A thought about philosophy in the martial arts.

Hand Sword

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Unfortunately, with the arts, skill only comes with time. There is no speed up process; it all accumulates through time. There are no short cuts. Think of it like this: you take up the arts as a teen. You do thousands of reps through the years, and yeah, know the techniques, forms, etc. Then you watch or feel your instructor, assuming they've been a practitioner for years. Is it the same? Knowledge wise, in terms of execution, and arrangement, sure. In terms of substance- no. A young person might not be able to lock up a large adult. An older artist, throws all very easily. Why? The techniques are the same. The movements for all are the same. It's just a level of skill accumualted through the years. Maybe it is chi, ki, or whatever. It's definitely something.
 

Chris Parker

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Again? Really?

Okay, let's try another approach… everyone else has pointed out the repetitive aspect of this thread, but something's caught my eye… PhotonGuy, you constantly use the term "philosophy", or "philosophical" or similar… however I feel that your usage of the term is similar to Viscini's use of "inconceivable" in The Princess Bride… so...

What exactly do you think "philosophy" means? How do you define the term?
 

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Speaking of time periods in which to accomplish stuff, I always give myself time periods of some sort or at least I try to get as much done as best I can in as short an amount of time. Even if Im training in a martial arts style that doesn't use rank or for that matter, even if Im learning something other than martial arts that doesn't have rank I still want to learn as much as I can and get as good as I can as soon as I can. You've only got so long to live and I prefer to be efficient with my time. The more you get done as soon as you can the more time you have to get even more done. If you don't push yourself your life will pass by and you will not have done much. I prefer to get as much done as I can as soon as I can but that's just me, other people might be different but that's them.

I think that mindset is part of your problem if I might say so. You never get anything "done" in martial arts, it is about doing and being rather than reaching some finishing line and getting the shiny prize.

(edit) Come to think of it this is also a major cause of "the blue belt syndrome". A lot of people quit once they are past the beginner level because it means you must start to really learn rather than just push harder.
 

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Photon. Your mentality is probably more geared towards comps. That way you can set a goal train hard for it and then put yourself on the line testing it.

It is a reality that can be a really maturing and rewarding experience.

And you can be as focused and committed as you want and will only get support. Rather than criticism.
 

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The point of martial arts has always been to train in that system, not get a black belt. Maybe it's a different perspective it might help to think about priorities. It doesn't matter what the subject is martial arts, test, etc. The important part is what your learning. If you want to earn a belt or an A then focus on learning but don't forget what is more important

Just curious, if you train traditional Chinese martial arts how do you know there skill by how well they do there form?
 

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It reminds me of the "new" youth sports. My kids when they were little 3 to 5 played soccer for the YMCA. They were not allowed to keep score no winners or looser and every one gets a trophy. After they figured it out that no matter how hard they played or how good or bad they were they get a trophy they stopped playing so hard. If all that matters is the trophy at the end then learning and playing hard and understanding the games just isn't as important
 

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The student can influence when the teacher would decide if he's ready for something. For instance, a student that does put more in will improve faster and thus the teacher might decide he's ready for something sooner. And Im not necessarily talking about rank, it could be learning a new technique or techniques and so forth..

But you see, it is still up to the teacher and you are now changing the topic which was based on the story and a "Race" and if you are not talking about rank then what are you talking about since your original "Race" was based on a race to mastery.

And I wouldn't train under somebody who guaranteed me a certain level in a certain amount of time. And I don't necessarily mean rank with this either. A teacher who guarantees I will reach a certain skill level in a certain time I wouldn't trust because its really up to the student. The more the student puts into it the faster they improve. Even if the teacher decides when the student is ready for something, like I said, the student can influence that decision..

But you are disagreeing with a story where a student is asking of the teacher that very thing, "How long will it take"

In the martial arts, ultimately you do change it to your ideas. That's why there is a martial art for every martial artist. The roots of the martial arts comes from your instructor but ultimately the martial arts comes from inside you. Eventually you do it your own way. And I never said I approved of belt factories. In fact, quite the opposite. I think belts should be earned but a student should know what they need to do to get to their next belt and if they aren't clear they should ask. That shouldn't be seen as disrespectful, to simply clarify something.

