Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Middle Path


While philosophy, ethics, and camaraderie are values that rightfully belong to any martial arts curriculum, practitioners should not forget that the martial arts are first and foremost martial in nature. Budo (the way) comes from bujutsu (the art itself). They are not, nor ever should be regarded as separate. This is important to understand, because leaning too far in either direction is fraught with problems. A budoka who can recite passages from The Art of War, but can't really defend her/himself is just as inept as the black belt badass who has visions of becoming a legbreaker for the local shylock. It is possible to master waza (techniques) sans the all-important core values. But having a rich knowledge of martial philosophy without the actual skills to back it up is ludicrous. The complete warrior needs both ability and insight.

The dichotomy of ability and insight in the martial arts can be summed up in Musashi's tenet, "The way is in the training". We train, not only to improve, but also to maintain already acquired skills. For the practitioner, training is not only a means to an end (jutsu), but also an end unto itself - training is the prelude to self-discovery and self-knowledge (do). Draeger wrote, "...training for a skill can lead to inner self-mastery as well as outward mastery of a technical skill."

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8 Comments:

Blogger Jessica said...

Very interesting. This is why I love martial arts - because it connects mind and body. You can't really strengthen one, without strengthening the other.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I'll definately stop by yours again.

4:15 PM  
Blogger supergroup7 said...

Wow.. I love the balance that you have shown here between the mind, and the body. YES!

9:01 PM  
Blogger Oniyagi said...

I reallt like th fact that you used the work "shylock"... but, seriously, I really liked that post.

4:41 PM  
Blogger [Mat] said...

Virtue and Vice.

The two very opposite sides that represent what we will eternally be struggling with.

Hopefully, virtue, intelligence and just plain-old-general good will prevail. Sadly, not all budoka choose that path.

Perseverance in budo leads to virtue. How many people can talk about how much martial arts have helped them in all spheres of their lives? Include me in that.

Balance finds itself even in the arts. Good people, bad people. Good practicionners, bad practiocionners.

And for those photos, a beach does it nicely. :-)

12:38 PM  
Anonymous KFG said...

A lovely post - reminding me again why I love Martial Arts so much. Thanks for giving me a place I can come to every now and then to touch base with other people training.

Thanks for keeping me on the path.

2:28 PM  
Blogger John Vesia said...

You're always welcome here, KFG. Thanks for the kind sentiment.

10:31 AM  
Anonymous tangyapple said...

Thanks for pointing out the all-important practice of *balance.* It's a concept that seems to have been largely lost today.

12:14 PM  
Blogger John Vesia said...

Thanks, Tangy Apple. Besides the martial arts, the concept of balance needs to be applied to all aspects of living.

8:35 PM  

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