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martial arts and philosophies

Lark

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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history of those rival martial traditions, martial prowess preserved by former warrior class versus martial prowess superseded by soldiering and rise of merchant class and finally capitalism?
 

Mole

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Martial Arts feed the authoritarian personality, and whatever we feed, grows.

Unlike my father and grandfather, instead of going to war, I carried out the social. injunction, "Make love, not war".
 
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The problem with eastern martial arts was that they focused too much on the ornamental and philosophical than pure utility. If you look at the history of MMA, in the beginning (early 90s) UFC was a free for all and practitioners of all arts were invited to fight. Eventually, the ornamental and philosophical arts were weeded out leaving only the effective arts left to compete.

The effective arts left standing to this day (for the most part):
  • Brazilian jiu jitsu
  • Judo
  • Greco-Roman wrestling
  • Boxing (Western)
  • Muay Thai (boxing)
  • Kickboxing
  • Karate

The only one of those with a hint of "philosophy" you're thinking of would be Karate. Don't get me wrong, they all have philosophies, they're just not up-their-own-arse about it. It's balanced.

What was the question again? Why do Eastern arts involve more philosophy? I don't know, but they're not the ones left standing in the realm of effectiveness in real life scenarios. That doesn't mean I totally discount eastern philosophies. Some of my favorite books: Book of Five Rings, Tao of Jeet Kune Do, Hagakure. I think philosophy and science should be balanced in a warrior.

 

Madboot

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I've read translated works of both western and eastern martial artists. Codes of behavior seemed to appear in both. In western martial arts chivalry and Christianity was praised. In the eastern martial arts it was variations of Buddhism. My theory is because the people who practiced the arts martial, for actual combat purposes, needed to believe there was a higher reason for what they did. These days people practice for exercise and maybe discipline. Most of us don't usually get into situations that require an intimate knowledge of bone breaking techniques. The people who truly mastered those styles usually used them in earnest. One of my books is a translated version of Sigmund ain Ringeck's book on German longsword techniques. There is no ornamental movements about it. It is how to kill as efficiently as possible. It is actually quite chilling to think of someone who actually knew this style on the battlefield.
 

Quick

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Obligatory mention of Miyamoto Musashi.

With that out of the way, I don't think American martial arts is any less focussed on philosophy, but I would say it has a different focus (depending on how true to the art it is in the american version).

BJJ often talks about overcoming pain
Judo often talks about effectiveness and efficiency and not remaking the wheel. Also talks a lot about learning from failure.
Any kind of American Wrestling (Folkstyle, Freestyle, Greco Roman) talks about hard work and dedication
Boxing I am unsure because I have never studies boxing
Muay Thai, same as Boxing
Kickboxing talks about being tactical and strategic (second hand knowledge from someone who beat the sixth best kickboxer in the U.S.)
Karate talks about being strong (as a person) a lot (second hand knowledge from a blackbelt)
 

Tomb1

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I've said it before, there's about as much talent in a typical MMA standup brawl as two chimps flinging poop at each other inside a cage. MMA fighters usually stink at standup. So much so that I could wring out as much talent from an episode of bum-fights. Case in point, McGregor looked absolutely pathetic in his boxing match with Mayweather. I know, Mayweather is supposed to win and outshine McGregor. But McGregor had nothing on his punches at all! They were weak as piss. Mayweather held back in the early rounds and gave the Irishman plenty opportunities to unload, so I got to see what the guy had. There was absolutely no power in McGregor's punches. They were....insubstantial. Even your average female boxer puts him to shame. But that's the thing, he's supposed to be this top striker in the UFC. Imagine how bad the guys he's beating are at striking. How terrible their reflexes...weak their jaws. I don't buy the excuse that McGregor is not a boxer. He's learned how to box and throw punches; he couldn't generate any snap behind his punches because, at the end of the day, he's a glorified bum-fighter with a million dollar mouth but not a true slugger. But hey, he is at least better than the taxi drivers he squares off with.

Grappling and boxing are certainly effective in a fair, controlled contest that doesn't allow for gouging out people's eyeballs, biting their ears off, etc. But in a street fight, anything goes, so typically weapons and multiple attackers come into play. Hard reality as opposed to inside a ring or octagon with rules, rounds and referees.
 
