The Total Extreme Budo Academy (TEBA) was founded by Thushara Ratnayake, a programmer at IBM who decided to chase his dream. TEBA will be doing a demonstration and lesson in Avi Nardia, Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Women's Self Defense.
TEBA will also discuss the philosophy of martial arts, and how exactly it helps people. I got to ask Thushara some questions, here's what he had to say.
It seems you've made martial arts part of your life for a very long time. What got you into it? What made you stay with it?
Yes, I’ve been practicing martial arts for 30 years now, starting at school. My first sensei was a family friend- my father (also a martial artist) encouraged me to attend.
I started martial arts with Karate and had no clue what it really encompassed other than being able to fight people. But as time went on, I realized there’s a lot more to learn other than just fighting.
Almost all Japanese martial arts end with the term “do”, example, ‘karate-do’, Ken-do’, Aiki-do’, Kyu-do’, etc.
‘Do’ literally means “Way of Life” and this deep philosophy is one of the main reasons I’ve accepted the ‘Martial Art Way’ (Bu-do).
The legendary Miyamoto Musashi stated- “There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself “
You don't always hear about SAP programmers at IBM, starting a martial arts academy. That's as much a business decision as a personal one. What made you decide to take that plunge?
Yes, it’s a very rare combination- an IT & a martial arts professional specially in a country like Sri Lanka.
I completed my Master’s in IT at the University of Keele, UK and am proud to say I could do this with the assistance of my martial arts training.
Unlike other sports, martial arts involves as much mental training as it does physical and it encourages practitioners to create their own unique style instead of just following what a sensei teaches you.
Through rigorous training, you commit movements and strikes to muscle memory. When starting martial arts there are 4 main mind sets involved:
- Shoshin, ‘Beginners Mind’. This is when we need to pay attention to our sensei and diligently adapt those teachings based on our physical and mental capabilities. This we have to carry with us even after attaining a black belt (ShoDan, ‘Beginners Level’), as this isn’t the end but a new beginning.
-Mushin, ‘No Mind’. This sounds confusing but what it means is, after constant practice, a student should be able to carry out specific tasks without actually having to think about the task at hand. It becomes second nature to them.
- Fudoshin, ‘Immoveable Mind’. This helps the student guard his/her mind from outside influences and contributes to his/her effectiveness.
-Zanshin, ‘Remaining Mind’. This simply means keeping focused and alert while assessing that all potential threats are neutralized.
“Stay ready, so you don’t have get ready”- Conor McGregor
These mental lessons can be used in our day to day activities, either professional or personal and irrespective of social status or other factors.
As I’ve benefitted greatly from martial arts, I wanted to share that experience with others and decided to start TEBA (Total Extreme Budo Academy).
There are lots of martial arts schools and classes out there. What makes this one different?
Master Kano Jigoro (Founder of Judo), stated “It is not important to be better than someone else but to be better than yesterday”.
At TEBA we follow this philosophy with high quality martial arts education, with the main aim of challenging ourselves to be better than we were yesterday and not comparing or copying others.
Also, a martial arts school cannot be a place of business with our students treated as clients and myself treated as a CEO.
I’ve spent more than half my life dedicated to such arts as Karate, Krav Maga, Kapap, Brazilian Jujitsu, Kyudo, Kendo, Aikido, Judo, Kyusho Jitsu and I wanted to share my knowledge with society and hopefully help people in their own lives.
What is in the future for the academy? What groups of people do you think would get the most from attending your school?
My ultimate goal is to provide a high quality martial arts education to people genuinely interested in taking up this amazing activity.
People who are looking at improving themselves physically, mentally and even spiritually will gain the most from taking up martial arts.
TEBA welcomes any person who can leave their ego outside the dojo (not as easy as it sounds).
How has martial arts changed how you live your life, and approach the world? Have your students had the same experience? Is this why you teach martial arts, for the spiritual value?
Karate is considered a martial art for sophisticated people and in Japanese it’s referred to as “karate wa kunshi no bugei”.
My aim is to popularize martial arts to help people with their professional and personal life.
As my Kyudo sensei would always say “the ultimate goal…is the realization of ‘Shi’ (Truth), ‘Zen’ (Goodness), and ‘Bi’ (Beauty). This is something valid in our daily lives and will also help us become perfectionists in everything we approach.
Martial arts education will also help us become productive citizens of the world and in Japanese this is reffered to as ‘Ai Koku’- make the flowers bloom for the sake of your country.
I have personally received a lot of benefits from following martial arts and am happy to say that my students are also seeing the inherent benefits and values this kind of an education can impart.
I prefer to teach my students to become not only great warriors but better human beings- physically, mentally and spiritually.