Martial artists and ethics?

exile

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But the point is, LF, your decision to apply different standards to fine artists and martial artists, as per your post, is simply a reflection of your own additional requirements. It does not reflect common usage. It does not reflect any kind of social consensus on the application of the term `martial artist' to individuals. That was my point about Leonardo, Titian, Heidegger and so on. I can impose, Humpty-Dumpty-like, exactly the same requirement on them to qualify for the term `(Fine) artist' or `philosopher' that you seek to impose on martial artists. I can say, for example, `Well, Heidegger was a facist and Nazi collaborator, so he wasn't a true philosopher'. Nonetheless, that still leaves a large body of immensely influential philosophical work to account forafter all, a philosopher is one who does philosophy, and here is a dense record of philosophywho wrote it, if not a philosopher? What I think of Heidegger's morality or ethics or whatever is irrelevant.

By the same token, the term `martial artist' (= [ [martial] art]+ ist) denotes nothing other than one who practices martial artscombat arts. There is no external authority behind the term which imposes an additional requirement of `virtuous application'. That is your own criterion, which is why I said that you were using the term in a knd of private fashion. Now of course, you can say, well, all of the people who say that Kyan and Motobu were martial artists were wrong. But what you're saying is, they're wrong because I personally do not believe the term should be applied to people like that. When you say, `apples and oranges', you're already assuming the particular criterionvirtuous application, as I've called itwhich is at issue. From my point of view, it's not apples vs. oranges, because I don't impose that extra condition, as many people, certainly amongst those who've written about karate and its history, do not impose it. And if you say to me, well, you're wrong, all you're doing is in effect saying, `no, my definition of martial artist is the correct one'.

But you can't demonstrate this correctness in terms of any external authorityit's not part of the social consensus that a dictionary definition reflects, for example. It's simply your view of how the term should be applied, based on your own requirement of `virtuous application'. That's fineas I say, we can impose these requirements any way we like: I can personally refuse to accord Heidegger the description `philosopher' on the grounds that though he produced philosophy, and is regarded as a philosopher even by other philosophers who despise his Nazism, a true philosopher cannot have been a Nazi. I can extend the same treatment in my personal use of the term `musician' to von Karajan and Wagner. My point is just that in saying that people like Kyan and Motobu aren't martial artists, you are expressing a strictly personal opinion of how a technically proficient exponent of systematic combat systems should behave socially. And that's a private opinionone far from universally shared.
 

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English is not my first language but saying Motobu was not a proper martial artist sounds very strange to me. Martial artist, fighter, bully, whatever - he certainly knew his Karate.

Martial artist? Heck, even Ashida Kim qualifies for that title. Like with "warrior" there is no need to mystify.
 

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But the point is, LF, your decision to apply different standards to fine artists and martial artists, as per your post, is simply a reflection of your own additional requirements. It does not reflect common usage. It does not reflect any kind of social consensus on the application of the term `martial artist' to individuals.

By the same token, the term `martial artist' (= [ [martial] art]+ ist) denotes nothing other than one who practices martial arts—combat arts. There is no external authority behind the term which imposes an additional requirement of `virtuous application'. That is your own criterion, which is why I said that you were using the term in a knd of private fashion.

From my point of view, it's not apples vs. oranges, because I don't impose that extra condition, as many people, certainly amongst those who've written about karate and its history, do not impose it. And if you say to me, well, you're wrong, all you're doing is in effect saying, `no, my definition of martial artist is the correct one'.

But you can't demonstrate this correctness in terms of any external authority—it's not part of the social consensus that a dictionary definition reflects, for example. It's simply your view of how the term should be applied, based on your own requirement of `virtuous application'.

I challenge you to read every single line of the following "external authority." Then I suggest you rethink your above statements.
(my emphasis are added on special points of interest, but please read it all)
KEEP IN MIND THAT EVERYTHING YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ ARE NOT MY WORDS, BUT IS FROM RECOGNIZED AUTHORITIES, FOUNDERS, AND FAMOUS AUTHORS ON THE SUBJECT OF THE MARTIAL ART -
my words here are in blue only!

____________________________________________________________

What is Karate?
by Masutatsu Oyama
(published 1963)

“Karate and Moral Culture”

“Essentially the art of Karate is the art of self-defense. In other words, Karate is designed for protective reasons and should never be used to attack an opponent.”

“...the guiding principle of Karate never allows you to hurt others unless you are attacked. The great ancient masters of Karate, Meijin and Tatsujin, were never known to use it violently throughout their lives. Karate should not be violent: is should deny violence.”

___​

“The essence of Karate, therefore, is nothing else than a training of mind over body. This is why Karate, capable of such power, should not be used wrongly or violently. The art of Karate seeks for something deeper than simple physical cultivation.”​

___​

“Since Karate exists for cultivating spirit and training body, it must be a moral way surpassing mere technique, just like 'Kenjutsu' has been given spirit in 'Kendo' and 'Jujutsu' has been given spirit in 'judo.' The techniques of Karate should also become Karate-do (Karate art) which seeks for a spiritual expression and not just physical form. Unfortunately the present status of Karate in Japan runs counter to the fundamental spirit of Karate.”

Masutatsu Oyama
____________________________________________________________​

Karate-Do Kyohan
Gichin Funakoshi
(published First Edition 1973)

“In fact, true Karate-do places weight upon spiritual rather than physical matters...”

“True Karate-do is this: that in daily life, one's mind and body be trained and developed in a spirit of humility; and that in critical times, one be devoted utterly to the cause of justice.”

“The indiscriminate use of the art of karate would cause great public concern and one cannot deny its potential dangers.” “The source of concern is largely based on the misconceptions arising from instructors of poor character, who thoughtlessly place the emphasis of training on the techniques rather than on the spiritual aspects of the do, and from
the misbehavior and poor attitudes of karate students
who are learning this art solely as a technique of fighting.
There are even extreme cases in which students are
actually encouraged to employ their karate in brawls.
Such admonitions as “You can never improve or polish your techniques without some actual application in fights” or “If you cannot beat so-and-so, then perhaps you had better quit karate training altogether” are truly grievous for the reputation of Karate-do. However, such talk only shows the lack of sense of those who know nothing at all about Karate-do.”
_________________________________________

I could stop right there!
...but there is more!
____________________________________________________________

“...those who would learn Karate-do must be made to understand it at the outset and be instructed in its proper use. The correct understanding of karate and its proper use is Karate-do. One who truly trains in this do and actually understands Karate-do is never easily drawn into a fight.”

____​

“In contrast, in the moment that one misuses the techniques, for example in fighting in such a way that he injures another or himself, or brings dishonor upon himself, he nullifies any of these benefits and merits of Karate-do. Such misuse, arising from superficial understanding, is in fact self-defeating.”

“Through the man, techniques become art. I must earnestly repeat: do not misuse the techniques of karate.”

“Those who follow Karate-do must consider courtesy of prime importance. Without courtesy, the essence of Karate-do is lost. Courtesy must be practiced, not only during the karate training period but at all times in one's daily life. The karate student must humble himself to receive training. It may be said that a presumptuous or conceited person is not qualified to follow Karate-do.”

“Those who follow Karate-do must never forsake a humble mind and gentle manner.”

“It is because of the larger number of false martial artists in the world that the public tends either to ignore the martial artist or to consider him wild.”

“Therefore, many serious martial artists are embarrassed. Students of Karate-do should always keep these points in mind.”

