The Heart of The Art

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Spirituality in the Arts' started by Elayna, Aug 4, 2006.

  1. Last Fearner

    Last Fearner 2nd Black Belt

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    While many of us are very passionate about the Martial Art, I agree that the passion should be tempered with mutual respect for one another. There is far too much verbal abuse on the internet, but it has been pointed out that Martial Talk is a very well monitored site for curbing the "flaming," and "bashing." It is really up to the individual participant here, as to how they are going to express their disagreements. Friendly discussions often turn into heated debates, which occasionally cross the line into insults, and personal attacks.

    I have seen this far more often on other forums, and it is disgusting. However, I do consider that many "students" of the Martial Art (beginner, advanced, and instructors) are still in the developmental stages of their understanding, enlightenment, and personal character traits. Thus, people here will make mistakes (myself included) and say things in the impersonal world of the "www" that they might not otherwise. Then again, there are those who have no regret for behaving badly.

    I like it when we can discuss topics, and even disagree with polite discourse, without the conversation degenerating to intentionally disrespectful insults. With that in mind, I would like to express a different point of view on something my fellow Martial Artist, Jeff, said. :) (<< smiley face to indicate this is meant in friendly discord)

    I do not even agree with this implication 50% - actually, not at all. It is my observation that, historically, there have been physical combat among individuals since the beginning of human history. There has been the training of soldiers, and armies since the beginning of structured civilization, but none of this, in my opinion, inherently includes the true essence, or quality of the Martial Art. Simply because a group of thugs created a method of fighting that is still around today, does not make what they did a "Martial Art," even if today's students study it as such, and call it a Martial Art.

    My philosophical observation of the emergence to that which I perceive as the Martial Art comes from a separation of intent between the core elements of combat and wars where a soldier's goal is often to "kill" the enemy, and the "art of the warrior" (a different philosophical breed of trained fighter) which is to protect, and preserve life, knowing that the taking of a life is only done for the just preservation of another life.

    It is my personal belief that the Martial Art began, not with the goal, intent, or purpose to kill. That already existed, and still exists among non-martial art fighters, and is the stark difference between the two. The Martial Art was born out of love, compassion, an appreciation for the value of life, and a philosophical view that it is preferable not to kill. Although you have the inevitable contradictions that co-exist (like yin and yang, or um and yang), the true Martial Artist believes that all life is precious and should be protected. Yet, in doing so, the "Martial Warrior" learns skills that can end a life, and must sometime make the choice to do so in self defense, or defense of another.

    While it will be difficult for some to let go of the notion that the "way of the Warrior" is to fight, or to kill, and that the original purpose of the Martial Art was to "fight, or to kill" (especially those who have held this belief for a long time), I respectfully contend that this is the opposite of the true nature, essence, and historical beginnings of the Martial Art. With the mergence of combative skills, the desire for self defense, and the philosophy of valuing all life, a threshold was crossed, and on the other side was the creation of the Martial Art - without the purpose, or intent to kill, but rather to protect life.

    The technical skills between a soldier who is trained as a "killing machine," and a "Martial Warrior" is very much the same, but the mental intent, and purpose being to "kill" can exist among soldiers, but never has existed in true Martial Art philosophy.

    This is how I have come to understand the history, development, and nature of the "Do." It is what makes the "Martial Art" what it is.

    CM D.J. Eisenhart
     
  2. Last Fearner

    Last Fearner 2nd Black Belt

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    Just a side note as an after-thought:

    I did not intend to imply that JeffJ is not a "Martial Artist" or that he, or anyone else here, is not studying the true essence of the "Martial Art" simply because we might disagree on the origins of the Martial Art, or what are the qualifications to identify a particular course of study as an aspect of Martial Art training.

    I hope that no one draws that conclusion from my previous statements.

