Re: Measuring if/how martial arts helps one become a better person
Great comments Mary. I agree. The only thing I may not agree on is that I do believe that while Martial arts in not therapy...it can be theraputeic, restorative, or even a spiritual center for many. I think it depends on how you connect.
However, simply because you wear certain clothing, sit a certain way, or do particular practices, makes you no more able to transcend whatever you are transcending than going to church and "participating" in Sunday service does.
The problem becomes, for me, when we take the "honesty" of the practice, which I agree, is all in the physicality of the art, and try to turn it into something other than what it is.
Many have attempted to turn Martial practices or budo into a religion, a spiritual practice, they look for secrets to unlock particular doors that they feel are locked. They become snake oil salesman intentionally or unintentionally.
I have never understood what people mean when they speak of budo or martial practices from the context of external and internal. Somehow the connotation is that internal is spiritual, "better", using energy in some metaphysical way. They take the physical that you describe and turn it into something else. They seem to put all the physical into the "external" category as being bad, as being about fighting, clashing, battle of opposing wills, domination. They take a simple, physical thing and apply a warped sense of duality to it!
Not that I disagree with what you wrote at all, as I wholeheartedly agree. You always of a way of cutting through all the crap and getting to the core of issues and I appreciate that!