“Emphasis is placed on development of the mind rather than on techniques.”

“In a few words, then, those who seek karate should not stop merely with the perfection of their techniques. Rather, I hope, they will dedicate their lives to seeking the true Karate-do. This is because life through Karate-do is life itself, public and private.”

Gichin Funakoshi

____________________________________________________________


Karate-Do: My Way of Life
Gichin Funakoshi
(published First Edition 1973, second printing 1982)

“I burned incense at the Buddhist altar of each instructor and pledged myself never to make use of my trained body for any illicit purpose.”

___​

“I realized that if through my efforts such gangs learned karate and made use of it to maim or even murder people, my name would be disgraced forever. I am proud of the fact that out of the tens of thousands who have studied and practiced the art of Karate at my dojo, I know of not one single instance in which the skill has been used illegally.”

___​

“I have always stressed the point in my teaching that karate is a defensive art and must never serve offensive purposes.”
“That is why I teach my students always to be alert but never to go on the offensive with their karate skills, and I instruct my new students that I will under no circumstances permit them to use their fists to settle personal differences. Some of the younger ones, I confess, disagree with me: they tell me that they believe karate may fairly be used whenever circumstances make it absolutely necessary.
I try to point out that this is a total misconception of the true meaning of karate, for once karate enters, the issue becomes a matter of life and death. And how can we allow ourselves to engage in such life and death confrontations often in our few years on earth?
Whatever the circumstances, karate must not be used offensively.”

___​

“So I say that those who, having trained in karate, think they must put their skills to use pervert the meaning of the art.”
“Karate-do is not only the acquisition of certain defensive skills but also the mastering of the art of being a good and honest member of society.”

___​

Six Rules
(rule #6) “Abide by the rules of ethics in your daily life, whether in public or private. This is a principle that demands the strictest observance....

...I should like to think I am mistaken, but I am afraid I am not, for all too often recently I have heard young karate trainees use such expressions as jitsuryoku-gata ('a man of real ability'), or sento-gata ('a man of battle'), or jissen-gata ('a man of actual combat'). These terms are absurdly childish and betray an abysmal ignorance of the meaning of Karate-do.

Inasmuch as Karate-do aims at perfection of mind as well as body, expressions that extol only physical prowess should never be used in connection with it.”

Gichin Funakoshi

____________________________________________________________


Aikido: The Arts of Self-Defense
Koichi Tohei (Director and Chief Instructor at the general headquarters in Tokyo, Japan)
Editor: Morihei Uyeshiba - Originator of AIKIDO
(published 1957)

“He who would understand Aikido correctly, practice it correctly and gain a correct knowledge of it, must pursue its fundamental truths and then build upon this base of truth.”
“All truths are discovered by those whose eyes are opened to observe Mother Nature. All the cardinal points that govern our lives must emanate from our heart's thankfulness to her for her great gifts to us.”

___​

“The martial arts begin with gratitude and end with gratitude. If there is an error at the important starting point, the martial arts can become dangerous to others and merely brutal fighting arts.”

___​

“In Aikido, right is might. You are required only to perform your own mission in life - - it is not necessary to think about surpassing or overcoming others. Nor is it necessary to prove that you are strong, because of greater importance is the question of whether you are right or wrong, whether or not you are following the laws.”

___​

“There are those who think of Aikido as an art to throw an attacking opponent in a split second, or to hold down a strong man with only one finger. They think that Aikido as a highly developed self-defense art. This is a superficial view. Aikido is not merely an art to throw others but a way to apply the laws of Nature to our daily lives. One who does not understand this does not truly understand Aikido.

___​

[Morihei Uyeshiba attains enlightenment while strolling in the yard.]

“It was precisely at that moment that I received enlightenment: the fundamental principle of the martial arts is God's love and universal love. Tears of ecstasy rolled down my cheeks. From that time on, I have felt that the entire earth is my home and the sun and stars are mine. Neither position, nor fame, nor honors, nor wealth, nor the desire to become more powerful than others have any attraction for me - - these have all vanished away.”
“The martial arts are not concerned with brute force to knock opponents down, nor with lethal weapons that lead the world into destruction. The true martial arts, without struggling, regulate the Ki of the universe, guard the peace of the world, and produce and bring to maturity everything in nature.”
“Therefore, martial training is not training that has its primary purpose the defeating of others, but practice of God's love within ourselves.” ~ Morihei Uyeshiba

___​

“The purpose of Aikido is to train both body and mind to make a man sincere. All Aikido arts are not to be... taught to rogues who will use them for evil purposes.”

___​

“Every effort must first be made after calm thought to settle matters peaceably.”

“Strive to build within yourself a noble character.”

Koichi Tohei and Morihei Uyeshiba

____________________________________________________________


Aikido and the dynamic sphere
by A. Westbrook and O. Ratti
(published 1970)

The “Ethics” of Defense

“But as indicated in Chart 1, page 30, self defense according to Master Uyeshiba's method must always comply with certain ethical imperatives.”

“In this chart, each panel represents an ethical level of combat.”

“In Panel A, the man on the left, without provocation and on his own initiative, attacks the other man and kills him. Ethically, this is the lowest of the four levels -- unprovoked aggression in the form of a direct attack.”

“In Panel B, the man on the left has not directly attacked the other man, but he has provoked the other man to attack him. It may have been an obvious provocation, such as an insulting remark or the more subtle provocation of a contemptuous attitude. In either case, when the other man is invited to attack and does so, he is killed. While the first man is not guilty of launching the actual attack, he is responsible for inciting the other man to attack. There is only a shade of difference ethically between Panel A and Panel B. “

Westbrook and Ratti

____________________________________________________________


Advanced Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan
by Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming
(published 1987, third printing 1989)

“In spite of the popularity of Tai Chi Chuan, whether in China, Taiwan, or other parts of the world, the art is gradually becoming incomplete. Because most Tai Chi practitioners are more interested in health that in self-defense, the deeper aspects of the art have been gradually ignored. Many people who have practiced Tai Chi Chuan for quite a few years still do not understand its theory and principles.”

“Furthermore, the original, major part of Tai Chi Chuan - - the martial application - - is dying out. The reader should understand that Tai Chi was created as a martial Chi Kung art. The self-defense applications remain a necessary part of the wholeness of Tai Chi Chuan.

___​

“With your whole being, develop your life. During all your practice and meditation, you must concentrate your whole attention in order to develop the highest level of the art. This dedication and concentration carry over to the rest of your life, and the striving for perfection becomes the real inner meaning of Tai Chi.”

Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming

____________________________________________________________


The Overlook Martial Arts Dictionary
by Emil Farkas and John Corcoran
(with contributions from Jhoon Rhee, Ed Parker, Hee Il Cho, etc.)
(published 1983)

[definition]
DISCIPLINE Training that develops self-control and character. It is proclaimed to be an additional virtue inherent in the martial arts.

Emil Farkas and John Corcoran

____________________________________________________________


Taekwon-Do - The Art of Self-Defence
by Choi Hong Hi
(published 1965)

“Moral Culture”

“The moral culture of this art of Taekwon-Do does not merely aim at promoting the power and technique but also at preventing from misuse of them when he is an expert as well as student.”

“I wish to stress that if moral culture does not go along with the progress of power, after acquiring the knowledge of Taekwon-Do, it would be the same as giving an offensive weapon to a gangster or bully within the community.”

