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Old 01-27-2014, 04:30 PM   #22
OwlMatt's Avatar
Dojo: Milwaukee Aikikai
Location: Wisconsin
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 401
Re: What is Martial Arts Rank?

Fred Little wrote: View Post
Mr. Story,

Oh, it would make sense. It would be terribly, terribly rude to say so to someone's faces, but I've heard -- on more than one occasion -- just such remarks made by senior practitioners about other practitioners' and their arts.
Thanks for that. Good information.

I think it's safe to say that if you don't believe that you have a responsibility toward the art and its transmission that you have so sharply circumscribed the traditional understanding of michi or do that you've changed the fundamental meaning of the usage and moved into the category of what po-mo literary scholars call "creative appropriation."
There are many, many people who have a better understanding of Japanese terminology than I have. My opinions are based on my own experience and my own understanding of logic, not on any "traditional understanding of michi or do".

I have a problem with the idea of having "a responsibility toward the art". An art is an activity, not a person; you can't owe an activity. You can owe your training partners and your instructors, but to say that you owe the activity, I believe, is to falsely imbue the activity with characteristics of a person.

That said, I share your skepticism about the moral authority of most martial arts instructors and, yeah, the gap between the glorious high-tone rhetoric of budo and the habitual conduct of its most vocal proponents is usually quite wide enough to jaundice the view from even the most innocent and trusting of observers.


You're absolutely right; that is exactly what has happened to me. The result is that I have stopped expecting martial arts instructors to teach me anything but martial art, and have stopped treating martial arts as moral entities, or in fact any kind of entities at all. And I, for one, am much happier for it.

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