A thought about philosophy in the martial arts.

jks9199

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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.

It's not always possible to be more efficient. No matter how efficient, some things just take time to learn and understand. Let me use painting as an analogy. You can use a sprayer, a roller, brushes, or cotton swabs to apply paint to a wall. A sprayer is much more efficient than a cotton swab... but you're still going to have to wait for the paint to dry in between coats -- and that time isn't going to change, no matter how efficiently you applied the paint to the wall. I can teach you combative skills to a good level of proficiency in a matter of weeks. But to understand the principles underneath them, and to be able to go beyond the direct techniques -- that's going to take a lot longer. And if you focus too hard on the wrong parts -- you'll never get that understanding.
 

jks9199

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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.

Your original post was clear as mud... and didn't seem to have diddly squat to do with anywhere you've gone since then.

Even your "clarification" wasn't much help.
 
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PhotonGuy

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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.

I would have to agree with you, about the mile race track being circular. No matter how much you learn, no matter how far you progress, you can always go further in the martial arts. But for me, I want to run as many laps as I can. Lap 1 is just the beginning and after that I want to run more laps. I want to run as many laps as I can while I still can.

As for the 1st dans who just ran their first lap and aren't able to tell you how many blades of grass are on the track, they can find out how many on their next lap around the track, or their next one, or the one after that.
 
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PhotonGuy

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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.

I agree with that. Work hard but play hard. The harder you work the more rest you need. Take time to enjoy life and have fun.
 
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PhotonGuy

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It's not always possible to be more efficient. No matter how efficient, some things just take time to learn and understand. Let me use painting as an analogy. You can use a sprayer, a roller, brushes, or cotton swabs to apply paint to a wall. A sprayer is much more efficient than a cotton swab... but you're still going to have to wait for the paint to dry in between coats -- and that time isn't going to change, no matter how efficiently you applied the paint to the wall. I can teach you combative skills to a good level of proficiency in a matter of weeks. But to understand the principles underneath them, and to be able to go beyond the direct techniques -- that's going to take a lot longer. And if you focus too hard on the wrong parts -- you'll never get that understanding.

Yes things do take time no matter what, but why not be efficient if you can? Why take longer to do something if you don't have to? Lets say you're planting a garden and you can choose between two types of plant food, plant food A or plant food B. Both types of plant food produce exactly the same results except with plant food B your plants will sprout up a week earlier and you will have your garden a week sooner. With plant food B it will still take time, it wont make your plants sprout up instantaneously but you save a week as opposed to using plant food A, so which would you use?
 

Gnarlie

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I would have to agree with you, about the mile race track being circular. No matter how much you learn, no matter how far you progress, you can always go further in the martial arts. But for me, I want to run as many laps as I can. Lap 1 is just the beginning and after that I want to run more laps. I want to run as many laps as I can while I still can.

As for the 1st dans who just ran their first lap and aren't able to tell you how many blades of grass are on the track, they can find out how many on their next lap around the track, or their next one, or the one after that.
There are things you will never be able to perceive if you are travelling too fast, or are focused on other things than the journey itself. Someone who is focused on the journey and perceiving all that they can will extract not only more from every lap, but more than a sprinter ever could regardless of how many laps he does.

It sort of like not knowing what the actual reason for a test is until the end. It's in your interest to perceive everything if you don't know what the test is going to be about.

Change Blindness - Cognitive Psychology Experimen: http://youtu.be/0grANlx7y2E
 

Gnarlie

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Yes things do take time no matter what, but why not be efficient if you can? Why take longer to do something if you don't have to? Lets say you're planting a garden and you can choose between two types of plant food, plant food A or plant food B. Both types of plant food produce exactly the same results except with plant food B your plants will sprout up a week earlier and you will have your garden a week sooner. With plant food B it will still take time, it wont make your plants sprout up instantaneously but you save a week as opposed to using plant food A, so which would you use?
With plant food A I get an extra week to enjoy watching my garden in the growing phase, to observe and experiment with different methods of watering, to find out which produces the best flowers so I can grow better ones next time.

With plant food B I am robbed of that extra time, and the next garden I grow will not be as much of an improvement in the first.

I'm not sure how many analogies you need to hear switched around to understand this, but it's true whatever analogy you might choose.

Just like running laps, there is information you will never perceive if you are only focused on the immediate result of growing a garden. Yes you will grow more gardens in one lifetime, but they will all be pretty much the same garden.
 

Dirty Dog

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Yes things do take time no matter what, but why not be efficient if you can? Why take longer to do something if you don't have to? Lets say you're planting a garden and you can choose between two types of plant food, plant food A or plant food B. Both types of plant food produce exactly the same results except with plant food B your plants will sprout up a week earlier and you will have your garden a week sooner. With plant food B it will still take time, it wont make your plants sprout up instantaneously but you save a week as opposed to using plant food A, so which would you use?