“For the students and graduates of Taekwon-Do alike, they have a number of obligations to fulfill. Since Taekwon-Do is generally regarded as a 'weapon', the following steps have been taken to ensure that the right type of person is taught this art and his or her readiness to honor the pledge:

a. A close scrutiny is made on the mental makeup as well as the background of any applicant prior to his or her admission to the gymnasium.

b. Orientation to patriotism, particularly since Taekwon-Do does not provoke fights, rather to help the weak.

c.Personal morals as well as techniques are examined by the promotion board for the award of black belt.

d. In the case of people in possession of black belt who are found fighting, punishment is given by the Taekwon-Do Association and the appropriate authorities concerned....”

Choi Hong Hi

____________________________________________________________


Taekwondo (Poomse)
by The World Taekwondo Federation
(published 1975)

“Taekwondo transforms one's character into a strong, resilient spirit so that one can develop leadership to guide and lead in every walk of life. Leadership and a strong fighting spirit provide confidence in every work, so that one can maintain composure and security, which will in turn create patience and modesty. Then one will eventually overcome himself with the spirit of self-sacrifice, thus gaining an outstanding character as a leader of society.
Therefore, Taekwondo is a basis upon which a man is refined and improved to become a righteous and patriotic person

The World Taekwondo Federation
_________________________________________


A Book of Five Rings
by Miyamoto Musashi
(written in 1645, copyright in 1974 by Victor Harris, first published in paperback in 1982)

“The way of the sword is the moral teaching of the samurai...”

“Way: The character for Way is read 'Michi' in Japanese or 'Do' in Chinese-based reading. It is equivalent to the Chinese 'Tao' and means the whole life of the warrior, his devotion to the sword, his place in the Confucius-coloured bureaucracy of the Tokugawa system. It is the road of the cosmos, not just a set of ethics for the artist or priest to live by, but the divine footprints of God pointing the Way.”

Miyamoto Musashi

But you can't demonstrate this correctness in terms of any external authority
—it's not part of the social consensus that a dictionary definition reflects, for example. It's simply your view of how the term should be applied, based on your own requirement of `virtuous application'.

Not my own requirements - - legitimate, external authorities!
Chief Master D. J. Eisenhart
 
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LF, two points:

First of all, you are—if I can put it this way—mixing apples and oranges. You are giving me a bunch of quotations from various people about the way the martial arts should be applied. But that was and is not what our disagreement is about. It is about whether the term `martial artist' can be legitimately applied to someone who does not conform to a certain set of moral standards on its use that someone else imposes. Look again at what I said: that people like Motobu and Kyan, and many other besides, who used their arts aggressively and fought for the sake of fighting (and as `fieldwork' to develop their arts, um, experimentally) were nonetheless martial artists—aggressive, sometimes brutal and ethically challenged, let's say, but MAists nonetheless. You argued that no, they were not martial artists because they did not live and behave in a virtuous fashion. Not one of the quotations you've assembled suggests that the people you cite did not regard people like Motobu as martial artists; every one of them is talking rather about the proper use of martial arts. I am still waiting for some evidence that there is a broad social consensus—that is what I mean by `external authority', as I make explicit in my previous post—on the definition of the description `martial artist' that precludes application of the term to people like Motobu, Kyan, Arakaki and the others karetka/scrappers of that era—or the kwan warriors in 1950s Korea who challenged each other and fought brutally to `settle' differences and contest places in the pecking order. Your quotations are not about the original issue—who gets to be called MAists—but rather about the ethical use of the martial arts. Again, Leni Riefenstahl was a cinematographer. She also made propaganda films on behalf of the Nazis. I am saying that there is no more reason to deny LR the description `film-maker/cinematographer' than there is to deny Motobu, Kyan or anyone else like them the description `martial artists'.

Second—though it's a minor point, because the the work you cite is, as I've noted, irrelevant to the issue of whether an aggressive practitioner of the martial arts is a martial artist—the fact is that the attitude reflected in the citations from Funakoshi, his students and those who take their cue from GF derives from the deliberate effort of GF's efforts, and later his students to present Karate to the American occupation force as an instrument of moral
training. Funakoshi was trying to preserve karate at a time when the occupying forces were suppressing every aspect of Japanese culture that was devoted to combat. They were demilitarizing Japan once and for all. Karate would have been suppressed permanently had GF not presented the case to the Americans that the primary purpose of karate was moral/spiritual training. And they bought it. But remember to, before the war, he made the case to the Japanese education and defense ministries that karate would be useful as a way to train young men for war (see Bill Burgar's Five Years, One Kata for some discussion of this point).

As for Misushai and the other samurai of his era... MM fought sixty duels in his life, basically challenge matches, and other samurai did the same. The samurai of his time killed, without remorse, peasants who they thought had not shown proper deference, as they were legally allowed to do. Again, it seems to me difficult to deny the samurai of feudal Japan the description `martial artist'...

Again, just so what I'm saying is crystal clear: nothing you've cited constitutes the slightest basis for denying the description `martial artist' to someone who is a skilled practitioner of the martial arts. The whole list of quotations you present is a set of opinions on how martial artists should behave. Again: I happen to think cinematographers, like other people, should not use their art and skills on behalf of Naziism or any other violent social regime. But that has nothing whatever to do with whether they are cinematographers and film-makers, and you'll get nowhere, even with people who think along the same lines I do, if you try to tell people that LR and other like her should not be identified as `film-makers'. We are not arguing about ethics here, since I agree that the MAs should be used in a morally responsible fashion. We are arguing here over whether anyone gets to impose on speakers of a language a private criterion for applying a term which, based on its syntax and morphology, denotes `one who practices systematic combat skills', NOTHING MORE.

Bottom line: if you wish to restrict your own usage of the term to a certain subclass of skilled practitioners of those combat disciplines, fine; but others will continue to use the term `martial artist' in the broader sense, without the ethical litmus test, and it is perfectly right and proper that they do so.
 

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Not in the mood for a long winded post so I`ll just quote Musashi again. This pretty much sums up my view of the Arts and "True Martial Artists(tm)"

"It is critical that you think everything is an opportunity to kill."
 
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One further point supplementary to my preceding post (#34), LF—the question at issue is about the application of an English construction. I don't see how any native speaker of Japanese or Korean could possibly say anything useful about the way people apply that construction unless that person happened to be a lexicographer working on English vocabulary. So far as I know, that isn't the case with Funakoshi, Oyama, Musashi or any the other sources you cite who are or were Asian MAists.

When you look at the actual authorities on how people use vocabulary items— dictionaries—you find that a martial artist is typically defined as one who practices a martial art. And a martial art is typically defined the way Wikipedia does:

Martial arts, also known as fighting systems, are bodies of codified practices or traditions of training for unarmed and armed combat, usually without the use of guns and other modern weapons.

They add, as an afterthought, that

People study martial arts for various reasons including fitness, self-cultivation (meditation), mental/character development, and self-defense.

So I have to say that adducing a set of quotes by Asian, mostly monolingual martial artists (but, multilingual or not, people who are not in a position to comment on how native speakers of English use particular English vocabulary items) about how people who practice combat arts should behave has no bearing on the question of how English speakers, including martial artists themselves, apply the term `martial artist'. If you can give me some evidence that people use this term in a way which includes ethical judgments, then we have something to talk about. And if you acknowledge that they don't but they should.... well, again, that's your view. But if people don't accept your insistence that they adopt your usage in place of their own, don't be surprised. You'd react the same way if the situation were reversed, most likely—that's just how language works.
 

