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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Floki View Post
    I'd bet it's not rare for ex-military to enter into monastic life. It's recorded that in 495 AD, Henan's Shaolin temple inducted a couple of disciples who had combat expertise. The disciples were probably former military personnel or mercenaries. So, similar occurrences probably date back to the foundation of Shaolin.
    Do you ever think about why the monastic traditions in the west were so different to the example of the shaolin temple?

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    Do you ever think about why the monastic traditions in the west were so different to the example of the shaolin temple?
    Their philosophies and cultures are quite different. Buddhism and Christianity have a parallel in that they are organized, but they largely have different viewpoints. For example, Christians want salvation from "sin" and place a greater emphasis on western literalism, while Buddhists want sustainable happiness and enlightenment with more flexibility and relativism. Consequently, their views on hygiene differ. This is where the main topic comes in: martial arts facilitate the well-being of some Buddhist sects because they keep monks physically healthy and serve as a kind of meditation. Moreover, since Buddhists regard the present moment as a higher reality, they base their decisions more on what can be immediately observed and less on categorical imperatives. So, since physical health falls into the sphere of what can be tested and observed, it gets incorporated into their logic.

    There are political reasons why Shaolin monks and Zen practicing samurai* even became romanticized that seem to parallel Christianity and the crusades in some ways. It was just convenient to have these people around to defend your estate or spearhead your wars. But, in contrast to the knights of the crusades, I think Shaolin Kung Fu still exists in some monasteries because it has a tight link to the Buddhist outlook, as described in my first paragraph. It also has practical utility for self defense; when you're a monk and your sustenance comes from begging and donations, it helps to have a way of defending yourself on the street.

    **The role of Zen in samurai culture has been heavily romanticized and exaggerated. Shaolin Kung Fu is more relevant to this discussion.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Justin of Flavia Neapolis's Avatar
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    BJJ JEDI MASTER - JOHN "Philosophy helps, but science works better" DANAHER -


  4. #24
    Senior Member Justin of Flavia Neapolis's Avatar
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    Guy "I"m quite tasty with the Gi" Ritchie


  5. #25
    Senior Member Madboot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    Do you ever think about why the monastic traditions in the west were so different to the example of the shaolin temple?
    Christian monasteries were quite often under the protection of local feudal lords. They had no need of martial skills of their own, though this bit them when the Vikings started raiding the Christian kingdoms. The Shaolin Temple is fairly isolated, particularly in its early years. They would be easy prey for roving bandits. They had to develop martial prowess in order to protect themselves, and their scrolls.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madboot View Post
    Christian monasteries were quite often under the protection of local feudal lords. They had no need of martial skills of their own, though this bit them when the Vikings started raiding the Christian kingdoms. The Shaolin Temple is fairly isolated, particularly in its early years. They would be easy prey for roving bandits. They had to develop martial prowess in order to protect themselves, and their scrolls.
    Does the Song of Roland not have clerics or monks going out to battle? I think they used maces rather than draw blood, it influenced some AD&D lore that I've heard of.

  7. #27
    Senior Member Madboot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    Does the Song of Roland not have clerics or monks going out to battle? I think they used maces rather than draw blood, it influenced some AD&D lore that I've heard of.
    This is true is a few isolated areas, in response to raiders and/or invaders. Like Vikings. It is the same reasons some eastern monastic orders became martial. In many cases in the east, they did not have local authorities protecting them. Quite the opposite in many occasions.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madboot View Post
    This is true is a few isolated areas, in response to raiders and/or invaders. Like Vikings. It is the same reasons some eastern monastic orders became martial. In many cases in the east, they did not have local authorities protecting them. Quite the opposite in many occasions.
    There's also all the stories in Ireland of warrior monks, like St. Columcille of Iona, he and his fellow monks kicked the ass of a brigade brought together to discipline him when he refused to accept the verdict of the Irish nobility in one of what's got to be the earliest copyright disputes known in the country, he'd copied another source and been told he couldnt keep his work, he said "shag off" or something along those lines, they kicked everyone's asses, then he went off into potential exile as a penance deciding that when he set out in a boat if the wave and wind, ie God's will, didnt return him to the island he'd go were the current took him.

    St. Columcille of Iona - World Cultures European

    There's other crazy stories like that, the irish monks werent jedi or anything but they were a lot of hard boys, not as much ransacking by the vikings outside of the port they set up in Dublin, but if there were any martial arts besides being violent with sharp weapons none of it really survived, I've read some HEMA style booklets but they deal with stick fighting and fight styles from much, much later.

  9. #29
    Senior Member sLiPpY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free View Post
    Why do eastern martial arts and martial traditions seem to more readily attach themselves to philosophical, spiritual and pseudo-spiritual traditions than western or european historical martial arts? Do you think I am wrong in supposing that this may be the case? Has it been to do with the unique history of those rival martial traditions, martial prowess preserved by former warrior class versus martial prowess superseded by soldiering and rise of merchant class and finally capitalism?
    Turn off your LED's for three months. Get outside in nature routinely taking walks, or picking up trash in parks or the neighboring areas. You'll come one hell of a lot closer to an understanding.

  10. #30
    Senior Member Justin of Flavia Neapolis's Avatar
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