Martial artists and ethics?

Tez3

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Thanks Exile ( I tried to Pm you but.....lol!) I'm well on the mend now.

Robust arguments are good for for us, makes us think.. hopefully! I may be upset about what someone has written but I would reply not give neg rep. I do, literally, have a problem with long posts though, I have to print them out to read them, it's purely a computer problem though (I think!), it's very difficult to read them on screen.
 

Shaderon

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I've only just read all this, why am I always late to the parties?

I'm not as eloquant as LF or Exile, well not in writing anyway and certainly not to the same degree, but I do believe I may have a little pertinant input.
(Hopefully not impertinant)
Tradrockrat and Shotgun Budda, in thier own words had something very interesting and very true to say.

The term "Martial Artist" is in essence a "Label". Labels have power, anyone who knows anything about proper use of language knows this, maybe not conciously, but they know it. If someone knows my name, they can have a power over me.... stick with me here..... They can call my name and I will turn round, they can tell other people things about me and in effect they can influence my life. BUT, my best friend will know different things about me than my husband. They know two different personalities in the same label, but it's still me in here. *points to chest*

Going back, the term Martial Artist is a label. Exile knows the CONCEPT behind that label as one thing, LF knows it as another, Tez knows it as another, I know it as another, Xue knows it as another..... I could go on but I know I've not got the patience to name everyone.... in short everyone has thier own concept, moulded by their own experiences and preconceptions of it, and applies the label "Martial Artist" to that concept. It is not however a sentient being, so it doesn't have a self concept like I do, in fact the label may be applied to any number of things without us realising....

Keep with me, I'm going somewhere. Promise.

Now I can think of 3 different definations of the label "Martial Artist" off the top of my head, and all three have slightly different concepts behind them.

1. A Martial Artist is someone who practices a Martial Art.
2. A Martial Artist is someone who practices a Martial Art and upholds the Martial Code. (I won't say Bushido because I don't practice a Japanese art)
3. A Martial Artist is someone who practices a Martial Art and has got to a certain standard (e.g. you can't call a white belt who's just walked into a training hall a Martial Artist)
I've just thought of another....
4. A Martial Artist is someone who practices a Martial Art, upholds the Martial Code and has got to a certain standard.

I'm sure there's plenty of other concepts... for example, some people don't include weapons.... some people do. So take all that lot and include weapons, and take it all and disclude weapons... there we have 12 definations already and I've not even really thought about it yet.

Now as we have many different concepts, I will use what I believe to be simple mathmatics, which is basically what all life drills down to, look for a common denominator and take that as perhaps the common concept of the label and therefore perhaps the core meaning of the label?

1. A Martial Artist is someone who practises a Martial Art.

So we have a common denominator, but is this a true meaning of the label or does it have something missing?

So we look for any examples that might back up our result. We don't need anything that won't back it up, just something that does. Hey... you are reading this thread, YOU do martial arts... do you call yourself a Martial Artist?

I shall leave that for the audience and participants to think about. Please note here, we only need one example that this works, we dont need add-ons, or more concepts of what makes a Martial Artist.... unless someone can come up with something that doesn't include "Practices Martial Arts". Then we would have to re-think our common denominator.

Just a note, I myself believe that a true Martial Artist should follow the Martial Code.... BUT I couldn't logically prove that statement, so it's really just my defination, my concept, and I won't assume it's the true meaning of the label.

Please don't forget guys, we are not arguing about each others concepts, we are discussing the use of the English LABEL "Martial Artist". Language is a funny thing... did you know the word "spam" is also a food product? Odd isn't it? ;)
 

Sukerkin

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Very well spoken, Shaderon - impressive linguistic logic there :tup:.

BUT I do have one very large dispute with something you said ... SPAM may be defined as a food product but I believe that many would argue against that :lol:. Then again, when combined with chips, eggs and beans in multiple configurations it does produce a rather splendid comedy sketch ...
 

Shaderon

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Thanks Suk.... looking back it was rather eloquant after all.... gives me a headache reading it.

Did I really write that? All this refraining from alcohol is having a weird effect on me.

Hey my concept is spam is a food product.... my dad eat it for years and I used to have it slapped on my sandwiches for school. Ok it tastes like **** but I never died. Not to my knowledge anyway ;)

Now S.P.A.M. is definatly NOT food product.... not even food for the mind.... :p
 

Shaderon

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I just got an unsigned rep for my eloquance 3 posts up.... can whoever did it pm me please? I'd like to that you for YOUR eloquance... that was quote a long explanation.

Thanks.
 
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exile

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I've only just read all this, why am I always late to the parties?

To keep us waiting impatiently for you to turn up? :)

Now I can think of 3 different definations of the label "Martial Artist" off the top of my head, and all three have slightly different concepts behind them.

1. A Martial Artist is someone who practices a Martial Art.
2. A Martial Artist is someone who practices a Martial Art and upholds the Martial Code. (I won't say Bushido because I don't practice a Japanese art)
3. A Martial Artist is someone who practices a Martial Art and has got to a certain standard (e.g. you can't call a white belt who's just walked into a training hall a Martial Artist)
I've just thought of another....
4. A Martial Artist is someone who practices a Martial Art, upholds the Martial Code and has got to a certain standard.