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I've said it before, there's about as much talent in a typical MMA standup brawl as two chimps flinging poop at each other inside a cage. MMA fighters usually stink at standup. So much so that I could wring out as much talent from an episode of bum-fights. Case in point, McGregor looked absolutely pathetic in his boxing match with Mayweather. I know, Mayweather is supposed to win and outshine McGregor. But McGregor had nothing on his punches at all! They were weak as piss. Mayweather held back in the early rounds and gave the Irishman plenty opportunities to unload, so I got to see what the guy had. There was absolutely no power in McGregor's punches. They were....insubstantial. Even your average female boxer puts him to shame. But that's the thing, he's supposed to be this top striker in the UFC. Imagine how bad the guys he's beating are at striking. How terrible their reflexes...weak their jaws. I don't buy the excuse that McGregor is not a boxer. He's learned how to box and throw punches; he couldn't generate any snap behind his punches because, at the end of the day, he's a glorified bum-fighter with a million dollar mouth but not a true slugger. But hey, he is at least better than the taxi drivers he squares off with.

Grappling and boxing are certainly effective in a fair, controlled contest that doesn't allow for gouging out people's eyeballs, biting their ears off, etc. But in a street fight, anything goes, so typically weapons and multiple attackers come into play. Hard reality as opposed to inside a ring or octagon with rules, rounds and referees.

Co-sign

Striking is way more difficult and intricate than most people believe. It is a sweet science. More than just haymakers. I tried standing up with a boxer and got my bell rung multiple times by simple jabs. He wasn't even trying that hard.

 

magpie

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The problem with eastern martial arts was that they focused too much on the ornamental and philosophical than pure utility. If you look at the history of MMA, in the beginning (early 90s) UFC was a free for all and practitioners of all arts were invited to fight. Eventually, the ornamental and philosophical arts were weeded out leaving only the effective arts left to compete.

The effective arts left standing to this day (for the most part):
  • Brazilian jiu jitsu
  • Judo
  • Greco-Roman wrestling
  • Boxing (Western)
  • Muay Thai (boxing)
  • Kickboxing
  • Karate

The only one of those with a hint of "philosophy" you're thinking of would be Karate. Don't get me wrong, they all have philosophies, they're just not up-their-own-arse about it. It's balanced.

What was the question again? Why do Eastern arts involve more philosophy? I don't know, but they're not the ones left standing in the realm of effectiveness in real life scenarios. That doesn't mean I totally discount eastern philosophies. Some of my favorite books: Book of Five Rings, Tao of Jeet Kune Do, Hagakure. I think philosophy and science should be balanced in a warrior.


There is plenty of utility in traditional martial arts philosophies. I'm a former student of Kuk Sool Won / Kuk Sul Do, which is a traditional Korean martial art. This practice has plenty of aspects of MMA - sparring, joint locks and breaks, grappling, hand strikes, kicking, falling techniques, and offensive and defensive weapons use. It also has the "philosophy," which lies in the traditional forms (which are mostly decorative) and the code of honor, respect, and deference to the art and to each other.

A lot of MMA guys are abusive selfish assholes and the fact that their martial art of choice lacks philosophy only makes it so that studying it is giving bullies the methods to bully people more. If you follow a traditional martial art, the first thing you are taught is that if you're in a bad situation and you can run away, you should. Fighting should only ever be used defensively. That's a pretty important thing to impart in students if you are teaching them a dozen ways to choke someone to death and giving them enough info on human anatomy to know where to struck to hit internal organs, among other things.

Eastern martial arts are an art because of the philosophy. The idea is to transform you entirely, which means not just physically but also emotionally and spiritually, and to impart the values that help you become a complete person and use your power responsibly.
 

Typh0n

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Martial Arts feed the authoritarian personality, and whatever we feed, grows.

Unlike my father and grandfather, instead of going to war, I carried out the social. injunction, "Make love, not war".

War can be necessary in self-defense, there is nothing authoritarian about that.
 

Mole

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War can be necessary in self-defense, there is nothing authoritarian about that.

We tried armies without hierarchy or command and control, but they didn't work, so we went back to command and control. And command and control is an authoritarian structure.

I think you object to the word 'authoritarian', not because it is accurate, but because it it pejorative. This is thinking with your feelings rather than your head.
 

Typh0n

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We tried armies without hierarchy or command and control, but they didn't work, so we went back to command and control. And command and control is an authoritarian structure.

