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Old 03-30-2013, 04:40 PM   #51
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Ewen Ebsworth wrote: View Post
Great posts Kevin, thank you for your voice of experience in regards to military compatibility and application. What you said regarding Budo and our moral obligation to cause the least amount of harm as possible, but also accepting that sometimes to stop harm we must use harm after making a value judgement that our actions are just in such circumstances, is very wise.
Thanks. I think we over look this aspect of budo too much. I don't like the revisionist rhetoric that refuses to accept responsibility for the seriousness of what budo is about. We simply cannot ignore the violent aspect of what we do. We must embrace it, learn to understand it, and stand in humble awe of the power that we can weld. It is a great responsibility to accept the calling of budo IMO.

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Old 03-30-2013, 05:51 PM   #52
graham christian
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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.

Peace.G.
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:58 PM   #53
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: how do we define martial?

Graham I believe you to be 180 degrees off. Martial arts were born out of the need to fight. All cultures and civilizations have developed martial practices in order to protect, defend, and to further their societal goals. Some are more codified than others. Thus, all martial arts by nature and heritage are rooted in the basic need to fight.

As far as the spiritual aspects etc. Well any sustainable society that has produced warriors understands the need to for balance and moderation. Much of what is done in martial arts is good for you mentally as well as physically. The spiritual linkage...well, I think that is quite a different subject and alot of imprinting is done along with way to link the physical and spiritual dimensions. However, the need for martial arts is in no way born out of the need for spiritual development but simply to fight. I think this is abundantly clear.

Of course, people can realize spiritual benefits as they attempt to reconcile the violence they feel through the practice of martial arts. I can tell you it has been a good outlet for me. but so is racketball, and parkour as well. Pretty much anything that engages the mind and body is good for us.

As far as things such as shaolin done in temples. I am not a historian, but believe that the monks practiced what they practiced to defend themselves. I am sure they realized early on that being in good shape benefited their spiritually as well.

Modern Japanese history, IMO, took the opportunity to revise and re-market their goods and practices as "spritiual practices" around WWII for what I think are fairly obvious reasons. There are scholars here on Aikiweb that can discuss this better than I.

the fact remains, at the base level, that anything that is called a martial art should and is grounded in a system of combat.

and yes, the art of loading and firing cannons is a martial art.

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Old 03-30-2013, 07:08 PM   #54
Ellis Amdur
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Re: how do we define martial?

Graham - once again, you post what you'd like things to be, not as they are or ever were.

1. In Japan, firearms were definitely considered martial arts. By the end of the Edo period, there were several hundred 古式砲術 (Koshiki Hojutsu) schools. They included cannons. The ryu were mostly abandoned when they found that the Western systems of gunnery were better. LINK

Your assertions are ahistorical. It is simply not true - pure fantasy - although widely disseminated fantasy that martial arts were done in temples and then "borrowed" by warriors. The militant Buddhist temples of Japan were havens of thugs, who slaughtered celebrants of other shrines and sohei of other temples. The military arts of the Shaolin temple were, in fact, consolidated to fight Wakou (Japanese coastal raiders who were the Eastern equivalent of Vikings).

If you ask any practitioner of an authentic classical ryu what the purpose of using the sword is, he or she would assert that it was for learning how to kill. Group solidarity and moral training were contributory to that end, in large part so one could effectively do it in cooperation with others.

There is no doubt that modern martial arts are often focused primarily around self-development. Tae Kwon Do classes for learning disabled kids. Aikido for the blind, the halt, the lame, the hale and the hearty.

And you know what? I think that's more praiseworthy than learning how to kill. I think its good that good people have a place to practice good things.

Except to be safe in many parts of the world, one has to know about killing too. Which is why, I think, Nidai Doshu ended his story with his father running out of the house with a bokken in his hand. The only thing he didn't say - and I always loved Doshu for his very dry and quiet humor, is if, his father, before he fell in the mud in his Sunday best, intended to thrash the foreign bullies, or to thrash his own son for being such a wimp.
Ellis Amdur

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Old 03-30-2013, 08:03 PM   #55
graham christian
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Graham I believe you to be 180 degrees off. Martial arts were born out of the need to fight. All cultures and civilizations have developed martial practices in order to protect, defend, and to further their societal goals. Some are more codified than others. Thus, all martial arts by nature and heritage are rooted in the basic need to fight.

