The Essence of Martial Arts

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Fu_Bag, Jul 27, 2006.

  1. Fu_Bag

    Fu_Bag Blue Belt

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    Hi All,

    I was wondering if people would like to share their thoughts regarding the essence of martial arts? What do you believe the universal truth of martial arts is? Is there a universal truth? What do you believe the essence of your art to be?

    How many arts would one have to practice in order to find the universal truth? Could you practice one but study the essence of many? I don't think I'd have a long enough life-span to try to train in every martial art in order to find the essence of it. That's why, if anyone is interested, I thought it might be interesting to share these types of ideas so that we can all, possibly, benefit from the experience of each other.

    Honestly, I'm such a meathead that I don't know if I've found the essence of anything yet. One thing I remember reading recently is the idea that you can find the essence of all Ways if you are able to master one. What do you think about that?

    Let the games, or lack thereof, begin!! :)
     
  2. ronin_warrior_j

    ronin_warrior_j Yellow Belt

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    Its in the martial artist not the martial art.
     
  3. Fu_Bag

    Fu_Bag Blue Belt

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    Hi ronin_warrior_j and thanks for the reply. :)

    I like that idea. I agree with it too. Maybe the essence of martial arts is to clear away the clutter that's obstructing something that's actually staring us right in the face. Is this along the lines of what you're saying?
     
  4. ronin_warrior_j

    ronin_warrior_j Yellow Belt

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    Ill tell ya what bro, im a meathead too. but i guess us meatheads think alot alike. LOL
     
  5. Fu_Bag

    Fu_Bag Blue Belt

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    Ugh..think...ugh... Yessss..........Think.....think gggoooooooddd... ;) Either that, or it's the dain bramage :D

    I'm speaking only for myself, of course!!
     
  6. ronin_warrior_j

    ronin_warrior_j Yellow Belt

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    Might be a little of both. lol
     
  7. still learning

    still learning Senior Master

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    Hello, Just my thoughts on this!

    Essence is to build strength, courage, and skills to be able to stand up for one rights.

    Builds a positive person, a good person, honest person, and a HUMBLE PERSON!

    The mind is design to fight or flee...martial arts training gives you two choices.

    .........Aloha
     
  8. ronin_warrior_j

    ronin_warrior_j Yellow Belt

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    Excellent
     
  9. profesormental

    profesormental Brown Belt

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    Essence?

    What do you mean by that?

    I just enjoy it so much that I devote much of my time and thought to making my skills as a martial skills practitioner better!


    It is very interesting in taht it includes skills, attributes and abilities from many parts of human existence... physical, mental, emotional, health, inter and intra personal relationships, etc... and the better you get at training the better you probably get at the others... or at least you can get more insight! Or not...

    And most importantly, it is a very productive enterprise for me... it is better than counting the hairs on my bellybutton and/or feet.

    Sincerely,

    Juan M. Mercado
     
  10. MartialIntent

    MartialIntent Black Belt

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    Interesting question!

    I think there's a very deep truth and essence in martial arts. But for me it's neither a magickal concept nor vision of altruism. Rather, it's a fulfilment of a natural prediliction in us as humans to be dominant over each other. From this stems our desire to fight and dominate [and defend ourselves from those who would attempt to dominate us].

    And it's not as bad as it sounds, I feel that this desire is merely an offshoot or an expansion of the basic survival instinct we all have hardwired into us. So we're all exhonerated.

    Oh, these concepts are not strictly physical either. I think most of us have this competitive or dominatory instinct [the desire to be "better" than an other or *all* others in some cases]. And I think for some it's quite prevalent indeed and for others it's suppressed so as to vanish. In either case, it's still there: inherent in the machine. So, the essence of the martial arts is that it acts as a vehicle for this prediliction.

    [I said that all with a straight face too ;)]

    Respects!
     
  11. Adept

    Adept Master Black Belt

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    I'm personally not comfortable applying terms like this to something like martial arts. How can you have a universal truth to something like that? One might as well try to find the universal truth to Tennis or Baseball.

