Train MA for self-cultivation

gpseymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
26,289
Reaction score
7,856
Location
Hendersonville, NC
If I wanted to engage in self-cultivation activities, something that is more likely to make me a better person, I study philosophy, moral-reasoning, some sort of physical activity, perform regular voluntary work with the greatest pariahs in society..yes Beliebers...
And most of that can be done within the context of some martial arts schools (including the volunteering, as some places put together volunteer opportunities as a group).
 

Gyakuto

Green Belt
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
102
Reaction score
44
Location
UK
That people can do martial arts and be bad people doesn't mean martial arts can't help develop people. Or are you saying there's no way to develop people (since there are bad people in every pursuit)?
I’m suggesting there’s nothing special about this activity that intrinsically makes it a more effective than any other pursuit at ‘improving’ a practitioner. I think the person needs to want to change in order to do so, but the tool facilitating that change could be any physical pursuit that is engages with ‘whole-heartedly’.
Yes, it could mean putting very little effort in or engaging half-heartedly however the MA also has to be physically and mentally challenging. If you aren't being pushed to and past your perceived limits, there is no growth. Sosai Mas Oyama has a great quote, "The heart of our karate is real fighting. There can be no proof without real fighting. Without proof there is no trust. Without trust there is no respect. This is the definition in the world of martial arts."
Do you think a degree of jeopardy is required in the art to make it...transformative?
 

Gyakuto

Green Belt
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
102
Reaction score
44
Location
UK
And most of that can be done within the context of some martial arts schools (including the volunteering, as some places put together volunteer opportunities as a group).
They can be done, but I’ve never heard of an MA teacher actually doing so. It’s usually about the kicking and punching and tossing black belts around!
 

gpseymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
26,289
Reaction score
7,856
Location
Hendersonville, NC
I’m suggesting there’s nothing special about this activity that intrinsically makes it a more effective than any other pursuit at ‘improving’ a practitioner. I think the person needs to want to change in order to do so, but the tool facilitating that change could be any physical pursuit that is engages with ‘whole-heartedly’.
Agreed, on all points. I think the only difference is that there are a significant number of instructors (in the "do" arts, especially) who make a real effort to create transformative potential. How many of them are any good at it is a different question, of course.
 

gpseymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
26,289
Reaction score
7,856
Location
Hendersonville, NC
They can be done, but I’ve never heard of an MA teacher actually doing so. It’s usually about the kicking and punching and tossing black belts around!
Most of the MA instructors I've seen who teach kids are obviously attempting at least some of these, including decision-making. Many include some level of philosophy, though some of it is schlock. But it's my opinion that dealing with schlock is part of learning to find truth in philosophy, so maybe they're unintentionally helping folks grow in that way. :D
 

Yokozuna514

Black Belt
Joined
Oct 2, 2018
Messages
650
Reaction score
441
Do you think a degree of jeopardy is required in the art to make it...transformative?
A degree of jeopardy can make it transformative for some but I don't think that it is essential. Again, I return to the reason why the person is engaging in the activity. If they aren't looking for self-cultivation they won't find it. If they are, it is possible that they will.
 

Urban Trekker

Purple Belt
Joined
Apr 20, 2021
Messages
341
Reaction score
100
Location
Hampton, VA
That it has worked doesn't mean it works reliably. Lots of things happen from time to time that can't be depended upon. Guns don't magically appear in-hand pointed in the right direction. And they don't make good decisions for you.
But it does. I'm gonna ask you the same question I asked Steve: what percentage of gun violence in this country do you think is committed by people who've had firearms training?

I don't know about you, but if I could place bets on deaths by the gun violence in Southside Chicago, my money is going to be on the perpetrator not having any firearms training every single time. Sure, there might be that rare occasional loss, but the number of times I win will make it negligible.

Operating a gun is not rocket science. It's centuries old technology.

As for the senseless comments about where I live, you're just trying to sound tough and streetwise. Which you may or may not be, and neither state would change the fact that guns are best deployed with skill.
Keyword here is "best." However, skill is far from necessary, as I'm sure you're aware that most of the victims of gun violence on the streets were kills by those who lacked any skill whatsoever.
 
