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Old 12-08-2012, 11:40 AM   #8
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Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,135
Re: No, the world is not becoming a more violent place so what are you getting out of

Guillaume Erard wrote: View Post
I have expressed several times the fact that I believe that Budo have less to do with warmongering and personal defense than with physical and mental education, and that those who mainly seek martial efficacy in training are in my eyes wasting their time developing useless kills, and probably living in irrational fear. Today I would like to substantiate these claims with hard facts and ask the question: "What is the point of training to achieve martial efficacy in a peaceful world?". Violence in human societies is on decline and it has been so for hundreds of years. As a consequence, we are currently living in the most peaceful and harmonious time that our specie has ever known. This phenomenon has been put forward in its most elegant and persuasive form by Harvard Professor Steven Pinker in his book "The Better Angels of our Nature".[1] I propose to share some of his ideas and evidence, and to discuss how this affects martial arts practice. In a nutshell, I could sum it up as : "No, the world is not becoming a dangerous place, so chill out and enjoy martial art training for what it is: a healthy habit, albeit a slightly silly, and mostly obsolete one".

(Original blog post may be found here.)
First, I would rephrase what you are saying as, "Here is evidence to support my claim the world is not becoming a more violent place." Second, I would reclassify these most of these studies as correlations, not facts.

Now, do I believe the world is more violent than... when? What kind of crime? Yes, I believe the world is just as dangerous as it has been. The danger may have shifted, but it is still dangerous. Our pens may be mightier than our swords now, but the philosophical goals of many martial are the same, even if you change the weapon. For me, Aikido is a good martial art for my training because of the larger philosophical focus. Because my focus is about making myself an empowered individual.

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