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SELF DEFENSE TRAINING + PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT + ETHICS = MARTIAL ART

COMBAT SKILLS + LOVE AND RESPECT OF ALL LIFE + ETHICAL CONDUCT = MARTIAL ARTIST

But the point is, LF, your decision to apply different standards to fine artists and martial artists, as per your post, is simply a reflection of your own additional requirements.
I didn't apply the standards to "fine artist" - you did by saying they don't have any standards yet they are still "artists" I never disagreed with you on that point so please, PLEASE, PLEASE do not make another comparison to other artist. I got your point the very first time!

My point is that there is a different application of the term "art" as applied to Martial Art (not the simple "good at a skill" meaning which you assert), and that the Martial Art is a unique concept that does, in fact, require additional virtues which those others arts, skills, and professions do not. That is why I said it is like comparing "Apples to Oranges." They are similar, but not the same thing so you can not compare them in that detailed way. The Martial Art is the apple, and all other fine arts are the oranges.

It does not reflect common usage.
Who says it is appropriate to go by "common usage." Common among whom? The majority of lay-people who have just walked out of a Jackie Chan movie and think they are experts on the "Martial Art?" Common among color belt students, or beginner black belts? Common among experts in the field?

This field is full of fakes, frauds, and "buy my own black belt and make my own kinko certificates, wannabes! Even among those who could be regarded as experts or masters, the vast majority still do not fully understand this noble art. Mainly because they either want to twist it to be whatever they think it should be, or they have been misled by others who fail to understand the truth.

It does not reflect any kind of social consensus on the application of the term `martial artist' to individuals.
Again, I am not concerned with the "social consensus" of amateurs and wannabes. Only truly enlightened Masters and renowned experts in the field.

By the same token, the term `martial artist' (= [ [martial] art]+ ist) denotes nothing other than one who practices martial artscombat arts.
Ok, this is the crux of the problem, and where we disagree the most. You translate the English term as "Martial" = "combat" and "art" = "art" or technical skill. The first part is close to being correct, but the second part is way off. I'll address that in a bit.

There is no external authority behind the term which imposes an additional requirement of `virtuous application'.
You said there was no external authority. I provided you with plenty. You rejected them on frivolous grounds.

Your Three main reasons:

1. The quotes are about how to apply the Martial Art, not who should be called a Martial Artist. (This is absurd. They are one and the same. Being a Martial Artist IS how you behave and apply the knowledge you should have been taught.)

2. These Asian Martial Art experts don't speak English well enough to tell English speaking people what the term Martial Artist means.

the question at issue is about the application of an English construction. I don't see how any native speaker of Japanese or Korean could possibly say anything useful about the way people apply that construction unless that person happened to be a lexicographer working on English vocabulary. So far as I know, that isn't the case with Funakoshi, Oyama, Musashi or any the other sources you cite who are or were Asian MAists.
(Even more absurd. Experts are experts regardless of what language they speak. The term Martial Art is English, but it refers to an Asian Art. To be Bushi you MUST follow the code of Bushido. To be a Martial Artist, you must follow the same code which is in the Martial Art, because the Martial Art is Bushido under a variety of names. Remove the code, and it is no longer a Martial Art.

This is one of the most backward thinking notions I have heard! (no disrespect intended) You ask for an "external authority" about why I claim the Asian Bushido (Karate, Judo, Taekwondo, etc), which us Westerners call Martial Art(s) was intended to include virtues, ethics, and moral conduct among its practitioners, yet you disqualify Asian experts!!! Who should I consult, Americans who don't understand the concept, and who are the very reason the English term "Martial Art" is being wrongly defined, and misused to describe what the Asian experts know about? Should I consult English Dictionaries for this??? The English word was not made up for the purpose of describing a Western Art. It is a translation of an Asian term, "Bushido!" Thus, you must understand this term and its meaning to understand what "Martial Art" is supposed to mean.

3. Funakoshi was lying when he wrote his books because he was trying to sell a passive Martial Art to Americans immediately following WWII.

the fact is that the attitude reflected in the citations from Funakoshi, his students and those who take their cue from GF derives from the deliberate effort of GF's efforts, and later his students to present Karate to the American occupation force as an instrument of moral
training.... And they bought it.
(No foundation to this whatsoever. He wrote his books in his native language for Japanese readers, shortly before his death in 1957 at the age of 88, so he was certainly not trying to convince the Americans of anything. Furthermore, these same texts were not transcribed and published in English until the 1970s yet his message still held true. To call him a liar, for whatever motives, is disrespectful and false. His doctrine was the true doctrine of Karate-do, and attempts to discredit his motives does not address the fact that so many other experts say the same exact thing.

But remember to, before the war, he made the case to the Japanese education and defense ministries that karate would be useful as a way to train young men for war (see Bill Burgar's Five Years, One Kata for some discussion of this point).
No need! The case for the Martial Art being useful as a way to train soldiers for war is a legitimate one (common to Jujutsu and Taekwondo) but has no bearing on the philosophical teachings beyond the battlefield, nor does it imply that Funakoshi did not believe that a soldier could be deadly effective in combat, yet use self control and adhere to ethical conduct in social settings.

The samurai of his time killed, without remorse, peasants who they thought had not shown proper deference, as they were legally allowed to do. Again, it seems to me difficult to deny the samurai of feudal Japan the description `martial artist'...
The samurai were legally allowed to do that at their discretion because of their status. They were obeying the laws of that time. By todays standards, however, this would be considered inhumane, illegal, and not the proper ethics of a Martial Artist. Furthermore, beating people up, and killing them against the rules of your Master, just to hone your skills, does not equate the era of legal justice administered by the samurai.

The Martial Art is effective combat that requires proper use under a strict ethical code.

That is your own criterion, which is why I said that you were using the term in a knd of private fashion.
I already proved that to be false. It is not MY OWN CRITERION. It comes from Asian experts on the subject of the Asian Art that many Westerners THINK they understand, or can recreate for their own purpose and give it their own definition! Why not?!! It's the English language - - define it anyway you want!! Who can tell you your're wrong - right?

And if you say to me, well, you're wrong, all you're doing is in effect saying, `no, my definition of martial artist is the correct one'.
No, I'm saying it is an Asian Art, having been given an English name to describe it, the name should reflect the intentions and definitions of the "consensus" of Asian experts. I'm just agreeing with them.

But you can't demonstrate this correctness in terms of any external authority.
Yes I can, and I did! Don't reject the authority because they don't speak English. It is not them who needs to understand our term of "Martial Art," but it is we who need to understand "Bushido" from which the term "Martial Art is derived." All the "Mars - God of war" etymology has nothing to do with the fact that it was English speaking people who used this "Martial" term to try and convey a concept that was foreign to them!

My point is just that in saying that people like Kyan and Motobu aren't martial artists, you are expressing a strictly personal opinion of how a technically proficient exponent of systematic combat systems should behave socially. And that's a private opinionone far from universally shared.
It is absolutely not a private opinion. If you continue to insist that it is, then you are surely not reading the words of those experts. They too are saying what the core principles, and required ethics of the Martial Art is.

You are giving me a bunch of quotations from various people about the way the martial arts should be applied. But that was and is not what our disagreement is about. It is about whether the term `martial artist' can be legitimately applied to someone who does not conform to a certain set of moral standards on its use that someone else imposes.
Those experts are specifically outlining how a student or black belt MUST behave. There is no room for doubt here as to what they are saying. Don't misuse Karate. Don't be aggressive and start fights. Don't hurt people unnecessarily. Live your life and conduct yourself by a code of ethics and justice. How can you deny the obvious message here? How can you say that this is not what our argument is about.

