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AnonymousOne
Red Belt
Red Belt

Joined: 27 Jan 2002
Posts: 812


PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2002 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To many people they come to the conclusion that martials arts originally had a component of religion.

From my many years of research I have found that this is not necessarily the case.

It appears that martial arts got its first imputus with a religious element in India. It is said that the Greeks and Mesopotanians were the first to develop unarmed fighting skills to any degree of refinement, based on scrolls, parchments and drawings we have today.

It is said that when Alexander the Great was at his peak that this is how these techniques found its way to India. Its true that the Greeks were great philosophers, but these fighting arts came straight from the battle fields and Gladiators, some 3,500 BC. It is thought that the soldiers of the day had little time to explore religion as the were constantly on the march conquering. In times of peace these techniques found their way into the Gladiator (and similar) rings, where further development and refinement occured. Martial Arts were developed out of mans need to survive, it certainly wasnt created orginally for spiritual enlightenment.

From what I have studied it appears that the Indian's were the first to add a real component of religion to it and then the Chinese after having received techniques from India later added their own twist, Taoism or Bhuddism (from India).

On the Island of Okinawa when they started developing Okinawa-te again little religion was involved. When Chinese arts were mixed with Okinawan arts this began to change.

Personally I am not a proponent of using martial arts for spiritual enlightenment. It seems different schools and different arts have a different slant on this. I feel it should be a separate issue. I have asked many people why they train and some say they do it for their spirit only. Then I ask them why they put themselves through so much suffering in training to achieve this when they could simply sit and meditate or learn Bhuddism, Zen etc etc, then the prime motivator comes out, which is developing fighting skills.

Today I see martial artist bhuddists, martial artist Taoists, martial artist Christians, martial artist Muslims and so on. There is no one set slant on in and this shows me that martial arts and religion is a very separate issue.

It seems every man and his dog, has left society and gone up a mountain, trained and came back 'enlightened'.

I isolated myself in the desert of Western Australia for one year training full time, in 1980. There was no mountain and when I came back, all I had was better technique. No lighting bolt hit me LOL. Maybe I needed a mountain?

I think the spiritual component comes down to a personal preference.
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taezee
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 12 Jul 2001
Posts: 701
Location: Bayshore New York

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2002 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

alot of this misinterpritation is due to the movies.....always with the monks..seeking enlightment..or the good guy looking to a spirit or god to make him overcome the gang of triads selling dope in his neighborhood..(ever notice all of these corny movies always have that one line.."and only one man can stop them"..lol)

the only enlightment one needs to have is someone come up ..smack you in the back of your head leave you laying there and take your money...now i am enlightened that i must learn to defend myself (i am also now "light" some money)
it is true that we build character and we have discipline in the martial arts but let us not confuse that with making the romantic gestures that the martial arts will make you one with the universe..that it will fufill your karma and all that other bullsh*#t thats out there...
bottom line is if youre studying martial arts your learning to fight to defend yourself period... all those other reasons are secondary or not even realistic...i believe in god..but i also believe in kicking the lungs out of someone who would try to hurt me or my loved ones...and although i am humble (sometimes) and have a sense of sprituality..ill have to admit..kicking someone in the head gives me a thrill everytime ..i dont act like or claim to be a monk ..or a wise man....but just a warrior...who has a good heart and knows whats right and wrong and thats good enough for me.. to be able to look myself in the mirror...whenever i hear someone give me that line.."i just study for the spritual side"..or run around quoting excerpts from the bible..the art of war....the tao of jeet kune do..whatever book they choose to represent thier religion or "way"....and trying to impress every one around them..and claiming.."i only study martial arts for spritual growth.. i say the Nile (as in denial) is a river in Egypt....the origin of martial arts stems from around the time..when we were apes and learned to pick up a stick and club another ape in the head to get what we wanted....and not from some mysterious pursuit of religion or enlightenment...started by whatever crazy monk or priest who chose to sit and stare at a wall for ten or so years... the only thing i can see being accomplished by that is the guy sitting thier saying over and over "man this is boring ..i gotta get a life...man this is boring ..i gotta get a life"..lol...