But the student does not always know and rarely knows more about it than their instructor, that is if they actually have a good instructor


I see, so another words, one of your requirements for promotion would be that in order to promote, a student shouldn't be too focused on the promotion itself. How about a student in academics who is focused on getting As? Is there anything wrong with that?

Your changing perspectives again and trying to related things that are unrelated to make come out right and you still missed the point. Having a desire to get good grades and having a desire to gain rank is not a bad thing. But if that is all you are focused on you are missing a lot and generally are willing to do whatever it takes to get that grade or rank be that stepping on others or cheating.

And I've done some of the traditional Chinese martial arts. I know they have no ranks and I like them. Especially Tai Chi which really gets into the mental aspects. And everything has a time limit. You only have so long to live. That in and of itself is a time limit.

Now you expand it to limitations by life span....and to be honest that has little to do with what you were originally talking about. Yes we all have a limited time on this planet but the journey is what is important. Not some arbitrary expectation of gaining some sort of symbol of your success. And that symbol (belt rank, mastery, grades) is not all that important when compared to how you achieve them.

We don't agree and I am fully convinced you simply do not understand the story you used to start this whole race thing and I fully believe you are more interested in being right than anything else and I get that from your continual change of examples that tend to be unrelated or off the mark all together. Further discussion here, IMO, would be a waste of my time. I wish you the best in your "Race"


Edit: I just saw in one of my previous posts (#30) I made an error, I said I have been training for a little over 49 years, that is incorrect, it is a little over 40 years, I'm old... but not that old. Sorry about the typographical error.... all I can say, and to quote BB King, "My fingers is stupid"
 
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PhotonGuy

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Unfortunately, with the arts, skill only comes with time. There is no speed up process; it all accumulates through time. There are no short cuts. Think of it like this: you take up the arts as a teen. You do thousands of reps through the years, and yeah, know the techniques, forms, etc. Then you watch or feel your instructor, assuming they've been a practitioner for years. Is it the same? Knowledge wise, in terms of execution, and arrangement, sure. In terms of substance- no. A young person might not be able to lock up a large adult. An older artist, throws all very easily. Why? The techniques are the same. The movements for all are the same. It's just a level of skill accumualted through the years. Maybe it is chi, ki, or whatever. It's definitely something.

Everything takes time, not just skill in the arts. However, it is possible to be more efficient with your time, or to do more in less time, by working harder. Just like covering the distance of a mile, you can walk or you can run. If you run the mile you will reach your destination sooner. Running is not a shortcut. A shortcut would be doing something to make it easier. Running the mile is not easier, in fact its harder than walking it. But it will get you there sooner. So that's the tradeoff, you save time but you have to work harder.
 
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PhotonGuy

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Again? Really?

Okay, let's try another approach… everyone else has pointed out the repetitive aspect of this thread, but something's caught my eye… PhotonGuy, you constantly use the term "philosophy", or "philosophical" or similar… however I feel that your usage of the term is similar to Viscini's use of "inconceivable" in The Princess Bride… so...

What exactly do you think "philosophy" means? How do you define the term?

Philosophy, according to the dictionary is, "the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being,knowledge, or conduct." So you could say philosophy is an idea or ideas or a logical theory.

As for Viscini, when he used the word "inconceivable" he was doing so to express his own disbelief, such as Wesley getting past Inigo and Fezzik and catching up with him.
 
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PhotonGuy

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I think that mindset is part of your problem if I might say so. You never get anything "done" in martial arts, it is about doing and being rather than reaching some finishing line and getting the shiny prize.

(edit) Come to think of it this is also a major cause of "the blue belt syndrome". A lot of people quit once they are past the beginner level because it means you must start to really learn rather than just push harder.

