My thoughts about martial arts...
The art itself was created to cultivate the mind and body. Its primary purpose being that it can be used as a weapon to defend, to survive, to attack, to conquer, and although counter intuitive at first thought, it was also used as a peace keeping tool on many occasions.
The origin of martial arts is still very unclear to me. The different forms and styles that are in existence today all claim to be the root of martial arts. Given the numerous forms of martial arts, it is my opinion that the foundational philosophy behind martial arts is the common understanding that martial arts is the “art of combat”, however the tools used and practiced to express the meaning or styles is unique to each discipline. For example, karate vs judo; karate relies more on striking, whereas judo focuses on different ways to grab, trip or throw.
After numerous years in my field, I do see a common theme in martial arts; it is the fading out of some of its techniques ,morality and code of ethics. The introduction of rules and restrictions take away the artistic aspect and reframe the art to be more of a sport as opposed to martial art as originally intended. In essence, it has become to be more of a form of exercise. This reframing of the art into a sport or exercise, takes away the value offered in terms of philosophy and morality; it is now just a form of entertainment , a way to boost the ego or a means to acquire material gain… although there is nothing wrong with any of these aspects, it is my opinion that the soul of the art no longer exists. To call such activities “martial arts” is misleading ; it would make more sense to refer to them as “sport karate”, or “sport jiujitsu” and so on and so on, making them no different than basketball or tennis. These activities are just sports and entertainment and that’s what they were intended to be. I am confident there are individuals who still practice the actual art as it was meant to be that share the same opinion as I do. This brings me to my next thought; the subject of grading, belts and ranks. What was this grading system based on? skills? knowledge? seniority? status?
As an example, there are instances in some martial arts where a 12 years old is wearing a black belt to represent the art. I wonder, what was the criteria used to award such a distinctive and high rank at such young age? Regardless of the criteria, what exactly is the meaning of being a black belt holder in any form of martial art?
In term of selfdefense the question becomes, are the black belts of all martial arts actually capable of defending themselves?
These are simply my thoughts and opinions and I am aware that some are right but most are not accurate. I am eager to learn and as always I encourage the sharing of different views, opinions, critics and words of wisdom so that I can continue to grow in this never ending process of the school called LIFE!