I'm sure there's plenty of other concepts... for example, some people don't include weapons.... some people do. So take all that lot and include weapons, and take it all and disclude weapons... there we have 12 definations already and I've not even really thought about it yet.

Now as we have many different concepts, I will use what I believe to be simple mathmatics, which is basically what all life drills down to, look for a common denominator and take that as perhaps the common concept of the label and therefore perhaps the core meaning of the label?

1. A Martial Artist is someone who practises a Martial Art.

So we have a common denominator, but is this a true meaning of the label or does it have something missing?

So we look for any examples that might back up our result. We don't need anything that won't back it up, just something that does. Hey... you are reading this thread, YOU do martial arts... do you call yourself a Martial Artist?

Astonishing, is't it, how far a little bit of ordinary common sense rationality will get you! This is exactly the methodology that lexicographers, the diligent and objective folks who give us dictionary definitions based on how terms are actually used by native speakers of a language (as vs. their own preconceptions), employ in determining what to give as the entry for the words the dictionary contains. Even if you think that the only true artists are those who consciously strive for beauty, a preconception which would deprive Rodin, Picasso and a few others of that caliber of the description `artist', you the lexicographer don't succumb to the temptation to play the God of Meaning to the unwashed. By the same token, even if you believe that `true' scientists are those who strive to unlock the secrets of the natural world using a certain combination of induction, inference and predictive success, purely for the sake of pushing back the frontiers of the unknown, you don't put that criterion in your dictionary, because the way the word `scientist' is applied by speakers of English generally, industrial scientists, who do science to increase the profitability of their employers, are scientists every bit as much as the physicists at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton—the ones whose charge is just to sit there and think up Nobel-Prize-caliber ideas about matters which will probably have no technological impact for a thousand years or more. If you're a lexicographer and your interest is not in making sure that everyone follows your idea of what X or Y means, but rather in making sure that you capture the conventional use of X or Y as words of English (or whatever language your dictionary is for), you use Shads' methodology.

That doesn't mean that there aren't more specialized technical meanings along with the more widespread ones. But those are given later in the numbered sequence of definitions, well after those that are more widespread. You can lobby all you want for people to adopt your private criteria for word usage. But don't expect to get very far...

Again—outstanding post, Shaderon!
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Xue Sheng

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I've only just read all this, why am I always late to the parties?

I'm not as eloquant as LF or Exile, well not in writing anyway and certainly not to the same degree, but I do believe I may have a little pertinant input.
(Hopefully not impertinant)
Tradrockrat and Shotgun Budda, in thier own words had something very interesting and very true to say.

The term "Martial Artist" is in essence a "Label". Labels have power, anyone who knows anything about proper use of language knows this, maybe not conciously, but they know it. If someone knows my name, they can have a power over me.... stick with me here..... They can call my name and I will turn round, they can tell other people things about me and in effect they can influence my life. BUT, my best friend will know different things about me than my husband. They know two different personalities in the same label, but it's still me in here. *points to chest*

Going back, the term Martial Artist is a label. Exile knows the CONCEPT behind that label as one thing, LF knows it as another, Tez knows it as another, I know it as another, Xue knows it as another..... I could go on but I know I've not got the patience to name everyone.... in short everyone has thier own concept, moulded by their own experiences and preconceptions of it, and applies the label "Martial Artist" to that concept. It is not however a sentient being, so it doesn't have a self concept like I do, in fact the label may be applied to any number of things without us realising....

Keep with me, I'm going somewhere. Promise.

Now I can think of 3 different definations of the label "Martial Artist" off the top of my head, and all three have slightly different concepts behind them.

1. A Martial Artist is someone who practices a Martial Art.
2. A Martial Artist is someone who practices a Martial Art and upholds the Martial Code. (I won't say Bushido because I don't practice a Japanese art)
3. A Martial Artist is someone who practices a Martial Art and has got to a certain standard (e.g. you can't call a white belt who's just walked into a training hall a Martial Artist)
I've just thought of another....
4. A Martial Artist is someone who practices a Martial Art, upholds the Martial Code and has got to a certain standard.

I'm sure there's plenty of other concepts... for example, some people don't include weapons.... some people do. So take all that lot and include weapons, and take it all and disclude weapons... there we have 12 definations already and I've not even really thought about it yet.

Now as we have many different concepts, I will use what I believe to be simple mathmatics, which is basically what all life drills down to, look for a common denominator and take that as perhaps the common concept of the label and therefore perhaps the core meaning of the label?

1. A Martial Artist is someone who practises a Martial Art.

So we have a common denominator, but is this a true meaning of the label or does it have something missing?

So we look for any examples that might back up our result. We don't need anything that won't back it up, just something that does. Hey... you are reading this thread, YOU do martial arts... do you call yourself a Martial Artist?

I shall leave that for the audience and participants to think about. Please note here, we only need one example that this works, we dont need add-ons, or more concepts of what makes a Martial Artist.... unless someone can come up with something that doesn't include "Practices Martial Arts". Then we would have to re-think our common denominator.

Just a note, I myself believe that a true Martial Artist should follow the Martial Code.... BUT I couldn't logically prove that statement, so it's really just my defination, my concept, and I won't assume it's the true meaning of the label.

