Terry Dobson was riding on a train in Japan, when a drunken man boarded. The man was violent, aggressive, and a real physical threat to the other passengers, whom he pushed around and bullied.
Dobson had been intensively training in aikido almost every day for three years, and was eager to put that practice into “real” action. Although he knew his teacher had said that aikido is the art of reconciliation, and that even wanting to fight means that you’ve already lost touch with the Universe, Dobson, in his youthful eager way, wanted to physically take down this threatening drunk in an act of righteous justice.
Just as Dobson was starting to egg the drunk into attacking him, however, a little old man interrupted by calling out joyfully to the drunken man. In a cheerful manner, the little old man started talking to the drunk, asking friendly questions and going on about his own family and the persimmon tree in his garden.
Soon thereafter, the drunk’s nasty exterior had melted away. He was weeping, explaining his wife had died, that he’d lost his job and his home, and that his life was a total wreck and that he was terribly ashamed … he was lying with his head on the little old man’s lap, while the old man stroked his dirty hair. The would-be attacker had been brought to peace — all without a single martial arts move.
Dobson realized that what he had witnessed was real aikido in action. What he had wanted to do — vigilante-style, self-righteous justice — was not aikido. What the old man had done, though, was aikido as it was meant to be — humble, gentle love, bringing peace and healing.
This famous story illustrate quite well what I believe is the heart of martial arts.
The goal of my Martial Arts posts is to summarize how, physically, I get ready to live in a complex and violent world whilst respecting the way shown by Aïkido or Muay Thaï Sangha. This probably won’t be interesting to anybody.
Consider this as a formalisation tool for myself, nothing more.
Now that you’ve been warned, here’s a list of styles I have an interest in:
Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do concept is to create a mixture of many different elements from numerous styles, all combined to hopefully, at a later stage, form something meaningful to the individual concerned. The JKD fighting practice in itself is less interesting to me than this actual conceptualization. The book “Tao of Jeet Kune Do” has some interesting insights on martial arts.
Iyengar Yoga as taught in his book “Illustrated Lights on Yoga”. A focused and peaceful mind is the basis for everything else. Very interesting insights on life.
Muay Thaï because it is a very hard, full contact, stand-up striking martial art with various clinching techniques. It is also called “Science of Eight Limbs” because it makes use of punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes, thus using eight “points of contact”.
Its ancestor, Muay Boran (“Ancient Boxing”), has military origins. Due to the lethality of its techniques, some rules were introduced in the 1930’s, giving birth to Muay Thaï. Its efficiency in Mixed Martial Arts competitions made it popular with fighters.
Its heavy emphasis on body conditioning, its ruthless training, will make it a great training tool against my laziness and my fears.
There’s a myriad of other martial arts focused on striking that could help my projects, like Japanese Kickboxing or Karate. One notable exception: Western Boxing as long-term brain injuries make it unsuitable for a lifelong training.
Judo is hallmarked by its myriad of throws, trips and sweeps, as well as submission techniques and pins. Modern Judo is a balance of throwing techniques while maintaining control so that pinning and submission techniques can be pursued once you are on the ground. Groundwork is only permitted to continue while progress is being made so it cannot be used for stalling or resting.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a ground-fighting martial art. It specializes in submission grappling when both fighters are on the ground. Techniques include positional control and submissions such as chokes and arm locks.
Wrestling is a form of grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. There are a wide range of styles with varying rules with both traditional historic and modern styles. Wrestling techniques have been incorporated into other martial arts as well as military hand-to-hand combat systems.
Sambo is a Russian wrestling style. It uses a lot more leg locks than BJJ as far as ground fighting is concerned. It also has a military/LEO version called Combat Sambo.
Filipino Martial Arts is the umbrella term for the traditional martial arts of the Philippines, which emphasize weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives and other bladed weapons, and various improvised weapons. It also includes hand-to-hand combat and weapon disarming techniques. Of particular interest are Kali styles like Sayoc, Atienza or Pekiti-Tirsia, used in military knife training.
Firearms could also be part of my curriculum. IPSC or IDPA seems to be good organizations.
Finally, systems like Krav Maga can offer a comprehensive understanding of modern threats and how to react to them.
Other activities like Swimming, Running, Climbing, Parkour/Freerun or even Dance could also be ways for me to gain freedom and peace.
Voilà! Told you this wouldn’t be interesting to you.
If you nevertheless bothered to read my post, please accept those quotes as a token of gratitude:
“Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength.” – Frances de Sales
“Mental bearing (calmness), not skill, is the sign of a matured samurai. A Samurai therefore should neither be pompous nor arrogant.” – Tsukahara Bokuden.
“When the World is at Peace, a gentleman keeps his Sword by his side.” – Wu Tsu
“Si vis pacem, para bellum.”
“For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.” – Sun Tzu
“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.” – Buddha
“I am not only a pacifist but a militant pacifist. I am willing to fight for peace. Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war.”
– Albert Einstein
“Only a warrior chooses pacifism; others are condemned to it.”
“The Ultimate Warrior leaves no openings – Except in his mind.”
“Self-respect is the fruit of discipline: the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.” – Abraham Heschel
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” – Sun Tzu
“To practice Zen or the Martial Arts, you must live intensely, wholeheartedly, without reserve – as if you might die in the next instant” – Taisen Deshimaru