OP
Kung Fu Wang

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
10,429
Reaction score
2,609
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
Can you be a better person if you play the chess game all your life? When you paly the chess game, you try all different strategies in order to win.

MA is not solo dancing. MA is a 2 persons art that you have to deal with your opponent.
 

Urban Trekker

Purple Belt
Joined
Apr 20, 2021
Messages
341
Reaction score
100
Location
Hampton, VA
Can you be a better person if you play the chess game all your life? When you paly the chess game, you try all different strategies in order to win.

MA is not solo dancing. MA is a 2 persons art that you have to deal with your opponent.

The ability to play chess well doesn't require a set of ethics when dealing with the general population.
 

Hyoho

Black Belt
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
589
Reaction score
235
I thought MA training is as simple as

- fist meet face, and
- head meet earth.

When someone says, "I train MA for self-cultivation", What does he mean?

I have Googled and get this, "Self-cultivation or personal cultivation is the development of one's mind or capacities through one's own efforts."

I understand each and every word, but I have no idea what the whole sentence is talking about (my IQ score is 145).

Your thought?

View attachment 26892
View attachment 26893
I had the very same thought when I arrived in Japan 41 years ago. With this is mind I expected to meet people all having this same concept. It's simply not the case. In Japanese we use the word seishin ryoku 精神力. It directly translates as mental strength but seishin means having a heart and soul. So don't expect to much. Not all are cultivated. You need to have and put seishi ryoku in yourself. Something that many people possess that don't even do the arts
 

geezer

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
6,772
Reaction score
2,766
Location
Phoenix, AZ
If I wanted to engage in self-cultivation activities, something that is more likely to make me a better person, I study philosophy, moral-reasoning, some sort of physical activity, perform regular voluntary work with the greatest pariahs in society..yes Beliebers...
Beliebers?
 

Martial D

Senior Master
Joined
May 18, 2017
Messages
3,268
Reaction score
1,012
I thought MA training is as simple as

- fist meet face, and
- head meet earth.

When someone says, "I train MA for self-cultivation", What does he mean?

I have Googled and get this, "Self-cultivation or personal cultivation is the development of one's mind or capacities through one's own efforts."

I understand each and every word, but I have no idea what the whole sentence is talking about (my IQ score is 145).

Your thought?

View attachment 26892
View attachment 26893
Honestly? I think at some point people realized a lot of martial arts were useless...martially..so they found a new angle to sell it.
 

Goldendawn8

Yellow Belt
Joined
Nov 15, 2006
Messages
30
Reaction score
1
Location
New Hampshire
I thought MA training is as simple as

- fist meet face, and
- head meet earth.

When someone says, "I train MA for self-cultivation", What does he mean?

I have Googled and get this, "Self-cultivation or personal cultivation is the development of one's mind or capacities through one's own efforts."

I understand each and every word, but I have no idea what the whole sentence is talking about (my IQ score is 145).

Your thought?

View attachment 26892
View attachment 26893
Have you honestly never had a teacher who explained to you any philosophy upon which TMA is based? Do you really not see beyond the physical element? I feel as though you're trolling us all here.
 

isshinryuronin

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
864
Reaction score
698
Location
Las Vegas
Performing an Iaido kata with great intent will have no greater effect upon your character than say, practising your skateboard flipperty-twist jumps with your full-spirited intent.
I disagree with this statement. Iaido and skateboarding do share elements of danger and physical expertise. But there are things they do not share. Iaido and other MA are done in the context of battle, with the attitude of directly overcoming another human being. This mindset is not duplicated by most other pursuits you refer to. There is no interaction (even if it's just the imaginary kind as in kata - the attitude is still there) with another person, another will. I believe this context offers a greater opportunity for "self-culitvation."

While there is elation in winning at any pursuit, I don't think there is the concept of zanshin commonly present in pursuits other than MA. Then there is the historical tradition behind TMA which can instill a sense of responsibility and respect for the art. One can also find in TMA moral and philosophical teachings (such as the Seven Virtues of Bu or the Eight Precepts of Quan Fa.) I don't think skateboarders are commonly conversant in such things.