I think you object to the word 'authoritarian', not because it is accurate, but because it it pejorative. This is thinking with your feelings rather than your head.

In your initial response you seemed to imply "authoritarian" was a pejorative. I simply responded.

But yes, an army without heirarchy, command or control wouldn't work you are right about that.
 

Mole

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In your initial response you seemed to imply "authoritarian" was a pejorative. I simply responded. But yes, an army without heirarchy, command or control wouldn't work you are right about that.
Yes you are right 'authoritarian' is pejorative and interestingly whether a word is poitive or pejorative it has no bearing on its meaning only its tone.
 
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A lot of MMA guys are abusive selfish assholes and the fact that their martial art of choice lacks philosophy only makes it so that studying it is giving bullies the methods to bully people more. If you follow a traditional martial art, the first thing you are taught is that if you're in a bad situation and you can run away, you should. Fighting should only ever be used defensively. That's a pretty important thing to impart in students if you are teaching them a dozen ways to choke someone to death and giving them enough info on human anatomy to know where to struck to hit internal organs, among other things.

QxEOI6W.jpg


You must've had negative experiences with MMA. Running away from potential fights isn't exclusive to TMAs. Humility in fight gyms run high, because it's necessary; lest ye be tested. Matter of fact, ego's are some of the first things that get smashed.
 

Lark

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I've read translated works of both western and eastern martial artists. Codes of behavior seemed to appear in both. In western martial arts chivalry and Christianity was praised. In the eastern martial arts it was variations of Buddhism. My theory is because the people who practiced the arts martial, for actual combat purposes, needed to believe there was a higher reason for what they did. These days people practice for exercise and maybe discipline. Most of us don't usually get into situations that require an intimate knowledge of bone breaking techniques. The people who truly mastered those styles usually used them in earnest. One of my books is a translated version of Sigmund ain Ringeck's book on German longsword techniques. There is no ornamental movements about it. It is how to kill as efficiently as possible. It is actually quite chilling to think of someone who actually knew this style on the battlefield.

That is part of what I like so much about those books, I have a few like it but I tend to find those western books are more expensive than they should be.
 

Madboot

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That is part of what I like so much about those books, I have a few like it but I tend to find those western books are more expensive than they should be.

I think part of the expense is because these are mostly "lost" arts. There was a large gap of time where these styles were not practiced, whereas the eastern martial arts where still widely practiced. Instructors in eastern styles must compete with one another. Instructors and material on western styles are damn few and far between. I've been interested, for years, in learning the style of the german longsword as practiced by Leichtenauer and Ringeck. But, alas, there are no instructors in this art in Pennsylvania. And trying to practice alone only imbeds your mistakes.
 

Lark

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I think part of the expense is because these are mostly "lost" arts. There was a large gap of time where these styles were not practiced, whereas the eastern martial arts where still widely practiced. Instructors in eastern styles must compete with one another. Instructors and material on western styles are damn few and far between. I've been interested, for years, in learning the style of the german longsword as practiced by Leichtenauer and Ringeck. But, alas, there are no instructors in this art in Pennsylvania. And trying to practice alone only imbeds your mistakes.

I agree with this, although I have spoken to HEMA practitioners who have repeated an idea that the reason traditionalism in martial arts endured in the east was to do with a chauvinistic belief in early onset perfection in Asia of life, economy, society, martial prowess, everything pretty much, that the reason the practice of historical martial arts in the west did not carry over the same fashion was because of adaptation, martial artistry in the west turned into soldiering, which in turn evolved into infantry and mechanised infantry, accompanied by specialism and professionalism, other arts developed into sports or were forgotten entirely, and effectively excluded the mass of society who werent soldiers or athletes.

I'm not sure I agree entirely with that perspective about adaptation, I know the whole story of the last samauri is about the authorities decision to abandon traditionalism and eclipse it in favour of importing western munitions, styles of dress etc.

There's different sorts of chauvinism involved in those perspectives but I think that the way in which the Japanese developed, preserved and in some ways, arguably but there was the whole fascist phases so it is arguably, tamed traditionalism IS interesting, I think that the west has failed to do so quite so well.
 

Tater

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I may have read a book by that guy, unless this is a more frequent occurence than I would have guessed.

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.
 
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