    Thank You! :asian:
    _______________
    Last Fearner
     
  3. MartialIntent

    MartialIntent Black Belt

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    Elayna,

    An interesting conversation! I'd just like to give an opinion on your question above if I may. The problems you outlined, the petty bickering, frustration and anger are wholly negative qualities in anyone let alone martial artists who are supposedly on paths to at least some form of self-enlightenment and those negatives are evidenced in most dojos at one time or another and are certainly prevalent on forums like these.

    If I could just give you my two cents [which won't buy much on it's own, but keep saving and you'll see!] in my experience much of this stems from jealousy, inadequacy and most definitely fear in the practitioner and I guess all those traits sprout from the same insidious root which is insecurity - some on superficial levels and others are consciously or subconsciously *deeply* insecure within themselves. There are a vast array of manifestations of this, and I'm just petty enough myself to silently trawl MT picking them out, LOL :D Well, I gotta have some amusement ;)

    There are also a a fair few martial arts folk who feel their very art or style or their rank or status gives them carte blanche to pontificate and condescend - again one never has to look far to see that ;) This I believe is nothing more than blatant snobbery which has unfortunately permeated the martial arts mantle and seeped down to lie close to its very core. Within that category of snobs, I find there's another subclass who I'd pigeonhole as gloryhunters. These are the folk who seek nothing more than self-gratification and the plaudits of the crowd - they may appear to be providing; to be giving generously to the martial arts community though in actual fact, if their enthusiastic applause ever dimished or ceased, they'd scurry off hurriedly seeking pastures greener.

    Personally I despise this snobbery, pontificating and gloryhunting more than almost anything else in the arts. A quick look around certain forums even here on MT, will show up a lot of these folk in that light [only if you're looking for it though! ;)]

    However, there are a number of practitioners who redeem this situation - again take a quick look around your dojo or even a forum like this and you can see them. They are the ones seeking to give without great concern to ingratiate themselves to everyone; they're the thinking fighters, the creative ones, the enlightened practitioners; they're the altruists, and unlinke the gloryhunters, they not only garner respect, but they *deserve* it!

    Respects!
     
  4. Shaolinwind

    Shaolinwind 2nd Black Belt

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    That being said..

    First, please let me say that my intent is not to be confrontational.. I have had only one serious confrontation since I started on MT and I was in the wrong. Having learned from that, I try to choose my words wisely and I don't often get on people's case or get deeply involved in political matters.

    You almost exactly say that if you feel something needs to be said, you will say it. You have the right to speak freely, and we will listen. Therefore, you have the duty to watch what you say, be respectful and in turn listen. I think you have tried to do so.

    I see your intent as altruistic, however I feel as though that since this whole thread was brought on by reading past threads, it is harsh criticism directed at the Martial Talk community. I detect notions of moral superiority and I find it somewhat offensive.

    I am all for your goal. But I am certain the only way to attain and maintain a peaceful and synergetic community is to be a peacable, accepting, and understanding member of the community.. You display a sparkling example of that. However you've also just jammed a rather blunt manifesto down my throat and it insults my intelligence and appears to question the integrity of our brothers and sisters.

    And now, I am also prepared for the whipping post!

    With respect,
    Gerald :asian:
     
  5. MRE

    MRE Orange Belt

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    Hi Elayna,

    No offense taken by your posts. I hope my previous post didn't give you the wrong impression. I merely wanted to point out that I see alot more good than bad when reviewing the MT threads.

    I understand your point of view and agree that love is very important in our lives. I hope that I will never have to use my art to defend myself or my loved ones, but if I do, I hope my martial strength will always be tempered by compassion.

    Thanks for the interesting thread!
     
  6. Bigshadow

    Bigshadow Senior Master

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    I certainly doubt anyone was offended. :)
     
  7. Elayna

    Elayna Green Belt

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    Hi Everyone,

    Im going to try and address the individual comments so that I can fully explain my thoughts. Well, try to at least. :)

    For you guys out there who let me know I didnt offened you, Thank You.
    I really do appreciate the leway that you all give me. :)

    Last Fearner....