Please don't forget guys, we are not arguing about each others concepts, we are discussing the use of the English LABEL "Martial Artist". Language is a funny thing... did you know the word "spam" is also a food product? Odd isn't it? ;)

A martial artist is someone who wears a badge, has deputies and likes to paint pictures :)

But seriously nice post :asian:
 

Tez3

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Shaderon, nice post! I think the problem comes when people state things as being true in all ways, for everyone when actually it's an opinion or belief. Whether LF realised it or not his posts contained a lot of statements which were stated to be true because they were stated! Subjects like this aren't black and white, there's lots of shades to it, I have no problem with anyone believing anything they want, I just don't want to be told "no I'm right, you are wrong" because then, perversely perhaps, I will go all out to prove them wrong! I don't like sweeping statements, it makes me want to argue very strongly! I loved Shaderon's going through all the different meanings she could think of, there's something there to make you think! I don't believe I'm right, I'm open minded, always open to persuasion ( except to Spam, no no no! not even battered!) but I don't want to be lectured to!
 

Langenschwert

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I simply consider the Martial Art to be something more special than those other fine arts,

I take exception to this. As a former professional musician, I can say without hesitation that those I have interacted with professionally over a decade or more of performance have been by and large, more compassionate, more spiritual, more trustworthy and less judgemental than those that I have interacted with in MA. Certainly my musical training has had a more spiritual impact on my life than nearly anything else. I could, just for fun quote an external source of unimpeachable stature, namely Plato: "Musical training is more potent than any other for rhythm and harmony find their way into the inner parts of the soul". But that's neither here nore there. If people want to quote illustrious thinkers, I thought I'd jump in on the fun.

Some of my posts are long (sorry about that), but there are fewer of them, and I find it necessary to write longer answers to those who question my points of view.

It's all good. It's a forum, after all. You can write as many words as you like! :) You think before you write, and that is appreciated.

I guess others use the term Noble when speaking of this concept.

Noble doesn't imply a philosophy. It could imply a bloodline, and I'm not of noble blood. Does that mean I can't study a "noble" art? I'm not a knight, a noble, nor petty gentry.

Although the term Martial Art might have been used in some context for other weaponry, and fighting skills, the Western application came into play from our exposure to this unique concept for the first time, in any real detail, through our exposure to the Chinese and Japanese systems.

Quite untrue. In fact, when Europeans first encountered the Asian fighting arts, they didn't espouse them, since they were already doing those things at the time. There was nothing unusual about those arts to the Europeans. Europeans only started investigating those arts when their own arts became focused on the firearm. There's no reason to learn jiu-jutsu if you know Ringen. There's also a lot of similarities between German and Japanese swordsmanship. If one is a Martial Art, then so it the other. Also, the phrase "Arts of Mars" goes back centuries in Europe, long before contact with Asia. "Martial Arts" literally means "Arts of Mars", the Roman god of you guessed it, war. It is not a translation of Bushido. Not even a little bit.

That being said, I shall restate that I am not opposed to the marriage of philosophy to MA, but they are not (and should not be) inextricably linked. It's like saying I have to be a liberal/whatever to be a jazz musician. Which I'm not. Jazz musician yes, liberal no. So sue me. ;)

Best regards,

-Mark
 

Tez3

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Quote:
I guess others use the term “Noble” when speaking of this concept.
The term 'noble was used by LF in his own post.

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.
My point all the way through this debate is that LF uses only the singular for 'martial art', never martial arts.In fact he calls it THE martial art and several times talks as if there were only one, Japanese 'style' or 'art'. I think too the rest of this quote shows what I was trying to point out, the vast majority of martial artists on this forum I think do not twist the truth nor are misled by others. There are many beliefs held on here on what martial arts are, unless it's a case of believing you are free to go round killing people, I think each person's view is as valid as the nexts. No one has the monopoly on the truth.
 

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Nobody has a monopoly. But some don't even have an option to buy :wink2:
 

Tez3

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It's worth of course looking at what martial arts means to individuals and what their ethics are regarding martial arts but it has to be an open discussion! Do people have different ethics to deal with martials arts from their everyday life or do they view everthing in the same light? How does knowing that you can hurt people by physical violence affect you? Is it humbling or empowering?
The very fact we practice different arts and have different thoughts is what is so fascinating! (but of course I'm always right lmao!... I wish!)
 

Shaderon

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With power comes responsibility, and training in a martial art is gaining power... (knowledge = power), in fact training in anything is gaining power, so we all have a growing responsibility while training to use our art in a way which will not hurt, upset or disadvantage any innocent being. The more responsibility a wise man has, the more he is humbled as he becomes a servant of others more.

You are right, some of our arts are very different, but for that they have so many similarities. We attack, we defend, we gain strength, we gain power. We fight. We all have differant minds but in some things, some of us are in one mind about certain subjects.

No one views everything in exactly the same light, it's impossible, our personal circumstances interfere, no matter how much we don't want them to, so everyone has to have slightly different ethics. We had a discussion last night about corporal punishment, in a class of 7 of us, including 1 instructor in a very bloodthirsty frame of mind (he has these phases and it's funny) we came to 7 different but very similar conclusions, all tempered by our slightly different knowledges and experiences. Who is right? Is anyone right?

