Favorite Sources for Non-Martial Topics?

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by gpseymour, Nov 4, 2017.

  1. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    On that vein I based my bouncing on a misinterpretation of the gambler.

    You gotta know when to hold em.
    Know when to fold em.
    Know when to walk away.
    Know when to run.
     
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  2. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    It is not. And I think there’s much to be taken from it that goes beyond what the author was aware of when writing it. I believe that’s true of many works. In some cases, it’s meaning that can be universally seen. In other cases, it’s meaning that comes partially from our own experiences and interpretation.
     
  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    See my reply to Bill. I’m not saying there’s no intentional transmission. The “moral of the story” level is almost certainly intentional, and only flavored by our experience. In classical artwork, there was a lot of common imagery used, and that would have been intentional. If we go to the other extreme, abstract art tends to get some very different interpretations. Some songs (with words) get different interpretations, and it’s unclear which was intended, like a large portion of poetry.
     
  4. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    That is a fancy word....remind me to never play you in scrabble.

    I thought I would point out that much of what writers put down on paper have the surface exegesis meaning(see what I did there..adding a big word.) that the author consciously intended but many times there is also a subconscious meaning that expresses itself.
    John Lennon had said many of the songs he wrote after the Beatles ...I thought when I wrote them they were about Paul but looking back I see now they were more about me..
    Also authors tend to somehow tap into timeless mythology motifs that they are unaware of. So there are common threads running through our heads subconsciously that we draw from that are shared with other people.
     
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  5. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Let me try to explain by way of example:

    SAMPSON
    The Universe is in equilibrium; therefore He that is without it, though his force be but a feather, can overturn the Universe.
    Be not caught within that web, O child of Freedom! Be not entangled in the universal lie, O child of Truth!​

    Now, what is the meaning of the above? It can be difficult to discern - it could be random babble from a known drug-abuser and lunatic. However, when studying this from the point of view of a martial artist, I see several things.

    First, the title, which is 'Sampson'. Who was Sampson (aka Samson)? Known for strength, overcome by treachery, etc. The guy who knocked down the pillars.

    From my reading of Crowley, I know that he equated the fabled feats of strength displayed by Samson to direct application of Archimedes' principles, that is, leverage. So we are talking about balance here.

    Now, applying that to my understanding of martial arts principles, I know that balance is an extremely important component of engagement with an adversary. However, I have always looked at it from the standpoint of keeping my own balance whilst stealing the balance of my opponent. "A person's unbalance is the same as a weight," as the 8 Laws of the Fist would have it.

    However, on reading the quote above from Crowley, my eyes were opened. He seems to be saying that a person without equilibrium (balance) can overturn the universe. Now, that directly correlates to Crowley's aforementioned comparison of Samson to Archimedes ("Give me a long enough lever and a place to stand and I can move the world.")

    But more than that. In a martial arts sense, it becomes clear that ANY person's unbalance is the same as a weight. Not just my opponent's but mine.

    But it is a positive statement, not a negative statement. In other words, it is not an exhortation not to lose one's balance, but rather, an observation that losing one's balance gives one leverage to "overturn the Universe."

    Think of how many ways in which this basic observation is true, not just in the arena of martial arts. Think of world events, history, even recent events (which I will not mention, but I think you can guess). Notice how 'unbalance' even when mental and not physical can have an outsized impact on the world.

    So. I wonder about how I might unbalance MYSELF and use it to my advantage. I then see that judoka do this. There are many types of throws which begin with receiving more than taking, appearing to give, when actually in full control. One falls to throw, one stoops to conquer, so to speak.

    As a result of this, now I am thinking more about how I can engage the use of 'controlled unbalance' on my own part to defeat an adversary - moving the world by giving way, and not necessarily as the judoka do. Perhaps there is more there. I don't know. I am studying it.

    Did the author intend any of this? Not in the martial arts sense, of course. Crowley was no martial artist. However, he was an adept at controlling public interest, dictating fashion, remaining in the public eye, being followed, talked about, and even (in some quarters) revered. Can we not say he was applying this principle himself? Does one not see how this concept of using leverage from an unbalanced position can be applied to all manner of things, mental and physical?