Your analogy is terrible flawed. Anybody who has done any gardening will no doubt point out that faster sprouting plants also means they die sooner. And if they happen to be edible, the fruit is smaller.
 
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PhotonGuy

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With plant food A I get an extra week to enjoy watching my garden in the growing phase, to observe and experiment with different methods of watering, to find out which produces the best flowers so I can grow better ones next time.

With plant food B I am robbed of that extra time, and the next garden I grow will not be as much of an improvement in the first.

I'm not sure how many analogies you need to hear switched around to understand this, but it's true whatever analogy you might choose.

Just like running laps, there is information you will never perceive if you are only focused on the immediate result of growing a garden. Yes you will grow more gardens in one lifetime, but they will all be pretty much the same garden.

So it depends on what you want. If you want to enjoy watching your garden grow than you would use plant food A. If you want a garden sooner than use plant food B. With plant food B, as I said before, it will not make your plants sprout up instantaneously so you still have time to experiment with different methods of watering and so forth. Although I would read a book or consult with a plant expert to find out the most effective methods of watering rather than experimenting and re-inventing the wheel.
 
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PhotonGuy

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Your analogy is terrible flawed. Anybody who has done any gardening will no doubt point out that faster sprouting plants also means they die sooner. And if they happen to be edible, the fruit is smaller.

In case you didn't notice I said both plant foods produce the same results. Both plant foods produce plants that are just as big, live just as long, and have just as big fruit. You just don't get it. The only thing flawed is your posts.
 

Dirty Dog

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In case you didn't notice I said both plant foods produce the same results. Both plant foods produce plants that are just as big, live just as long, and have just as big fruit. You just don't get it. The only thing flawed is your posts.

That's why the analogy is flawed. It's based on a fantasy.

[Edit] I'm going to expand on this statement, in case it's not clear.
An analogy is a comparison between similar things. So in your little garden, if you'd like to compare a fantasy to a fantasy, that will work. If you want to compare real to real, that will also work.
Comparing a fantasy to a reality just won't work. The comparison is inherently flawed.
 
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Gnarlie

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So it depends on what you want. If you want to enjoy watching your garden grow than you would use plant food A. If you want a garden sooner than use plant food B. With plant food B, as I said before, it will not make your plants sprout up instantaneously so you still have time to experiment with different methods of watering and so forth. Although I would read a book or consult with a plant expert to find out the most effective methods of watering rather than experimenting and re-inventing the wheel.
One thing MA and gardening have in common is that books and experts can only help you so much. They can only speak from their own journey. They don't take into account your local environment and circumstances, and they can't carry out the task for you. You need to do it yourself, based on the depth of experience you have gained on your journey.

Rushing to a goal begets breadth of experience but not depth. Depth of experience comes with time and careful mindfulness. One cannot be mindful if one is only focused on result.

Incidentally, some of the people here ARE experts. Are you perceiving what they are telling you?

Did you notice how people reacted earlier in this thread when you said that technical ability alone should be enough to get someone promoted? People disagreed, implying there was more to it? The maturity to practice in a mindful manner is the thing. Focus on the goal, and you miss the now. Anyone missing the now is only capable of getting so far in their training and is unlikely to be promoted beyond a certain level.

I feel like trying to communicate these ideas further is a bit of a waste of time. You seem so focused on trying to shoehorn your idea into being right (another kind of goal) that you're not really giving due consideration to what is being said to you by some very experienced people.
 

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I disagree with a lot of that. The harder you train the more disciplined you train and the more time you spend training the better you are going to get.

The better you get the better able you will be able to understand the concepts.

I understand the concept of stopping and smelling the roses from a life balance point of view but not from an effective training point of view.

So it comes down to this. For me anyway.

If you want belts work hard for them and get them. The harder you work the more you deserve them.

If you are part of a school that is not giving you belts because they don't like hard work then go find a martial art that does.Seriously if lower belts are manhandling the more experienced guys then and the reason for that being that there is reward for being one of the cool guys and not one of the hard working guys. Then I don't see the benefit of that system.
 

Gnarlie

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I'm not saying go slow, neither am I saying don't work hard. I'm saying go deep. Racing towards a goal will achieve superficial knowledge without the depth of thousands of hours of application.

Essentially drop bear I think we are saying the same thing. Work hard. But the deeper reward lies within the work itself, not from some externally applied goal criterion.
 

Chris Parker

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Okay, let's see what we have here.

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.

No.

You've misunderstood the dictionary definition (which is one usage of the word only), and have gone in the wrong direction again. What that definition is is of the application of "philosophy" as an area of study it states that (the study of) philosophy is the rational investigation of the - truths and principles of being, the truths and principles of knowledge, and the truths and principles of conduct. In other words, the study of philosophy is the study of "why" from an rational standpoint. It is not simply "an idea" that's a concept. It is not "ideas", as that's concepts. And it's not a logical theory it's an investigation of belief and knowledge.