    You said something I could not. Thank You. I do agree with you in the orgin of the term "martial arts". I do agree with that humans have had the desire to kill long long before martial arts was created. I agree that "martial arts" was to created to help us not kill like beasts so to speak. But develop the side of us that sets us apart. Our hearts, mind and body. I still believe that some people in the martial arts world concentrate more on their minds and body then their heart. And, this is why we have such an imbalance in the martial arts world. An imbalance of power, understanding and priorities. Not just among the students, but also among the masters.
    But, that is for a whole nother thread. :D

    MartialIntent.....

    I also agree that the snobbish, im better then you, rudeness out there is definatly getting...old. I am more then happy to say, that I see tons of good people out there. Specifically on this site. Unfourtunatly, there are some who do not show the same respect and kindness for their brothers and sisters as some on this site. And unfourtunatly those that dont go the distance with kindness, understanding and thoughtfullness tarnish the reputation and look of not only this site, but whatever art they are in.
    I hate to sound impatient, or as if I myself have never been this way. I have lived a very,..full life. I have had my share of mistakes and rudeness. But through this I have learned, that it doesnt get you anywhere. It really only hurts you in the long run and I really hope that those out there who find calling people names, degrading them, and taking bad about them will think twice. For their sake, not mine.
    Anyways...I do agree. LOL :)

    ShaolinWind....

    Again, I apologize for offending you. I in no way meant it as a disrespect to your character or any other part of you. Generalizing is not one of my attributes. It doesnt really get my thoughts across you know.
    I do want to say to you though, my posts and threads on this board are thoughts and ideas that I have come acroos through life experience and many other things. And, yes, as I have read through the boards on this site it has brought alot of old life lessons up and made me rethink things. Which is very good. I post here so that maybe those who are going through the same thoughts will get some benefit from it. And, on a selfish note, so that I too will get benefit from it. From the respones and opinions of my peers.
    I am a stay at home mom and I dont get out among adults very much to discuss these things. So I have a tendancy to go to my forum friends and talk about the thoughts or ideas that pop up in my crazy head.
    So please, understand, I honestly truly never in any of my posts mean to hurt anyones feelings. I am merely studying among my peers and hoping for a chance to help, be helped and just have fun.
    And even your response, has helped me tremedously. To realize, that I need a little work on conveying my thoughts to people. Truly, Thank You!
    :) :D


    Well Everyone,
    I still feel that this thread has indeed helped me in so many ways. Not only in my personal life but here on the boards.
    Unfourtunatly this is a topic of hot debate because it is very much out there. I just try to make a little bit of difference in the small amout of the world I can reach. May sound...egotistical...but its true. I do want to help. And from life experience I know, Im not the only one out there with these thoughts, ideas and feelings about what is going on out there in the world and specifically with the Martial Arts and its artists.
    I also firmly believe, that if ignored much longer there will be effects among us that will be irreversible and some arts will end up dying. And I do NOT want to see that happen.
    Civilizations have fallen for the same reasons we are talking about. A Martial Art is no different.

    Thank you all again for the wonderful input, and I hope that I have succeeded in conveying a small amount of my thoughts.
    :) :) :D
     
  8. Shaolinwind

    Shaolinwind 2nd Black Belt

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    I accept.


    No my friend.. I think you need a little work NOT conveying your thoughts.
     
  9. Andrew Green

    Andrew Green Grandmaster

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    * Andrew has a weird vision of a bunch of Samurai charging out onto the battlefield and yelling "Group Hug!" *

    No, martial arts, at the core, are about beating the snot out of people. It's not nice, lots of people don't like to admit it, but that is what we are learning to do.

    In modern times people have tried to reinvent it as something else, involving harmony of energy and inner strength but, at the end of the day, they are still beating on each other.

    Some take it to a performance route, essentially doing a dance, either a classical one or a modern one. But yes, that dance is about beating people up.

    If it was about love and piece we could just join a quillting class or maybe pilates or aerobics if fitness was the goal.

    Now don't get me wrong, you can definately get a lot more out of training then the ability to beat people up, but beating people up is the means to those other ends.
     
