the ESOTERIC part of martial arts ?

YOGAMAN

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i dont know if its just in movies , but is there a occult / esoteric side to the martial arts ?
 

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For some, yes. But, if one is interested in the serious side of martial arts, then do your homework before choosing. There are off the wall people in all walks of life.
 

Sukerkin

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Be careful not to muddle 'spiritual', to do with philosophy and state of mind, with 'occult' - the latter is usually put forward by those a bit too enamoured of the 'Ninja' or 'Chinese mystical arts' type myths, whereas the former is part of all properly taught martial arts where the emphasis is on the mastery of oneself.
 

WC_lun

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Those who do not understand the reality of martial arts will sometimes turn to "teaching" the esoteric part of martial arts. Be very, very careful of anyone teching such stuff and very suspicious of thier qualifications as well as the effectiveness of what they are teaching.
 
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YOGAMAN

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just out of curiosity does anybody have a link to anyone teaching occult / esoteric knowledge with in there martial arts training ?
 

frank raud

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Esoteric? Absolutely. Occult? Not so much. Religious affiliation that is not Christianity based and so may be viewed by some as pagan? Yep.
 

Uncle

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Occult? Not so much. Religious affiliation that is not Christianity based and so may be viewed by some as pagan? Yep.
That's basically the definition of occult. For example I've seen shamanistic practices in Indonesia and the Philippines tied into the martial arts. It's not really different from, say, associating Buddhist prayer and meditation with certain martial arts in certain countries. The only difference is it is more strikingly different from what we do in the west so it is labelled as occult or what have you.
 

chrispillertkd

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i dont know if its just in movies , but is there a occult / esoteric side to the martial arts ?

Depends on what you mean by "esoteric." It also depends on the art, I imagine. Some people get more into the study of Zen because of their time in martial arts and the influence such philosophies has had on their style, for instance. Some koryu bujutsu have aspects of Mikkyo Buddhism attached to them, from what I understand. Taekwon-Do's philosophy is based more on (Neo-)Confucianism than Buddhism so there's less "esoterica" attached to it than might be present in some styles.

How much any of this is emphasized will depend on the art, the teacher, and the student.

The important thing to realize, however, is that the physical training of a martial art is the main "delivery system" of the art's philosophical teachings. At least arts that I am familiar with; I hesistate to make sweeping generalizations simply because I don't like talking for other people especially if it means telling them what they should or shouldn't be teaching, believing, etc. I know more than one person who has decided that their expertise in one art translates to an intimate knowledge of others arts. I don't really care for that.

I think seasoned's advice is well taken. If it's something you're interested in, or disinterested in the best thing for you to do is research the art and the instructor. Do your homework. And if the issue is that you're thinking of training at a specific place and are leery of such "esoteric" teachings then you should definitely talk to the instructor first and see what they have to say on the subject.

Pax,

Chris
 

WaterGal

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I saw a school website once where the teacher claimed to have superhuman powers. He also had a bunch of cheesy pictures of him in "mystical" silk robes.

I'd recommend sticking to real world techniques and add some tai chi or meditation.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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i dont know if its just in movies , but is there a occult / esoteric side to the martial arts ?

The only one that I know is "When you fight in the ring, you should act like a tiger and try to eat your opponent alive. When you are not fighting in the ring, you should act like a sheep and nothing can upset you."

If you can't turn that switch on and off, MA may not be for you.
 
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YOGAMAN

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is that what you do ? are you a cage fighter you mentioned ring thats why i ask ? esoteric like witch craft or occult rituals stuff like that , fight any one can fight , my brother knocked out two fellow kenpo black belt practioners with 4 hits each - like 7 months apart , and he knows no martial art ... ( my kenpo instructor always ask' s me to bring my brother to put his black belts through the test ) you could say his martial art is called prison survival.

but back to the esoteric
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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is that what you do ? are you a cage fighter you mentioned ring thats why i ask ? esoteric like witch craft or occult rituals stuff like that , fight any one can fight , my brother knocked out two fellow kenpo black belt practioners with 4 hits each - like 7 months apart , and he knows no martial art ... ( my kenpo instructor always ask' s me to bring my brother to put his black belts through the test ) you could say his martial art is called prison survival.

but back to the esoteric
Are you referring to esoteric/occult specifically in ken/mpo, since that's your art. If so, there is no possible way ken/mpo could have occult rituals or anything like that, if someone said that they are lying to you. As for your brother, I think I don't understand what you're getting at there...how does him beating kenpo black belts (and just out of curiosity was it in a sparring match, pressure testing, or did he sucker punch them or something?)relate to your question or any of the responses?
As for as non-ken/mpo MAs, as far as I know, none are involved in 'occult' rituals, unless youd consider meditation or breathing forms rituals, and there is no witchcraft in any. Could be wrong though.
 

oaktree

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Some of the koryu schools can touch on mikkyo.
Some chinese martial arts can be esoteric like wudang sects
And of course lung men pai. Some people get esoteric in taijiquan and qigong.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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is that what you do ? are you a cage fighter you mentioned ring thats why i ask ?

It can apply to boxing ring, MMA cage, Sanda stage, Judo/wrestling mat, ... It doesn't have to be only in the cage fight. In other words, your MA aggressive attitude that you may have developed in combat should not be brought into your daily peaceful life. To me, that's more important than any spiritual guideline.
 

geezer

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There's always been a subset of martial arts fans who are looking for the esoteric, occult or magical side of the martial arts. I started training in the '70s and you used to see a lot of that. People who watched a lot of stuff like the old Kung-Fu TV series with David Carradine would visit a class and tell you that that's how they wanted to live their life. Most dropped out after a short while when they found out that "kung-fu" actually means "hard work". A few others matured and outgrew their fantasies and actually became decent martial artists. In the 80's we saw fewer hippies and more ninja wannabees. Same fantasy element though. Too many bad ninja movies, I guess.

Later on BJJ and MMA became all the rage. At least these sporting martial arts have a solid grounding in competition ...at least you'd think. But for every serious competitor there are probably a dozen teenage kids totally into the fantasy side of MMA. As a high school teacher, I hear nerdy, un-athletic kids go on and on about their BJJ and Muay Thai training and the amazing things they can do. The athletes, that is school's wrestlers, football players, and a few kids who actually train at boxing and MMA gyms generally don't get into the whole fantasy thing so much. Nothing against the "nerdy" element BTW --I was pretty much one of those too. I'm just reporting what I see.

Actually, I'm not sure that the fantasy side of the martial arts is entirely a bad thing, if you don't take it too far. Daydreaming about being a champ ...along with some good music can help motivate anybody's workout. It's only a problem when you go overboard and start believing that martial arts is based on some kind of magic that will give you superpowers, rather that simple hard work to learn a skill that is cool, but honestly quite limited by individual mental and physical ability. The reality is nobody kicks butt like in the movies. And most of us will never become masters no matter how many years we train.

This last part is something I'm keenly aware of as I get older. Yet, oddly enough, even as I become less physically able to perform certain aspects of the martial arts I train, at the same time I have gained greater appreciation of what I can do. That's reality.
 

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