Are YOU a Martial Artist or Martial Scientist?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by MartialIntent, Nov 30, 2005.

  1. MartialIntent

    MartialIntent Black Belt

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    Should traditional martial disciplines not be classified as sciences instead of arts? Science after all, concerns itself with facts and details, distances, repeatable techniques, careful evaluation of situations and an appreciation of kinetics, impulse and motion.

    Most of us martial practitioners will have an excellent empirical understanding of a variety of sciences: biomechanics and physiology [joint manipulation / vital points / physical contact target areas], physics [speed and distance], mathematics and logic [critical evaluation of harmful situations] even psychology [self defense and competition] to name but a few.

    Surely an art on the other hand is defined by, and primarily concerned with emotions, feelings and other intangible notions? Are the mats or the street really the place to be practising an art??

    Obviously few would consider themselves a martial scientist [too uncool] but is this not a more appropriate definition?

    Fair enough, it's a matter of semantics but exactly how valid is the "art" classification in The Martial Arts? And what makes your martial discipline an art and not a science?
     
  2. Navarre

    Navarre Master Black Belt

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    An art does indeed deal with intangible qualities. Those qualities are ingrained in the martial arts. Such concepts as honor, discipline, and spiritual perspective are not visible on the dojo floor but are intrinsic to who we are as true martial artists.

    Such sciences as boxing or gun training can, in and of themselves, make you a better fighter. Martial arts make you a better person.
     
  3. Kenpodoc

    Kenpodoc 2nd Black Belt

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    Personally I'm more of a martial player. Not enough skill to be an artist, and not enough time to be a good scientist.

    Jeff
     
  4. terryl965

    terryl965 <center><font size="2"><B>Martial Talk Ultimate<BR

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    Diffently Martial Artist
    Terry
     
  5. MartialIntent

    MartialIntent Black Belt

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    Agreed, Honor, discipline and spirit are very much intrinsic to the martial disciplines but isn't it true that the "martial" aspect ie. fighting / warfare is rooted firmly in science? I'm increasingly persuaded that the "art" is merely a superficial issue - at least for many dojos I have attended.
    What do you think? Can a true practitioner not be trained through martial science alone? As I say, personal experience leads me to believe this is how the future will come to pass for many martial arts...
     
  6. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    These are arts, not sciences.
     
  7. MartialIntent

    MartialIntent Black Belt

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    Good answer! Wouldn't you say the science is the bit taught at the beginning? - proper distance, appropriate application, correct timing etc? What I'd consider the artful or more intangible notions [adaptability, improvisation, flow] if they're taught at all are usually taught only once the practitioner has more experience right? Or do I need to think about changing dojo?? :)
     
  8. Navarre

    Navarre Master Black Belt

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    The term "martial" refers to the physical aspect, yes. The fact that the complete term is "martial artist" denotes the union between the physical and the spiritual.

    I don't believe that a true Art could separate itself entirely from the spiritual component. If it does then it is instead a combat system.

    There are many of these and many work well. They probably are even derived from a martial art. However, a system of combat is not the same as a system for living. Only a true Art does that.

    Many beginning students are focused on the physical aspect of an art so it might seem that this is where all training begins. Ultimately though, I do not believe the two are separable.

    The discipline instilled from the moment one bows onto a dojo floor is an inherent part of the training. The physical aspect is not taught first. It is just more easily recognized.
     
  9. JAMJTX

    JAMJTX Blue Belt

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    Martial Arts are both Art and Science.

    Science in the theories and principles that make them work and art in the application.
     
  10. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    Notions of what is the proper distance, etc., vary quite a bit from style to style. It's more like different schools of drawing than it is like physics. It's a stylistic choice, not something derived scientifically from F=ma.
     
  11. MartialIntent

    MartialIntent Black Belt

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    By historical definition, of course.
    But we teach and are taught in the form of facts, details and repeatable drills, kata and techniques. Science and not art surely?

    From where does the "art" originate? The varying techniques utilised by each individual discipline and style are clearly defined, repeatable with practice by you or I - science, not art.

    If I dabbed a brush and filled a canvas with paint no one would say what I was doing automatically constituted an art. Yet I am applying a technique through my strokes on canvas just as I would apply a martial technique eg. rotate, kick, follow through. So how come we [society in general] automatically declare a martial "art" when we have a demonstration of a spinning kick / flower fist or any contemporary technique from a martial discipline? Is this not simply a demonstration of a scientific technique?
     
  12. DavidCC

    DavidCC Master of Arts

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    Typically, "science" says "this is the right answer, that is the wrong answer".

