Enlightenment Through Martial Arts - HOW?

Psilent Knight

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Hello Friends and Fellow Martial Artists,

I have an inquiry I hope you all can help me with. I would like to know HOW a person can appropriately approach her/his Martial Arts training with a goal of achieving a Zen State of Mind.

If I need to be a little more specific I would like to copy and paste the following descriptive of a Martial Arts style out of Japan known as Zendokai Karate (not to be confused with the one in New Zealand). I will only paste the parts that are relevant to my question:

What is Zendokai Karate?

Despite training various techniques of physical fighting, the higher purpose of Zendokai Karate is to balance mind and body for maximize personal potentiality both inside and outside. This will finally lead to better ways of living the daily life.

Zen the heart of Zendokai Karate

Zen is a school of Mahayanna Buddhism. This word Zen means meditation.
The aim of Zen practice is to discover the true nature within each person through meditation and mindfulness of daily experience, which will provide new perspective and insights on existence, which finally lead to enlightenment.

In Japan, there are many traditional arts that follow Zen philosophy such as

KADO = Japanese traditional flower arrangement,

SADO = Japanese traditional tea ceremony,

and BUDO = Japanese traditional martial arts and the spirit of Samurai.
It is the core of Zendokai Karate.

Zendokai believes that training in mind through meditation is as important as training body through karate practice.

Objective of Training:
To strengthen and create balance of mind and body through Karate practice.

Mind improvement:
to recognize own weakness, emotional problems, and learn how to manage them effectively

to improve interpersonal skills and create good relationship with others

to learn discipline and follow the rules

All of this sounds well and good and I'm sure that this school/organization has good intentions. But after research and observation of this style and it's practitioners I believe I see the same old pattern of talking the talk but not walking the walk. The competitive nature of the art (and it's students) take precedence.

But reading the spiritual goals of the art I wish to ask how can one tailor their personal practice to accomplish these specific stated goals not for themselves, but for those who are under their care and guidance? I have my 19 year old son in mind as I write this. He could really use the type of spiritual grounding and growth that can be attained through Zen and Buddhism.

In Buddhism there is a concept known as UPAYA the definition of which is "skillful means". The idea behind this concept is the thought of teaching someone a certain thing or leading someone on a particular path through an indirect, yet skillful and tactful method. An example of this would be The Karate Kid where Mr. Miyagi used manual labor as a means to teach Daniel-San the mechanics of certain Karate techniques and to strengthen the muscles used most in those techniques. And the training of Karate itself under the guidance of Mr. Miyagi was a means through which Daniel learned Okinawan culture and how to be a peaceful person and try to refrain from senseless violence if he's able to.

I wish to utilize the UPAYA concept to introduce my son to Buddhist teachings and I wish to use Karate and the Martial Arts as the skillful means to do so.

By the way, this Zendokai Karate organization used to have a branch in the United States. The (now defunct) website of that branch had a Zen quote on it's homepage that originally sparked my interest in Zen Buddhism and how it can be tied into Martial Arts training. Don't know if I have it correct verbatim wise but it was something along the lines of "True Happiness Is Attained By Serving Others and Without Seeking Any Reward"

Thoughts? Insights? Suggestions?

Take Care Everyone and Have Good Day,
OSU!
 

Jenna

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Hello Friends and Fellow Martial Artists,

I have an inquiry I hope you all can help me with. I would like to know HOW a person can appropriately approach her/his Martial Arts training with a goal of achieving a Zen State of Mind.

If I need to be a little more specific I would like to copy and paste the following descriptive of a Martial Arts style out of Japan known as Zendokai Karate (not to be confused with the one in New Zealand). I will only paste the parts that are relevant to my question:

What is Zendokai Karate?



Zen the heart of Zendokai Karate





All of this sounds well and good and I'm sure that this school/organization has good intentions. But after research and observation of this style and it's practitioners I believe I see the same old pattern of talking the talk but not walking the walk. The competitive nature of the art (and it's students) take precedence.

But reading the spiritual goals of the art I wish to ask how can one tailor their personal practice to accomplish these specific stated goals not for themselves, but for those who are under their care and guidance? I have my 19 year old son in mind as I write this. He could really use the type of spiritual grounding and growth that can be attained through Zen and Buddhism.

In Buddhism there is a concept known as UPAYA the definition of which is "skillful means". The idea behind this concept is the thought of teaching someone a certain thing or leading someone on a particular path through an indirect, yet skillful and tactful method. An example of this would be The Karate Kid where Mr. Miyagi used manual labor as a means to teach Daniel-San the mechanics of certain Karate techniques and to strengthen the muscles used most in those techniques. And the training of Karate itself under the guidance of Mr. Miyagi was a means through which Daniel learned Okinawan culture and how to be a peaceful person and try to refrain from senseless violence if he's able to.

