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Warriorship: Historical Archery


You may have seen this guy on Youtube. Lars has clearly spent years of dedicated practice developing a very particular set of historical archery skills- those used for rapid fire and at relatively close ranges. There is only one way to develop skills like this- correct practice and constant repetition. The “correct practice” part came from reading sources on combat archery to come up with something distinctly more realistic than the sport archery of today.

Historical archery is enjoying a revival, especially in places like Hungary, which have particularly distinguished archery traditions. Their method of practicing rapid-fire horse archery, also using a sheaf of arrows held in the hand, is particularly noteworthy. This practice takes them through a 180 degree arc, from virtually straight ahead to the so-called “Parthian shot” at a target behind them.


Where these practices focus on speed, Japanese Kyudo, or Zen archery, takes another approach. Rather than developing speed through practicing fast, they develop speed, power and accuracy by practicing slowly. This method is common to a number of Asian martial arts- the more slowly you practice, the more deeply whatever you are doing sinks into your muscle memory, and the faster you will be when speed is required. But more importantly, this method emphasises Hara, the complete single-pointed focus and total alignment of the body’s energy behind each shot. The objective of Zen archery is to hold the bow at the point of highest tension with an empty mind and absolute focus on oneness with the target. When it is time to shoot, it is not the volition of the archer that should loose the arrow. Even though this practice seems monotonous to Westerners, Japanese archers in feudal times were renowned for the power of their bows, the accuracy of their shots and their rapid rate of fire.


Correct practice, constant repetition and single-pointed focus are the skills that unite historical archery with the warrior approach to mastering ANY skill, whether in the ancient world or in the modern one. And you can use this same approach to master ANY aspect of life that you wish…

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

“Opening the Dragon Gate…”

In “Thick Face, Black Heart,” I mentioned the amazing Taoist master Wang Liping.  His biography, Opening the Dragon Gate, is a treasure trove for anyone seeking to understand the path to real personal resilience.

In Northeastern China in 1962, three old men came to the door of the Wang family house asking for food.  Wang Liping, the boy who answered the door, knew immediately that there was something different about them.  They were the three lineage holders of the Dragon Gate sect of Taoism, and for the next several years, Wang Liping would study with them in remote and mountainous places.  Opening the Dragon Gate follows the path of the young disciple as his masters systematically transmit to him the tools of self-mastery.

The book is a spiritual adventure, gripping in style, endlessly fascinating in its details, and uplifting in its view of human potential.  There are any number of useful principles and techniques to pull out, but here are just a few, and they should sound familiar:

Sitting:  Wang Liping’s first prolonged exercise involved sitting for long periods of time and remained the most important kind of exercise.  Sitting in this sense “requires that the mind be still as a mountain all the time, whatever you are doing, in action or repose.”

Stillness: The Taoist teaching of stillness requires not allowing external influences of any kind to disturb the mind.  “Whatever you are doing, always strive to overcome perceptions, cognitions and feelings, and you will have no afflictions.”

Cultivation: Life is something to be cultivated with care and deliberation.  Most people, as the Taoist masters observe, do not know how to do this systematically.  This is the main theme of the book, and so I will encourage you to read it rather than recapitulating the whole thing.

Cultivation ranges from sophisticated energy work through theoretical education to such basics as diet.  One of the first things the three masters do is to teach Wang Liping fasting and eliminate such harmful substances as grains from his diet.  Of course, there are many higher realms of refinement which we will leave to the book.

Everyday Tasks: None of the above effort is any good without exerting the effort to live differently, to clean up the inputs and outputs, as it were, of daily life.  That is where “everyday tasks” come in.

There are two sorts of these tasks.  The “external” tasks include avoiding envy and jealousy, avoiding malice and the desire to overcome others, not watching for other people’s faults, not boasting, and not talking about likes and dislikes.

The “internal” task is basically watchfulness, monitoring your inner state to eliminate doubts, fears and harmful desires to achieve a state of clarity and inner freedom.

Even though these are some of the most basic methods, they are by far the most indispensable.  This is the foundation that allowed Wang Liping to take his studies to the highest levels, and is indispensable for anyone starting out in any authentic tradition.