As far as the spiritual aspects etc. Well any sustainable society that has produced warriors understands the need to for balance and moderation. Much of what is done in martial arts is good for you mentally as well as physically. The spiritual linkage...well, I think that is quite a different subject and alot of imprinting is done along with way to link the physical and spiritual dimensions. However, the need for martial arts is in no way born out of the need for spiritual development but simply to fight. I think this is abundantly clear.

Of course, people can realize spiritual benefits as they attempt to reconcile the violence they feel through the practice of martial arts. I can tell you it has been a good outlet for me. but so is racketball, and parkour as well. Pretty much anything that engages the mind and body is good for us.

As far as things such as shaolin done in temples. I am not a historian, but believe that the monks practiced what they practiced to defend themselves. I am sure they realized early on that being in good shape benefited their spiritually as well.

Modern Japanese history, IMO, took the opportunity to revise and re-market their goods and practices as "spritiual practices" around WWII for what I think are fairly obvious reasons. There are scholars here on Aikiweb that can discuss this better than I.

the fact remains, at the base level, that anything that is called a martial art should and is grounded in a system of combat.

and yes, the art of loading and firing cannons is a martial art.
Kevin, you only validate what I say. You yourself said you integrated what you learned in martial arts into what you do in military. Thus you already have not only borrowed from but also split them up into two separate things.

Revision and marketing after ww2 is just more over intellectualizing as far as I am concerned. Plain avoidance in my opinion. He said to Hikitsuchi that he personally had changed everything due to his realization, nothing to do with politics.
As far as shaolin goes and such things you do say you'll leave it to historians and that also validates what I say for it is the non-understanding and blatent disregard of such things which leads to all these false assumptions.

Quite simply if people want to know what Ueshiba meant by calling his art for example a shin no budo and other spiritual concepts then they had better study from a spiritual viewpoint. That's simple logic. If they want to understand budo is love then they had better go learn about love first and visit those buddhist texts for example which explain it. Same for mushin, senshin etc.

You cannot or rather should not look at these things from a military mind for spiritual matters of which O'Sensei insisted was Aikido means you would have to study such just as I would have to study militarism if I wanted to talk about the art of war.

Your reasoning from where your coming from I find quite sound and thus reasonable actually but alas only from where you are coming from.

The monks of japan were better fighters than the samurai and probably due to being in a completely militaristic world were probably more dangerous than the shaolin monks. Albeit they more often than not only had rivalries with other sects but eventually were borrowed by the elite and also eventually feared too much by them and thus banned.

Warring and fighting is fear based whilst martial arts are not. Yet another difference of which there are many.

Anyway I know we will have to agree to differ but as always I enjoyed the flow.

Peace.G.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:24 PM   #56
graham christian
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Graham - once again, you post what you'd like things to be, not as they are or ever were.

1. In Japan, firearms were definitely considered martial arts. By the end of the Edo period, there were several hundred 古式砲術 (Koshiki Hojutsu) schools. They included cannons. The ryu were mostly abandoned when they found that the Western systems of gunnery were better. LINK

Your assertions are ahistorical. It is simply not true - pure fantasy - although widely disseminated fantasy that martial arts were done in temples and then "borrowed" by warriors. The militant Buddhist temples of Japan were havens of thugs, who slaughtered celebrants of other shrines and sohei of other temples. The military arts of the Shaolin temple were, in fact, consolidated to fight Wakou (Japanese coastal raiders who were the Eastern equivalent of Vikings).

If you ask any practitioner of an authentic classical ryu what the purpose of using the sword is, he or she would assert that it was for learning how to kill. Group solidarity and moral training were contributory to that end, in large part so one could effectively do it in cooperation with others.

There is no doubt that modern martial arts are often focused primarily around self-development. Tae Kwon Do classes for learning disabled kids. Aikido for the blind, the halt, the lame, the hale and the hearty.

And you know what? I think that's more praiseworthy than learning how to kill. I think its good that good people have a place to practice good things.

Except to be safe in many parts of the world, one has to know about killing too. Which is why, I think, Nidai Doshu ended his story with his father running out of the house with a bokken in his hand. The only thing he didn't say - and I always loved Doshu for his very dry and quiet humor, is if, his father, before he fell in the mud in his Sunday best, intended to thrash the foreign bullies, or to thrash his own son for being such a wimp.
Ellis Amdur
Ellis, I fail to see your point.

