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#339188 - 05/05/07 08:26 AM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: ButterflyPalm]
Tom2199 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 834
Loc: England
http://users.tkk.fi/~renko/hag1.html
excellent 'book', Hagakure the samurai handbook

From the very first page,

"Although it stands to reason that a samurai should be mindful of the Way of the Samurai, it would seem that we are all negligent. Consequently, if someone were to ask, "What is the true meaning of the Way of the Samurai?" the person who would be able to answer promptly is rare. This is because it has not been established in one's mind beforehand. From this, one's unmindfulness of the Way can be known.
Negligence is an extreme thing."
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#339189 - 05/05/07 08:31 AM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: harlan]
Cord Offline
Prolific

Registered: 01/13/05
Posts: 11399
Loc: Cambridge UK.
Quote:

Something struck me a while back: that not all people want to 'become' 'better' people. Many martial artists strive to perfect an 'art', looking for a level of physical or aesthetic 'ideal', without realizing that a key component is working on the 'self'. 'The Seven Principles', Bushido, and other dojo kun are only more words, philosophies that have no 'meaning' until internal change occurs.




I think we all want to better ourselves, to die wiser than we were born, to feel we have made a contribution to life's rich tapestry yadda yadda yadda. I am just not convinced that MA have a huge part to play in that quest.
The thing you have to remember is that MA is a hobby, an activity; that for many becomes an obsession, or at least part of what defines them as a person. It is a purely selfish obsession- you being a shihan able to break blocks of ice with your fingertips does not make the world a richer place (unless you happen to work in a cocktail bar).

Have you ever come across the phenomenon of people attaching importance to things to justify their participation? we all do it to some degree. eg. I see my role at work as important. I am caring for ancient buildings and their contents. Not just the artifacts and rarities, but all the research within them- the knowledge. One of the hard drives I prevent being stolen may contain a cure for HIV, or brain cancer, or the secret of the universe (as a mathmatical construct) itself. Such thoughts are what give me the motivation to patrol the grounds on foot at 3am in the driving December rain.
The truth is that I may be protecting squat but conjecture and failed theories, and that if I left the job, someone would replace me with no detriment to the wellbeing of the university. Its all perception.

MAists do it too. Talk of enlightenment, of attaining clarity, of becoming a better person through training. Better how? Better than a nurse who is too busy to do karate? Better than a guy who runs the local soup kitchen for free in his time off instead of taking up kung fu?

Have you got a better handle on the world, do you do more for it than these people, by putting on your white PJ's 4 nights a week and reading the Hagakure on the bus to work?

No other selfish persuit claims these positive attributes- no athlete thinks that holding the WR in 100m sprint makes them more at one with the universe- it would cloud their goal- to be the fastest runner on earth. A personal goal that serves no one directly but themselves.

I am not saying selfish goals are bad, i like 'em, I am neither particularly wise nor charitable, but i dont kid myself that a heavy bag session changes that.

Then lets look at 'the way' itself. To quantify it as a specific ( the way) alludes to it being a specific defined path, that when followed nets a uniform destination.
There are several clearly mapped 'ways' up Mount everest. They are there for others to follow. there is no discovery in following a set way- its all been discovered before.

Same in MA. If 'the way' existed, then we would all be able to guage our 'spiritual' development by our years in training- our position on the mountain if you will; and also those who trained in arts with no codification of 'the way' would not be privy to these 'enlightenments'.

Nurses, charity workers, security guards, vacuum salesman, martial artists, sprinters, musicians, road sweepers, tomatoe pickers, everyone has an individual 'way'

The question is not 'have we lost the way, rather, are you happy with your way- are you finding out about yourself, about your world, and finding peace within it and your own skin? If MA is helping then great, but do not kid yourself that it is the only tool for the job.
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#339190 - 05/05/07 08:46 AM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: Cord]
Tom2199 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/18/04
Posts: 834
Loc: England
very well said cord! refreshing
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#339191 - 05/05/07 08:57 AM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: Cord]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Well said.

Quote:

Nurses, charity workers, security guards, vacuum salesman, martial artists, sprinters, musicians, road sweepers, tomatoe pickers, everyone has an individual 'way'. The question is...are you happy with your way- are you finding out about yourself, about your world, and finding peace within it and your own skin?