Ethics regarding Martial Arts is going to be slightly different for each person, in defence, one will stop at scaring someone, one will stop at a slight contact, one will stop once the other is hit hard, one will stop at a submission and one will stop at nothing. There are degrees of defence, just as there are degrees with everything. Most poeple will judge each situation in it's own light and I think this is the most important thing to learn in a Martial Art, how to judge the situation. It's easy to say "I'd do this" in an ethical discussion, but in what situation? Are we dealing with a handbag snatcher? a rapist? or a serial killer? Or are we dealing with the guy next door who gets drunk and tries it on because he's seen our uniform?

We also have to think what we have to work with, the people in the old times who picked on someone to start a fight in order to learn how to fight, may have done it because they had no other way and it eventually saved the lives of many more people... sacrifice the few to save the many? Which is right? Sacrifice the few? or Sacrifice the many? I don't think we can call that one, I don't think anyone has a right to judge what has gone past and can never be fully investigated in order to be understood.
 

JBrainard

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Wow! It took me two days (on and off, of course) to read through this entire thread!
I don't think I need to imput anything really, everything that could be said has been said. But I must say, between LF's pationate beliefs, Exile's amazing use of logic, and Shaderon's plain 'ol common sense (many pardons to those I left out), this is one of the most interesting threads I have read in quite a while.
I love MT :)
 

Last Fearner

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Martial artists and...04-23-2007 02:23 PMYou may not realize it, but you are making statements that would disqualify many of the people on this forum as martial artists. Your opinion is not the word of God, get over yourself. (No name given)

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Martial artists and...04-23-2007 08:40 AMVery tastefully, honestly done LF. Hope you decide to stick around--we need you. (Name removed by LF)

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Martial artists and...04-21-2007 09:42 PMIf I give a bad rep I always sign it and I rarely give them. And you certainly do not deserve them for this post. (Name removed by LF)

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Martial artists and...04-21-2007 09:45 AMstand fast. THis post is beatiful and correct (IMHO)(Name removed by LF)

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Martial artists and...04-21-2007 07:04 AMGood post and cleared up your position nicely. (Name removed by LF)

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Martial artists and...04-20-2007 09:06 PMNo need to insult others with posts like this. Step down from the high horse please. (No name given)

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Martial artists and...04-20-2007 07:31 AMYour post #33 is great (Name removed by LF)

I thank those for your kind remarks (I removed your names for your privacy), and pity the others for your cowardice and anonymous insults.

Ok....here it is. I have been giving this some thought, and I feel it is time to take a stand. I have stated a personal and professional opinion here which some people do not agree with. I can accept that. What I do not accept is the fact that there are those few here who have not conducted themselves in an honorable fashion, and abided by the rules of this forum. I am not insulting any person here at MT! I am just stating my view about a topic which some people are choosing to be insulted by. Instead of debating the issue, and only the issue, they have resorted to insulting me personally. Instead of attacking the argument at hand, they have attacked me.

I was insulted, and backed down for a time. I nearly left completely, but then I realized that this is not why I study, and teach the Martial Art in the first place. I do not run from those who band together to tell me that un-ethical behavior is ok, and it is fine for Martial Artists to behave this way. I will not sit idly by while they freely try to convince others that this is an acceptable definition of the Martial Art or of a true Martial Artist.

They might say that I have insulted them personally, but I defy them to quote proof. Don't bother.... I will head you off by stating what you have already claimed, and proving you have made false claims. First, some say that I am being high handed or am on a "high horse." So what! That is an insult on me, not debating the issue. Some say I am “pontificating.” Again, so what. Sometimes people need to hear some pontification. If you don't want to participate, then don't. If you don't like long posts, then don't read them. If you don't want to be lectured to, then pretend I am talking to someone else who needs a good lecture!!!

It appears that a few people opposing me don't read my entire post anyhow. They skim for what they want, then ignore the core concepts, and my rebuttals where I have already given clear proof to deny their claims against me.

I believe that those who claim their own opposing view of defining the Martial Art are just as arrogant because they believe they are right as well. Who wouldn't ague a point without believing they are right, and most of us have legitimate sources to back up our viewpoints, on both sides of the issue - - we just interpret the evidence differently . What is worse, in my opinion, is that others are defending a position that is supporting un-ethical and even illegal behavior - - whether it's connected with the Martial Art or not.

Yes, I am taking a stand! I am drawing a line in the sand!! I realize there are many different “definitions” being applied to the terms “Martial Art” (or “Martial Arts” if you prefer), and “Martial Artist” in the world today. It is “logical” that an English speaking person would run to the English Dictionary to define what is the English interpretation of these terms.

However, I submit that people who assemble dictionaries are not experts on most of the subjects that they are defining. They arrive at the most “accurate” definitions they can surmise by asking experts in each pertinent field, and then also taking surveys to find out what is the most “common usage” of that term. Dictionaries have been known to be inaccurate, incomplete, or giving superficial definitions to complex, technical terminology.

Fifty or one hundred years ago, many of the definitions we have in the English Dictionary, were defined much differently than today, and I wager that many will change in another hundred years - - including the term “Martial Art.” I have been in the profession of teaching the Martial Art long enough to know what the majority of qualified experts say about these terms. There will always be experts in every field that disagree and have dissenting views.

