one hundred discharged cigarette’s among other garbage.  I can’t imagine people don’t realize what they are doing. What is it? Do they not care?  Again, it is all about convenience.  The convenience morality. 

So rather then continuing negatively with what people should do.  I want to layout a few scenario’s to help you or others grow their compassion and morality muscles and change their paradigm.  

5 Steps to Change

1.                 Write down 3 things you would like to see change around you.  For example: Litter, over eating etc.  Then decide what you can do to make a difference. Remember – picking up garbage when you see it, removes it for others.

2.                 Help to educate others about your quest and this type of mentality.  Take this article and share it with others.  Ask them to be a part of the change.  Start a movement.

3.                 Try to pass down your good behavior to your family.  Don’t say “do as I say, not as I do.” Actually lead by example and teach others to do the same. 

4.                 Create an awareness on facebook, or email friends about the good things you’re doing.  For example:  It was gross but I did it anyway – I cleaned up garbage on the side of the road, or in my neighbor’s yard.  Etc.

5.                 Pay it forward – ask people that you do good for to do good for someone else. Not pay it back, but pay it forward.  If you do a good deed and they pay it forward, it can literally impact millions.  Remember we can easily complain about things we do not like, or we can be a part of the change. Let’s make a difference.    

Allie Alberigo is a father, martial artists, martial arts school owners, entrepenuer and martial art and business consultant.  For more information please email Allie at or call 1 888 Lininja or friend him on face book  Allie Alberigo Shihan.