Martial artists and ethics?

IWishToLearn

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*RUNS IN WITH A FIRE HOSE AND SPRAYS DOWN THE FIRES*

Ok. You can all return to your polite conversations now. :p
 

Tez3

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Just as a matter of interest, has there been any post on any forum on MT where a martial artist has said that ethics and martial arts is
mutually exclusive? How many posts have there been where martial artists have extolled ethical behavior in the dojo and outside?


LF "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!!!"

Who are we to decide any one needs lecturing or pontificating to? And that we should be the ones doing it? No, what we should be doing is engaging in frank, open and respectful discussions with each other.

LF "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"

I have never read a thread on this forum that has advocated anything other than using martial arts in a responsible and ethical manner so we aren't disputing ethics or morals here, we are merely arguing over the English defininition of the words 'martial arts'. As they say, that's a whole different ball game!
 

Sukerkin

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I think Kacey made a very good stab at encapsulating how difficult and fractious this topic can prove to be :applause:. Given that the thread is notionally about ethics, I think we need to reference another dictionary defiition, the one for irony :lol:.

I also think that it is (sadly) true that a definite conclusion cannot be reached or an accomodational compromise settled upon when a discussion devolves into an argument with a bipolar division, however mistakenly or unintentionally that division arises. If one side feels insulted/belittled and the other side feels affronted/embattled then you have no chance at all of a satisfactory outcome.

Such a state of affairs has the tendency of excluding other points of view, which don't fit into either camp neatly, from the discourse and both entrenched postions then proceed to exhange fire until, in the real world, war is declared or, in the on-line world, the thread is locked.

I know that it sounds 'preachy' but sometimes the best weapon, for settling arguments of a fundamental nature, is silence.

Time for me to go and follow my own advice ... and probably go and open a nice bottle of chardonnay ... anyone fancy a drink?
 

Tez3

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I think Kacey made a very good stab at encapsulating how difficult and fractious this topic can prove to be :applause:. Given that the thread is notionally about ethics, I think we need to reference another dictionary defiition, the one for irony :lol:.

I also think that it is (sadly) true that a definite conclusion cannot be reached or an accomodational compromise settled upon when a discussion devolves into an argument with a bipolar division, however mistakenly or unintentionally that division arises. If one side feels insulted/belittled and the other side feels affronted/embattled then you have no chance at all of a satisfactory outcome.

Such a state of affairs has the tendency of excluding other points of view, which don't fit into either camp neatly, from the discourse and both entrenched postions then proceed to exhange fire until, in the real world, war is declared or, in the on-line world, the thread is locked.

I know that it sounds 'preachy' but sometimes the best weapon, for settling arguments of a fundamental nature, is silence.

Time for me to go and follow my own advice ... and probably go and open a nice bottle of chardonnay ... anyone fancy a drink?

Yes please! You say just the right things!:angel:

I'm not sure the thread is about ethics at all really as it was split off from another thread when the argument took the route of being about the meaning of the words martial artist!
 
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exile

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There's one small clarification I wanted to make concerning my comments on Last Fearner's most recent post. In responding to LF's apparent belief that excluding an ethical litmust test from the definition of the term `martial artist' necessarily means you place no ethical demands on the behavior of martial artists, I gave the example of LEOs: does anyone really think that it is part of the definition of `law enforcement officer' that someone who merits that description only use force justly and judiciously? But in fact, most of us believe that there is an ethical imperative on LEOs to use force justly and judiciously. I just want to point out that this is only a single example of a much broader generalization: excluding requirement X from the definition of Y in no way entails that those who satisfy the definition of Y should be exempt from X:

I can define `artist' in a way which does not in itself impose a requirement to seek out beauty as a criterion for satisfying the description `artist', but I can still believe that all artists should (as an ethical obligation, possibly) seek out beauty in their creation.

I can define `clergy' in a way which does not impose a prohibition on sexual exploitation of children as a criterion for satisfying the description `clergy', while still believing that clergy should not sexually exploit children.

I can define `scientist' in a way which does not stipulate that only a desire for knowledge for its own sake, with no thought of financial gain, allows you to describe someone as a scientist, yet still believe that scientists should only pursue knowledge for its own sake.

And so on forever: the point is, there is no logical connection between omitting requirement X from the definition of Y, and assuming that Ys are exempt from X.

LF's posts consistently equate, with no justification, these two logically independent states of affairs; his constant message is that if you do not accept that X is part of being Y, then you are allowing, or even encouraging, Y to act in a non-X fashion. Specifically, if you don't believe that MAists must satisfy some canon of virtuous application of force to qualify for the description `martial artist', then (as per the part of his post I cited in my own earlier post), you are at least allowing, and possibly advocating, an absence of ethical standards in the behavior of MAists. But this statement is, logically speaking, complete rubbish: as Kacey, Tez and others have pointed out, ethical judgments are things we apply on the basis of general moral principles about how human beings should behave with respect to each other. We believe that MAists should be virtuous in their application of force because we believe that human beings, regardless of what they know or do, should be virtuous in their application of force. We have ethical codes we live by (and judge others by), and these apply to the butcher, the bake, the candlestick maker and the martial artist simply because we have ethical criteria in the first place!