On first reading the book, I was struck by the changes that come to Wang Liping’s body, mind, and capabilities as his organism is slowly returned to its natural function by the old masters.  All authentic ancient traditions understand that the human organism as we commonly understand it has very little in common with the organism of the fully-realized person in terms of its functions and capabilities.  Wang Liping is taught how to cultivate his faculties for many purposes, ranging from healing remotely by energetic means to altering the weather to subduing threatening wild animals with the power of his voice.  His organism is transformed on every level as it begins to reverse the pollution which enters into human nature.  Even the border between life and death is crossed and re-crossed.

At one point, the three old masters first walk their young apprentice into the ground, and then, pretending to send him on ahead while they rest, greet him already resting ten miles ahead.  The secret was a Taoist walking technique.  Other traditions have also reported phenomena which involve walking long distances in a short time.  At the time, those old masters were around 80 years old!

Wang Liping’s  relationship with the natural world also changes.  We see that events from the past  remain in the Earth’s energetic field and can be reviewed by those who have cultivated sufficient inner power and know how to access the information .  Animals, plants, weather patterns, are all seen in a different light, and interaction with the natural world changes and becomes nuanced.  Human beings are seen as microcosms to the universe’s macrocosm, and it is in this light that the significance of nature for personal cultivation and of personal cultivation for the natural world is examined.  Everything is seen as part of a living system, everything effecting everything else.

The tradition of the Dragon Gate sect is remarkable because it is so obviously a highly developed scientific tradition, with a long legacy of experimentation on the human condition and the natural world on which to draw.  The emphasis of this science is not on a mechanistic understanding, but a holistic one.  It seeks the amazing and under-explored capacities of the human organism and the hidden properties of nature, improving the function of both.

Even though the Dragon Gate had traditionally been sustained in the mountains, the old sages saw that a time was coming when the world would need the resources of their tradition.  That was the destiny of Wang Liping, as it has been for cultivated people from many traditions in recent times.  Wang himself was deeply concerned with the esoteric and concealed nature of many useful teachings, and looks for ways to disseminate them more widely.

This book is highly recommended for anyone looking for sources on personal resilience or self-cultivation.  Enjoy!!

~Dr. Symeon Rodger 🙂

Meditation and Mastering Your Life

After watching the amazing video below, one Youtube viewer appended this saying from Milarepa, perhaps Tibet’s most beloved sage:

If ones tries to vanquish foes in the outer world,
They increase in greater measure.
If one conquers his Self-mind within,
All his foes soon disappear.
~ Milarepa (A tibetan yogi)

So enjoy this beautiful and profound animated video and ask yourself afterward, “How does this apply to MY life?”

To Learn Meditation

…and to begin to taste the incredible experience of life that proficiency in meditation offers to every human being, including you, join me this coming Thursday night at 9pm Eastern / 6pm Pacific, for a special multi-media presentation on:

The Meditation Miracle
4 Steps to Transforming Every Moment into Rock Solid Inner Peace, Health and Happiness
Thursday October 7 at 9pm Eastern / 6pm Pacific


Watch your email for further information!
~Dr. Symeon Rodger

Your Optimal Health Cheat Sheet

Turn up your speakers or read the text version below:

MP3 File

Over the last month I think I’ve given the “7 Deadly Spirals of Disease” teleclass about five times to various audiences totaling thousands of people.  It’s one of the most in-demand health presentations out there today. 

And while there’s a place for presentations that go into that much depth, there’s also a place for the high-level check list of things you can do to ensure fantastic health for years to come.  So here’s just such a list for you:

  1. Detox your body – There are lots of great detox systems out there.  One of my personal favorites is from a company called Blessed Herbs.  Detoxifying your system two to four times per year is highly advisable, since your body is being forced to deal with a toxic load that’s well in excess of its design specifications!

