Confucian Martial Arts

Gyakuto

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I agree with you here. Japanese culture has no problem having two or three belief systems side by side, utilizing whatever aspect of them that fits the situation. I had a Shinto wedding there, which is common, but funerals are usually done in Buddhist fashion. Even Christianity existed alongside these other belief systems.

I think this is stretching things too far. The same argument can be said of a high school football team being the "family" and the coach being the "father." Teams have their own unique little rituals as well. I doubt if any member of a high school football team (including coaches) has a good idea of who Confucius even was, excepting maybe knowing the "Golden Rule" ascribed to him. So, I think this argument falls short, IMO.

While I stated that Confucianism penetrated Japanese culture, in varying degrees depending on class, that does not mean it had any influence on its martial art technical aspects. Perhaps it did encourage a "dojo behavior," but that could also be a case of parallel evolution as in my football example.

Some in MA self-defense do, however, follow a variation of the Golden Rule - "Do unto others before they do unto you," :D but that's as close to Confucious as they get
I have no experience of childrens school sports so I cannot understand the comparison, but Ive seen dojo teachers treated like feudal lords!

But the point is that Confucius didnt invent these ideas so much as defined and characterised them since he suggested the principles of being a superior man with high moral standards and goodness are inherent and simply require extracting. This nurturing process included ritual (defined behaviours for a given situation圯tiquette, if you will存ounds a bit like reiho, eh?), respecting ones elders, parents, superiors (sounds like the way wed treat sensei/some etc). These seniors should display the highest moral standards and thus lead by example: they were respected and followed because they were admired for their model behaviour rather than blindly followed because they were merely older etc. Benevolence (the way we should treat beginners) etc. Transgressions of correct behaviour required punishment but Confucius advocated the use of the absolute minimum disciplining to produce the desired correction.

It all fits so well with what I observe in the world of (proper) martial arts!
 

Oily Dragon

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I sincerely suggest you read Traditions by Dave Lowry chapters 21 and 22. From the beginning of chapter 21-

1. The samurai were never, in any large numbers at all, enthusiastic practitioners of Zen.

2. The connection of Zen and Japanese budo is not ancient; it is, in fact, not much older than the Hoola-Hoop.


He then goes on to qualify these statements. Do have a look夷ts fascinating and dispels the myth of Zen samurai!
Cool.

I recommend D.T. Suzuki's "Zen and the Samurai".
 

Gyakuto

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Another thing that is interesting is that in the many old Menkyo Kaiden documents out there, Zen is very rarely mentioned whereas Shingon/Mikkyo features heavily again suggesting Zen was levered into the spiritual construct of the art only recently.

Just to clarify, I am not suggesting that Zen has no influence in the Japanese Budo, only that it arrived in Budo very recently perhaps in an attempt to distance itself from its Chinese spiritual heritage. Im suggesting Confucianism (and Neo-Confucianism with its elaborate Qi construct) has a deeper, longer influence on Budo, particularly in the interpersonal behaviours (saho - etiquette) practitioners display to one another and their schools.

The idea of the Samurai, deep in Zen meditation for many hours in their working day, overlooking their beautiful gardens with the tinkle of garden bells and a shakuhachi playing a mournful, mellifluous melody, is heavily romanticised (Hollywood) 佞匈 must watch The Last Samurai again. love that film.
 

Jimmythebull

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The idea of the Samurai, deep in Zen meditation for many hours in their working day, overlooking their beautiful gardens with the tinkle of garden bells and a shakuhachi playing a mournful, mellifluous melody, is heavily romanticised (Hollywood) 佞匈 must watch The Last Samurai again. love that film.
and of course has nothing to do with modern martial arts. Nothing wrong with having an interest in it all but this is 2022. when i first started in martial arts i found it all nice to read about but nowadays i only care about fitness & if my system works.
 

Jimmythebull

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This is why i like the FMA stuff, respect but also just fighting. not deep philosophy & crawling to the Big master.
Most of these guys are fairly humble. I like that.
 