Another definition of philosophy pertains to a philosophy of (something). In this context, the term refers to a set of codifying or unifying beliefs and values the give structure and purpose to behaviour.

Neither of these definitions have the slightest to do with your thread, your posts, or anything else.

You are not investigating the "why" of anything. You are not applying a philosophy (a set of beliefs and values), you're trying to impose a set of personal beliefs and values where they have no place. What's the difference? Well, if you were actually looking at an application of a philosophy, it's be congruent, and unified within itself this isn't. This is you deciding that you feel things should be one way, that certain rules should apply when they don't.

There is nothing to do with philosophy here.

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.

And you've completely missed the point here as well the issue isn't what Viscini was saying, or why he was using the particular word ("inconceivable!"), it's that he continually used the word in a fashion that denied it's actual definition he would claim that things that were perfectly conceivable, in fact, happening directly before his eyes (such as the other ship chasing his) were "inconceivable!" that they were unable to be conceived. Hence, Inigo pointed out that he kept "using that word I do not think it means what you think it means".

It's the same here you are using the term "philosophy" but it doesn't mean what you think it does.
 

drop bear

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I'm not saying go slow, neither am I saying don't work hard. I'm saying go deep. Racing towards a goal will achieve superficial knowledge without the depth of thousands of hours of application.

Essentially drop bear I think we are saying the same thing. Work hard. But the deeper reward lies within the work itself, not from some externally applied goal criterion.
Except for this. And I think it is what people are missing from this conversation.


http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8L5ZLuggSpM
 

Gnarlie

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Except for this. And I think it is what people are missing from this conversation.


http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8L5ZLuggSpM
Most times I would agree, it's each to their own. But in certain cases, truth is truth.

Let me give a slightly different analogy where a similar truth applies.

Beginner guitarists often look up to really fast, clean players. Any fast, clean player will tell you that the ONLY way to learn to play fast and clean is to start slow and clean and gradually build up the pace over months and years.

People who start off trying to play fast might make some limited progress, but beyond a certain point their playing will sound messy and horrible, especially next to a clean player. They can continue to practice their whole life, but unless they change their approach and slow down, they'll never have the skill they desire, only sonic mush.

Too much focus on the end goal of speed prevents the goal from being effectively reached.
 

drop bear

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Most times I would agree, it's each to their own. But in certain cases, truth is truth.

Let me give a slightly different analogy where a similar truth applies.

Beginner guitarists often look up to really fast, clean players. Any fast, clean player will tell you that the ONLY way to learn to play fast and clean is to start slow and clean and gradually build up the pace over months and years.

People who start off trying to play fast might make some limited progress, but beyond a certain point their playing will sound messy and horrible, especially next to a clean player. They can continue to practice their whole life, but unless they change their approach and slow down, they'll never have the skill they desire, only sonic mush.

Too much focus on the end goal of speed prevents the goal from being effectively reached.

So playing fast and clean is assisted by having a spiritual knowledge of the guitar? Or working towards good technique. I don't think anybody is suggesting greater gains through poor practice.
 

Gnarlie

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So playing fast and clean is assisted by having a spiritual knowledge of the guitar? Or working towards good technique. I don't think anybody is suggesting greater gains through poor practice.
At no point have I suggested spiritual knowledge; only depth.

Rushing only towards an arbitrary goal precludes depth of understanding, especially with physical skills.

Bruce Lee's 'I do not hit, it hits all by itself' quote seems appropriate here. That ability cannot be reached without depth of practice. Breadth of practice will only get one so far.

That guitar plays itself for people who have depth of practice. Those who focus only on the end goal of speed have to try hard to play.

That's not to say that goals aren't useful, but they need to be chosen wisely and should not be something external like a belt.
 

drop bear

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At no point have I suggested spiritual knowledge; only depth.

Rushing only towards an arbitrary goal precludes depth of understanding, especially with physical skills.

Bruce Lee's 'I do not hit, it hits all by itself' quote seems appropriate here. That ability cannot be reached without depth of practice. Breadth of practice will only get one so far.

That guitar plays itself for people who have depth of practice. Those who focus only on the end goal of speed have to try hard to play.

That's not to say that goals aren't useful, but they need to be chosen wisely and should not be something external like a belt.

Volume of practice. Muscle memory and all that. And the reason.,OK also natural talent, that some people can achieve in months what others take years to do.

I still don't understand why an external goal like a belt is a bad goal.

I am not sure what internal goal is significantly better or more moral.

I know people who have fitness goals. One of my friends is training for a marathon. (External goal) in the process he is getting fit loosing weight learning a skill (internal goal)

Now I am not sure you could as successfully achieve the result the other way. Getting fit and then in the process do a marathon.
 

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