1) Firearms? Tell that to the world. A cannon loader is a martial artist. Mmmmm. Don't think so.

2) Sohei havens for thugs? Wow! That is quite an extraordinary assertion I will just have to leave without any further comment.

3) I never mentioned warriors.

4) Military martial arts of shaolin? Another statement I find totally unrepresentative of time sequence. Maybe you should study Buddhism and indeed Bodhidharma before making such assumptions.

5) Sword? Yes I'll ask real top ones like Ueshiba or the guy who originally founded shinto ryu. They tend to be quite enlightened at the end of their journeys and tell you the real purpose. Quite opposite to what you propose.

6) Modern martial arts go back to the roots and understand better the true purpose of martial arts their problem is the opposite to those who hang on to warlike views. Their problem is they want to be and do it like art without realizing the discipline involved which comes through facing and handling that which you call martial not by becoming it.

Peace.G.
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:43 PM   #57
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
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.
The problem with using Ueshiba as a source is that one can find quotes attributed to him that express diametrically opposing viewpoints. The Art of Peace is full of references to opponents and enemies and contains advice as to how to approach them from a martial combat reference point. It also contains quotes that illustrate how training in Aikido will lead to enlightenment if one's practice is devoted and sincere and how it's not about fighting and competing.

I think, Graham, that you are trying to repeatedly shave the face of a coin in an attempt to eliminate one of the faces so that what you have left amounts to (metaphorically speaking) an Aikido monopole. You are, of course, free to differentiate between Aikido as a system of martial combat and Aikido as a system primarily concerned with spiritual development; but I don't believe you can ever fully separate them without losing the essence of what Aikido is. It is the juxtaposition of these opposing viewpoints that via devoted training in Aikido we seek to reconcile within ourselves.

Best,

Ron

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Old 03-30-2013, 11:10 PM   #58
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post

I think, Graham, that you are trying to repeatedly shave the face of a coin in an attempt to eliminate one of the faces so that what you have left amounts to (metaphorically speaking) an Aikido monopole. You are, of course, free to differentiate between Aikido as a system of martial combat and Aikido as a system primarily concerned with spiritual development; but I don't believe you can ever fully separate them without losing the essence of what Aikido is. It is the juxtaposition of these opposing viewpoints that via devoted training in Aikido we seek to reconcile within ourselves.

Best,

Ron
This and what Kevin said are spot on. Personally I was lucky to discover Shoji Nishio's Aikido 20+ years ago after looking at allot of gentle folks in fancy hakama's dancing with each other. Aikido without it's "Martial Aspect" for me personally is a worthless waste of time.

William Hazen
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:05 AM   #59
Janet Rosen
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
the fact remains, at the base level, that anything that is called a martial art should and is grounded in a system of combat.

and yes, the art of loading and firing cannons is a martial art.
Yep.

As Ellis Amdur notes, some folks (like me) are doing aikido with some infirmities and sharing what we can do with others who have infirmities, and I believe that is a good thing - but I have never led such a class for a single evening without being mindful of embodying to the best of my abilities, and sharing the key points as best I understand them, about the martial applications or principles our training is based on and pointing out some practical application of what we are doing.

When a student asks me a pointed question about why, from a practical defensive perspective, something is done this way rather than that way, if I can't demo it on the spot, we play with it for a while until it makes sense.

Otherwise, WTF are we doing while we work on posture, connection, kata, etc?!

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:46 AM   #60
graham christian
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
The problem with using Ueshiba as a source is that one can find quotes attributed to him that express diametrically opposing viewpoints. The Art of Peace is full of references to opponents and enemies and contains advice as to how to approach them from a martial combat reference point. It also contains quotes that illustrate how training in Aikido will lead to enlightenment if one's practice is devoted and sincere and how it's not about fighting and competing.

I think, Graham, that you are trying to repeatedly shave the face of a coin in an attempt to eliminate one of the faces so that what you have left amounts to (metaphorically speaking) an Aikido monopole. You are, of course, free to differentiate between Aikido as a system of martial combat and Aikido as a system primarily concerned with spiritual development; but I don't believe you can ever fully separate them without losing the essence of what Aikido is. It is the juxtaposition of these opposing viewpoints that via devoted training in Aikido we seek to reconcile within ourselves.