Oily Dragon

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I think its commonly viewed that D.T. Suzuki was to Zen what Inazo Nitobe was to Bushido!
And now I have a new book to read...more accurately buy and put on top of the pile until ten years from now when I get around to reading it.

thanks!

1664204113669.png
 

Oily Dragon

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Another thing that is interesting is that in the many old Menkyo Kaiden documents out there, Zen is very rarely mentioned whereas Shingon/Mikkyo features heavily again suggesting Zen was levered into the spiritual construct of the art only recently.

Just to clarify, I am not suggesting that Zen has no influence in the Japanese Budo, only that it arrived in Budo very recently perhaps in an attempt to distance itself from its Chinese spiritual heritage. Im suggesting Confucianism (and Neo-Confucianism with its elaborate Qi construct) has a deeper, longer influence on Budo, particularly in the interpersonal behaviours (saho - etiquette) practitioners display to one another and their schools.

The idea of the Samurai, deep in Zen meditation for many hours in their working day, overlooking their beautiful gardens with the tinkle of garden bells and a shakuhachi playing a mournful, mellifluous melody, is heavily romanticised (Hollywood) 佞匈 must watch The Last Samurai again. love that film.
Well the way I see it, only a handful of well known Samurai were recorded as "Zen Samurai" in the histories, but they were also key figures in Japanese cultural history related to warfare. So word spread. But yeah we don't have that many Zen Samurai in total. The ones we do know of were badasses of both mind and body (even if Musashi really did always stink, he was clearly a man of focus).

So when I say Samurai "popularized" it...yeah I agree most Samurai were not that interested in that particular form of mental discipline, or the tenets of any form of Buddhism at all (being a foreign religion). But word spread about these some of these dudes far and wide for a reason. Many Samurai didn't live long, so from the perspective of the average person, Niten Doraku must have seemed like a mythical figure (and of course like many famous warriors, tall tales flowed freely). Dude grew to be 60, in a turbulent time.

We just saw in the "Is BJJ Original" thread that the Del La Riva guard was actually a Kosen judo guard. It only took ONE PERSON to take that old judo leg routine and make it world famous as BJJ move in the minds of many young impressionable rocknrollas like Kron Gracie and UFC fans everywhere. The whole story (all the people in Judo using the pudding guard over the last 100+ years) is a big mystery. Based on works like Suzuki's, what probably happened is after Musashi's legends started to grow, what HE did specifically became as you put it, heavily romanticized (which isn't a bad thing imho, but worth stating because some people do believe that Zen is BS, like any other culty religion).

Confucianism, on the other hand, is the basis of so many things it goes beyond even religion or meditation. It's more like a science really, a way of ordering things according to Chinese thought going back thousands of years. Everything from the Wu Xing to Daoism was heavily influenced by it. I think works like "The Wandering Taoist" really illustrate it well, how Confucian ideals were built right into seasonal festivals where Daoist families climbed entire mountains, following strict guidelines and rules, just to party.
 

Oily Dragon

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This is why i like the FMA stuff, respect but also just fighting. not deep philosophy & crawling to the Big master.
Most of these guys are fairly humble. I like that.
Yes, and some FMA guys are nutzoids and could use some Zen in their lives.

I might catch some heat for saying that, but we both know it's true.
:D
 

Jimmythebull

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Yes, and some FMA guys are nutzoids and could use some Zen in their lives.

I might catch some heat for saying that, but we both know it's true.
:D
my take on it is this, use what you need from a system but you don織t need to believe every thing written or said. Make up your own mind & use common sense
 

Oily Dragon

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We should also chat about Mencius. He also played a heavy role in what you're talking about.
 

Oily Dragon

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my take on it is this, use what you need from a system but you don織t need to believe every thing written or said. Make up your own mind & use common sense
Wow, it's like you can read my mind, because what you just said was a keynote of Mencian-Confucian thought.

Damn I have to go look it up.
 

