Thursday, January 29, 2009

The 24 inch Guage and Jiu Jitsu

Time for writing and getting thoughts down has become tougher. As with Life and Nature, things go through cycles. Whether it is finances or the whole economy, tides or planetary movements, all things move in cycles. The time one can focus on Freemasonry and to what extent will be cyclical. Between ones own personal blog, other Masonic blogs of interest, forums and emails; then ones own involvement in their own physical Lodges, whether an officer or regular participant, responsibilities add up. In my own world, business has taken up more time and my daughter is getting older which demands more intellectual involvement from me. My parents continue to only get older which demands more time and responsibilities as well. Family and vocation are to always take precedence in our lives. This comes back to balancing our time properly, which is taught to us as an Entered Apprentice in the 24 inch gauge.

The 24 inch gauge, which again is the first working tool offered to the newest and youngest Entered Apprentices. Why would our Masonic Forefathers have placed this Working Tool as the First object for contemplation upon the psyche of the neophyte? What other meanings can be gleamed from the study of this particular object?

The Trinity? Man's threefold nature? Mind, Body, Spirit? The Emotional Soul, the Intellectual Soul, the Conscious Soul? The Dense Body, the Vital Body, the Desire Body? The Divine Spirit, the Life Spirit, the Human Spirit? Past, Present, Future? Involution, Evolution and Epigenesis? If we want to we can find how the number 3 is all around us. Three degrees to Freemasonry only. Man has devised more to it, but the building blocks of Freemasonry are the 3 degrees and that is what needs to be focused on. That could be one lesson of the 24 inch gauge, concentrate on the 3 degrees only.

Right now, I personally have taken a little hiatus from making Freemasonry a priority (mind and soul development) and am now focusing on my physical temple. For too long I have let my physical temple wither for too long. So I started training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. My training has been going on now for a month and I love it. This training is also motivated by the desire to teach my daughter these principles of ground fighting and defense. I feel a young woman could really learn to defend themselves against friend or foe that puts you in an uncompromising position. The dedication I am taking to this training is paying off. I am the lightest I have been since college. I am now less than 240lbs! A few years ago I had allowed myself to reach 270+ lbs at 6'2''. I carried it well being an athlete, but I could tell it was doing damage to my inner workings, and my knees and back. I slowly started controlling my mouth, by not shoveling in as much food anymore. Gluttony I was guilty of! I then decided to dive into this Martial Art for 3 reasons, Cardio, technical knowledge of the Art and to teach my daughter.

Being a competitive man, it was difficult at first to have smaller men control you physically on the ground through technique. One had to bury their ego to have to take a beating and learn from it, then analyze what one had done and grow from it. I want to get better fast, so I am watching instructional videos when I can, trying to read about technique as well as philosophical approaches to the Art. I find it as fascinating as Freemasonry. I am finding it is allot like chess. One needs an ability to think while under duress and pressure. Jiu Jitsu is a submission type of grappling martial art, so certain actions spawn reactions. What needs to be learned is that non trained people have natural defensive reactions, where a trained Jiu Jitsu practitioner will react completely differently. It is always thinking about how to improve ones position without getting yourself caught in a submission type of hold.

My flexibility is getting better. It is very tough on the hips. My shoulders and wrists are trashed from grappling with multiple 300lb-ers! The body was not used to using these muscles in this manner, as well as the abuse from past athletics has ruined most of my joints. Time, patience and perseverance is making me a better practioner, having better cardio and becoming more flexible. I believe if the body is not functioning at its peak ability, the blood and oxygen cannot and do not work at their full capacity as TGAOTU had intended them to. There are many writings where "wrestling" with demons or desires is used as allegory for maintaining morality?

As a Freemason, I had let the Physical Temple go to long without any concentration or work! When most of us look around our Lodge rooms, do we see craftsman who have stopped working on 1/3 of their being? Belly masons I believe they are labeled?
We wonder why medical expenses are so high.

Gluttony with food and lack of physical exercise make a slovenly group. Whether masons or any org., we need to take care of our Temples or they will crumble down around us. Remember the lesson of the 24 inch gauge: Mind, Body and Spirit. Do not neglect any of the three and give them equal attention to perfect the being. I know I have some my Lodge brothers interested in me teaching them stuff I have learned. We have two Brothers that are both well over 300lbs, both under 40. I am trying to get them moving on their Temples as well. One may need more focus than another, but never neglect the Temple that TGAOTU gave YOU to dwell in while alive. TGAOTU may see that as disrespecting His House that he rented to you! TGAOTU built an infinite amount of temples for His Children to reside in, and You trash that present? What kind of Freemason can one be if he abuses the Temple given him by his Creator?
Again, just a thought and an interpretation of a Working Tool presented to us at our earliest stages in Freemasonry.
Abuse of the physical Temples built by masons and the abuse of the physical Temples built by TGAOTU.