Best,

Ron
Hi Ron. I understand what you say but in no way agree with the analogy. No two sides of the same coin but two different coins.

I can't find virtually any diametrically opposed view of O'Sensei. I don't as a habit use other peoples quotes to say what I mean and only do so here sometimes because I'm persistently asked for reference. In fact everyone to me is not some all important label so basically we are all dudes dressed up in some kind of image but the image is pretty irrelevant.

Talking of which there was a dude who lived just before Musashi who was for that era the best swordsman in Japan of which I mentioned earlier but the funny thing is he reached a master enlightened stage and once again said similar to O'Sensei. The sword of no sword was one of his statements along with ones virtually saying budo is love. I do tend to listen to the more enlightened ones. Guilty.

However mostly by experience and lets say 90+ percent is where my views come from.

If you studied Bodhidharma for instance you would or may recognize what led to his starting 'way' of martial arts. Nothing to do with the purpose of fighting and of course being an enlightened monk nothing at all to do with war or self defence. To sincerely ask the question of why? one would first have to accept that otherwise there is not much chance of finding out.

I see there are many 'ways' put foreward for example expressing how one develops special, usually put as internal, methods needed to do the unmovable tests and power tests in Aikido. Spiritual ways are much easier and I for example could take virtually anyone and within one lessen have them immovable even if sitting on a chair being pushed by a weight lifter. Simple spiritual self empowering principles. Yet often times on here I have expressed simple principles lets say of Tohei for example saying the understanding of just even one of them can lead easily to being able to do those 'super tricks' only to be informed by some if not many that they too did that for years but alas couldn't do those super tricks. I can only assume therefor, well I best not say.

The martial then of which I talk has nothing to do with the general concensus martial and to me there is no paradox for the martial of which I speak handles the general concensus martial quite perfectly.

For so many hundreds of years the true budo had been lost and abused by those of warlike intentions. Such is what I say and has been said before.

So I'll sum it up in my own personal way and give you a nice modern proverb by yours truly for those fishing for truth:

Searching for that fish in a bucket of earth you will only find food for the fish.

Peace.G.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:14 AM   #61
Lorien Lowe
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Re: how do we define martial?

Did Shoji Nishio Sensei ever teach at Shingu? I am left simultaneously wishing that I could have taken a seminar wiht him , and thinking that what I see on the youtube videos looks startlingly familiar.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:16 AM   #62
Mert Gambito
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Re: how do we define martial?

Some really neat information and historical images here, http://pinterest.com/samuraiantiques...ks-and-taihou/, including:


Mert
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Old 03-31-2013, 03:44 AM   #63
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: how do we define martial?

Thanks for the pic Mert. I love those! It is good to see Hazen chime in as well. As Ranger Hazen will tell you, there are a broad range of skills that fall under the context of "martial arts". Most of them would not be considered by the civilian population nor to be honest are they considered "martial" by a military persepective, but they are necessary enablers martially. Things such as the ability to move through woods, swamps and jungles at night. To be able to hide covertly, to be able to shoot accurately under varying conditions....understanding how to read terrain etc. Just like archery, sword, pike, and horsemanship are all basic martial skills.

The point is, that without those skills, you have no need really for the empty handed skills that we commonly associate with martial arts.

We have, however, chosen to focus on a subset of skills designed to deal with particular scenarios that we feel may be relevant to us given an erosion of technology in the moment of battle or a degree of surprise on the street. These things in our imagination we feel warrant spending time with to empower us in some way.

So, from a psychological perspective we can benefit from training this stuff. We get in shape, we feel empowered, we self realize, hang out with others with a common interest, and naturally we grow. Of course this leads to improvement mentally and spiritually.

Even the military will be the first to tell you, as Ellis pointed out above....we don't train Combatives or Martial Arts because it will give us an technological edge on our opponent, we train it because at a base level it produces and encourages a warrior ethos. One that mandates that you have the willingness to close with and defeat your enemy when necessary under adverse conditions.

As I've stated several times. I believe that it is possible to have two individuals side-by-side in the dojo with the exact same instructor, doing the exact same things, and with the wrong intent and focus being doing entirely two different things. One can be performing a martial art and the other can be doing an interpretive dance.

