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#276108 - 07/31/06 08:58 AM enlightenment
jkdwarrior Offline
Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 341
Loc: belfast, Antrim, Ireland
how's it going everyone?
i was just wondering what you guys think of martial arts training as a path to all round enlightenment. the reason for this is that a group of five people recently became members of my class, and from what i can see, all they care about is learning how to beat people up or to "be able to handle themselves". However, when looking at the most advanced students, it becomes apparent that this way of thinking gradually fades with experience. The students become less aggressive and competitive, and are more willing to help. In other words, they lose their ego. Has anybody else noticed this happening to themselves and others?
Admittedly, when i began my training seven years ago, this was my method of thinking also, but nowadays -for me anyway- my training has less to do with actual fighting than ever. Instead of thinking "wow, i could really hurt somebody with this technique", it's more like "I just want to get the movement as close to perfect as possible". It's kind of like a dance, and i can see the similarities in other movements and sports. For example, for a tennis shot to be hit at maximum power, it is imperative that the power of the whole body must be transferred into the ball, through a twist of the body and a small transferrence of body weight towards the front foot, just like a punch. Presumably this is because as humans (with two legs and two arms), the best way to move in sport is going to be the same as in MA.

The real point of this post though, is to discuss not the process of physically improving technique, but the process of improving in a more hollistic fashion.

I feel certain that the mindset of continually trying to improve the punch, kick, takedown or submission, gradually takes hold of your whole life, and one eventually makes the concious effort to improve in areas such as helping out round the house, or trying to be as friendly as possible to everyone you meet.
in fact, learning MA has had such a profound impact on my life, that others are taking notice of just how much i've changed in the past few years.

I genuinely feel that i have become enlightened and i am living a life that is more rewarding that i ever imagined. Not only that, but i've also learned that the pathway to improvement is more or less limitless and that i can continue to improve as a MAist, and as a person for the remainder of my life.

Does anybody else feel the same way, or is this merely my eccentricity rearing it's head?
What other enlightenments have you undergone (if any) through training?

I am also aware, however, that this theory is definitely not true for everyone, as from what i can tell, many people at even the highest level seem to be...well....nasty (for the want of a swear word).

I'll be very interested to know what you all think.
_________________________
Sticks n stones'll break my bones, but if I land the first one, you're in trouble!

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#276109 - 07/31/06 09:03 AM Re: enlightenment [Re: jkdwarrior]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6666
Loc: Amherst, MA
I'm pretty sure most people who practice MA over a period of time change as they experience insights about themselves.

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#276110 - 07/31/06 09:57 AM Re: enlightenment [Re: jkdwarrior]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
I have found that many of the qualities of martial arts practice have helped me in other aspects of my life. The patience required for practice and the ability for self-analysis have direct application in many areas.
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#276111 - 08/01/06 06:22 PM Re: enlightenment [Re: jkdwarrior]
JKogas Offline
Prolific

Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 10818
Loc: North Carolina
jkdwarrior wrote
Quote:

I was just wondering what you guys think of martial arts training as a path to all round enlightenment.





Wonderful thread by the way. It’s a topic close to my own heart. I personally feel that training done in the right manner, is a perfect vehicle to inner transformation. It is the ONLY reason why I train to this day.

Most people only think that they need to train for “self-defense”. I believe that unless you have a job in law enforcement or a similar capacity, this really isn’t the case. I believe that if people would think it through, they would realize that they are training primarily to rid themselves of FEAR. Fear gets in the way of just about everything.

When we remove fear:
  • We remove the layers guarding the ego, which separates us from everyone else
  • We remove the obstacle to love and compassion (the opposite of love being fear, not hate)
  • We remove the inhibitions suppressing our true personalities. When we do this, we are able to develop greater personalities and, come “out of our shells”.


Fear prevents a LOT of things from happening in our lives. I’m sure you can think of many yourself.

Certainly, good training can achieve these ends. I’ve personally seen it happen both within myself and within others over the years. It’s amazing to see people who have radically (and beneficially) transformed themselves in even just as little as a YEAR of training!

Do we “really” need self-defense? There is no question that the answer is a definite yes for some. Can’t we just take a step back and look at it from the broader picture referred to as “self-preservation”? If so, we will be able to see that in most cases, “self-defense” comes down to simple “choices” that we make, from living where we do, going where we go for entertainment to driving with a buckled seat belt and eating the right foods.

More often than not, many begin martial arts training because they want to see themselves (and be seen as) “bad-asses”. That is nothing more than a fragile ego and a form of insecurity.


Quote:


…the reason for this is that a group of five people recently became members of my class, and from what i can see, all they care about is learning how to beat people up or to "be able to handle themselves".