In My Humble Opinion
Study your VSL about grappling to strengthen your Temple:

Genesis Chapter 32 verses 24-32.

Afterwards, Jacob went back and spent the rest of the night alone. A man came and wrestled with Jacob until just before daybreak. When the man saw that he could not win, he struck Jacob on the hip and threw it out of joint. They kept on wrestling until the man said, “Let go of me! It’s almost daylight.”

“You can’t go until you bless me,” Jacob replied.

The man asked, “What is your name?”

“Jacob” he answered.

The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have wrestled with God and with men, and you have won. That’s why your name will be Israel.”

Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face, and I am still alive.”

So he named the place Peniel. He was limping because he had been struck on the hip, and the muscles on his hip joint had been injured. That’s why even today people in Israel don’t eat the hip muscle of any animal.
Genesis Chapter 30 verse 8.
So Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, (and) I have indeed prevailed.”
Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 12 and 13:

We are not wrestling against humans. We are wrestling against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will be standing firm.

I believe that God knows that we are still wrestling today. Not just in the sport but life in general. God knows that the sport is a sport that can teach lessons in life that is why he uses it in the way he does. God knows that we wrestled with life yesterday, will so today, and will certainly do so tomorrow.

I believe that God knows that many of us today are facing problems and obstacles. Not just on the mat but more importantly, in life. We know what many of those obstacles and difficulties are. They include things like; Gluttony, Drugs, Bullies, Issues at School, Alcohol, Peer Pressure, War and many more. The truth is that we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a fallen and imperfect world that often takes along with it innocent victims. While some may consider it unjust for God to allow these types of things to happen, I see it as an ultimate loving God that would love us enough that he would ultimately allow us to do even stupid things, even things that unfortunately might cause harm to some one else. The love of God allows us to make the choices we make, even bad ones.

God also allows us to learn lessons from life and the things we become involved in. That is in part what this last passage of scripture is about. God loves wrestling/grappling and is in part telling us that we can learn lessons from wrestling/grappling, lessons in real way’s and with real meaning that wrestlers/grapplers can probably relate to better than anyone else.
Plato (427-347 B.C.E.)

The son of wealthy and influential Athenian parents, Plato began his philosophical career as a student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens where Aristotle studied. Plato was raised in a moderately well-to-do aristocratic family. His father was named Ariston, and his mother Perictione. Plato’s given name was Ariistocles, whereas his wrestling coach, Ariston of Argos, marked him with the nickname Platon, meaning broad on the account of his robust figure. Diogenes mentions alternative accounts that Plato derived his name from the breadth (platutes) of his eloquence, or else because he was very wide (platus) across the forehead. According to Dicaerchus, Plato wrestled at the Isthmian games.


Jason M. Beauford said...

Congratulations on your decision to train in BJJ. I too train in BJJ but have back-burnered it for now until after I am raised to MM (which is next week actually).

BJJ is physically demanding and can be mentally frustrating. You must keep at it. Whenever I face a challenging opponent (being a white belt with black tip, they are all challenging) I think of these helpful words: "Never let go".

Check out for some really great tips!

Good luck in your journey. It is a long and fulfilling one.

2 BOWL CAIN said...

Excellent my brother!
thanks for stopping by and good luck with your raising!
I am a past master whose best degree was the Master Mason!

Let me know how it goes.

Rhalan Gracie is supposed to be in cleveland for a seminar which I will be attending.
Hekio just passed away!

Travel safe my Brother, the road becomes treacherous with your next step!
so mote it be

Prenna said...

Pardon me for butting in. I'm a non-Mason who reads your blog regularly. I thought I'd recommend the e-book and mailing list at:

I'm not affiliated with that site in any way but it's got some awesome info that you might find useful. The e-book in particular helps one put everything together that one learns in class. Just thought you might be interested.

2 BOWL CAIN said...

Thank You Prenna!
You are not butting in at all.
Any Light is always appreciated.
In Masonry or any Martial Art, I am always trying to Improve my self in masonry and jiu jitsu while learning to subdue my passions at the same time.
Thank you for visiting and adding to the mix!

Big Tom the Great and Magnificent said...

MY name is Big Tom..I am a freemason and I also am huge into traing in MMA and particularly Brazilian JiuJitsu. I really enjoy your blog and i have linked it on my page. Feel free to read my blog and i may include some masonic topics in the near future but it is mostly personal stuff and opinions. I hope to see more good stuff on your page.

Your Brother

Big Tom Van Vleet