Are their benefits to both? sure. They guy doing interpretive dance will gain health benefits, he will self realize in the manner he chooses to follow, he may become a happier person overall...but he is not doing a martial art, and I believe that under the pressure of combat and real conflict he will most likely fail due to the dissonance that he experiences that he has not prepared himself for.

The problem arises is that this dissonance and failure to face it honestly in training leads to greater harm in the aftermath of "battle". It is why Mushasi felt strongly about training the way he did in the Book of Five Rings and I concur.

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Old 03-31-2013, 03:48 AM   #64
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Yep.

As Ellis Amdur notes, some folks (like me) are doing aikido with some infirmities and sharing what we can do with others who have infirmities, and I believe that is a good thing - but I have never led such a class for a single evening without being mindful of embodying to the best of my abilities, and sharing the key points as best I understand them, about the martial applications or principles our training is based on and pointing out some practical application of what we are doing.

When a student asks me a pointed question about why, from a practical defensive perspective, something is done this way rather than that way, if I can't demo it on the spot, we play with it for a while until it makes sense.

Otherwise, WTF are we doing while we work on posture, connection, kata, etc?!
Hey Janet,

and I think it is a wonderful thing. The point is to have the proper intent when training. I think understanding your limitations and exploring them, especially as we grow older and change is important.

I essentially run a "second start" program for old warriors. Many (most) of our students in my organization are former "operators" that have been there done that. They are over 40 and struggling, mentally and physically with the changes life brings them (myself included). By training in combative sport we are able to reconcile this process, explore our warriorhood, maintain relevance, and learn to grow old gracefully.

I think martial arts provides us a wonderful avenue to explore and reconcile this aspects!

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Old 03-31-2013, 04:02 AM   #65
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Hey Janet,

and I think it is a wonderful thing. The point is to have the proper intent when training. I think understanding your limitations and exploring them, especially as we grow older and change is important.

I essentially run a "second start" program for old warriors. Many (most) of our students in my organization are former "operators" that have been there done that. They are over 40 and struggling, mentally and physically with the changes life brings them (myself included). By training in combative sport we are able to reconcile this process, explore our warriorhood, maintain relevance, and learn to grow old gracefully.

I think martial arts provides us a wonderful avenue to explore and reconcile this aspects!
Kevin, never thought we were disagreeing! I hope to someday meet and train with you.

Janet Rosen
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:42 AM   #66
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post

So, from a psychological perspective we can benefit from training this stuff. We get in shape, we feel empowered, we self realize, hang out with others with a common interest, and naturally we grow. Of course this leads to improvement mentally and spiritually.

Even the military will be the first to tell you, as Ellis pointed out above....we don't train Combatives or Martial Arts because it will give us an technological edge on our opponent, we train it because at a base level it produces and encourages a warrior ethos. One that mandates that you have the willingness to close with and defeat your enemy when necessary under adverse conditions.

As I've stated several times. I believe that it is possible to have two individuals side-by-side in the dojo with the exact same instructor, doing the exact same things, and with the wrong intent and focus being doing entirely two different things. One can be performing a martial art and the other can be doing an interpretive dance.
And although a warrior, doing his duty, may have to take life, sometimes more often than he wants, this , to my mind at least, isn't his primary goal and doesn't make him a killer per se.

And whenever and if opportunity arise, he might do what he can, so that "winning over reign over winning".

And here's where I hope even Graham would agree.
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:40 PM   #67
graham christian
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Bernd Lehnen wrote: View Post
And although a warrior, doing his duty, may have to take life, sometimes more often than he wants, this , to my mind at least, isn't his primary goal and doesn't make him a killer per se.

And whenever and if opportunity arise, he might do what he can, so that "winning over reign over winning".

And here's where I hope even Graham would agree.
I agree it isn't a warriors primary goal in war and that there are many warriors in life outside of war. Taking a life however does make you a killer full stop. Once again cold hard reality, no fantasy, no rose tinted view afforded by many who 'play' at being martial.

I can just see a marine commander or elite forces commander of some description now saying the same thing, giving the same reality to those being trained. Cold, hard reality......training to kill. Training to be a killer. Training to be put in positions where it has to be done for real.He would soon get rid of anyone not willing to be one.