What are their ages and gender? My guess is that they are all young males. Which would be typical.


Quote:

However, when looking at the most advanced students, it becomes apparent that this way of thinking gradually fades with experience. The students become less aggressive and competitive, and are more willing to help. In other words, they lose their ego. Has anybody else noticed this happening to themselves and others?





Absolutely I have noticed this! That usually happens when the advanced practitioners develop demonstrable skill. In the process, they discover that such skill really doesn’t matter (in that it isn’t ever really needed). However what happens is, as their skill grows, their fragility and inner fear disappears. This is what makes it possible to lose the ego, become less aggressive (aggressiveness is another form of fear) and competitive. They do tend to feel more willing to help because they’ve seen the benefit of what good training can achieve.

One of the greatest things we can do for ourselves is to assist others in this process of transformation. When we do, these people can grow as well and become less of a burden on the rest of us (people who are more secure within themselves are easier to deal with in society than are those who are insecure and afraid. THOSE folks can be a handful).



Quote:


....nowadays -for me anyway- my training has less to do with actual fighting than ever. Instead of thinking "wow, i could really hurt somebody with this technique", it's more like "I just want to get the movement as close to perfect as possible". It's kind of like a dance, and i can see the similarities in other movements and sports. For example, for a tennis shot to be hit at maximum power, it is imperative that the power of the whole body must be transferred into the ball, through a twist of the body and a small transferrence of body weight towards the front foot, just like a punch. Presumably this is because as humans (with two legs and two arms), the best way to move in sport is going to be the same as in MA.





It comes down to body mechanics and athletics, which is WHY martial arts should be trained in as an athletic a manner as possible! Sportive training (which has nothing to do with "rules") develops those body mechanics in ways that non-athletic training cannot. The more athletic the training, the better. Which is why you have to box, wrestle, do jiu-jitsu, etc.

“Self-perfection” is the best focus we could have in terms of our day to day training! YOU are definitely on the right track. I wish more people could understand this.


Quote:


I feel certain that the mindset of continually trying to improve the punch, kick, takedown or submission, gradually takes hold of your whole life, and one eventually makes the conscious effort to improve in areas such as helping out round the house, or trying to be as friendly as possible to everyone you meet.
in fact, learning MA has had such a profound impact on my life, that others are taking notice of just how much i've changed in the past few years.





I have definitely noticed that I’m more friendly. I’ve also noticed that I am more blunt and brutally honest! I’m not afraid to speak my mind and will give you my opinion without hesitation. It can work both ways. I have the “capacity” to be a nicer individual. Perhaps years ago, I did not have this capacity and whatever niceness was there, was more manipulative or, contained more “weakness” than niceness, I don’t know. I am over analyzing no doubt. Like I said though, it is the CAPACITY to be “compassionate” which enlarges. I believe.

Compassion among men is more responsible for living a just life, than are laws or the threat of punishment.


Quote:


I genuinely feel that i have become enlightened and i am living a life that is more rewarding that i ever imagined. Not only that, but i've also learned that the pathway to improvement is more or less limitless and that i can continue to improve as a MAist, and as a person for the remainder of my life.





Certainly so. One would HOPE anyway. When you begin to get a taste of it, you certainly want more, don’t you, lol? I know exactly what you mean though as I feel the same way.



Quote:


Does anybody else feel the same way, or is this merely my eccentricity rearing it's head?





I hear you loud and clear! Might I ask what YOUR age is? Just curious.



Quote:

What other enlightenments have you undergone (if any) through training?




I’ve noticed that growth isn’t “smooth”. Sometimes you take two steps up and one back. Or you plateau and remain stagnant for a period. That isn’t so bad considering that when you DO breakthrough and enter a growth spurt, you take off like a rocket.


Quote:


I am also aware, however, that this theory is definitely not true for everyone, as from what i can tell, many people at even the highest level seem to be...well....nasty (for the want of a swear word).






I agree and I believe it all comes down to what a person is seeking and his motivations. Some people are going to be nasty regardless of what they do. This is true for any walk of life, from church goers to strip club dancers. Some of them are saintly. The same can’t always be said for the others (the church goers, of course).



-John

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#276112 - 08/02/06 06:37 PM Re: enlightenment [Re: JKogas]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Quote by JKogas -

Quote:

Absolutely I have noticed this! That usually happens when the advanced practitioners develop demonstrable skill. In the process, they discover that such skill really doesn’t matter (in that it isn’t ever really needed). However what happens is, as their skill grows, their fragility and inner fear disappears. This is what makes it possible to lose the ego, become less aggressive (aggressiveness is another form of fear) and competitive. They do tend to feel more willing to help because they’ve seen the benefit of what good training can achieve.

