Re: how do we define martial?
Martial in it's definitions are all to do with war and more modernly can even be applied to anything to do with army and navy. That doesn't mean that is the correct or even apt use of the word when addressing a martial art. If it was then the skill of loading cannons would be a martial art. So following that line of reasoning I say only brings about false assumptions and theories and 'expertise'.
Those who speak about such matters as war are talking about combat and can take that as far back as they like beyond romans even to cave man tribes. Nothing to do with martial arts in my opinion. Thats all to do with combat and fighting techniques used by military. I don't recall any of those military folk from those people called romans with their god of war being martial artists.
So no, all the reasoning to do with god of war by those I might add who don't believe in greek or roman gods to me is well off the mark. Anything they say to do with martial combat techniques is well on the mark. So we have one thing being mixed with another. Thus I can't help calling it myself pure fantasy.
Kevin gives great reasoned explanations on the martial combat area of life and I bet if I asked him I wouldn't be surprised if he found lots of so called martial arts people entering the army only to be blown out of their fantasy and hit by reality of the horrors of war let alone the reality of warring combat.
So as far as I am concerned as long as anyone follows a way of thinking that equates martial arts with war and such will never even understand what martial arts is about.
If you look in a dictionary for martial arts you will probably find a definition to do with oriental fighting techniques. Why do you think that is? There were oriental armies and empires just like the west so it wasn't referring to that. It was something they considered different to that.
As usual I think the majority get things backwards. Martial arts were disciplines done in temples or other spiritual practices. That's where they were born. Military folk noticed these folk had qualities they wished their soldiers had and thus 'borrowed' from them. Of course, not being of the same purpose of mind they could never quite get what martial arts were but only that they wanted the skills. Not much has changed and now people would even believe they are militaristic in nature. Oh dear. Shame I say. No matter how many times O'Sensei would say how it's not to do with fighting still they hunt for somewhere where he must have said it was or could be...frantically scraping the bottom of the barrel for justification.
No matter how many times other grand masters of various arts have said similar still folk try to hang on to this false assumption of the purpose being militaristic or for killing. Thus I generally conclude most don't want to know and prefer the fantasy.
The purpose is, was and will always be self development. That's prime purpose. When you actually know this and I mean know then you may be able to see all around how the real experts have been telling you that all along. Suddenly you will hear the boxing trainers, the martial arts trainers, the voices who keep telling you it's about giving youngsters self discipline, self confidence, self pride, empowerment, and skill as a secondary thing. It's about becoming a better person in yourself and towards others.
Military martial borrow from martial arts. Military martial borrow from source. The wise military I would say actually learn from source.