Conversely, the “common usage” by the average person to any word in the dictionary will eventually have an impact on what is written as the “official definition.” When enough people mispronounce, and misspell words due to being uneducated and making errors (happens all the time), these mistakes become accepted as “alternative” spellings and pronunciations. Eventually, they might even become labeled as the most “common” or “correct” spelling and pronunciation. Definitions do the same thing.

I acknowledge that the average person has come to know these terms of “Martial Art” and “Martial Artist” as meaning a variety of things, and I can accept variations of their application. However, I draw the line in the sand when it come to the exclusion of ethical behavior as a distinct, integral, and mandatory part of Martial Art education, regardless of what that Martial Art variation is called, or where and when it originated. If you do not agree with this definition, then fine! I am not alone in this interpretation (as I have proven).

Those who wish to stand with me on the side of the line that says a person who misuses their ”Fighting skills” is not adhering to the Martial Art code of conduct that ALL Martial Artists MUST abide by in order to be considered a true Martial Artist, and therefore they deny themselves the right to be called Martial Artists, then we stand together against this assault on the integrity of the Art. Those who choose to stand on the other side of the line, then you make your choice.

Am I being pompous, or pious for saying so - - perhaps! But that is not the issue (unless you want to continue personal attacks). I am not attacking anyone in particular. I am stating a personal and professional opinion about what I believe is the only acceptable behavior for Martial Artists. Obey the law. Respect the rights of others. Do not use physical force on others just because you can. The knowledge of the Martial Art is a privilege! Those who abuse the privilege dishonor themselves, and the Art, and while I would be ashamed to be associated with such people, I am not ashamed to state that they are not Martial Artists.

There are those who think, “Hey, I know how to fight, and I am good at it. I can beat up anyone I want, and if you look at me wrong, I'm going to take you out. I am a warrior, and I train for combat, and that's all it takes to be a Martial Artist.” I understand that position clearly, and I stand with any number of people who agree that this interpretation is dead wrong. If you uphold the belief that you can strike someone down just to improve your skills, then you stand on the other side of the line, and I am not concerned one bit if you choose to be offended because I say that these kind of a people are not “true Martial Artists.”

If you are not one of them, but you are defending their attitude toward un-ethical behavior in the name of Martial Art training and application, then you choose to stand on that side of the line. In most cases, there is a clear difference between right and wrong. Those who abuse others, and fight for no just cause, are quite simply wrong. If you believe that people can intentionally behave wrong and still be Martial Artists, then we differ in the most polarized way. If you believe this behavior is not wrong, then may God have mercy on you, because our justice system will not - - nor will I.

I am not labeling you, I am stating what a “true Martial Artist” is. You can choose to behave in an un-ethical way if you want. You can choose to behave ethically, but honor those who have gained reputations by un-ethical behavior, and you can choose to defend their actions. You can choose to be offended about my definition. You can choose to deny my definition (and those experts, and amateurs who agree with me), and make up your own definition, but I am not siding with anyone who condones breaking the law, or using unnecessary physical force for their own pride, egotistical pleasure, or simply to hone their skills.

Like myself, there are many Masters of the Martial Art who have honed our skills without resorting to un-ethical practices and misuse of our knowledge, and I deny that those who do are any better technicians. You might hear about, or read about alleged “masters” of the past who behaved in such a way, and how “great” others said they were, but I tell you that you will never hear about the ones even greater who never promote themselves in such a way, and do not misuse the skills. Such behavior will never prevail, and those who think they are great because they have honed their skills in such a way, might some day meet with a true Master.

I will tell you there is a larger reason for siding with righteous and just behavior, and some day those who deny it might well learn a lesson of life. If I am with friends at a social gathering, and one sexually assaults a passing female by grabbing her behind or her breasts, and she slaps him so he slaps her back, I will step in and put a stop to his behavior. If he says he will do as he pleases, and if I don't like it I can leave, he is barking up the wrong tree.

I will stand for what is right, regardless of those who claim they can do what they want. If he says that he will not be my friend because I oppose him, it is not sooner said than it is done. I do not keep friends who clearly choose to stand on the other side of the line of ethical, moral, and just behavior. If a fellow "Martial Artist" were with me in public, and decided to attack someone just to hone his skills, I will knock him to the ground, and tell him that with behavior like that, he is not a true Martial Artist, then walk away without shame.

If you want to separate ethics from Martial Art, I believe this is a grave mistake for the good of everyone - - Martial Artists, and non-Martial Artists - - for society in general - - for this generation and each that follows.

If you choose to apply “fighting skills” unethically and illegally under the guise of the label of Martial Art, then you are choosing to be a criminal and a person of poor character.

If you do not behave in such a way, but are supporting that behavior, then you are part of the problem.

Perhaps there are two groups of so-called Martial Artists: "Ethical Martial Artists," and "Un-ethical Martial Artists." I contend that the latter is a contradiction in terms, but my choice is clear. I choose to be an Ethical Martial Artist. If you choose to be an “Un-ethical Martial Artist than so be it. I am not implying that eveyone has to study the Martail Art to attain ethical behavior. Many learn it elsewhere, but to apply Martial Skills to unjustly hurt people is unethical and is wrong. Some here are trying to make me out to be the “bad guy” because I hold such a strict view, but I am not the bad guy in this scenario.