One of the greatest things we can do for ourselves is to assist others in this process of transformation. When we do, these people can grow as well and become less of a burden on the rest of us (people who are more secure within themselves are easier to deal with in society than are those who are insecure and afraid. THOSE folks can be a handful).




Couldn't agree more, John. Excellent post. I can say that I was able to see some true inner growth in some students when I was teaching, and it was a good feeling. Especially knowing that (2 in particular) were real 'handfulls' to start with.
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#276113 - 08/02/06 06:53 PM Re: enlightenment [Re: JKogas]
kunin Offline
hard-boiled aggression

Registered: 06/05/06
Posts: 73
Loc: - cloud-hidden in the big city
Quote:

Most people only think that they need to train for “self-defense”. I believe that unless you have a job in law enforcement or a similar capacity, this really isn’t the case. I believe that if people would think it through, they would realize that they are training primarily to rid themselves of FEAR. Fear gets in the way of just about everything.





Edited by kunin (08/02/06 06:55 PM)
_________________________
'If you have an honest mind, everywhere is a dojo.' Nicole

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#276114 - 08/02/06 09:27 PM Re: enlightenment [Re: MattJ]
IExcalibui2 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/20/06
Posts: 961
Loc: New York City
wow you guys nailed it
great topic too

I have to agree with what you said. Martial arts is what it exactly says it is. Its an Art. And just like painters who strive to find that perfect painting or architechs who slowly but surely design that perfect house for someone or a comic book pencilist who are constantly practicing their figures and techniques to reach that perfect looking character. Martial artists are the same way. Practicing our katas and forms and techniques and all that mumbo jumbo to reach our own state of enlightenment.

I first was very amazed at the Martial arts world, finding that I had stumbled into something great. And then I discovered self defense and fighting practicality, which has been a focus of my training for the past year or 2.

Now honestly I really dont care whether or not I'm practical. Though yes sometimes I question my ability to successfully defend myself and so I work on those skills. However, I also look towards MAs that have less of a fighting orientation. I enjoy all MA doesnt matter what it is. I enjoy it and practice it to further my knowledge and skill in the arts.

I dont like when people give you that "can you beat someone up" question or perception of MA. Yes thats a part of the arts but its not the only purpose of it. I do it because I enjoy it not so that I can go around beating people up in a blink of an eye. Though it would be cool
_________________________
"you're going to work till you wish you were dead and then keep going.." -Sgt Slaughter

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#276115 - 08/03/06 12:00 PM Re: enlightenment [Re: JKogas]
jkdwarrior Offline
Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 341
Loc: belfast, Antrim, Ireland
To be honest, i never realised that the reason that my ego has faded was to do with the fact that i am no longer afraid of all the obstacles life brings up, but now that you've mentioned it, i have to agree.
Before i began training, i didn't even realise that i was guarding my ego. I was continually doing things like manipulating the conversation in such a way that i could boast about all the things i could do without others noticing. This prevented me from being myself and from really getting to know people.
MA has taught me to love myself. Not in a vain way, but in the sense that i love the fact that i'm a good person, and i know that people will like me for just being me. It has opened the door to many deep and meaningful relationships.

One problem i find though, especially with the lay person, is that some of them don't seem to understand me. I can see how they kind of become embarrassed when i do or say something a little out of the ordinary, kind of like, "how could he do that in front of all of these people". The truth is however, that i can do it because i'm not AFRAID (there's that word again) of what they will think of me. I KNOW deep down that i'm a nice person and i don't need the reassurance of others to feel that way.

I can also see some of them trying to compete with me (some aggressively so), when all i want is friendship, and to learn together so that we can all improve.

You asked my age, well i'm only 22 years old so i guess i still have a long way to go, even though i feel that i'm wise for my age.

I actually feels really good to be able to talk to people who feel the same way, and who are maybe more enlightened than myself.

I have to go to work now, but i'll return later to finish this off.
_________________________
Sticks n stones'll break my bones, but if I land the first one, you're in trouble!

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#276116 - 08/04/06 12:14 AM Re: enlightenment [Re: jkdwarrior]
IExcalibui2 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/20/06
Posts: 961
Loc: New York City
I feel very similar and im 19 haha
and yea I feel that my knowledge in the arts are pretty good for a kid my age. With much of it coming from this forum and just having these discussions. Though I dont think my "enlightenment" path has gone very far. But I've met 22 yr olds and a 30 yr old guy and a 40+ yr old guy and feel that we're both talking and discussing on the same level. Sometimes (like the 22 yr olds) I feel like I know more. Not just in the sense of raw knowledge of martial arts but in terms of me trying to climb up the giant mountain that we call Martial arts.
_________________________
"you're going to work till you wish you were dead and then keep going.." -Sgt Slaughter

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