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  1. #1

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    What is the place of philosophy in quality Martial Arts instruction?

    (Note for moderators: I'm not sure this is in the right forum.)

    In a panic, a friend of mine forwarded me the latest Newsletter from the Dog Brothers a few days ago. (The Dog Brothers are his heroes, as he is into full contact sparring with techniques not allowed in MMA rings: staff strikes, stick strikes, strikes with hard plastic knives, choking with sticks on the ground, etc.) My friend was convinced that the Dog Brothers had joined the Scientologists and had started pushing it to anyone on their mailing list - here are the incriminating parts of the newsletter dated July 9th, 2007, and sent to out to the Dog Brothers e-mail list:

    '...Spiritual Progress is this process applied to the discernment of the essential principles by which to live.

    Taking an understanding taken from The Church of Religious Science and putting it into my own words: To the extent that a religion is true, it can be reduced to a body of principles/rules which can be applied scientifically. An interesting thought this!

    Of course, these principles/rules are never the exclusive purview of any one group or discipline-- quite the contrary-- so it is no surprise that the Pope should recently have stated that the God must be a god of Reason. The Church of Religious Science and the Catholic Church may come from different parts of the religious spectrum, but it seems they seek the same
    essence.

    In the story of my people, at the time of the creation of the Covenant, God gave us the 10 Commandments. Seems reasonable to think that the our God thought these rules real important, as did later on the God of the Christians.

    And, as time goes by, I begin to realize that I am still working on them.

    So lets look at one of them, the one that speaks of not taking the Lord's name in vain:

    In Genesis, before the beginning there was nothing. Into that nothingness came the word of God. On each of the first six days, this is what happened: "And God SAID let there be , , , , and it was so." To create, God had only to speak-- the Power of Word, the Crystallization of Thought. Using his word, he made us in his image and breathed the breath of life into us and told us, once fruitful, to multiply. By receiving the breath of life from the Creator, we become part of the Creator."

    In other words, WE SPEAK WITH THE CREATIVE POWER OF WORD GIVEN US BY GOD...'
    -CRAFTY DOG
    I have excluded the part where Crafty Dog connects this to a philosophy about training, in order to illustrate how alarming this part of the message was to my friend. Other points in the defense of the Dog Brothers:
    ~The "Church of Religious Science" is NOT Scientology in any way shape or form (and does not appear to be a particularly controversial religion to me from what little I can tell from the Internet about it.)
    ~It was an e-mail newsletter, and these things are likely to wax philosophical and interject personal views of those sending out the newsletter, this doesn't mean they preach this philosophy during training.
    ~I would hope that a renowned martial arts teacher gives some thought to the philosophy behind what he's doing and what he's teaching his students (though this does not mean that I hope he tries to pass this philosophy on through his martial arts training of students.)

    Yet my friend's fear is perfectly rational: how many martial arts before have been taken over by the philosophical/religious teachings of the leaders in that art, and these teachings taken to such an extreme as to make that martial art useless?

    So my question for Bullshido.net folks is this: "What is the proper place of philosophy in a martial arts organization?"

    (By "martial arts" I am talking about real full contact martial arts like what the Dog Brothers teach, as opposed to some kind of dance-class/cultural-edification study. I am not picking on the Dog Brothers here, as I consider them to be a best-case scenario - I'm not touching the ideological mess that is most Aikido schools and many a Kung Fu school for example.)
    Last edited by BFGalbraith; 7/12/2007 9:26pm at .

  2. #2
    kwoww's Avatar
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    I posted an almost identical thread about a month ago.

    http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=55658

  3. #3

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    The Dog Brothers have always been about "Higher Consciousness Through Harder contact."

    No mystery that they have a philosophical base to their training.
    "Sifu, I"m niether - I'm a fire dragon so don't **** with me!"

  4. #4
    DerAuslander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BFGalbraith
    So my question for Bullshido.net folks is this: "What is the proper place of philosophy in a martial arts organization?"
    The answer is very simply...it depends.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by BFGalbraith
    So my question for Bullshido.net folks is this: "What is the proper place of philosophy in a martial arts organization?"
    The philosophy of critical thinking is very important.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by BFGalbraith
    So my question for Bullshido.net folks is this: "What is the proper place of philosophy in a martial arts organization?"
    Outside of "don't be such a big jerk that no one wants to train with you" I think the only "philosophy" is come in, train hard, go home.

    I'm not touching the ideological mess that is most Aikido schools and many a Kung Fu school for example.)
    I will. I don't think it belongs there either. If someone chooses to add philosophical stuff to their training program, that's fine - its all about what the individuals involved find acceptable.

    Mark

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by BFGalbraith
    So my question for Bullshido.net folks is this: "What is the proper place of philosophy in a martial arts organization?"
    Are you sure that's the right question? One might, for instance, begin instead by asking "Where is the proper place of philosophy in a martial arts organisation. And Why?"


    [derail]
    A question on a philosophy degree exam paper asked: "What is courage?"

    The highest scoring answer was from the student who wrote "This is." and left the examination hall.
    [/derail]

  8. #8

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    Philosophy by its very definition is a concept different for each individual. Get over it, it all depends on how much you care.

  9. #9
    Chili Pepper's Avatar
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    If I wanted philosophy, I would have joined the Rosicrucians.

  10. #10

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    I think that if the "philosophy" requires you to "have faith", in whatever, then it merges more on the religious side.

    On the other hand, it the philosophy does not require you to "have faith", but rather, it is something readily observable as a fact of nature, then it is very relevent.

    For example, "the path of least resistance", water is often used as a correlation to this universal philosophy.
    So one of my major goals in BJJ is to find the path of least resistance; if something is becoming extremely difficult, as in I'm receiving too much resistance, then I need to find an easier way, a path of less resistance.

    Yin/Yang is another good one, there are always two halves to all things, like push and pull. So if my opponent is pushing, I could use this as an opportunity to "compliment" his energy to my advantage with a pull, and so on...

    But when it comes to, "He spoke and things just appeared, so we are that, and basically saying "yea, just trust me on this one"... and so on, well I think I need to seriously question the validity of such claims....

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