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#339192 - 05/05/07 10:51 AM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: Cord]
ButterflyPalm Offline
Enigma

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 2637
Loc: Malaysia
Chapter 32

Knowing others is wisdom;
Knowing the self is enlightment.
Mastering others requires force;
Mastering the self needs strength.
He who knows he has enough is rich.
Perseverance is a sign of will power.
He who stays where he is endures.
To die but not to perish is to be eternally present.
_________________________
I'll rather be happy than right, anytime.

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#339193 - 05/05/07 10:59 AM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: ButterflyPalm]
Taison Offline
The Forum Dragon
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/06/05
Posts: 3629
Loc: BKK, Thailand
Where from ah? Sounds very familiar lah.

Sounds like Sun Tsu but it after checking it's not. Not sure anymore.

-Taison out
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I got two fists.. Don't make me use my head as well!

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#339194 - 05/05/07 11:39 AM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: Taison]
Cord Offline
Prolific

Registered: 01/13/05
Posts: 11399
Loc: Cambridge UK.
One who cooks beans, and peas in the same pan is un-hygienic.

Won Hung Lo.

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Don't let the door hit ya' where the good lord split ya'
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#339195 - 05/05/07 03:19 PM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: oldman]
Jeff_G Offline
Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 222
Loc: Midwest
If you think of the Way as a path you are travelling, you go along it for a time in your own way. Eventually, you hand it off to someone else who continues along the Way. Along the Way he comes to forks, (choices) to be taken. Where you might have gone one way, he may go another.

How many studios now offer grappling? A few years ago that was not the way.

It always evolves.

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#339196 - 05/05/07 03:35 PM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: ButterflyPalm]
puffadder Offline
Member

Registered: 04/29/07
Posts: 250
Loc: UK
Interesting thoughts from Cord but I only partly agree with you.

Many of the most highly respected and effective martial arts in the world were developed by wise men on misty mountain tops. They developed exceptional levels of skill in fighting arts to test their bodies and minds to the highest levels, to discover their limitations and in doing so to understand themselves in a way that none of us truly could. Unfortunately many of those exceptional skills are now lost to the world and most of us are now training mere shadows of what were once incredibly inspiring arts. I know most of you will want to argue with that statement but that doesn't make it less so.

A runner or a cook for example aren't learning skills that enable them to learn how to handle the conflicts and difficulties in life both within themselves and in the environment around them. Martial arts, for example, teaches us how best to adapt to circumstances that are happening in combat and that enables us to look at other difficult situations in our lives and gives us greater mental flexibilty to find the answers to our problems. That is only one of the countless ways that a study of martial arts has to help us in life. Good martial arts offers so many parallels to living a useful, healthy and happy life that go far beyond the ability to block and strike but the schools and teachers that can offer us these insights are rapidly disappeaaring.
Yes I'm afraid that in losing the arts that inspired our teachers teahers generations ago we may well be losing the original essence of our fighting traditions.

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#339197 - 05/05/07 05:16 PM Re: Have we lost the Way [Re: puffadder]
Cord Offline
Prolific

Registered: 01/13/05
Posts: 11399
Loc: Cambridge UK.
Quote:

Many of the most highly respected and effective martial arts in the world were developed by wise men on misty mountain tops.




Name one, and the mountain it was invented on.

Quote:

A runner or a cook for example aren't learning skills that enable them to learn how to handle the conflicts and difficulties in life both within themselves and in the environment around them.




My god, you have never been around a professional kitchen have you?

Running (distance): few physical endeavours require the mental fortitude to push the body mile after mile, lungs burning, heart racing the same way that distance running does. 26 miles with nothing but the thoughts in your skull and the sound of your breathing will test your willpower more than a bit of sparring down your dojang on a thursday night. Many reach a 'zen like' state whilst running, being at one with the moment, some who pound a regular route do not even notice their surroundings, the body working on autopilot. A meditative state through physical hardship, if you will.

As for cooking- that is an art. Learning the complex interelationship between foods, in taste, colour, and texture to create new and exciting experiences for the palate requires years of dedication, practice and knowledge. Then that knowledge must be spread and coordinated amongst a team of people to allow potentially hundreds of diners to experience en masse, something that tastes like it was created for them alone. Communication, creation, dedication, these can be found in any walk of life, not just a 'misty mountain top'


Edited by Cord (05/05/07 05:19 PM)
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