My mindset hasn't caused me problems. And the martial art does have finish lines of its own but those finish lines are just the starting lines that lead to more finish lines. Much like what you call "blue belt syndrome." I would call it "green belt syndrome" since the green belt is a little but more commonly used and its generally the belt that means intermediate. Some people might think of the green belt as a shiny prize as you put it but I see it as just the beginning of learning more stuff. Same thing with the black belt, its just the beginning to the next level. And this also goes for styles that don't use rank, when you get good enough at certain stuff (techniques, forms, ect.) that's the doorway to learning more stuff, and so on and so on. To learn though, you do have to push hard. What can I say, Im an American and I believe in hard work. My father was the same way.
 
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Photon. Your mentality is probably more geared towards comps. That way you can set a goal train hard for it and then put yourself on the line testing it.

It is a reality that can be a really maturing and rewarding experience.

And you can be as focused and committed as you want and will only get support. Rather than criticism.

Well I have been involved in competitive sports. I was a competitive swimmer and I had a fast 50 Freestyle, and I grew up with competitive sports. Most of the people I went to school with were in competitive sports. I guess its an American thing. And the martial arts itself often is used as a competitive sport. And even if it isn't you are in competition with yourself.
 
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PhotonGuy

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The point of martial arts has always been to train in that system, not get a black belt. Maybe it's a different perspective it might help to think about priorities. It doesn't matter what the subject is martial arts, test, etc. The important part is what your learning. If you want to earn a belt or an A then focus on learning but don't forget what is more important

Just curious, if you train traditional Chinese martial arts how do you know there skill by how well they do there form?

I would agree with you, about the most important thing being what you're learning, and getting a black belt is certainly not the end its a beginning. But there is nothing wrong with wanting to get a black belt or an A. And if you're uncertain about something there is nothing wrong with asking. A good teacher will welcome questions. After all, a martial arts sensei is not a military D.I., as some people like to make them out to be.
 
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It reminds me of the "new" youth sports. My kids when they were little 3 to 5 played soccer for the YMCA. They were not allowed to keep score no winners or looser and every one gets a trophy. After they figured it out that no matter how hard they played or how good or bad they were they get a trophy they stopped playing so hard. If all that matters is the trophy at the end then learning and playing hard and understanding the games just isn't as important

I agree, and giving a trophy to every participant might be fine for small children, but eventually they've got to grow up and learn that stuff in life has to be earned. Life is not like Cub Scouts where everybody gets an award. And that is why I don't like belt factories that hand out or sell belts. The soccer program in your kid's YMCA reminded me of that.
 

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I agree, and giving a trophy to every participant might be fine for small children, but eventually they've got to grow up and learn that stuff in life has to be earned. Life is not like Cub Scouts where everybody gets an award. And that is why I don't like belt factories that hand out or sell belts. The soccer program in your kid's YMCA reminded me of that.

Every time you post about a belt it reminds me of that
 
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PhotonGuy

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Every time you post about a belt it reminds me of that

Well I didn't bring up belts or rank in this thread, it was other people that brought that up. The original idea of this thread was about getting a job done or reaching a goal which doesn't necessarily have to be a rank.
 

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No, just a general thing. The fact many Americans are competitive is just how it is. There are competitive people wherever you go a lot of places have many competitive people. And afcoarse, that's part of training everyday the thing to try do is ask yourself. how can today be better than yesterday. That's how experience is gained, you start by putting in effort then you learn what your strengths and weaknesses are. Then make your strengths better and over time fix the mistakes and improve.
 
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PhotonGuy

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But you see, it is still up to the teacher and you are now changing the topic which was based on the story and a "Race" and if you are not talking about rank then what are you talking about since your original "Race" was based on a race to mastery.
My example of the "race" that I started this thread on, actually it was about covering a mile distance, was about getting a job done or getting to something you want to get to. It doesn't have to mean rank or mastery it can mean any kind of goal or job that needs to be done.

But you are disagreeing with a story where a student is asking of the teacher that very thing, "How long will it take"
If I was the teacher I would answer the student by saying that it depends on him. How long it takes him to reach a certain level of mastery would depend on how much he puts into it. That's how it is with most everything.