Plain English: A Martial Artist is a person who both studies the Martial Art and adheres to the principles taught in the Martial Art. Even pirates and thieves have a code, but they don't have to follow it - they're pirates and thieves!! They are dishonest to begin with! On the other hand, a Martial Artist MUST follow the code or lose the status of being a Martial Artist.

People stretch definitions, and change things to fit their twisted ideas, but you show me a consensus of experts who have written textbooks that say it is fine for Martial Artist to beat people up at will, and use their skills to hurt innocent people just to get better at fighting. Please offer me this proof!

Look again at what I said: that people like Motobu and Kyan, and many other besides, who used their arts aggressively and fought for the sake of fighting (and as `fieldwork' to develop their arts, um, experimentally) were nonetheless martial artistsaggressive, sometimes brutal and ethically challenged, let's say, but MAists nonetheless.
That is your opinion! Perhaps I am taking a bold, and lone-wolf stance by coming right out and saying that people who act like that are not Martial Artists, but I think you are the one who is going out on a limb and it might be lonely there with only four of you or so. I do not stand alone on this issue. I might be one of the few who are willing to say it out loud, but if you really understand the Martial Art itself - what it truly is (when taught correctly), then it is clear that a Martial Artists must be one who acts in accordance with the teachings. To find out what those teachings are, simple read what I have quoted (and many more texts on the subject).

Not one of the quotations you've assembled suggests that the people you cite did not regard people like Motobu as martial artists;
No, they did not mention those individuals by name, although you were the one who pointed out that Motobu's own instructor expelled him from the dojo for his behavior. What does that tell you?

every one of them is talking rather about the proper use of martial arts.
And your point is???? Do you actually believe this is not what our argument is about? These experts state clearly what is the proper use of the Martial Art, and they further say that anyone who misuses the skills such as Karate-do nullifies any of these benefits and merits of Karate-do A person who knows the proper use yet misuses the skills by hurting others for his own gain is presumptuous and conceited. A presumptuous or conceited person is not qualified to follow Karate-do. (said by Gichin Funakoshi) Hence, the obvious conclusion: They are not a true Martial Artist.

I am still waiting for some evidence that there is a broad social consensusthat is what I mean by `external authority',
And you'll be waiting a long time if you continue to dismiss true experts for frivolous reasons, or ignore the message they are clearly saying. They are the true external authority! that should be consulted; not some elusive broad social consensus.

Your quotations are not about the original issuewho gets to be called MAistsbut rather about the ethical use of the martial arts.
Sorry, Same Thing!!! The Martial Art includes ethics (my quotes prove that point). If you don't apply the code of ethics in your daily life, you are not a Martial Artist. To study the Martial Art is not enough - - you have to live it - - all of it - - every single rule and code of proper conduct. Not just the ones you want to pick and choose, or to ignore them altogether!

Again, just so what I'm saying is crystal clear: nothing you've cited constitutes the slightest basis for denying the description `martial artist' to someone who is a skilled practitioner of the martial arts.
Yes it does. Every bit of it does. The quotes clearly state that philosophy, ethics, and moral conduct are much more important than mere technical skills.

The whole list of quotations you present is a set of opinions on how martial artists should behave.
Amusing! A set of opinions. Like experts witnesses in a court of law, their statements are not considered mere opinions. Yet they do describe, as you say, how martial artists should behave. Fail to behave that way, and you fail to be a Martial Artist.

We are arguing here over whether anyone gets to impose on speakers of a language a private criterion for applying a term which, based on its syntax and morphology, denotes `one who practices systematic combat skills', NOTHING MORE.
Not true! We are arguing whether or not the subject of Martial Art includes additional codes of conduct and virtue over and above the technical content, and if a person who applies their skills without following such a code should be considered a Martial Artist or not.

The side argument over whether or not speakers of different languages should be held up as experts on a specific term is superficial because the term is either applied to an Asian concept (in which case the Asian speaking experts would have the most authoritative input) or the term is a loose, general, English word that can be applied to whatever English speaking people want it to be.

Bottom line: if you wish to restrict your own usage of the term to a certain subclass of skilled practitioners of those combat disciplines, fine; but others will continue to use the term `martial artist' in the broader sense, without the ethical litmus test, and it is perfectly right and proper that they do so.
Bottom line: if you wish to restrict your own usage of the term to a certain subclass of skilled practitioners of those combat disciplines who lack ethics and moral conduct, fine; but others will continue to use the term 'martial art' in its proper sense, with the ethical and moral code in tact, and it is perfectly right and proper that they do so.

So I have to say that adducing a set of quotes by Asian, mostly monolingual martial artists (but, multilingual or not, people who are not in a position to comment on how native speakers of English use particular English vocabulary items) about how people who practice combat arts should behave has no bearing on the question of how English speakers, including martial artists themselves, apply the term `martial artist'. If you can give me some evidence that people use this term in a way which includes ethical judgments, then we have something to talk about.
I did give you plenty of evidence, and your reasons for rejecting their expert input is without merit.

In any event, here are some final quotes from Joe Hyams, the English speaking author of Zen in the Martial Arts who trained directly with people such as Bruce Lee, and Ed Parker (also English speaking experts).

Technical knowledge alone is not enough. A martial artist must simultaneously transcend technique and develop intuitive action so that the art becomes an artless art, a way to physical excellence, a way to spiritual enlightenment. ~ Joe Hyams
(exile, If you say that technical combat skill is all there is to the Martial Art, and nothing else - you would be wrong!)

For the true master, karate, kung-fu, aikido, wing-chun, and all the other martial arts are essentially avenues through which they can achieve spiritual serenity, mental tranquility, and the deepest self-confidence. ~ Joe Hyams
(exile, for the true master, these things do not include ruthless behavior and assaulting people)

Yet I had studied the martial arts for several years before becoming aware of this. In the early stages of training, like most students, I spent my time learning and refining complex physical techniques and movements. Only occasionally did a sifu ('instructor' in Chinese) hint that there were other lessons to be mastered. ~ Joe Hyams
(exile, there are other lessons to be mastered)

Only after several years of training did I come to realize that the deepest purpose of the martial arts is to serve as a vehicle for personal spiritual development. ~ Joe Hyams
(the deepest purpose is spiritual development, not technical skills)

For this reason perhaps the practice hall -- dojo (Japanese), dojang (Korean) kwoon (Chinese) -- where martial arts is studied is traditionally called The Place of Enlightenment. ~ Joe Hyams
(The place of enlightenment - - not the gym of violence and fighting)

A man who has attained mastery of an art reveals it in his every action. ~ Samurai maxim

To know and to act are one and the same. ~ Samurai maxim

There have been numerous books about karate written by the masters. In my view, the best of all these books was written by the greatest of all the masters, Gichin Funakoshi. At nearly ninety years of age he wrote his autobiography, Karate Do: My Way of Life. In telling of his own famous teachers, not only their mastery of technique but also of their behavior in critical situations, Funakoshi reveals the true spirit of karate. ~ Joe Hyams
(personal endorsement from an English speaker that says it all!)