    Typically, "art" makes no such distinction. I can piss in a jar and put it on a pedastal and get people to go "ooo how relevant and meaningful".

    So when SL-4 says "this is the one way to correctly execute this technique and here is why" and some other branch of AK says "you can re-arrange these however you like"... well, to me that's the difference between art and science.

    "Art" can incorporate very specifc and organized techniques and disciplines but that does not make it science. When there are provable demonstrable principles that can establish objectively that watercolors are the WRONG way to paint, then painting will be a science.
     
  13. Grenadier

    Grenadier Administrator Staff Member

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    All of the above.

    An excellent read on this subject is Karatedo: Art, Sport, Science by Ridgely Abele. While it's primarily focused on the Shurite aspect, it does offer some interesting insights into this subject.
     
  14. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    No. How does what you just said distinguish the martial arts from ballet? Substitute Beethoven's Fifth Symphony for 'kata' and tell me how it differs from playing the piano? These are arts--historical patterns of movement that are largely arbitrary (as comparing Western boxing to Hsing-I clearly shows).

    This is exactly wrong. I say again, ballet is clearly defined and repeatable--the Nutcracker will be performed almost everywhere next month--and so it seems to fit your definition of a science. What does your definition exclude as being non-scientific? Anything?

    In what sense would it be 'scientific' ("Of, relating to, or employing the methodology of science")? I don't see a science here:

    There are loose definitions of the word 'science' through which it might fit, as in "I've got packing a suitcase down to a science" or "the science of purchasing" as suggested in other meanings of the term at that link. But in the context of art vs. science, I assume the meaning is as given above. One might argue that designing an art could involve some of those activities--though there's so much arbitrariness I'd rather contrast it with an engineering designing with free parameters than with a scientist investigating a phenomenon--but in doing one? That's an art, plain and simple. The Art of Warfare, martial arts...the right term is being used.
     
  15. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    No. Science doesn't say that at all. Mathematics does, but not science. Scientists know that quantum physics and relativity are incompatible, that evolutionary theory is incomplete, that the theory of gravity needs work, that we don't fully understand why certain chemical reactions occur and others don't, etc. Science is a means of getting to better understanding of the world. You're looking at science the way a high school student staring down a physics test does. You've put science in the past tense. It's an ongoing enterprise. Science is the method, not the ever-evolving body of knowledge (really, models) it develops.

     
  16. MartialIntent

    MartialIntent Black Belt

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    Exactly - where playing the piano is the science [key, time signature, tempo, emphasis, accent] Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is the art. Where knowing syntax, subtleties of semantics, meter, alliteration are the science, The Road Not Taken [Robert Frost] is the art, etc.

    As martial techniques, drills, kata are science, where's the art?
     
  17. tshadowchaser

    tshadowchaser Sr. Grandmaster

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    Excellent discussion


    At one time I believe the art was truly martial (being able to kill and maim) and to get better at it people practiced the science ( doing techniques to see the effect they had upon the victim of the strike/kick/cut. If a certain hit to a part of the body had effect "a" what happened if the hit was to part "b" of the body, etc, etc.

    Being able to do a form can look like art but it can be the science of learning movement, while it can also be the art of doing a technique or sequence of techniques
     
  18. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    Well, science has no meaning in this case--it doesn't distinguish anything from anything else.
     
  19. TKDKid

    TKDKid Guest

    You also have to consider the application...

    Really, what most of us practice would better be called Combative Arts.

    Dictionary.com defines "martial" as

    1. Of, related to, or suggetive of war.
    2. Relating to or connected with the armed forces...

    It really depends on how you use what you know. Theoretically, marksmanship is a martial art if you're a soldier, but if you're a competitive target shooter than it isn't. Or flying could be considered a martial science if you're an A-10 pilot.
    But, by the same school of thought, the Tae Kwon Do I practice would not be a martial art, because I'm not a soldier nor to I plan on using it in war, the way I practice TKD would better be defined as combative because I practice it for self defense, and art because I am strongly partial to the honor respect, etc... that goes with traditional martial arts. So if I were going to label myself I would use neither martial or science, I would use Combative Artist. But that would get me funny looks so I'll just stick with Martial Artist =P
     
  20. Henderson

    Henderson Master Black Belt

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    This sounds an awful lot like a "-do" vs "jutsu" debate.

    What no one seems to have mentioned is that "art" is being discussed in English terms. Martial Arts, or bugei, has a much different context than English words like music, painting, sculpture or literature.

    Just my $.02 :idunno:

    And for the record...I am a martial artist.:asian:123
     

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