I wish to utilize the UPAYA concept to introduce my son to Buddhist teachings and I wish to use Karate and the Martial Arts as the skillful means to do so.

By the way, this Zendokai Karate organization used to have a branch in the United States. The (now defunct) website of that branch had a Zen quote on it's homepage that originally sparked my interest in Zen Buddhism and how it can be tied into Martial Arts training. Don't know if I have it correct verbatim wise but it was something along the lines of "True Happiness Is Attained By Serving Others and Without Seeking Any Reward"

Thoughts? Insights? Suggestions?

Take Care Everyone and Have Good Day,
OSU!
Personally I would wish to satisfy my self firstly the person off of whom I took advice on how to achieve a Zen state of mind as you have described it, had also their self achieved that mind.. wishes xo
 

oaktree

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Thinking over your request I would say mindfulness, discipline, and repetition is what you are searching for.

Your son does not need to practice martial arts to practice mindfulness, discipline, and repetition. Martial arts can be a vehicle to achieve this same as drinking tea or calligraphy. I do not see a distinction between practicing martial arts and practicing dharma or the distinction between washing dishes and practicing dharma all is of one accord. Maybe dish washing and toilet cleaning sounds less fun.
 

hoshin1600

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there is Zen. then there is marketing zen like retoric. this sounds like the latter. i would be happy to get in depth on this in a PM if you wish.
however there is an old Japanese saying....."you can lead a horse to water, but you cant make him drink." your intentions may be good but just because you would like to see some type of attittude change in your son doesnt mean a Zen practice will have the desired result.
 
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Psilent Knight

Psilent Knight

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there is Zen. then there is marketing zen like retoric. this sounds like the latter. i would be happy to get in depth on this in a PM if you wish.

Yes, to be honest I agree with you that it sounds like the latter in this particular case. It is sport oriented and competitions are the main focus of their practice. Based on my experiences and observations, they are not the only ones who give "Lip Service" to the idea of Martial Arts practice leading to self discipline, mindfulness, insight and inner calm while doing the opposite in actual practice. Also, I really would like to get in depth on this through PM if you are still open to it.

however there is an old Japanese saying....."you can lead a horse to water, but you cant make him drink." your intentions may be good but just because you would like to see some type of attittude change in your son doesnt mean a Zen practice will have the desired result.

This is true. But I am doing at least the one thing that I can do which is try. I am trying to lead this certain horse to the water. But once I know I have done that I will step back and leave it to him to drink or not.

Thank You Everyone for your feedback.

Take Care All and Have A Good Day,
OSU!
 
OP
Psilent Knight

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I am just now realizing what it really is that I want for my son, which of course means nothing if he doesn't want it for himself, and that is to live life while observing what I personally deem to be the core/essence of Buddhist philosophy. And that is the four noble truths, the noble eightfold path, the five precepts and insight meditation. I guess I am looking (and hoping) to use the Martial Arts as that one "Upaya Method" to introduce these concepts to him.

Thank You again everyone for taking the time to share your thoughts.

Take Care and Have A Great Day,
Osu!
 

JP3

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RE the O/P.... I've found that pretty much any martial art, over time, leads to self-development which is consistent witht he Zen aspect to which you are wishing to introduce your son. Well, except MMA, and that's not a slam on MMA it's just that they seem to have a different "thing" going on, which is Fine I guess. I don't have any rel data on this, but I bet that once a MMA person's time in the ring is over, they tend to flow rather naturally into their favorite set of tools in their tool box, e.g. BJJ, Judo, boxing, traditional art whatever, which is where they'd get that from.

I would wager that if you find a good, solid school, with skilled and empathetic yet strong teachers, you'll find that your sone ends up heading int he direction you wish.... IF (big if) he's even interested at all.
 

Touch Of Death

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I think martial arts can be dangerous. You start feeling better, things start going better, your Chi is way up, and you will take that positive energy, and forsake your whole faith for Buddhism, or you name it, o_O
 

JP3

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I think martial arts can be dangerous. You start feeling better, things start going better, your Chi is way up, and you will take that positive energy, and forsake your whole faith for Buddhism, or you name it, o_O
Really dude?

That is sort of sneak up on you funny.
 

drop bear

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RE the O/P.... I've found that pretty much any martial art, over time, leads to self-development which is consistent witht he Zen aspect to which you are wishing to introduce your son. Well, except MMA, and that's not a slam on MMA it's just that they seem to have a different "thing" going on, which is Fine I guess. I don't have any rel data on this, but I bet that once a MMA person's time in the ring is over, they tend to flow rather naturally into their favorite set of tools in their tool box, e.g. BJJ, Judo, boxing, traditional art whatever, which is where they'd get that from.

I would wager that if you find a good, solid school, with skilled and empathetic yet strong teachers, you'll find that your sone ends up heading int he direction you wish.... IF (big if) he's even interested at all.

I will just leave this out there then?

 

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