Another quote from Gyakuto (somehow the quote format disappeared.):
"...it’s the person engaging in the activity that decides what they get out of their pursuit."

I agree with this 100% and basically said the same thing in an earlier post, here. But there are opportunities in MA for those wishing to avail themselves of them - opportunities, as I've tried to illustrate, that other pursuits do not offer. For these and other reasons, IMO, MA (especially TMA) are in a class by themselves concerning self-cultivation and depth of benefits.

The casual practitioner may not appreciate the essence of MA - its true and total value are realized only after many dedicated years into the journey. It is more than just living the lifestyle, it is the "do." (Don't mean to sound dramatic, but trying to be as concise and illustrative as possible.)

Poster's note:
I have spent time considering that my views are derived from hubris or brainwashing over the many decades of my MA study, and conclude they are not. Karate is NOT a religion for me and I'm no fanatic about it, but I know the effect it's had on my life and cannot deny it has contributed a lot to who I am.
 

drop bear

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
20,525
Reaction score
5,429
I disagree with this statement. Iaido and skateboarding do share elements of danger and physical expertise. But there are things they do not share. Iaido and other MA are done in the context of battle, with the attitude of directly overcoming another human being. This mindset is not duplicated by most other pursuits you refer to. There is no interaction (even if it's just the imaginary kind as in kata - the attitude is still there) with another person, another will. I believe this context offers a greater opportunity for "self-culitvation."

While there is elation in winning at any pursuit, I don't think there is the concept of zanshin commonly present in pursuits other than MA. Then there is the historical tradition behind TMA which can instill a sense of responsibility and respect for the art. One can also find in TMA moral and philosophical teachings (such as the Seven Virtues of Bu or the Eight Precepts of Quan Fa.) I don't think skateboarders are commonly conversant in such things.

Another quote from Gyakuto (somehow the quote format disappeared.):
"...it’s the person engaging in the activity that decides what they get out of their pursuit."

I agree with this 100% and basically said the same thing in an earlier post, here. But there are opportunities in MA for those wishing to avail themselves of them - opportunities, as I've tried to illustrate, that other pursuits do not offer. For these and other reasons, IMO, MA (especially TMA) are in a class by themselves concerning self-cultivation and depth of benefits.

The casual practitioner may not appreciate the essence of MA - its true and total value are realized only after many dedicated years into the journey. It is more than just living the lifestyle, it is the "do." (Don't mean to sound dramatic, but trying to be as concise and illustrative as possible.)

Poster's note:
I have spent time considering that my views are derived from hubris or brainwashing over the many decades of my MA study, and conclude they are not. Karate is NOT a religion for me and I'm no fanatic about it, but I know the effect it's had on my life and cannot deny it has contributed a lot to who I am.

I think cultivating a warrior mindset by the equivalent of staring angrily in to a mirror Is the least effective way to develop that.
 
OP
Kung Fu Wang

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
10,429
Reaction score
2,609
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
I think cultivating a warrior mindset by the equivalent of staring angrily in to a mirror Is the least effective way to develop that.
Can MA training truly help you in self-cultivation such as to "help the good to fight against the evil"?

It sounds like a good idea. But how to do it?
 

gpseymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
26,289
Reaction score
7,856
Location
Hendersonville, NC
Can MA training truly help you in self-cultivation such as to "help the good to fight against the evil"?

It sounds like a good idea. But how to do it?
Let's start from the question of whether anything can do that. If so, how?
 
OP
Kung Fu Wang

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
10,429
Reaction score
2,609
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
Let's start from the question of whether anything can do that. If so, how?
Some CMA teachers love to talk about Wude such as:

- 尊师重道 Respect teacher and respect the truth.
- 孝悌正义 Love parents and promote justice.
- 扶危济贫 Save the weak and help the poor.
- 除暴安良 Remove the evil and preserve the good.
- ...

The question is how?

You have to

- earn money first before you can share your money to the poor.
- develop your MA skill first before you can fight against evil.
 
Last edited:
Top