  10. Shaolinwind

    Shaolinwind 2nd Black Belt

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    :lfao: :lfao: :lfao: :lfao:
     
  11. Monadnock

    Monadnock 2nd Black Belt

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    "Martial Arts" is a pretty large catch-all to make broad statements on.

    Aikido, for one, is not about beating anyone up and neither are many of the healing arts. Each art has its own philosophy, and not all are solely about winning, hurting, or killing.

    A lot of these views come from the hollywood bastardization of the arts and improper research on just what a "martial art" is. There will always be some element of fighting in the art, but how much will vary. It's how you can guage just how "martial" the art is.

    Martial pertains to war, and this eliminates about all of the American "self defense" systems from that category.
     
  12. Elayna

    Elayna Green Belt

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    Hiya ,

    I just wanted to say that I do agree that there are different martial arts out there with differing degrees of "martial" intent (excuse the name use, lol). But then there are those arts, such as aikido that was pointed out, that the bases of it was not only for hurting/killing people. It was much more then that.

    I know that this is probably an old tired statement of mine, but again I say...
    We need to also concentrate on the "heart of the art" as much as the body and the mind. If we do not have balance in our arts, and everything in the world needs balance, then something bad will come of it. Nothing can stay imbalanced for too long.

    I will continue to discuss and convey my thoughts on future threads. Not only about this topic but many others that have come to my attention.

    I hope everyone will respond to those as well. I really do love the feedback. Thanks again everyone for the wonderful replies.
    This will be my last post on this thread, as I believe this thread has taken a wrong turn somewhere, and that wasnt the "point" of the thread.
    :) :D

    TTYL
     
  13. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    I'm sorry and I do not mean to upset anybody, but the above deserve a reply

    :lfao: :lol2: :lfao: :lol2:
     
  14. Shaolinwind

    Shaolinwind 2nd Black Belt

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    I see.. So which of the arts IS about hurting and killing people? You have suggested such an art exists.

    It is irresponsible to duck out of the thread you started. I am sorry it took a turn you don't like, but it never took a wrong turn.
     
  15. Elayna

    Elayna Green Belt

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    Shaolin...

    I specifically stated "differing degrees". Your interpretation of my post is unfourtunate. And I have a feeling that no matter how I say something it will not be right for you.

    Also, when I state that my thread took a wrong turn, i was refering to you. Yes I said a specific. I will not get into a flame war about this.
    I do not appreciate how you responded to my apology. By stating I should NOT convey my thoughts, you were in fact stating I should not speak. Therefore stating I should go against god given rights. Now if this is not what you meant....then please by all means re word it as I have done with my posts. All will be well.

    No offense was ever meant. When you said you did take offense I apologized...this is as much as anyone can do. Your reaction is yours alone. Not my problem.

    Good day to you.
     
  16. Brother John

    Brother John Senior Master

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    It's been my experience that some are drawn to the martial arts because they are naturally drawn to strife....or maybe a better word is "Struggle". The arts give them a way to express this in a socially acceptable manner. BUT: THey bring their passion for it to places like martial talk. By all means, we should be "Passionate" about something we invest so much of ourselves into! But maturity and a level head are not prerequisites to being a martial artist..but a goal. I think that many don't realize that the best way to obtain such a goal is to behave as though you'd already achieved it. (something to think about in many respects there)
    In short (too late) we get hot headed, we read things into what others write and we often react in a knee jerk way. It happens a lot. It happens to ME. I'll admit that.

    I really don't know why a martial arts forum is SO conducive to 'angry' chatter, but it is. But it's up to each of us to be self observant and try to limit that kind of behavior (and therefore example) on our own part.

    We must BE the change we wish to see...

    Your Brother
    John
     
  17. Shaolinwind

    Shaolinwind 2nd Black Belt

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    God given rights? Once again you have missed the boat. You speak like you are some kind of messiah, and you are merely a stranger in a strange land. It is clear that you have no intent of learning, you just wish to save face. Good day to you.
     
