The power of martial arts melded with yoga and meditation seems almost a contradiction, but instructor Cameron Shayne thinks otherwise. Shayne is the founder and kancho of Budokon.
Shayne describes this integration of yoga, meditation, and martial arts that he developed in 2000 as "living art". Many celebrities and athletes have benefited from the way of Budokon, including Courtney Cox, Chris Tucker, Kerri Walsh, and Cassey Jennings.
Shayne is experienced in Hatha and Ashtanga yoga methods, as well as Okinawan Karate, Gracie jiu-jitsu, and Olympic-style Taekwondo. He weaves all of these disciplines together to form the Budokon practice.
LoveToKnow Yoga asked Shayne to outline the philosophy of Budokon and how mixed martial arts redefined with yoga and meditiation can expand the enlightened spirit.
Budokon: An Interview with Kancho Cameron Shayne
The mainstream image of martial arts is one of entertainment more than a serious body and mind discipline. What is a better way for people to understand the many forms of martial arts?
The mainstream image in general is a direct result of the mainstream mind. It sees and uses everything as entertainment. Thus, I see no better way for people to understand martial art or yoga or meditation outside of simply gaining more understanding of self. Once they can more clearly see past the illusion that the physical world is here for their entertainment and recognize that it is here for their cultivation, nothing will change.
Budokon is pointedly multi-layered: mind, body, spirit, and power. What influences in your life helped you develop the philosophy of Budokon?
I can honestly say that the great masters that came before my generation were most influential. I was raised a Christian, but I also studied the teachings of Buddha, Loa Tzu, Confucius, Shunryu Suzuki, Inayat Khan, and many more. These were my first teachers but as I have grown older, I have relied less on the words and experiences of others and recognized that the work they achieved was through their personal work. Therefore, I read less these days and do more of my own personal work.
The Reunion of Martial Arts and Yoga
Please explain how, in your program, yoga poses prepare the body for the mixed martial arts movements and why that's important.
Yoga postures create the space, range, and alignment the practitioner needs to safely transition into their martial arts practice. This is simply because the physiology of yogic postures is identical to that of the martial arts.
What is it about Budokon that you feel others find attractive?
People resonate with the traditional values and philosophy of the art. It remains true to the fruits that it bears in those who give themselves to it completely. As we grow wiser, we return to our foundation. Budokon was built upon my desire to move from that place. That is why it is not fancy or complicated. It is very simple. That is not to say it is an easy practice, but it is a simple practice.
What do you recommend as the first step on this path of mixed martial arts, yoga, and meditation?I encourage people to come and do teachers' training. That might seem a ridiculous statement but it is not. Our philosophy is simply, "If you can do, you can teach. If you cannot teach, then you cannot do".
Therefore, even our first belts are considered sensei (teachers). And what better way to start off learning something than to learn as if you were going to teach it? That is not to say everyone who goes through our teachers' training program is going to teach, but they are taught to think and move like teachers from the very beginning.
Get Started in Budokon
Interested in expanding your yoga practice with mixed martial arts? Budokon for Beginners is currently available on DVD, as is a Budokon DVD to aid weight loss.
Shayne released a new series of DVDs in January 2007. Visit the Budokon International website for more information.
~Tracey L. Kelley
The author of this article received a promotional disc of "Budokon for Beginners" to complete this interview.