I draw a line in the sand. I might stand alone on this side, but I don't think so. However, there is one thing for sure. I would not want to stand on the other side of the line no matter what anyone says.

Last Fearner

Sukerkin, I think LF's posts hit a nerve in a few of us in that he was posting in such a way that made us feel he was belittling us and/or the martial arts we did. He posted his arguments up which is a reasonable thing to do but when questioned on his posts, again a reasonable thing to expect, he said he didn't want opinions from amateurs or wannabes only established masters he named.
This is entirely untrue, and even after I took time to correct this misconception, someone repeats the same false accusation. If you felt "belittled" that is your perception. I did not belittle anyone here. My statement is that I stand opposed to those who act un-ethically. In my view, they are not Martial Artists because of their "un-ethical" behavior. If you feel "belittled" by this I must wonder why. There is room for discussion over who is right or wrong, but I stand firm that "misuse" of the technical skills is "wrong" and firmly oppose anyone who says it is "right" for Martial Artists to attack without provocation, hurt without reason, or kill without a just cause.

Furthermore, I NEVER stated that I only want the opinions of the established masters "I named." I merely conveyed the position that when experts of any field disagree about the advanced concepts and specific terminology, who else would they consult but more well renowned experts. Why would medical doctors who disagreed on a diagnosis go to their waiting room to ask the input of patients reading the latest medical journals the doctors have laying around?

And For The Last Time, Tez, why do some of you keep hounding on the terms "amateurs" and "wannabes." When you, or the Black Belts at your academy have a highly philosophical discussion about the Martial Art, do you seek out "wannabes" to settle the question? Who does? With a discussion among professional instructors in the Martial Art, why would professionals seek out amateurs to explain to the experts what the terminology in their profession means?

There is nothing wrong with being an "amateur" in a field. It just means you are not a "professional." Professionals are not necessarily the most "expert" people, but they tend to know more than amateurs. Everyone has opinions and can offer input, but when professionals have a disagreement, it is logical that they would go up-line to established "experts" rather than to amateurs for the answers. I can not imagine anyone arguing that point.

And, if it wasn't clear before, I NEVER, EVER even implied that anyone here was either an amateur or a wannabe. If you are an amateur, I have said nothing bad about you personally. If you are a wannabe, then that is your choice, but I am not seeking answers from wannabes. However, I have not labeled anyone here anything. My statement was that if the "general consensus" of the definition of a Martial Artist" were to include the opinions of all amateurs and wannabes then you would get a wide variety of answers which might differ completely than if you were to only consult experts in the field (not just my experts, but any group of experts).

I don't think he was treated like a troll rather as one who was high handed in his assumptions of us... the amatuers and wannabees.
[emphasis added]
Do you see where YOU are one who is twisting my words, and saying he called "us... the amatuers and wannabees." I did no such thing - and if you are going to make such repeated accusations to insult me, and try and make me look bad, then quote where I specifically called anyone here those names. Exile was the one who insisted upon "outside authority" to back up my statements about the definitions. Do amateurs and wannabes sound like "outside authority" to you? He knocked down every one of my "experts" because they did not speak English, or were not Lexicologist.

Lexicologists derive their answers from consulting with experts in the field where the terms are applied, or they obtain the "common usage" by the general public. Should I consult every English speaking person to determine what they believe "Martial Art" means so that I can know how to define it. Perhaps I should consult "Lexicologists," who assemble dictionaries based on either the experts that I would have already consulted, or the general public for "common usage." Talk about your circular logic. The general public goes to dictionaries to find the definitions recorded by lexicologists who obtain their definitions by asking experts, who are supposed to be, in turn, asking the general public for their opinion!

My point all the way through this debate is that LF uses only the singular for 'martial art', never martial arts.In fact he calls it THE martial art and several times talks as if there were only one, Japanese 'style' or 'art'.
Here is a valid question - but do you simply ask me why I use the singular term - - no. You simply seem to just take offense to it, and draw false conclusions that I am talking about only one "style" such as Japanese Karate or Shotokan. Just a reminder, I teach Korean Taekwondo, to which I believe every principle of ethics, morality, and justice apply the same as any other variation of Martial Art (even if the "modern warrior" claims it does not).

My use of the single term is open-minded philosophical one rather than the narrow-minded viewpoint that you seem to suggest I am taking. It is like one drop of water. It can be held up separately, but when added to the ocean, it becomes one with the whole. All knowledge of scientific principles, and ideal action to achieve desired results comes from nature (in my view, from God). All various applications of the Martial Art come from one body of knowledge in the universe.

Various interpretations, or "styles" are either parts of the whole, or different aspects of the same thing. Thus, in my view, there are not multiple "Martial Arts" but one "Art" from which we all draw our interpretation and individual applications. It is not Japanese, Chinese, or Korean. It is not even Asian alone (and I have made no such assertion).

It is natures truth which reveals itself to humans in different ways, at different times throughout history. Like the oceans, lakes, and rivers it flows with the environment. Like the solid, liquid, and gaseous states of water, it changes, but the core elements of H2O remains constant no matter where you find water, or how it is applied. Water can be useful, or destructive; nourishing or devastating. It can sustain life, or it can take life. However, if you were to hold a person's head under water and drown them for no just reason, the water is not evil, it is the misuse of the water that is evil. Of course, I am sure that there are those now, that will attempt to prove to me that there are circumstances where it is ok to drown a person, and you are still a Martial Artist if you do - - don't waste your time!
 

