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10-15-2005, 05:55 AM
What exactly is a 'MARTIAL ATTITUDE'?

When I have talked to people, they all say it's about controlling aggression. Is that correct, or is there more to it than controlled aggression?

Any thoughts

Kevin Leavitt
10-15-2005, 07:27 AM
certainly controlling your own agression is a major part of it I believe their is much more to martial attitude than that though. Undoubtedly you may have started a thread that will go on for a long time, as what martial attitude is will differ from person to person and paradigm to paradigm.

Some will argue about what aspect is most important, others about the philosopical underpinnings, and ethical nature of it all! Wow!

Anyway, to simply i'd say martial attitude has much to do with what budo is all about. Look at threads on Budo on aikiweb and read through them.

Basically you have yourself, and the outside world. (i'd an many others would argue that you and yourself are a inseparable part of the world, others see it differently). To me martial attitude has to do with how you relate to the rest of the world, how you react, proact, respond, and interact with the world. Martial Attitude is about compassion and love. It is about violence and strength, about peace and conflict.

We will spend a lifetime trying to perfect our martial attitude.

Many will simply state all this as Kamae.

Oh well, time to move on at let others comment! Look forward to the discussion.

Erick Mead
10-15-2005, 08:20 AM
A teacher once told me to stand in one spot with a gentle smile. If a blow comes within reach -- step all the way in, step through him like he was not there, step out, and walk away with a gentle smile.

Seems to work so far.

Erick Mead

10-15-2005, 08:46 AM
Always remember, this is a fighting art and there are good reasons to fight.

John Matsushima
10-15-2005, 08:55 AM
A martial attitude is one which a warrior must posses to go to war. It is about self-discipline, sacrifice, perseverance and living according to the virtues of a warrior. It is the attitude one must have when facing insurmountable odds, impossible time limits, unbearable pressure, and when facing that which wants to destroy us. To practice with a martial attitude means to practice as if your life depended on it. Use great attention to detail, and be the best that you can be. Expect pain because in life as in war there is plenty of it.
I believe that many people forget this when it comes to the practice of Aikido. The ideas of compassion and love have become excuses for people to be lazy, complacent and unmotivated. Aikido teachers have become soft because being a strict teacher won't sell. I once saw a kendo teacher in Japan who yelled at his students because they took a 11 min break instead of 10 min, and when they while they wer practicing, he yelled at a woman to be faster and faster until she started crying. He wasn't trying to degrade her, but was pushing her to be her best. She did become faster, too. Morihei Ueshiba sensei wasn't called O'sensei just because he invented Aikido (it humors me by the way how so many people throw that term around like it was actually his name) it was because he was a great teacher, one who was very strict and often yelled at his students, would wake them up in the middle of the night to practice, and would even do things like telling a student to do yonkyo on a tree branch until his hands bled. Now, that is a teacher of martial attitude!
So if you desire to have a martial attitude, here are some questions you might ask yourself. Do you take a break when you are tired, or do you push yourself? Do you avoid pain and inconvenience at every chance? Do you complain when someone is teaching you something that seems too fast or too much for you? Do you take the initiative on things no one else wants to do?
In Karate, there is concept where they say the word OSS!, and it pretty much sums up martial attitude. Love, compassion, and harmony are good virtues, but in the end don't ever forget a martial artist lives the life, the way of a warrior. Gambatte!

10-15-2005, 11:27 AM
I believe martial attitude is, not allowing yourself to be a victim. I don't mean that bad things will never happen to you because you are so martial you will never let it. I mean that when bad things happen to you, you take responsibility for those things. You never say, it's so and so's fault, or I want to do that but, "X,Y and Z" are keeping me from doing it. You take control of your life and all aspects of it. No one can do you harm if you take responsibility for all that happens, you don't need a scape goat, your life belongs to you, do with it as you like, and make no excuse's.

-Chris Hein

Kevin Leavitt
10-16-2005, 04:14 AM
Very good points.

I believe that there is a fine line between abuse, hazing, and sado-masochistic behavior and hard training.

It is important, as John says, to not use the love and compassion areas of aikido as an excuse to be lazy, I have seen this much in aikido dojos, however, I don't think that yelling and verbally abusing students has a place in a dojo or a part of martial attitude in this environment.

Should not be construed as lowering your standards, or accepting less of someone's potential. Heck the best (and only sensei's) I would accept are the ones that are bluntly and firmly honest with me and my shortfalls.

For sure "warm and fuzzies" don't belong in a dojo, and for sure, it should be a place to train hard, and the "weak of heart or character need not apply". That said, the dojo should also be a place for those that may not have unlocked or discovered their potential "Warriorhood" to grow.

I am getting ready to start offering aikido classes on a military post. I train two types of people. In the morning we do only soldiers that are interested in learning hardcore NHB, MMA ground fighitng, in the evenings it is traditional aikido.

I only open up the mornng sessions to soldiers that are well conditioned and are mentally tough. We train hard, but respectfully, there is never any yelling unless someone is screwing off (hey it is the military!).

In the evening, it will be traditional aikido that will allow those that want to explore the other side of martial arts and the more internal side of the art in a less threatening and gentle way.

Does that mean that either class is less Martial than the other? no just a difference in focus and approach for those with different focuses.

Training to your fingers bleed certainly is a method, but a personal one. I frankly have done that and believe there is a time and place for that kind of training, but not for everyone, and not everyday.

As one of my Ranger School instructors said. Part of being a Ranger is knowing the difference between "Hooah and Stupid" there can be a fine line there and it is easy to loose perspective on why we are doing what we are doing.

I tend to agree with Chris about the victim mentality thing. I think this is really a big part of the core, and John, you state it as well. It is alot about Accepting responsibility for your own actions." Being true and honest in yourself".

Good points John and Chris, I agree wholeheartedly with both of you!