Benjamin Edelen wrote:
I offer as evidence that, to my knowledge, all of what are generally recognized as "highest level" martial arts texts are philosophical texts, not technical manuals.
Then there's not much point in doing martial practice, I guess. Tatting and basketry can be done if all you're looking for is philosophic *ideals*. Those ideals are not the same thing as the level of martial art, Benjamin.
But aside from your philosophic ideals, what texts are you talking about and that you offer for evidence? Care has to be taken when mentioning the facets of Asian philosophy in relation to Asian martial arts. It's usually a case of the tail wagging the dog. For instance, to justify the logic of a martial art various relationships to Yin-Yang, Liangyi, the Luo River Charts, the Five Elements were traditionally used and a lot of the words like "harmony", etc., are misunderstood in those contexts by westerners. It's not philosophic and ethical ideals that are being encouraged, it's more like the raison d'etre for the martial art is to be found in the cosmos, the universe, etc., and the martial art fulfills the destiny called for in the ancient beliefs. I.e., the "philosophy" justifies the martial art and at the highest level the martial art mirrors some primal constancy. It's not like "do Aikido and your personality will develop"... heck, you can already see that doesn't work too well.