    Perhaps if you try and define what you mean by essence, or truth. Do you mean goals of practitioners? As in, what the ultimate goal of all martial artists should be?
     
  12. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm not sure I can give a complete answer to this one... I have a personal understanding, but I'm not sure I can verbalize it properly, but I'll try.

    I don't think that there is a single universal truth of martial arts - but I think that martial arts can help people find their own personal truth. Partly, I think that this is because anyone who truly understands martial arts understands that being a martial artist is about change - about improving one's skills and understanding on a continuing basis. What this looks like, however, varies widely from person to person, and changes over time for each person. When I was a white belt, change was constant, largely physical, and easy to see... when I was a green belt, and started to learn more of the theory in addition to the movements, I thought I'd reached a level I couldn't go beyond... when I was a 1st Dan BB, I thought I had it made - I'd reached that magical black belt rank where everything would be made clear... which idea lasted about 3 seconds into the next class I attended. Now, as a 4th Dan, I know how little I know, especially compared to the "expert" label that encompasses 4th-6th Dan in ITF TKD. The essence of martial arts is change - and understanding that that change is ultimately individual.

    To get back to the question of the essence of the martial arts, along with my own personal conception of individuality as the heart of martial arts, self-improvement - physical, mental, emotional, moral and spiritual (if all those fit for you) - is the key. The particular art doesn't matter as long as it meets the needs of the practitioner. I suspect that, at the time I started TKD, nearly any art with the combination of mental and physical discipline I found in TKD, and an instructor sufficiently aware of individual differences and needs of the students, would have struck a similar chord. Certainly, in my research into other arts (which is not nearly as extensive as I'd like it to be... but I'm working on it) I see similarities at the very basic levels - one must learn to control one's body, mind, and emotions, one must strive to reach external standards as well as improve against a personal standard, one must use the skills one is taught responsibly, one must pass those skills on to others, and so on - the difference is in the details - terminology, techniques, the types of techniques focused on (e.g. grappling, striking, weapons or none, etc.) - not superficial, certainly, but still outside the core concepts that all arts seem to have in common.

    I think it depends on the person, what s/he gets out of the particular art(s) studied, understanding of the underlying, core concepts - which may take one art and may take 20, depending on the person and how ready s/he is to understand those underlying concepts at the time they are studied. The free communication that boards such as this one offer are invaluable in comparing ideas that, for too many years, were often considered deep, dark secrets that could not be shared with "outsiders", whether those "outsiders" were from another instructor, facility, organization, style, country, etc.
     
  13. MRE

    MRE Orange Belt

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    Well put Kacey, I agree that perpetual improvement is the essence of martial arts. I also believe that you only need to practice one art, any one art, to find that essence. My goal in the martial arts is to continually improve physically, mentally, and spiritually. The speed at which I improve doesn't matter to me, as long as I am improving daily. Therefore, I never consider whether or not I can handle an attacker, or two, or four. I just ask myself, "are you better today than you were yesterday?". If the answer is a truthful yes, then that is good enough for me.

    Don't get me wrong, its not that I slack in my training. I put a lot of time and effort into practicing my art, and I soak up as much knowledge as I can from my instructors. However, I don't look at my training as a sprint to the black, but as a marathon that I hope never to complete. As a white belt, I know that no matter how hard I train, I will never completely master my art. I am comforted by this notion because I know that no matter how long I choose to train, there will always be room for me to improve.
     
  14. Explorer

    Explorer Blue Belt

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    To me, the essence of martial arts is striving to reach your potential in all areas of life; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Master Nagamine used the term "...The ecstacy of sweating in the dojo..." that I think perfectly sums up the reason I continue to train. The art continuously challenges me in every aspect of my life.

    Ah ... here's a term I like ... human potential. The essence of martial arts, for me, is the quest for human potential.

    And that's my final answer ... unless I think of something else.
     
  15. Fu_Bag

    Fu_Bag Blue Belt

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    still learning wrote:

    "Hello, Just my thoughts on this!

    Essence is to build strength, courage, and skills to be able to stand up for one rights.

    Builds a positive person, a good person, honest person, and a HUMBLE PERSON!