Jimmythebull

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Wow, it's like you can read my mind, because what you just said was a keynote of Mencian-Confucian thought.

Damn I have to go look it up.
being honest with you i have no clue about all the philosophy stuff & confucius stuff ... just my own thoughts :D
 

Oily Dragon

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Hmm, not sure this text in the wiki is quite right (∩縑賂銝憒⊥), but don't bother putting this into Google Translate, the translation looks backwards.

The right quote from Mencius (a 4th generation disciple of Confucius) is. ""One who believes all of a book would be better off without books""

His basic educational premise was anything you read, you should check for internal consistency and never memorize, because that's the only way to develop critical thinking skills.
 

Oily Dragon

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being honest with you i have no clue about all the philosophy stuff & confucius stuff ... just my own thoughts :D
This was my first book on Confucius, if you remember these books from the 70s, they had one for all sorts of famous people. I had a whole bunch, but this was definitely a favorite.

1664207026320.png
 

Jimmythebull

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I think this & the Leo Kessler books i read probably was the nucleus of my philosophy along woth other books.
 

Gyakuto

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Well the way I see it, only a handful of well known Samurai were recorded as "Zen Samurai" in the histories, but they were also key figures in Japanese cultural history related to warfare. So word spread. But yeah we don't have that many Zen Samurai in total. The ones we do know of were badasses of both mind and body (even if Musashi really did always stink, he was clearly a man of focus).

So when I say Samurai "popularized" it...yeah I agree most Samurai were not that interested in that particular form of mental discipline, or the tenets of any form of Buddhism at all (being a foreign religion). But word spread about these some of these dudes far and wide for a reason. Many Samurai didn't live long, so from the perspective of the average person, Niten Doraku must have seemed like a mythical figure (and of course like many famous warriors, tall tales flowed freely). Dude grew to be 60, in a turbulent time.

We just saw in the "Is BJJ Original" thread that the Del La Riva guard was actually a Kosen judo guard. It only took ONE PERSON to take that old judo leg routine and make it world famous as BJJ move in the minds of many young impressionable rocknrollas like Kron Gracie and UFC fans everywhere. The whole story (all the people in Judo using the pudding guard over the last 100+ years) is a big mystery. Based on works like Suzuki's, what probably happened is after Musashi's legends started to grow, what HE did specifically became as you put it, heavily romanticized (which isn't a bad thing imho, but worth stating because some people do believe that Zen is BS, like any other culty religion).

Confucianism, on the other hand, is the basis of so many things it goes beyond even religion or meditation. It's more like a science really, a way of ordering things according to Chinese thought going back thousands of years. Everything from the Wu Xing to Daoism was heavily influenced by it. I think works like "The Wandering Taoist" really illustrate it well, how Confucian ideals were built right into seasonal festivals where Daoist families climbed entire mountains, following strict guidelines and rules, just to party.
I own some calligraphy by a Zen Samurai.
DAB96E91-DF80-43F4-BC6B-29599015EB0D.jpeg

Yamaoka Tesshu.
 

Gyakuto

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We should also chat about Mencius. He also played a heavy role in what you're talking about.
Yes he and Confuciuss other main student, Xunzi, had diametrically opposite views of the nature of man. Mencius thought mankind was essentially positive, orientated toward goodness and doing kind things. His proof was along the lines of if we saw a child had fallen down a well, we would be inclined toward compassion and the desire to help (although he didnt say we would help if it opposed our overall aims). The problem with his ideas was they couldnt account for evil.

Xunzi, on the other hand, believed man was inclined to selfishness, and being poor humans and adherence to the ideas of Confucius that could make such a person a superior man (Junzi). Xunzis ideas did account for evil.

Menciuss ideas seem to be more popular but I favour Xunzis stance (although Im awaiting his books arrival to fully assess his ideas).
 

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I read this thread title as "Confusion Martial Arts." When I read through it, I certainly was confused. So... well done, everyone.
 
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