Thread: How do you define martial arts?
5/04/2010 2:44pm, #1
- Join Date
- Feb 2007
How do you define martial arts?
Wikipedia defines martial arts as " systems of codified practices and traditions of training for combat." That's a pretty basic definition and in many regards accurate. Martial arts are about fighting. But this definition leaves me with several questions. What is considered "combat?" Are we talking about war, confrontations in the streets, and/or sanctioned MMA matches? Does this definition include verbal combat? Is debate a martial art? Or are we talking about only physical combat. Unarmed or armed? If the latter, than what constitutes a weapon? For example, I could use my car as a weapon relatively effectively. Could I structure a martial art based around hitting people with my car?
These last few questions are pretty trivial. Here's one that I think is not: do these codified practices have to be effective? Anyone who's been on this site more than five minutes can tell you that there are many systems claiming to teach martial arts that include completely useless practices.
It seems clear that a martial art should prepare a student for combat, a goal that is easy to identify. Yet many martial arts schools talk about character development. Is having good character requisite for combat? If not, why teach it with the martial arts?
So here's my question for you: how do you define martial arts? What do you consider "combat"? What should be the ultimate goal of a martial art? Is it to prepare people for war, for street fights, for sanctioned tournaments. How does "character development" factor in to a martial art? Is it integral to teaching martial arts?
5/04/2010 2:52pm, #2
5/04/2010 2:59pm, #3
Why does everyone want to over mystify the martial arts?
If you were training to Run would you be asking questions like this? "What is running? Is it still running if I'm running up hill? Is it running if I hop every third step? Is running best for marathons or sprinting? If I run in a triathalon will it make me worse at jogging? Should running build character?"
Stop being stupid. Martial Arts is a physical activity. It's designed to make you good at Imposing Your Will on other people. If it doesn't work to do that then it's not a martial art.
Character is something that you develop from hard work, sacrifice, and sweat. You can build character digging ditches, lifting weights, practicing a martial art, building orhpanages, etc... etc... the development of "character" is a side effect of those things, not the primary purpose.
5/04/2010 3:02pm, #4
5/04/2010 3:49pm, #5
IMO if we want to get tangled up with definitions, most MAs require some sort of modifier. "Competitive martial arts", "recreational martial arts" etc. All sorts of arguments could be avoided if people didn't assume that all MAs are "meant" to be practiced for their own subjectively favorite reasons.
But, where would be the fun in that?
5/04/2010 4:46pm, #6
- Join Date
- Jul 2009
- Pori, Finland
- Hokutoryu Ju-jutsu
OP: How do you define martial arts:
Arskanator: Stop asking stupid questions and go do judo.
5/04/2010 4:55pm, #7
You want to do it for a reason other than imposing your will on another human being that's fine, but that is still the purpose of what you're learning even if you don't plan on using it for that.
Using a gun as a hammer doesn't change the purpose that the gun is designed for, it just makes you an idiot.
For the same reason taking up Judo to make you a better human being doesn't change the purpose of Judo which is to throw planets at people.
5/04/2010 6:11pm, #8
For one thing, Judo in reality is not a mere sport or game. I regard it as a principle of life, art and science. In fact, it is a means for personal cultural attainment.
5/04/2010 6:35pm, #9
5/04/2010 6:40pm, #10
What is martial? What is art?
The military is clearly objective and overt, through combat, through fighting, but art is subjective, individuals are moved on a personal level, often covert, their soul being moved but their external unchanged. Combat, aggressive. Soul, passive. A soft tannin hits the palate late, joined briefly by forest berries and ending with dark mature grape, tempered by the oak of this vintage.
Just fucking train.