    The mind is design to fight or flee...martial arts training gives you two choices.

    .........Aloha"



    Hi still learning,

    Having the strength, courage, and skills to be able to stand up for your rights is a very good thing. Those skills oftentimes help others as well. There's definitely a personal development aspect that brings out the best in a person and enhances their leadership potential/abilities. Having the choice, and the skills, to either fight or flee is also a form of freedom. I don't think it's possible to harm another person without opening yourself up to their idea of "justice". That isn't always a very good thing......

    Thanks for the reply :)

    Fu Bag
     
  16. Fu_Bag

    Fu_Bag Blue Belt

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    Hi, Mr. Mercado, and thank you for the reply.

    LOL @ "counting hairs" I suppose another benefit of martial arts is the additional focus it can help develop to apply to such things. ;) I think your way of looking at it may be closer to Eastern ideas than Western ideas. Seems like a good idea.......

    Your ideas seem very inline with the "Master one Way and you can master all Ways" idea. It's also in tune with the way that the schools that I'd want to train at grade their students. Martial arts definitely have a lot of great side effects! :)

    As far as your question about "Essense" goes, I think we've already touched on on aspect here. For me, an extremely over-simplified explanation might be that it affords us the freedom to prevent war, to (hopefully) survive and/or endure war, and then, once the war is over, to heal from war, rebuild from war, and to live a quality life which will promote freedom and (hopefully) prevent war from occuring again.

    There are a lot of things that are tied into the whole but that's the best short version that I could think of at the moment.

    What do you think?


    Fu Bag
     
  17. Fu_Bag

    Fu_Bag Blue Belt

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    Hi MartialIntent,

    Great post! This is very interesting.......

    "Oh, these concepts are not strictly physical either. I think most of us have this competitive or dominatory instinct [the desire to be "better" than an other or *all* others in some cases]. And I think for some it's quite prevalent indeed and for others it's suppressed so as to vanish. In either case, it's still there: inherent in the machine. So, the essence of the martial arts is that it acts as a vehicle for this prediliction."

    I'm going to have to chew on this for awhile :)

    Fu Bag
     
  18. Fu_Bag

    Fu_Bag Blue Belt

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    Adept,

    Thanks for the reply.

    You have a point there. The idea of trying to slap a label on everything and rationalize it isn't always a good one. Of course, there are also people who think that Tennis, Baseball, Golf, etc. contain "the essence", or an interpretation of it. I guess an introspective questioning of goals is a good way to go when trying to interpret "The Way" or a path to it. I think that the ultimate goal of all martial artists is similar in the personal development side but their ultimate, individual translation will be, or should be able to be, different.

    I guess, ultimately, what it might come down to is the freedom to live, develp, and prosper without being destroyed by anything, or anyone, in the process. I hope that at least some of that made sense......

    Respectfully,

    Fu Bag
     
  19. Fu_Bag

    Fu_Bag Blue Belt

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    Kacey,

    What a great post! This may sound really cheesy but it really applies to what you're talking about "When you think it's there, it isn't. When you think it isn't there, it is.". I know, I know...there's some eye-rolling potential there but it really does fit (please don't kill me, everyone). :)

    I love this part:

    "I think it depends on the person, what s/he gets out of the particular art(s) studied, understanding of the underlying, core concepts - which may take one art and may take 20, depending on the person and how ready s/he is to understand those underlying concepts at the time they are studied. The free communication that boards such as this one offer are invaluable in comparing ideas that, for too many years, were often considered deep, dark secrets that could not be shared with "outsiders", whether those "outsiders" were from another instructor, facility, organization, style, country, etc."

    Well said!!

    Respectfully,

    Fu Bag
     
  20. Fu_Bag

    Fu_Bag Blue Belt

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    MRE and Explorer,

    Thanks for the replies. Great posts! :) I'd reply to these too but I think I'm having diahrea of the fingers here....oops.. D'oh!!

    I'm shutting up now....

    Fu Bag

    p.s. One translation of my name is "Wind Bag" ;)

    p.p.s... Have a great day/night all!123
     

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