So we can fantasize all we like and use that word martial as if we are that kind of warrior but reality says we are not unless in such a scene or regiment if you like.

All madness is war. Being at war with a neighbour is also madness in action. Some unfortunately are continually at war with themselves. So they too could be considered martial under such definitions. Laws based on morals were created to handle such madness but have you ever considered why? It's because the we ain't as sane or wise as we consider ourselves to be. As a race we are still pretty dumb. Unenlightened. Even martial

Peace.G.
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Old 03-31-2013, 03:43 PM   #68
Bernd Lehnen
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
I agree it isn't a warriors primary goal in war and that there are many warriors in life outside of war. Taking a life however does make you a killer full stop. Once again cold hard reality, no fantasy, no rose tinted view afforded by many who 'play' at being martial.

I can just see a marine commander or elite forces commander of some description now saying the same thing, giving the same reality to those being trained. Cold, hard reality......training to kill. Training to be a killer. Training to be put in positions where it has to be done for real.He would soon get rid of anyone not willing to be one.

So we can fantasize all we like and use that word martial as if we are that kind of warrior but reality says we are not unless in such a scene or regiment if you like.

All madness is war. Being at war with a neighbour is also madness in action. Some unfortunately are continually at war with themselves. So they too could be considered martial under such definitions. Laws based on morals were created to handle such madness but have you ever considered why? It's because the we ain't as sane or wise as we consider ourselves to be. As a race we are still pretty dumb. Unenlightened. Even martial

Peace.G.
Graham,
By your definition, we were all killers, even you, simply because we have to eat, don't you see?

How can we define "peace" without "martial"? How can we live in peace without those, providing us this luxury?
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Old 03-31-2013, 04:27 PM   #69
graham christian
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Bernd Lehnen wrote: View Post
Graham,
By your definition, we were all killers, even you, simply because we have to eat, don't you see?

How can we define "peace" without "martial"? How can we live in peace without those, providing us this luxury?
A tree lives in peace doesn't it? Many people live in peace. A zen master lives in and at peace. So there are many ways and many different examples.

The only people I know of being experts of the matter throughout history were ones who attained attained it as a real state of being. They are the experts and so I say not only is it possible but also obvious for those willing to look.

Peace is not a result of war. It's natural, it's a realm and thus is potentially there for all. War destroys peace, simple.

The answer to your question as with all truth is spiritual for that is the perception needed to see it.

Once looking at truth a person can then recognize the true meaning of something but until then can only intellectualize.

If you take my explanation from the last post then you will see that I said madness is war and thus definitions of martial to do with such take on a new meaning. Martial would be the discipline of not allowing any such mad views or acting from any such mad thoughts. So it becomes the the way of pure thought and harmony.

It becomes the way of 'despite my firmly held beliefs and conclusions and ways of thinking, despite what is widely held as true or normal, despite my not being able to see it, there is a way. Thus a path towards learning it. No excuses, no justifying yeah but what if, no but sometimes you have to blah blah blah. Basically....no madness. The discipline of masakatsu and agatsu.

Peace connects heaven and earth.

Those who can't see this are not at peace yet strive for it.

Peace has no violence or fight in it.

Yet those who crave it through their own internal lack of it think they can gain it through violence and fight.

No, you gain it by the discipline of living it and the facing up to your own thoughts and actions and those of others which tempt you to leave the path.

Peace is positive cause and thus actually all powerful.

The spirit of joy comes from it and love is it's heart. Aikido can be thus an expression of such.

There, I've said my peace

Peace.G.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:12 AM   #70
Cliff Judge
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Graham Christian wrote: View Post
My purpose is to improve the attackers well being.

Peace.G.
Any "purpose" you act on can be perceived and countered. Better not to have 'em.
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:39 AM   #71
graham christian
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Any "purpose" you act on can be perceived and countered. Better not to have 'em.
Nice one Cliff, if only that were true. Reminds me of many Buddhists I used to meet who were all 'into' it and saying you must get rid of all desires. They ended up calling me the 'laughing one' cos that's what their misunderstandings made me do. I would simply ask if getting rid of them was their desire.

It's one of the basic truths of life Cliff and that is purpose. You can only not have one by denial and then you will suffer for truth will always be there.

Many folk come to a point in life where they start wondering what it's all about and what their purpose here on earth actually is. The turning point of most peoples lives.