Ed Parker says, The only reason men fight is because they are insecure; one man needs to prove that he is better or stronger than another. The man who is secure within himself has no need to prove anything with force, so he can walk away from a fight with dignity and pride. He is the true martial artist

These are the true experts, and they have made my case for me.
Nothing more needs to be said!
 

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Cirdan is right, far too much too read on screen.I did get this bit below and decided my opinion wasn't wanted anyway. Incidentally in Wado I was taught a first strike move so saying karateka don't strike first is not exactly true. ( in short left fighting stance, hands down by sides, step forward with left front snap punch. I described it in English to make it understandable. Iain Abernethy was the one who pointed this was a first strike )


" Again, I am not concerned with the "social consensus" of amateurs and wannabes. Only truly enlightened Masters and renowned experts in the field."




 
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Cirdan is right, far too much too read on screen.I did get this bit below and decided my opinion wasn't wanted anyway. Incidentally in Wado I was taught a first strike move so saying karateka don't strike first is not exactly true. ( in short left fighting stance, hands down by sides, step forward with left front snap punch. I described it in English to make it understandable. Iain Abernethy was the one who pointed this was a first strike )


" Again, I am not concerned with the "social consensus" of amateurs and wannabes. Only truly enlightened Masters and renowned experts in the field."





Tez, don't worry. What LF has posted is in fact a classic example of circular reasoning; I've been classifying the various logical fallacies in the comments presented in that post and my response will be what I hope is a fairly concise roadmap to them. But your gut reaction is dead rightthe logical structure of (i) LF's claim that only martial artists are allowed to prescribe the meaning of a fairly common English noun phrase and (ii) his restriction of the term `martial artist' to a small subset of those who study systematic fighting systems leads to (iii) the consquence that the only people whose opinion is relevant to the definition of MA/MAist are those who hold the position he does. There are many variants of circular reasoning; this one is a very interesting combination of (a) the so called argumentum ad vericundiam (justification by appeal to an already agreeing authority) with (b) the `no true Scotsman' fallacy dissected by Anthony Flew in a famous book thirty years ago. Teasing the various fallacies and circularities out of the post is taking up more time than I have available today, but I'm gonna post the resultswhich, as I say, I think are very interesting and revealinga bit later.

Meanwhile, Tez, I (and a lot of other martial artists on the board :) ) value your opinion very highly! So please don't let circular justifications keep you away from this discussion. Actually, your imput is badly needed, I believe.
 

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Big words make my head hurt. Dur.

Ahem. Martial Arts are just words, just a label. No matter how much certainty we have in our INTERPETATION of the term, that intepretation will in no way change the reality of the term. No matter how how passionately, no matter how intensely I believe the word Dog describes a pig, that will not alter the fact that for most people a dog is a small hairy creature that barks and poops alot, and a pig is pink, likes to roll in mud, and is eaten frequently.
When it comes to labels, the meaning of the label is assigned by the majority. And in the case of MA, the majority have no one particular set criteria that it fits. Just that its sorta to do with fighting, but also other stuff too, but they're not quite sure what.
 

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The thing is...in the time it would take to read such an epic post as Last Fearners I could have done a fair bit of training which in my mind a Martial Artist would have done as opposed to pontificating over semantics. In the time it would take to actually understand the post I could have invented a new style of martial arts!
I love the expression "noble art" - for crying out loud,noble art? it's bashing people! Okay it's very good bashing people but that's what it is! I gave someone a thick lip the other night, it wa a good move but not noble!
It's people who can be noble, they may do noble things,they may fight for a noble cause, they may practise a martial art but don't kid on that what we do is noble.What we do is fighting. The simple philosophy behind fighting is to win.
What you chose to believe other than this is entirely up to you but like arguments on religion and politics please accept that we could agree with you but then we'd all be wrong!:uhyeah:
 
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These are the true experts, and they have made my case for me.
Nothing more needs to be said!

Ah... where to start??

I'll begin by saying that I think, from Last Fearner's point of view, that his last statement is correct, but probably not for the reasons he believes. More on this below.

For the record, I'm responding here to LF's post #37 in this thread. In reading through the seven pages of text he supplied, I found myself sorting the post by the various logical fallacies (circularity, `no true Scotsman', argumentum ad vericundiam and a number others) that it appears to break down into. So rather than go through it in the same sequence LF presents it, I think my response will be much easier to follow if I deal with in terms of the various layers of fallacies embedded in it, with pointers to the appropriate sections of LS's text.

First of all, there is an overarching fallacy of circular reasoning which arises in a very interesting way and is worth making explicit. LF has a certain position which I've challenged. This position consists of the claim that, as LF puts it at one point `Being a Martial Artist IS how you behave and apply the knowledge you should have been taught', with a particular idea of `virtuous application' in particular'. I'll call that LF's Central Claim (aka CC).

Next, we have the position that, as he says, `Again, I am not concerned with the "social consensus" of amateurs and wannabes. Only truly enlightened Masters are reknowned experts in the field". These are the only people whose opinion counts, LF is explicitly saying, and constitute the `authorities' that he appeals to at some length, providing quote after quote from a chap named Joe Hyams, apparently a student of Bruce Lee and Ed Parker, `English speaking' experts (but not experts on the use by English speakers of common vocabulary items).

So we have the following:

(i) CC
(ii) Only the opinion (enlightened) martial artists (who apparently must also be enlightened and reknowned) are of concern to LF.

But since, in his explicit view, to be a true martial artist of any kind requires you to accept CC (as reflected in in your behavior), we can replace (ii) with its entailment (ii)':

(ii)' Only the opinion of those who accept the CC are of concern to LF.

From (i) and (ii)', (iii) immediately follows:

(iii) Only the opinions of those who agree with LF are of cocern to LF.

Since

(iv) LF's `authorities' are a subset of those who agree with him,

it follows, again as an unavoidable entailment, that

(v) only those who agree with LF with respect to the CC are admissible in the discussion as authorities on whether the CC is correct.

I have to say that I understand and to some extent sympathize with the desire to only give credence, in a debate with an opposing point of view, to those who happen to agree with me. I've certainly experienced it firsthand! But as a general rule, arguments based on the general form of (v) are regarded as instances of circular justification: you justify X because those who believe X belive it to be justified. There is not a single argument in the world which cannot be supported if (v) is admitted, including mutually exclusive positions.

This particular version of the fallacy of circular reasoning is overlain with others, though in a sense they're all interconnected and self-reinforcing, the way complex reasoning built on fallacies often are. One that's particularly important to be aware of is the fallacy that's sometimes described as building your conclusion into your premises (anyone recall the technical name for this one?) This occurs repeatedly in LF's post, so just a single example will have to suffice. When LF says, `You said there was no external authority behind the term. I provided you with plenty. You rejected them on frivolous grounds', notice that what I was rejecting was the relevance to the question under discussion—who does the description `MAist apply to'?—of a list of citations from Funakoshi, Oyama, Musashi M., and now Mr. Hyams, Ed Parker and various others. Examine what these people have said carefully and you will see that apart perhaps from Mr. Hyams, none of these people have said anything about what the term `martial artist' means; they've only expressed an opinion about how martial artists should behave. But since LF assumes that there is no difference between how someone trained in combat behaves, on the one hand, and their eligibility for the description `martial artist', on the other, he regards the comments of his authorities on proper behavior as equivalent to comments on who and is not a martial artist. It follows that in insisting on the distinction between the two things, I am `rejecting them on frivolous grounds.' By now, it should be clear that if LF were indeed right---that virtuous behavior and martial artistry are mutually implicated---then I'd be rejecting his invocations of authority for the CC. But since the CC is the very point that's under dispute, what LF is saying, to put it a little crudely, is that `If I were right, then you'd be wrong to dispute the opinions of people who'd be agreeing with me if I were right.' Lovers of infinite regress (I confess!) should be able to spend many a happy hour playing with this sort of self-bootstrapping justification.