When various dramatic gestures and posturings are removed from the discussion (`I'm drawing a line in the sand'??? :rolleyes:), the crucial point is just what Tez says:

Just as a matter of interest, has there been any post on any forum on MT where a martial artist has said that ethics and martial arts is
mutually exclusive? How many posts have there been where martial artists have extolled ethical behavior in the dojo and outside?...I have never read a thread on this forum that has advocated anything other than using martial arts in a responsible and ethical manner so we aren't disputing ethics or morals here, we are merely arguing over the English defininition of the words 'martial arts'. As they say, that's a whole different ball game!

Simply put: lexicographers, who amass many tokens of a the word being defined from text corpora (specialist and nonspecialist texts alike), from informants and from philological research, use the method Shaderon walked us through earlier in this thread. This method allows them to identify the necessary and sufficient conditions for the application of a given word X by speakers of some language in which X occurs (if you don't speak that language, then X is not in your vocabulary and your input does not enter into lexicographer's calculations, a point I would have thought required little further comment). Lexicographers are as a rule very good at their jobs, which is why people go to the dictionary confidently to look up the meaning of words they don't know: because they recognize how accurate the dictionary's definition is of words whose meanings they do know.

But given that a word X identifies a certain class of entities, it is then possible to seek to impose certain conditions on X, along the lines illustrated earlier. And as Kacey has observed rather pointedly, not all people will necessarily agree on these conditions. They may well disagree, but even so will probably be glad to get to argue with each other ad infinitem about their reasons for taking the positions they defend.

What they will not be glad of is to be presented with straw-man arguments, circular reasoning and assumptions of greater knowledge in an area in which what is at issue is a matter of judgment and opinion. They willI think quite correctlyview these things as evidence of arrogance, and react accordingly.
 

Shaderon

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Kacey: Fantastic post, you explained what I was thinking exactly at that point when your post came up, I was reading the post above, (was it Tez's?) and it occured to me that we are discussing ethics when ethics is a fuzzy thing, it's based on culture, preconceptions and experience amongst other things and the defination is fuzzier than our "labels". I won't expand on that because you did it so well and I'd only be re-writing what you said.

Last: No one is saying that to be unethical is ok, but we are talking about the definition of a label, as said above.

Everyone: We still call any other position in society by it's name regardless of the person's ethics. Myself I would choose to say that child molesters and rapists aren't human beings, but they are genetically so even though with my opinion, I would have them destroyed when proved guilty after having thier status as human stripped.
Policemen have a badge, they are employed and trained. Unethical policemen (by the opinions of their peers and seniors) are berated and eventually stripped of rank, position and sometimes job. At that point they are no longer policemen. My OPINION says that Martial Artists have a licence, they are registered (apologies if this isn't everyone but I think it is) and unethical Martial Artists are warned, berated and eventually if they continue to be bad examples, are stripped of licence and status. At that point they are no longer a martial artist (even though they would probably call themselves so but that's THIER opinion), but this depends on their seniors and thier ethics and morals. If the rot goes right up the chain, we can't say none of them are martial artists because we don't agree with their ethics or morals. As pointed out, ethics and morals are cultural as well as other things, and we can't say who is right on the whole, only by pour own standards.

A wise man doesn't judge others because he doesn't know them and their circumstances, he can't, he only judges himself, it's all he's equipped to morally do.
 

Cirdan

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I suppose we all have thoughts about what a "true" martial artist should be. However there is no need to disqualify the garden variety even if they don`t meet that high standard now is there? The arts might be suited as a veichle for enlightemnent, but so can flower arrangement. Now how many of you have taken lessons in ethics from your gardener? Oh I guess he wasn`t worthy of the title then. :rolleyes:

"When pure knuckles meet pure flesh, that's pure Karate, no matter who executes its or whatever style is involed."(Ed Parker)

.
 

Xue Sheng

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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

My original response was to your original posts (not the above most recent) on the subject that was defining martial arts in terms that were very stilted towards Japanese culture and excluding Chinese and Korean culture. Also you were attempting to use a historical basis for your claims that in some cases were right on and in other you were not. Sorry Im a stickler for historical fact, if it exists, and in many cases it really doesnt (example not all CMA masters of the past were undefeated, even though many stories from the past tell you they were not, same goes for Japan by the way).

If you wish to believe all that you have stated as what is a martial art then I support your right to believe in that way. But I ask you not to judge me by your standard that is all.

My feelings on this are do what you want tell me how you feel if you must, judge me if you will but in reality it matters little to me. I have after many years of training MA learned, rather recently and by emulatinog the Chinese CMA people I have come into contact with and learned from) that I cannot change someones mind and if I let everyones opinion get to me I would spend most of my time arguing and fighting than training. So in a real world face to face situation similar to this I would likely tell you that you believe what you will smile and go back to training, if I responded at all. Which is something I am trying to do more of on MT, but occasionally my past wins and I respond.

My only real concern for you and your definition is that you may be putting people on a pedestal that really do not belong there. Other than that if you live by and teach the standards you profess to, more power to you, just do not judge me if I do not agree.

If anything I have said made you feel that I was judging you I apologize, it was not my intent, it was just the old angrier Xue responding.
 
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