Thread: Called out.
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Old 02-08-2007, 09:06 AM   #11
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: Called out.

Lynn Seiser wrote:
I do agree.
Don't say it if you don't want to be called on it.
Talk and walk what you do know.
Listen and learn to what you don't.
I've got enough of a background, including some fairly hard times in combat, that most "martial arts" appears to be a nice hobby, sort of like wood-working, with some occasionally interesting (or even fascinating) aspects imbedded in them. Talking about real martial arts stuff is, to me, like sitting around the woodworking shop with a bunch of pals, discussing what's the best way to route out a dovetail joint. I.e., it's a very clinical thing with a lot of fine details.

Where I get dumbfounded in martial-arts is when I run into the people who are role-playing and who have been so involved in role-playing for so many years that they genuinely believe in the fantasy world they have built up and which a number of their friends play along with them.

Think about it. Everything is there for some serious mind-shenanigans. Uniforms. A "leader" and pecking-order hierarchy. Exotic rituals. Foreign words that must be used as part of the ritual. Cooperative training that helps confirm that the play is "real" as long as it's kept within the secret meeting hall (the dojo). And so on. Bear in mind that there is a huge difference in the symbolism of all these things in the minds of a Japanese from the mind of a westerner.

What I'm slowly getting around to is that the role-playing (sure some of it is good stuff; it's not all junk, so don't get me wrong) leads into a world with its own values. When I take my "woodworking", practical mentality and try to have a discussion with someone who believes (to some degree) in a fantasy world with exotic rituals, leaders who must be "respected" for their belt color, and so on.... there can quite often be a big disconnect and even some friction from the "true believers" who sense a heretic in their midst.

The real problem is that a lot of the fantasy martial artists (not everyone in western martial arts is one of these, let me stipulate.... just too many of them) don't seem to realize that in their fantasy they are usurping a lot of the terminology and then insisting that their way is the correct view. Just to mention a quick example, most of the "Tai Chi" in the US is fantasy-based, but it uses all the original Tai Chi (Taiji is the preferred spelling, nowadays, and more accurately shows that the correct pronunciation is "Tai Jee", not "Tai Chee"). When member of a lot of the western Taiji community saw some of the real Taiji experts from China in the early 1980's, they were dumbfounded. Real Taiji is a powerful martial art, not a fantasy role. The "exotic words" don't mean what some of the westerners thought. So many of the westerners simply refused to go and learn real Taiji.... it would mean that they would have to lose "face" and become beginners again, rather than be allowed to continue in their fantasies as knowledgeable Chinese sages.

I.e., there is a resistance to letting one's fantasy-bubbles get popped. And there is a lot of anger directed, by the fantasy believers, at anyone who doesn't "respect" the current game and its rules.

The point being that there is a huge difference between someone looking to find out everything possible about martial arts and someone whose goal is more oriented at protecting the status quo where they are "somebody".

Most of these "frictions" and "getting called out" that I see the real martial arts types get into on a lot of martial arts forums is the friction between the "non-fantasy-world" types and the "fantasy-world" types who are more interested in protecting the game than in penetrating the core.

My opinion, FWIW


Mike Sigman