It's worth pointing out also that the various explicit references to `true martial artists' that pop up in the posts are an instance of the `no true Scotsman' fallacy that Anthony Flew drolly exposed in his 1975 book Thinking about Thinking; a nice summary of his thinking is provided at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman. The book's line of thinking, which I've just been admiring, is more developed, but the Wiki summary should be enough to allow the skeptical observer to recognize the prevalence of this particular fallacy both in LF's own text and in certain passages he cites in `evidence'.


There are a number of asides in LF's post about fakes, frauds, Kinko's-certificate black belts and other things, which I think are pretty much irrelevant to the lines of fallacious reasoning that take up most of the post; these are in effect straw-men tangents, and not really entitled to the status of `logical fallacy', since they are about matters of fact that are not implicated in any of the reasoning steps involved. But I do think it appropriate to comment on the following comment by LF, since it shows the degree to which the argument developed in his post is in effect a snake swallowing its own tail:

`Who says it is appropriate to go by "common usage" Common among whom? The majority of lay-people who have just walked out of a Jackie Chan movie and think they are experts in the "Martial Art"... I am not concerned with the "social concensus" of amateurs and wannabees. Only truly enlightened Masters and reknowned experts in the field.'

The fact is, of course, that not one of the `authorities' that LF cites is an expert in what the question was at the point when I first posted: who gets to be called a martial artist? The people who are experts in English usage aren't martial artists, but lexicographers. And this is completely typical of the kind of thing they say in their dictionaries and other reference works:

Martial arts are systems of codified practices and traditions of training for combat. Martial arts are studied for various reasons including combat skills, fitness, self-defense, sport, self-cultivation (meditation), mental discipline, character development and building self-confidence. A practitioner of martial arts is referred to as a martial artist.

(Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martial_arts)

Any of several Asian arts of combat or self-defense, such as aikido, karate, judo, or tae kwon do, usually practiced as sport. Often used in the plural. (Answers.com, http://www.answers.com/topic/martial-art)

Martial arts cover a broad range of activities that involve fighting techniques, physical exercises, and methods of mental discipline, among other skills. Martial arts originated in the ancient cultures of Asia, and are used today around the world for self-defense, exercise, health, spiritual growth, law enforcement, and athletic competition.

(Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, http://www.answers.com/topic/martial-art)

Martial art: one of several Oriental systems of self-defense, including karate, judo and aikido.

(Webster's New International Dictionary)

Ad infinitem.

Now all I'm claiming, remember, is that the English term `martial artist' means `one who practices martial arts, and that martial arts refer to codified systems of combat principles, tactics and skills. I'm talking about usage. And that's all that dictionaries and reference books provide, based on the research of the referece-book makers. I've seen literally dozens of dictionary entries for `martial art(ist)s'. Every one of them has been of the kind I've just cited. Not one refers to a criterion of virtuous application---just combat knowledge.

What LF seems to me to be saying is, `I'm right and you can't be right because on the basis of what I know, you don't qualify as an MAist since you don't believe the CC and part of what I know is that only people who believe the CC know what a MA(ist) is.' It was for this reason that I characterized his characterization of a MAist as a kind of private usage.

And this is why I say that from his own point of view, LF is right: given the assumption that LF's opinion and those who agree with him necessarily constitute the true definition of MAist because only they know what it is/should be, no one knows what a MAist is except for those who share his view of what a MAist is. So for him, it's true, nothing more need be said.

But I'm going to give Tez and Shotgun Buddha the last word here :)



Big words make my head hurt. Dur.

Ahem. Martial Arts are just words, just a label. No matter how much certainty we have in our INTERPETATION of the term, that intepretation will in no way change the reality of the term. No matter how how passionately, no matter how intensely I believe the word Dog describes a pig, that will not alter the fact that for most people a dog is a small hairy creature that barks and poops alot, and a pig is pink, likes to roll in mud, and is eaten frequently.
When it comes to labels, the meaning of the label is assigned by the majority. And in the case of MA, the majority have no one particular set criteria that it fits. Just that its sorta to do with fighting, but also other stuff too, but they're not quite sure what.

I love the expression "noble art" - for crying out loud,noble art? it's bashing people! Okay it's very good bashing people but that's what it is! I gave someone a thick lip the other night, it wa a good move but not noble!
It's people who can be noble, they may do noble things,they may fight for a noble cause, they may practise a martial art but don't kid on that what we do is noble.What we do is fighting. The simple philosophy behind fighting is to win.
What you chose to believe other than this is entirely up to you but like arguments on religion and politics please accept that we could agree with you but then we'd all be wrong!:uhyeah:
 

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Exile, you have far more patience than I answering LF's posts! However!!

(Even more absurd. Experts are experts regardless of what language they speak. The term Martial Art is English, but it refers to an Asian Art. To be Bushi you MUST follow the code of Bushido. To be a Martial Artist, you must follow the same code which is in the Martial Art, because the Martial Art is Bushido under a variety of names. Remove the code, and it is no longer a Martial Art.
Okay, question... what is this "Martial Art" you are talking about?
I know of several non Asian martial arts. I daresay you do have follow Bushi to be Bushido, it would make sense but again who decided that Bushido is the code, under any name, that the Thais, Chinese, Koreans, Phillopinos etc follow? Who decided that to kick, punch, knee, throw etc we have to give up our faiths and beliefs and follow Bushido in order to do so?

Who should I consult, Americans who don't understand the concept, and who are the very reason the English term "Martial Art" is being wrongly defined, and misused to describe what the Asian experts know about?

Well I'll give you points for managing to insult the intelligence of an entire nation there. From what I've read on this forum I'd say there are a good many people who understand a great many concepts on martial arts.

The English word was not made up for the purpose of describing a Western Art. It is a translation of an Asian term, "Bushido!" Thus, you must understand this term and its meaning to understand what "Martial Art" is supposed to mean.

I was on a seminar recently where some of the participants do follow the code of Bushido, the thing is they called it Bushido, not martial arts. They understood the meaning of the word and didn't need to have it translated into anything else. Oh yes and they asked what martial art we practised. Did I mention that although British they were Japanese trained?

The Martial Art is effective combat that requires proper use under a strict ethical code.

Bollocks.

Last Ferner, you've obviously thought long and hard about what you have written but in doing so you have made the mistake of insulting others intelligence and passion for martial arts. It is good to have a code of behaviour that defines good behaviour and encourages people towards that behavior but there are many such codes, all good and all following different paths to the same goal. However, you have taken a huge subject squashed it into pseudo religious type credo and then demanded that only those who follow it can be called martial artists. Ooo I think not sunbeam! I would make a very good assumption that all who post on here are martial artists and very happy with that desciption and long may they do so!









 

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So what do you call someone who trains in a martial art but does not agree with the spiritual philosophy?

All of the morals and ethics had to do with Zen, Buddhism and Taoism which is not inherent in many of todays interpretations of the arts. It's also not present in some of the newer arts of today. All martial arts are not asian and many never were.

