Archive for July, 2009

Think Big? Think Small? Or Think Better?

Posted in philosophy with tags on July 31, 2009 by gohelpyourself


By Anthony O. Alcantara

It’s funny how creative we can be in making sense of our world. We can even interpret things to suit our fancy.

It need not be a bad thing, though.

For example, we’ve probably heard people say, “Think big! That’s the way to succeed.”

Maybe it was Dr. David Schwartz, author of “The Magic of Thinking Big,” who popularized this mantra. And, in a way, he’s right. A big goal, like the Big Hairy Audacious Goal or BHAG of some management gurus, can spur us to action.

Why? Because BHAGs excite us. It infuses us with drive, thrill and empowering anticipation. It sets up our mind to find ways to do the seemingly impossible. It focuses our psychic energies to achieve our goal.

But it doesn’t work for everyone. Some people may be paralyzed by the fear of not achieving this BHAG. Since the goal is so big, some get discouraged that any little progress they make toward that goal is not enough.

They don’t see results that are tangible enough for them that they give up. They tell themselves, “How could I possibly earn a million dollars with so few clients?”

That’s one way we can look at it.

Another school of thought doesn’t focus on BHAGs. For them, BHAGs are quite daunting. So they think small. They believe that small achievements, small goals, small improvements can lead to some big-time rewards in the future.

They nod their heads to the Chinese adage: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” It makes a lot of sense, too.

When you focus on the small things that you can control and tally up your small achievements everyday, you’ll soon realize that you’ve achieved what you thought was impossible.

Incremental improvements can indeed have monumental outcomes.

So what now? Do we think big or do we think small?

For me, situations like this call for thinking better instead. By thinking better, we realize that thinking big and thinking small both have their own merits. We learn to be creative and we learn to synthesize ideas that seem conflicting. We learn to connect the dots.

We can think big and use BHAGs as our overall goals, then think small and use incremental improvements or steps to reach those BHAGs.

Thinking better is a way to explore our limits without whacking ourselves for not achieving enough. If we think better and make ourselves better everyday in any way, we’ve achieved something significant already.

Each night we can ask ourselves, “Did I make myself better today? What can I do tomorrow to improve myself?”

Thinking better is a way for us to do better and be better people. With a bit of luck, we can make our country and our world a better one, too.

What do you think?



Pressure points

Posted in martial arts with tags , on July 22, 2009 by gohelpyourself


Some useful pressure points.

Some useful pressure points.


By Anthony O. Alcantara

When I was a kid, I was fascinated by how Kung Fu masters can paralyze their opponents with some precise finger jabs on some pressure points. Their opponents were helpless. And I thought it was cool.

When I got older and gained some experience in martial arts, earning a black belt in Aikido, a blue belt in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu, and having several years of experience in Judo, Pekiti Tirsia Kali, which is focused on knife-fighting, and Kendo, which dealt with sword fighting, I realized that there are hundreds of pressure points you can effectively use.

But then, not all pressure points are created equal. Some are difficult to find. Some don’t have an effect on others. Some require considerable skill and force in execution.

I’m going to share with you some of the pressure points that, in my experience, are 1) easy to find, 2) requiring little or minimal effort to attack, and 3) very effective when used for self-defense. And I’m going to show you how to attack these pressure points. Though I don’t wish that you use this knowledge someday, it may come in handy. You can never tell.

1.     Temples – Attack the temple with gusto using the big joint of your middle finger when you form a fist. The big joint should protrude a little as shown in the picture. Punch the temple with the protruded joint. You can also grind it on your attacker’s temple. It’s painful. Try it on yourself if you don’t believe me.

2.     Eyes – I’ve never met anyone who can resist an attack in the eyes. Poke them with your fingers, or use your thumbs to try to gouge them out. It will be painful and distracting for your attacker.

3.     Ears – The eardrum is a sensitive thing. It can pop with sudden pressure. You can slap the ear with your hand, with the commitment to pop the eardrum like a balloon. I assure you that it will disorient your attacker and cause him a lot of pain if done correctly.

4.     Maxilla / Nose – The maxilla, or that part of upper lip with that groove in the middle, contains some nerves that are sensitive to pain. It can even make your eyes water when struck. It’s the same with your nose bridge. For those who do not know how to punch, the best way to attack this pressure point is by using your head when your attacker is close. A head butt would be illegal in sports, but definitely not in the streets.

5.     Carotid Artery – A cut in the carotid artery will lead to a sudden decrease in pressure in the brain, unconsciousness, and eventually death. It’s that lethal. But we can also use a finger, or perhaps two fingers (forefinger and middle finger), to jab at this pressure point to cause pain and distract the attacker. If we use our knife hand and hit the pressure point with considerable force, we can even knock out the attacker with the sudden change in pressure in the brain.

6.     Base of Windpipe – This is one of my favorites. It can cause a gag or choke reflex when you try to plant your finger or thumb into it. Not even a gorilla of a man can ignore or resist an attack on this sweetspot pressure point. When you are being attacked with a frontal choke with two hands, this pressure point is easy to find and very effective.

7.     Carpals – Attack the carpals with the joint of your middle finger as mentioned earlier. You can knock the carpals to cause sudden pain or you can grind into the carpals to cause even greater pain.

8.     Fingers – All fingers when hyperextended, or bent against the joints, are painful. The best fingers to attack are the pinky finger and the ring finger. They are the weakest fingers.

In my experience, these are the eight pressure points that are most useful and effective. When your attacker gets near you, use these pressure points to distract your attacker, inflict him some pain, and give you a chance to get away.

With these pressure points, you may never get to paralyze your attackers like a Kung Fu master. But you get to live another day.