But the student does not always know and rarely knows more about it than their instructor, that is if they actually have a good instructor
That's why the roots come from the instructor. But eventually the student finds stuff out about himself and finds ways to make the art work better for him. We're all different and we all have certain stuff that works better or worse for us. As Mr. Miyagi told Daniel that his martial art comes from himself. The roots come from Mr. Miyagi but eventually Daniel will do it his own way. That was said during the speech they had in the 3rd movie when they were working with a bonsai tree.

Your changing perspectives again and trying to related things that are unrelated to make come out right and you still missed the point. Having a desire to get good grades and having a desire to gain rank is not a bad thing. But if that is all you are focused on you are missing a lot and generally are willing to do whatever it takes to get that grade or rank be that stepping on others or cheating.

Getting rank or grades shouldn't be the main focus but as I said, there is nothing wrong with wanting rank or good grades and you agree with me on that since you said its not a bad thing. As I said, it shouldn't be all that you focus on and I would never want to get a rank or good grade by cheating because then it isn't the real thing. That's why I wouldn't train at a belt factory.

Now you expand it to limitations by life span....and to be honest that has little to do with what you were originally talking about. Yes we all have a limited time on this planet but the journey is what is important. Not some arbitrary expectation of gaining some sort of symbol of your success. And that symbol (belt rank, mastery, grades) is not all that important when compared to how you achieve them.

We don't agree and I am fully convinced you simply do not understand the story you used to start this whole race thing and I fully believe you are more interested in being right than anything else and I get that from your continual change of examples that tend to be unrelated or off the mark all together. Further discussion here, IMO, would be a waste of my time. I wish you the best in your "Race"
To me, what I do on the journey is important. And it doesn't have to be obtaining some symbol of achievement, remember it was other people not me who brought rank into the discussion on this thread. I used to be a competitive swimmer. One of my favorite events was the 50 Freestyle. As such I wanted to get as fast a time on the 50 Freestyle as possible. Now, if I swam a fast enough 50 Freestyle that I brought my time down and beat my previous record I would be satisfied. I wouldn't need a medal or ribbon or some other symbol of success, just knowing that I did it and did it legitimately would be enough. So as I said, symbols aren't everything. And we do agree with some stuff as I pointed out above. But if you're going to move on from this discussion than take care.


 
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PhotonGuy

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No, just a general thing. The fact many Americans are competitive is just how it is. There are competitive people wherever you go a lot of places have many competitive people. And afcoarse, that's part of training everyday the thing to try do is ask yourself. how can today be better than yesterday. That's how experience is gained, you start by putting in effort then you learn what your strengths and weaknesses are. Then make your strengths better and over time fix the mistakes and improve.

Well interestingly enough, in the Asian cultures, the cultures that most of the martial arts we think about originated from, there they are very competitive too and those cultures are known for their hard work. In Japan, getting into one of their colleges is the main goal for just about every Japanese student. When preparing for entrance exams, students will practically just eat, sleep and study. The parents will relieve the student of daily chores because he will need the time to study, and meals will be prepared for the student and brought to him instead of him eating at the table like everybody else. That is just one example. So, the Asian cultures are very goal oriented too.
 

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On the subject of this mile race...

If training MA is a mile race then the track is circular, and the goal is not to finish, but to fully perceive and attain every last detail along the way. Then start over on a new lap, always running, always perceiving, always attaining. The faster you run, the more you miss, the more laps you have to to. Hurry up and wait. At the end of lap 1, you will pass a bunch of new 1st dans strutting around on a grass verge, thinking they've arrived.

The 1st dans have run their mile, but they might not be able to tell you how many blades of grass there are on the track.
 

mook jong man

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Well interestingly enough, in the Asian cultures, the cultures that most of the martial arts we think about originated from, there they are very competitive too and those cultures are known for their hard work. In Japan, getting into one of their colleges is the main goal for just about every Japanese student. When preparing for entrance exams, students will practically just eat, sleep and study. The parents will relieve the student of daily chores because he will need the time to study, and meals will be prepared for the student and brought to him instead of him eating at the table like everybody else. That is just one example. So, the Asian cultures are very goal oriented too.

Yeah , they also have an astronomically high suicide rate.
So maybe all work and no play not only makes little Kenji-san a dull boy , it also makes him feel like jumping in front of a train.
 

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