  18. Brother John

    Brother John Senior Master

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    Hey Andrew-

    You and I see things in a similar vein, but here's my twist...
    The Martial Arts began from a need to survive human conflict, one on one or in the battle field...and this gets DIRTY and MEAN, ruthless and bloody....down right nasty....visceral. (Enough descriptors yet?)
    Here's where we might part however...what's the biproduct of the warriors life?
    When these warriors of old dedicated themselves to an aesetic life, or at least a life of severe dedication to warriorship...they faced down Death, and the probability of a short life ending in a greusome death at the hands of an enemy. They took it quite seriously. This changes the human psyche dramatically. When death is not only confronted, but the probability of it's emenency.... then life itself takes on a different hue, your perspective changes a great deal. ..and when you face violence and the ferocity of war as not only probable..but your calling, then peace takes on a different perspective as well.
    The CORE reason for arts of war is WAR, but the by-product is a worthy cause in and of itself! This, I think, is what Elayna seems to be valuing so greatly here.....and More Power to her!! Seems to me there were a great many "martial arts masters" who felt as she did, that these "by-products" are very worthy of our effort.
    Japan provides a wonderful example: at the end of the Meiji era (just before the turn of the 20th century I think) there was a dramatic shift in focus for the martial arts of Japan from the Bujutsu (War Technique) to Budo (Warrior's way of life, very roughly translated). I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. But these masters that were a part of this transition, I think, recognized these 'by-products' (peace, peace of mind, tranquility, maturity, austerity, simplicity, honor, duty, loyalty, a spirit of perseverance...etc. etc.) as worthy of being passed on and emphasized. The "Killing" was de-emphasized a great deal...and this end of the stick (so to speak) was lifted higher. This effected MORE than just the Koryu arts of Japan....but was a trend that mirrored the Taoist and Confucian influenced arts of China and the arts that later developed in Korea.

    Today there are many that emphasize BOTH sides of this spectrum, and I think it's GREAT.
    Some want to take it all the way back to where the art of human struggle and warriorship is the key focus....and GOOD for them, if it gets them what they want from their pursuit. I think that to do this to the exclusion of these other "By-products" is a mistake and maybe, in it's extreme....irrisponsible...
    but that's not my worry; just my comment.
    Still: a great many DO stick with the "way of life" trend, and that's great. Again: they need to know that IF they totally de-emphasize their skills of defeating another human in combat...then they are MUCH less prepared should they ever face such a struggle. (God forbid it anyway...) They shouldn't decieve themselves and think that they are warriors if they don't train as warriors do. But in the end, if it gets them what they want from their training...its served it's purpose.

    WOW....I've taken a lot to say, it's all in what the art, school or student wants to focus on.
    ME? I'd like to focus on all of it, the mental and spiritual and physical. Maybe if I do....I'm a greater blessing to my family, friends and associates.......wether what they need from me is physical protection or someone with a level head who can function under stress; or just someone who's calm to be around.

    Your Brother
    John
     
  19. Last Fearner

    Last Fearner 2nd Black Belt

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    I am not a "moderator" here at MT, but as a "Mentor" I believe I should say that some of the earlier comments are off topic, and a bit too antagonistic. For a thread that was started to point out the hostilities, and rude behavior among Martial Artists, some posts have drifted off into more personal attacks, and degenerated to the very thing we should avoid.

    Agree, or disagree, and state why you feel the way you do. If someone feels offended by your words, a simple apology, and encouraging words to keep everyone enjoying the thread will lift up the conversation..

    Brother John. I enjoyed your last post, especially the comment about "this end of the stick" being lifted higher (nice analogy). Keep up the good posts, sir.

    Respects to all. :asian:
    Last Fearner
     
  20. lenatoi

    lenatoi Green Belt

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    I've got to say this. When someone apologises, let them apologize. If someone wants to save face, don't try to embarass them. I love coming here to MT, but I've seen a lot of this going on here. half the time people get offended when no offence was intended. let things slide once in a while.


    PS I was not aiming this post at any one in particular.... Please don't yell at me.123
     

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