There again I could agree with you and that would also mean best not have any intention either. Oh dear, where would IP be then? Then of course we could have better not have any decisions either and we could rename Aikido as the Art of Oblivion.

Nah, best to follow truth and realize true purpose cannot be countered, only joined.

Peace.G.
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:13 AM   #72
Erick Mead
 
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
The point is to have the proper intent when training.
I was taught by the Marines who trained me that martial meant killing people and breaking things to accomplish one's goals.

I comprehend Aikido to act martially toward the goal of peace.

Aikido as a martial art should to enable one to kill people and break things -- and if it does not -- it is no longer a martial art.

Aikido as a martial art distinguishes itself when it enters violent encounter with the same action and spirit of killing people and breaking things -- so as to NOT kill people and NOT break things -- with the goal being peace.

The goals of peace cannot be pursued apart from the ways of war. In Aikido training, martial intent lies in seeking to cut one another in a true, committed line --- and if the lines are always true -- then each hones the other without harm to either-- like the blades of scissors.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:33 PM   #73
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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.)

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Old 04-01-2013, 01:02 PM   #74
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Erick Mead wrote: View Post
I was taught by the Marines who trained me that martial meant killing people and breaking things to accomplish one's goals.

I comprehend Aikido to act martially toward the goal of peace.

Aikido as a martial art should to enable one to kill people and break things -- and if it does not -- it is no longer a martial art.

Aikido as a martial art distinguishes itself when it enters violent encounter with the same action and spirit of killing people and breaking things -- so as to NOT kill people and NOT break things -- with the goal being peace.

The goals of peace cannot be pursued apart from the ways of war. In Aikido training, martial intent lies in seeking to cut one another in a true, committed line --- and if the lines are always true -- then each hones the other without harm to either-- like the blades of scissors.
Hey Erick, been a while. Hope all is well.

With respect to your Marine's comments. I personally think that is a very limited response, today if you talked to Marines that have been involved in our current situations/wars you might find a different perspective. I think the ability needs to be there for sure. Willingness, absolutely. but intent. Well I think intent is about minimal force and about walking tall and carrying a big stick so to speak. So, I think the view point that it is all about killing to be a very limited view point that does not capture the full scope martially.

WIth respect to your perspective on AIkido being about different from martial. I would capitalize on or refer Jon Reading's last post and say, no martially aikido is no different than other martial solutions. It is always about peace IMO, even with the US Military we must use peaceful means to resolve conflict when at all possible. My current job in Africa is about this very thing. I visit many places working to promote peace, rarely carry a gun, and most of what I do is about promoting peaceful objectives, rule of law, subordination of military to civilian authority and ethics. I think this type of thing is very much within the realm of martial arts.

I think to only address the violent side of the equation to be a very limited, narrow view point. Just as much as I believe those that want to ignore or dismiss the violent side of the art to be a very liimted and narrow view point as well. It is about the midpoint or balance. You can't have peace without addressing the violent side of things and vice versa. It is unfortunate, but our world has not progressed to the point of ignoring and addressing things with the potential to cause harm.

So yes, I agree with you on your perspective. and we are saying essentially the same thing of course!

I think maybe where we differ would be on the fact that aikido has a predetermined solution set. From the shihan I have spoken/trained with, I sense that they would have no qualms with doing harm if it was necessary. I don't believe that there is a more ethical solution set that Aikido has over any other budo practice or even our military. in all cases, I believe there is an ethic to do as little harm as necessary.

Where I think Aikido differs, of course, is in its physical methods of training aiki...however, of course, this becomes a sore point of contention for many as it starts the whole IS/IT war. I am not one who subcribes to the spiritual/moral uniqueness of aikido though, so I think this is where maybe I have differences with many here that wish to establish this perspective.

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Old 04-01-2013, 01:20 PM   #75
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: how do we define martial?

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Any "purpose" you act on can be perceived and countered. Better not to have 'em.
Well said Cliff. Of course, we can't avoid having a purpose, which for most of us at a minimum I think would be self preservation. I think, though that what you are referring to is a pre-determined endstate or outcome that says how the situation will be resolved. I think that is a purpose with too high of a goal.

Maybe an Agenda would be a better word? that is, having a vested interest in the situation and how it will play out.

I don't know....but I grasp what you are conveying and agree.

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