Tez3

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Again I point out the problems of debating on the internet. When I say that your use of certain phrases or words comes across as hurtful it's because to me and others it was, to some others it meant something else. It's a collection of words that when written by one person, there's no tone of voice or facial expression to help us understand what the argument is about. It's frustrating for a poster sometimes to argue their point across. What someone means as an instructional post can come across to others as patronising. Many misunderstandings happen this way.

If you note I have tried not to make things sound like accusations but I have tried to show how they could be interpreted. In post 13 I did actually ask you what art you were talking about.However again what I've said has been miscontrued so we end up like a snake biting it's tail.

I don't argue from an intellectual stand point nor an academic point ( I can as I have an academic background with a 1.1 in English from Aberdeen University, just so you don't think I'm stupid as well as naive), I argue from my heart and try to make my posts short and simple with as much common sense as I can muster. I think LF's posts are so involved and complicated that they tend to be almost untelligible to me.

I print off long posts and read them carefully, sometimes they can be too over intellectulised and need the poster to makes copious notes before we can understand them. I think you should understand LF that what you write, what you have in your head and understand perfectly well may not be what the rest of us read. If we were face to face discussing this I am very sure there would be no misunderstandings, we may not agree but we would understand where we are each coming from.

In my club there is only myself and the chief instructor who are blackbelts, we are both ex military and have seen and done perhaps things only other ex service perople understand. Our students are mostly in Iraq, the children we teach have parents in Iraq ( mums and dads) it colours our everyday lives as well as our martial art lives. On discussions involving ethics, martial arts and suchlike we involve everyone even the children, there is a lot to learned from everyone perhaps especially children. Children keep things simple.
 

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From Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: eth繚ic
Pronunciation: 'e-thik
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English ethik, from Middle French ethique, from Latin ethice, from Greek EthikE, from Ethikos
1 plural but singular or plural in construction : the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation
2 a : a set of moral principles : a theory or system of moral values <the present-day materialistic ethic> <an old-fashioned work ethic> -- often used in plural but sing. or plural in constr. <an elaborate ethics> <Christian ethics> b plural but singular or plural in construction : the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group <professional ethics> c : a guiding philosophy d : a consciousness of moral importance <forge a conservation ethic>
3 plural : a set of moral issues or aspects (as rightness) <debated the ethics of human cloning>

I have bolded several areas in this definition of "ethics", as I feel they are related to the discussion (I could have bolded the entire definition, but chose not to). The thing to remember as people debate whether or not a martial art must include, and/or a martial artist must follow, a set of ethical principles - and more, what those ethical principles are - is not a black and white issue. Each person brings his/her own background knowledge, experiences, and training to the table - and no two people are going to have identical opinions. Even people who share some, or even most, of their knowledge, experiences, and training will have differences, because that is the way people are.

Ethics are closely related to morality, and morality is often (although certainly not always) tied into religion and/or early childhood training - this tends to make discussions of ethics (and thus morality) rather emotional - and when people begin to think about their ethics and morality, rather than just responding as they've been trained, they often cannot easily explain why they hold a certain opinion, because until you start thinking about it, it tends to be below the level of thought. One reacts a certain way - refraining from hitting people, being polite to elders, placing a napkin on one's lap, etc. - because one was trained to do so. Once a person begins to think about the reasons why his/her training included or excluded certain concepts, s/he generally begins to question the set rules (e.g. "what do you mean, she can't come over to play because her skin is darker than mine?") - sometimes the rules change, either situationally (e.g. "well, then, I'll play with her at school... I just won't tell my parents, and she can't come over to my house") or completely (e.g. "I'm in college now, and I don't live under your roof - you can't tell me who I can be friends with, and I don't care what color her skin is").

I chose childhood wonderings about racism quite deliberately, because it is a very emotional issue that has plenty of good people on both sides of the discussion... even if I find those on the other side to be pitiable (in case you couldn't tell, that would be the one that says it is correct to judge someone "unacceptable" solely based on the amount of pigment in their skin). People on both sides of this debate have put a great deal of time and effort into proving to others that their opinion is correct - because it must be, to support their own opinion of themselves.

Likewise, many martial artists have put a great deal of time and effort into proving that how they were trained as martial artists is the correct way - because that justifies the amount of time and effort put into the training itself. Add to that the emotional component that comprises many (most?) people's response to discussion of ethics and morality, and you have many people who respond emotionally to this discussion - and therefore, as Tez so rightfully pointed out, read emotions that are not present, or are different than those intended, into others' statements.

Do I think that I, as a TaeKwon-Do instructor, have a responsibility to teach my students when and how to use the skills I teach them? Yes, I do - and that is based as much on those I have seen who use those skills in a manner I consider to be incorrect as on the training I have received over the years from my sahbum and other seniors... but at its base, my understanding of ethics and morality comes from what I was taught as a child, and then thought about and reworked for myself as a teen and adult, as I continue to do - and no matter what I've been taught by others, in the end, I teach what I consider to be ethical use. There are other instructors I know who feel that it is ethically wrong to teach their own ethical/moral values to their students; I know yet others who feel it is more important to teach the ethical/moral values than the art itself.