    So this is how I read things. One asks if this was the author's intent, or if I am applying my own interpretation on it. Certainly I am applying my own interpretation on it, and certainly Crowley did not intend to write an exposition of martial arts training. However, a valid observation is a valid observation, both on his part and on mine. He said something which I believe is rather startling when I think about how it applies to everything in general, and then how it applies to my life as a martial artist in particular.

    Summary - it doesn't matter where you find truth; whether the person who put it there meant for you to see it or not, whether it was intended consciously or unconsciously. All quite beside the point. I take what I find, think about it, see if I can apply it according to the notion I have developed around it. If I can, then it is truth, and how I came by it is not important at all.
     
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  6. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Okay, I’d like to clarify my posts, because it seems like I have unintentionally given you guys the impression I was being judgmental.

    Take kata. I don’t do kata but someone named bill mattocks has explained that kata is a deep well of meaning, and that the more he practices the more meaning he gets out of it. He also has said that the more he learns about the intent behind the movements, the more meaning he gets. Is one more valuable than the other? I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. But I would say that the more one knows about the original intent, the more one could get from one’s own practice and contemplation. Said plainly, would Iain Abernathy be the kata guru he is if he didn’t start with a solid grounding in what the katas were intended to mean?i would guess not.

    So, back to the original question, it was intended to be a benign inquiry about what the author intended. I apologize for causing a kerfuffle the day before thanksgiving.
     
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  7. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I thought you started a good discussion there, Steve. And I agree that it’s useful to understand the original intent, as it might (or might not) guide the meaning we take from it.
     
  8. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Is this like two art critics arguing about the the merits of a new piece of contemporary art.


    Right up until the trade needs his ladder back.
     
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  9. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yep.
     
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  10. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Ah a ladder. Must be talking about Dada then. :)

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Thanks trolls. I'm gone.
     
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  12. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    No one is trolling you, bill.
     
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  13. Paul_D

    Paul_D Master Black Belt

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    It would have taken him longer, but I think he still would have done yes.

    We have many people like Iain now, but that was not always the case. In the not too distant past we had generation after generation after generation of Karate instructors being taught, and passing on, rubbish: kata is for fighting 8 people, the turns in kata are turns to face a new opponent, moves x,y,z, are blocks, and all the other BS that was (and unfortunately in some cases still is) taught. Therefore at some point even if the instructors of people like Iain, John Burke etc, had not given them a good starting points they would inevitably have reached the conclusions they have.

    The reason I say that is that once you experience the realities of criminal violence, even the most stubborn and idiotic of people have to accept that kata as it was taught is nonsense. So it was inevitable that people were at some point going to turn round and think, "That's bollocks because it doesn't work, so if we're not blocking, or we're not turning to face a new opponent, what practical application does this move have, what information is this "turn" actually giving us."

    Coming from a good starting point makes the journey quicker, but like I say, for decades all we had was nonsense kata, so at some point someone has had to come from a nonsense starting point and made the journey to where we are now.

    p.s. it's Abernethy btw, not Abernathy ;)
     
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  14. inkypaws

    inkypaws White Belt

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    I've always found the secret service interesting by nature. Lethal and mysterious. They probably take the best of everything to train their ranks. I wonder if they have a book out there. Probably classified though.
     
  15. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    if this is the case, are you saying that abernethy’s karate is not “traditional?” Once again, I’m not saying good or bad. Just making sure I understand. Are you suggesting that he is rediscovering the original intent or discovering/revealing new, modern application?
     
  16. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    The question wasn't directed at me but.....
    this is some major thread drift...can we open its own thread topic?
     
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  17. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    Probably appropriate to do so, though thread drift on a thread I started is probably just karma.
     
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  18. Paul_D

    Paul_D Master Black Belt

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    I would say hIs karate is traditional because he is rediscovering the original intent. What passes as 'Traditional' most of the time these days is anything but that.
     
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  19. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    I think that’s an important distinction. :)
     
  20. frank raud

    frank raud Master Black Belt

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    so, would you say that the interpretation of the book can depend on the experience of the reader? Much like many people read Sun Tzu for business purposes, although he obviously didn't have the boardroom in mind when he wrote The Art of War. It's been about 40 years since I've read Crowley, I'm sure my interpretation of the books will have changed in that time.
     

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