View Single Post
Old 04-01-2013, 12:33 PM   #73
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,135
Re: how do we define martial?

I am going to make a couple tangental comments... I promise it all leads somewhere.

My grandfather was a greatest generation Marine who spend much of the war in the Pacific theater. I remember asking him one time what he learned in the Marines that saved his life. "How to dig a fox hole."

Second, I think when people like Ellis take the time to post responses we should listen. After all, he is not only a published author but a historian on Japanese arts. I think if he has sufficient evidence to say musketeering was a martial art, it was. I bring this up only to note that we see our voices of experience post less often, usually because their comments are not only dismissed, but often disrespectfully so. Graham, I think you should consider that most people probably believe Ellis' speculations more than your facts. I know you do your own thing and do not care what other people think, but I would ask that you be more considerate of what other people are saying, even if you choose not to believe it.

In an effort to steer discussion, I am re-iterating that [I think] we should avoid conflating "martial", "fighting" and "warfare". Further, [I think] we should avoid assigning emotive attributes to the terms.

Again, I think [Western] language use of "martial" placed a stress of the method of dissemination as much as the content disseminated. In more modern context, we use the term as a catch-all phrase for anything to do with fighting systems. This is [in my opinion] incorrect. However, I think that battle of semantics was lost long ago. However, we still can resist the negative connotations...

Next, I think martial arts are absent of any emotive connotation. We [Aikido] like to assign attributes. Violence bad, peace good. Neither violence nor peace are emotive things, so they cannot have emotions. Peace is the absence of agitation; it is not a perpetual state.

I think Kevin has brought up some great comments regarding martial arts, given his perspective. I think Aikido wrestles with this issue because we are risking the loss of ethos if we admit what we are really doing. When I speak with higher ups in sister arts, or good sport fighters, I never feel my ethos is in jeopardy; these people are often respectful, thoughtful and knowledgeable enough to realize we are all just doing our thing. Again, I think we run into problems when we seize ethos from another, then project it as our own. The minute we admit what we are doing is not necessarily "martial"... Bam, start handing out the ribbons and bongo drums (no offense to those of you who train with ribbons and bongo drums... Phi - I'm looking at you, man.)

  Reply With Quote