There is no one, absolute, right answer to this debate. This is why I have stayed out this debate to this point, and will likely not re-enter it. There are as many opinions on this debate as there are people on the planet, and no two will ever agree totally and completely. Decrying others' opinions as wrong because they don't believe that your opinion is right serves, IMHO, only to shut down discussion or cause dissension rather than discussion, and is, therefore, counterproductive. People are different, their reactions to identical stimuli are different, and their opinions about those reactions are, perforce, different.
 

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Kacey, you put things in a nutshell! I think when someone believes passionately in something there is a tendency to want to point out to everyone else where they are wrong. Of course those to whom this is pointed out then want to say why they are right! Emotive and generalised statements don't help, it gets peoples hackles up and starts a very heated debate. I don't think LF realised how some of his statements came across, I don't think I'm the only one who didn't understand a majority of what he was saying as it was written in a style better suited perhaps to high minded philosphers in lofty towers rather than 'normal' people like me who go out to work, bring up kids, cope with the trails and tribulations of normal life. I don't have the luxury of time to cloud gaze into esoteric arguments of the 'how many angels scan sit on the head of a pin' type. I have ironng, washing and housework to do etc. That doesn't mean I don't think about things but just not in LF style which I consider, to be honest, pilpul.

I think from what I've read on here and from people I've meet in martial arts ( and yes that does include MMA fighters) that we are moral and ethical people. We have different beliefs of course, for me that's what's so interesting. My martial arts training is ruled by what I believe in anyway and what i try to do and be in 'everyday' life. I don't have one set of morals for martial arts and one for life. My basic overiding thought behind what I try to do is 'treat everyone as you wish to be treated yourself'.
 
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exile

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Do I think that I, as a TaeKwon-Do instructor, have a responsibility to teach my students when and how to use the skills I teach them? Yes, I do - and that is based as much on those I have seen who use those skills in a manner I consider to be incorrect as on the training I have received over the years from my sahbum and other seniors... but at its base, my understanding of ethics and morality comes from what I was taught as a child, and then thought about and reworked for myself as a teen and adult, as I continue to do - and no matter what I've been taught by others, in the end, I teach what I consider to be ethical use. There are other instructors I know who feel that it is ethically wrong to teach their own ethical/moral values to their students; I know yet others who feel it is more important to teach the ethical/moral values than the art itself.

There is no one, absolute, right answer to this debate.... Decrying others' opinions as wrong because they don't believe that your opinion is right serves, IMHO, only to shut down discussion or cause dissension rather than discussion, and is, therefore, counterproductive.

I think this point of Kacey's gets at the problem with the way the discussion in this thread has been framed, and bears in a major way on the extended straw-man argument that Last Fearner's most recent post largely consists. In that post, we repeatedly encounter statements of the following sort:

Last Fearner said:
If you want to separate ethics from Martial Art, I believe this is a grave mistake for the good of everyone - - Martial Artists, and non-Martial Artists - - for society in general - - for this generation and each that follows.

If you choose to apply fighting skills unethically and illegally under the guise of the label of Martial Art, then you are choosing to be a criminal and a person of poor character.

If you do not behave in such a way, but are supporting that behavior, then you are part of the problem.

But in fact, of course, there is no logical connection whatever believing, on the one hand, that the term`martial artist' does not incorporate an ethical criterion as part of its definition, and believing on the other that martial artists have no ethical obligations to use their skills `virtuously'. LF's posts imply, over and over again, that the first entails the second. But as Kacey notes, our ethical view of MAists and their behavior is part of our general view of the ethical obligations that human beings have to each other (and very possibly to the rest of nature; but that's a separate issue). What people are in part objecting to in LF's posts, if I'm not mistaken, is the instistence there that you cannot impose ethical constraints on MAists unless you build those contraints into the very definition of the notions martial art/martial artists. This is, of course, without any rational foundation at all: it should be evident that one can believe that law enforcement officers should apply force only justly and virtuously without believing that only those who apply force in that manner actually are law enforcement officers. The persistence of the `no true Scotsman' fallacy I alluded to in a couple of earlier posts is, of course, relevant here.

Another odd feature of LF's post is his instistance that lexicographers consult experts in framing their definitions. They indeed may in giving a definition of trinitrotoluene or the Queen's Indian Defense, but of course plenty of people talk about and use the term martial artist simply by virtue of the fact that they speak English and know the relationship between English word-formation rules on the one hand and the denotation of those terms on the other. But let's assume that, contrary to fact, lexicographers did frame their definitions of martial arts by consulting only `experts'. I can't think of a worse basis of support for LF's argument, because, as I noted earlier with a small but representative sample, not one dictionary definition of `martial art/artists' makes reference to a canon of virtuous application. The definitions invariably refer to combat skills, and practitioners of those skills, period (with maybe some further comments aobut why people study martial arts; but martial arts themselves, and martial artists, are never defined in reference dictionaries in terms of an ethical criterion). So if LF is right about who is consulted in framing dictionary definitions, it would seem the bulk of the experts disagree with him on how inherent that criterion is in the definition of `martial art(ist)'
 

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