Some of the definitions being thrown around have become outdated. Whether this is good or bad is a matter of opinion. Personally I learned morals from my grand parents who raised me. I didn't need to learn how to kill and maim with bare hands to teach me discipline and values. I learned how to kill and maim to protect my values.
 

Tez3

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So what do you call someone who trains in a martial art but does not agree with the spiritual philosophy?

All of the morals and ethics had to do with Zen, Buddhism and Taoism which is not inherent in many of todays interpretations of the arts. It's also not present in some of the new arts of today.

Some of the definitions being thrown around have become outdated. Whether this is good or bad is a matter of opinion. Personally I learned morals from my grand parents who raised me. I didn't need to learn how to kill and maim with bare hands to teach me discipline and values. I learned how to kill and maim to protect my values.

Good post, I'm not sure that even in the past these had much to do with martial arts in all the Asian countries but LF's talks only of The Martial Art and Bushido, I'm not sure he is talking about anything other than Karate and probably Shotokan at that? My Japanese art is Wado and Ohtsuka Sensei had a different take on things.
 

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I have seen and read a lot here that are quotes from various Japanese martial artists. Then I assume that Chinese martial artist are not considered ethical because for the most part they never heard of any the people that have cited...Interesting.

And I did notice that the Tao and Confucius were mentioned but it was still in reference to Japan anyway so....

SELF DEFENSE TRAINING + PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT + ETHICS = MARTIAL ART

COMBAT SKILLS + LOVE AND RESPECT OF ALL LIFE + ETHICAL CONDUCT = MARTIAL ARTIST


Where did these come from?

And I am glad this is what it means to you but in reality it is not how martial arts was defined by many historically nor is it defined this way by all today.

Also your previous quotes are in places speaking of Karate-do which has a very different view of things that its precursor Karate-jitsu.

And can I also assume that by this that you feel the Samurai where fine examples of what a martial artist should be?
 

tradrockrat

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It all comes down to personality and personal opinion (IMHO anyway). Ask yourself this question and then try to guess how both Exile and LF would answer it - How sacred is the word "Art" to you? Does it mean skill set or does it mean a transcendence of the mundane to levels of enlightenment, or something in between?

Many people feel that to be a martial artist is to walk a very specific path of teachings both physical and spiritual.

Others feel that anybody that's learned a good left hook is a martial artist.

These feelings in no way take into account the dictionary definition of the words, nor should they. Be honest. Words mean more than what the dictionary tells us - as any racial epithet shows. Words have power beyond the textbook definitions and they mean different things to different people.

So in a sense, LF is not wrong in what he says, nor is Exile because they aren't actually debating the same thing. Exile has the english language to back up his claims of what the words martial and arts actually mean. LF has the writtings of what it means to be a martial artist by men he believes to be martial artists. Not the same issue at all.

However, while I personally feel that a martial artist is indeed more than an accomplished fighter (I consider that martial sport or martial combat, depending on the situation), I and most everyone I have ever trained with in Bando would take serious exception to the idea that martial arts = bushido. That's just crap. The Japanese don't have the market cornered on martial artists - not by a long shot.
 

Langenschwert

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The term Martial Art is English, but it refers to an Asian Art.

I'm getting the impression that you ascribe the definition of Martial Arts to Asian arts in particular, to which I take exception. If that's not your intent, my apologies. However:

The first extant literary use of the term "Martial Art" in the English language refers to an Italian art, namely rapier fencing. The work is the 16th Century English rapier manual entitled "Pallas Armata" which refers to the "Noble Martial Art of Fencing". Please note that the term fencing refers to fighting in general, not the use of the sword alone. There's not much philosophy in a back-alley rapier fight, but it's certainly a martial art, and an exacting one at that.

If someone wants to define his art as "martial applications plus philosophy X", that's fine with me. Fill your boots, it's all good. If someone wants to define it as "win at all costs", that's equally (if not more so) valid, and certainly more martial. Just don't denigrate those Martial Arts that don't share certain non-martial characteristics.

I certainly call myself a Martial Artist. I may not be a good one, but I train my Arts five days a week, read and try to interpret the techniques described in the ancient manuals. I train how to kill people in a very gruesome fashion, and may the gods ensure that I never have to use it for real. However, I don't follow the code of Chivalry (the European equivalent of Bushido), I'm not a Roman Catholic (the belief system most dominant during the development of European swordsmanship), but I am a swordsman, and a Martial Artist. And proud of it. :)

Best regards,

-Mark
 

Tez3

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I'm getting the impression that you ascribe the definition of Martial Arts to Asian arts in particular, to which I take exception. If that's not your intent, my apologies. However:

The first extant literary use of the term "Martial Art" in the English language refers to an Italian art, namely rapier fencing. The work is the 16th Century English rapier manual entitled "Pallas Armata" which refers to the "Noble Martial Art of Fencing". Please note that the term fencing refers to fighting in general, not the use of the sword alone. There's not much philosophy in a back-alley rapier fight, but it's certainly a martial art, and an exacting one at that.
,

-Mark

Italian fencing/sword fighting was one of the arts I had in mind when I posted. I saw an article on it in a martial arts magazine and it was absolutely fascinating and still, I believe widely practised. I also have read articles on martial arts from Malta,the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands and France as well as Greece - Pankration anyone?
 
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exile

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Terrific points, Tez, Kempojj and XS. It's remarkable how much sense amateurs and wannabes can come up with, in spite of their lack of reknown and enlightenment! :wink1:

I wanted to just add a note to my preceding post about a matter not about valid reasoning but rather history. Bill Burgar's book, Five Years, One Kata, does indeed contain a nice discussion of the basis on which Funakoshi was able to persuade the Japanese military and educational establishments to incorporate karate on a widespread basis in prewar Japan. So far as GF's repackaging of karate as a spiritual discipline, I read a nice discussion of this in some material by the karateka (admittedly an American!) Robert Redmond, author of Year of the Chicken. Redmond is fluent in Japanese and has produced critical translations of a number of touchstones of Japanese MA `philosophy' (much of which, he argues, is better understood as etiquette); unfortunately I've lost track of that material but am quite certain that I shall be able to dig it up again, and as soon as I do I'll post it, or a pointer to it. Redmond does not like to be quoted without written permissionhe's very touchy about his website. But I'm allowed to quote short passages, and I thought the following might be of interested to readers who want to follow up on the claim that LF appears to be saying I madethough I did not actually make itthat GF was `lying' when he told the Americans that karate was essentially spiritual. (I'm more of the opinion that GF told people whatever he thought would be to the advantage of karate. It's not the same thing at all, but never mind!)

The Japanese were invading other Asian nations and had troops deployed in occupation of Manchuria. Karate seemed like an excellent hand to hand combat system which could also then be turned around to train conquered people in other lands to behave like obedient Japanese citizens. Physically, it was good for soldiers, and mentally, it was good for instilling obedient discipline in ordinary people.

If you find this concept bizarre, consider that it is repeatedly mentioned in Funakoshis early books.... if it were not in print, it might be difficult to believe that Funakoshi is quoted in his own book as saying, War is a tool God gave man to organize the world.


Funakoshi was a very gung-ho booster of Japanese colonial expansionism, which included the well-documented horrors visited upon the inhabitants of Korea, China, the Philipines and other parts of Asia forin some casesmany decades before the war. Given his wholehearted support for one of the most evil and destructive regimes of the modern era, the possibility that he might have told people what he thought would be good for them to hear hardly seems particularly noteworthy, eh?
 
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