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[ This Message was edited by: taezee on 2002-02-05 20:49 ]

[ This Message was edited by: taezee on 2002-02-05 20:55 ]

[ This Message was edited by: taezee on 2002-02-05 21:01 ]

[ This Message was edited by: taezee on 2002-02-05 21:03 ]
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TKD_McGee
Purple Belt
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Joined: 02 Oct 2001
Posts: 594
Location: Washington

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2002 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Peak performance for mind, body, and spirit..", seems to be the motto for many places. They blend in Buddism because martial arts are from buddist areas and many buddists took up this to defend themselves. Many martial arts incorporate buddist idealism for calming the body and meditation..

I personally do not believe this should be forced on students as a requirement to do well in martial arts. This is the only thing that kept me away from Aikido.

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Aikidoka
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2001
Posts: 132
Location: York, UK
Styles: Tomiki Aikido

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2002 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TKD_McGee .. you definitely don't have to be Buddhist to study Aikido. Perhaps you should try looking for different clubs or organisations because the majority do not force religion onto their exponents.

I believe that martial arts, like yoga or chi kung or meditation can be used to further spiritual ends as well as used to fight. I think it is unlikely that just training in martial arts will result in spiritual experiences but perhaps it can. It is a very Western thing to separate mind, body and spirit and to think they are independant. In Eastern cultures they are one whole and so training the body is used as part of spiritual training.

Organised marital arts may or may not have begun in Greece, but methods of armed or unarmed self defense and physical discipline are found in almost every primative culture. The roots of martial arts preceed recorded history, so who can trace them?
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KickChick
Black Belt
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Joined: 02 Aug 2001
Posts: 3282


PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2002 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

People often link martial arts and religion when they talk about how "spiritual" a certain art is, but that should make us wonder about their definition of the word. How does learning self-defense techniques ... how to hit harder or kick faster, make one spiritual? Is spirituality the same as self-confidence, empowerment or serenity?
Some kung fu instructors include basic Buddhist teachings in their curriculum. As long as they focus on the non-religious doctrines like ahimsa (refraining from purposely harming any living being), there is little cause for concern. But many schools also teach Zen meditation. There is a fine line between nonsectarian meditation practice and religious practice. The most common method involves closing the eyes and breathing exercises which are compatible with most religions. Some modern aikido teachers include chants directed to Shinto spirits (kami in Japanese) as part of their classes.
You should also know that in almost every art, the physical can be separated from the spiritual. No matter what, you need to clearly understand what you are learning in class, and instructors need to clearly explain to their students which spiritual portions of the arts, if any, they are teaching. There is no need to risk violating the precepts of your religion for the sake of training!
You may want to take another look at the post I made in the Judo Forum (To bow or not to bow?) ...which may be taking the freedom of religious beliefs a little too far.


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[ This Message was edited by: KickChick on 2002-02-10 12:15 ]

[ This Message was edited by: KickChick on 2002-02-10 12:18 ]
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Aikidoka
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2001
Posts: 132
Location: York, UK
Styles: Tomiki Aikido

PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2002 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

You should also know that in almost every art, the physical can be separated from the spiritual. No matter what, you need to clearly understand what you are learning in class, and instructors need to clearly explain to their students which spiritual portions of the arts, if any, they are teaching.


How do you draw a line and say 'You may begin being spiritual ... now!' ? Spirituality is a totally subjective thing, different to each individual and in many cases incomunicable. Anything can be taken as spiritual because spirituallity cannot be confined and is immeasurable.
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shotochem
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 29 Dec 2001
Posts: 901
Location: New York
Styles: Shotokan, Kempo, BJJ, Baby-Do-Jitsu

PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2002 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only enlightenment Ive ever recieved in Karate training is block faster or get hit!!!!



However if I do become enlightened Ill be sure to post it.

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KickChick
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 02 Aug 2001
Posts: 3282


PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2002 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The discipline and ideals learned through martial arts ( consideration, courtesy, respect, morality, integrity, modesty, and a positive outlook) should carries over into our every action. I see this as the "spirituality" of the martial arts and not 'religious' in nature.
Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment." In knowing oneself, the true path to knowledge is begun. Knowledge is power and with this power ideals and philosophies are cultivated into the martial arts spirit.
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Joecooke007
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 24 Nov 2001
Posts: 720


PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2002 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This thread was a long long read but I enjoyed it.

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YODA
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 25 Jan 2002
Posts: 1033
Location: England (int'north west)

PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2002 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Definitely agree with KickChick on this one - As a result of my martial arts training, the effect it has had on my life over the last 24 years or so, I have looked deeper into myself. I am not at all religeous but quite a spiritual person.

On a similar thought - anyone read any of M.Scott Peck's books?



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