  2. Stop loading your body with new toxins – yes it’s time to start thinking about eating more organic fruits and veggies, meat that’s hormone and antibiotic-free, free range eggs, and the like.  And, for that matter, to beware of any non-organic personal care products you use, such as toothpastes, shampoos, cosmetics and the rest.  If it goes on your skin, it goes into your bloodstream.
  3. Get everything circulating – one of the greatest keys to excellent health is to take your entire body through its total range of motion on a regular basis, pack your organs, bones and fasciae with Qi (vital energy) and ensure that your blood, spinal fluid, lymph fluid and Qi are all circulating unobstructed throughout your body.  This alone will short-circuit the disease process. To find out more, go to
  4. Optimize your diet – learn what your body really needs nutritionally.  Take Dr. Mercola’s free nutritional typing test to figure out what you should be eating.  Learn from internationally famous nutritional expert Michael Morningstar by taking the course he and I put together at
  5. Avoid the electromagnetic storm – learn about the dangers of information-bearing radio waves.  Avoid wireless internet, be careful about how and how often you use your cell phone, your cordless phone and your laptop.  And be especially careful to educate your kids about this too!
  6. Cultivate gratitude – this the nature’s most natural stress-killer.  Whereas stress sends your body’s pH level into the disease-prone acidic range, the frequent practice of gratitude will have the opposite effect.  Remember, an alkaline body is a very poor host for illness.
  7. Smile habitually and never complain – this has the same effect.  Yes, you’re surrounded by the frustrating (and sometimes mind-bendingly stupid) actions of other people.  But the more you can learn to disregard it all, the more you’ll stress-proof yourself.  When your friends or coworkers complain, propose a solution instead!
  8. Give affection, get affection – people who give and receive affection frequently live longer and happier lives.  Become one of them!
  9. Deal with your emotions – this is one of the greatest keys to dealing with stress.  Learn simple and powerful tools like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or Be Set Free Fast (BSFF).  Then you’ll never again have to wallow helplessly in a puddle of negative emotion and put your health at risk. 
  10. Meditate – it’s one of the key elements of the ancient Taoist longevity system.  Moreover, it gives you mastery of your mind and emotions, and makes you totally stress-proof.  That’s in addition to all its spiritual benefits, of course.
  11. Learn to breathe – learn Normal Abdominal Breathing, the way the human being was meant to breathe.  This has enormous physical, psychological and spiritual benefits.  It’s even more powerful when you join your breath, your movement and your mental attention into one.  You can learn more at:
  12. Aim at harmony – we live in an anti-harmony culture.  Just walk down a busy street in any of our cities and you’ll realize we’ve constructed a way of life hostile to our physical and emotional health.  When you aim at physical and emotional harmony in your own life, you counteract the persistently destructive influence of the man-made outside world.  Again, will teach you more about this.
    Please note you shouldn’t try to do all of this or too much of it at once.  If you can implement just one of these this week or this month, you’ll be making great progress!  
    Remember that there’s no one, single silver bullet for your health.  There are several and you need to take them all into account when you’re building your new, healthier and more resilient lifestyle.  
    ~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

    Resilience Tip: Drop Your Interpretations of Reality

    We’re evaluating constantly.  “This course is going to be SO boring.”  “This meeting with my boss will be SO stressful.”  “I hate doing the grocery shopping.”  “How could she say something like that?”

    And on and on it goes.  We see the world not as it really is but as we’ve been conditioned to see it.  Well, that’s only partly true… We see the world as we have conditioned ourselves to see it.  Yes, we’re the biggest conditioning influence on ourselves, no doubt about it.

    One of the principle goals of all Authentic Ancient Traditions is to show you how to cleanse your mental continuum from all that temporal conditioning and finally break free – free from all those conventional perceptions you’ve been taught and free from all that fear, doubt, anxiety, self-limiting beliefs and other junk you’ve been busy repressing.

    Strange thing, though… you don’t break free by repressing all of this, but by allowing it to be there.  Many of your problems are the result of mentally running away from the discomfort of your emotions.  You only break free when you allow them to be, when you spend some time with them.  Of course, you first have to stop taking them so damn seriously.  

    Once you do that, you make a miraculous discovery… those emotions and beliefs that so troubled you are important.  They contain vital information for you.  They’re the manure that allows the beautiful flower to grow.  They’re part of the richness, the earthiness of life.  This is the mystery of how you “surrender” to reality while no longer allowing your habitual interpretations to run your life.  

    Of course, you may need some radical help to accomplish that.  Good thing help is on the way…

    ~ Dr. Symeon Rodger 


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