- Feb 8, 2009
- Reaction score
Yeah, agree to disagree is all well and good… but when you're using your own definitions and criteria that don't actually match the accepted definitions, it makes it hard to even discuss things in any real way. You've decided they're not "martial arts" because you don't consider it a correct definition/application of the term "art"… and you don't consider them "martial arts" because you don't see a separation between "military" and "martial"… okay… but how do we discuss things, then?
Well, we are, aren't we?
For the record, it's probably quite important to recognise that "martial art" is a Western term… and a fairly historical one… which didn't necessarily apply only to military combative methods… so, honestly, your personal definitions argue with historical usage, historical context, common usage, and so on.
To be clear, I agree with you that the common and accepted use of the term 'martial arts' does indeed include what most of us here on MT purport to study. I have just said that the word 'martial' in and of itself means related to war or the military. That's all. We can all agree to call what we do 'martial arts' and I'm fine with it.
Bill, I wasn't telling you what Marines do or don't do… I was pointing out that the examples you gave are a smaller look at the military overall, which, honestly, I think you'd have a hard time arguing with. As far as the big distinction I was referring to, you're bringing it up yourself here as well.
But tell me, are the Marines under an obligation to only attack? Are they only useful in an aggressive form, or are they also trained for extractions, relief, rescue operations, support missions, recon, and more?
Again, this isn't telling you what a Marine does or doesn't do… but I am questioning the notion that aggression and attack is the primary role of the armed forces.
We do all the things you mentioned. However, all of that is secondary to our primary mission, which is to kill people and break things on command.
Here's a major difference between the military (specifically the US Marines, which I can at least claim some expertise in) and traditional martial arts. Imagine two scenarios. In both, you are attacked by another person. However, in the first scenario, you are a US Marine, fighting in a pitched battle. In the other, you are a civilian walking down the street who has been set upon by a stranger.
In the first example, your duty to defend yourself is for a specific purpose, and it's not to stay alive. It is to stay alive FOR THE PURPOSE of defeating your enemy, up to and including killing him or her. Say you knock that person down and find yourself with a bayonet in your hand. Your next step would be to stick it in them repeatedly. Not to retreat.
In the second example, your duty is primarily to yourself and your personal safety. You want to minimize the risks you take, to disengage as safe as you can while preserving your life. If you happen to knock the aggressor down and you perceive you have the ability to safely run away, it would make sense to do exactly that. If you found yourself standing over your assailant and you had a knife in your hand, so long as he or she no longer posed a reasonable threat to you, you would not be legally justified in sticking into them repeatedly.
So my point is that although in war as a soldier or in peacetime as a civilian, we always strive to defend our own lives. However, in the military, one's responsibilities do not end with defending one's own life, and in fact may require taking risks that would be completely ridiculous to a civilian from a self-defense point of view. As well, one might be required to take additional steps after defending oneself that would not be considered within the realm of lawful self-defense in other circumstances.
I have served in situations in which areas I was defending were deemed 'vital to national security'. Had anyone, for any reason, crossed the perimeter I was ordered to defend, I would have shot at and tried to kill them. I would not have been looking to see if they were armed or if they posed a threat to me, etc, as one would do in traditional self-defense. I would simply kill them. That of course is not exactly kosher when one is walking down the street as a civilian.
Hmm… so you're grateful for the clarification on the terms you're using, but you're still going to apply a definition that isn't actually in line with the actual usage of the term… ignoring the aspects that conflict with your personal beliefs… again, Bill, I gotta ask… if you're not allowing for the terms in the discussion to have their common, and accurate, definitions… how do we discuss things? You'll just say that it means something different to you, yeah? Even when it doesn't genuinely mean what you think it does, or want it to?
Sometimes I think we are separated by a common language. I feel like I'm agreeing with you, and you're perceiving that I'm not. I really don't know what to say after that. Martial literally means war or military. Hence terms like 'courts martial' in the military, and 'martial law' when war-time rules are imposed on a civilian population. We both seem to be agreeing that in common use, 'martial arts' as a term is applied to various self-defense systems, and we're both quite fine with that. Or am I missing something vital here?