Martial Arts a fruitful experience or menaces with trained fists?


I over heard in my dojo two students talking about a fight they had witnessed in the town centre with a group of martial artists. Apparently the fighters were trying to prove which system was the best in a real situation . None faired any better than the other and from what the students said it didn’t look like they had any type of training and felt embarrassed for the martial arts.

It got me to pondering, does society look on martial artists as thugs spoiling for a fight in order to practise their martial techniques? After speaking with a few of my people it was quite clear that the expectation for learning martial arts was to improve mind and body and achieve a kind of harmonious balance and be able to protect ones self if forced to, but not to instigate violence.

Even the pracise of self defence teaches its use as a last resort, so I ask myself, if the general consensus is that the martial arts is a place to achieve balance then the fight in the town centre between experienced martial artists should not have happened and they would have been best placed sharing their differences in a humane manner to further develop the martial arts community and its followers in a positive light.

Life Martial arts

It is difficult to find the purity in any sphere without the disciple being left wanting. The search for the ideal music, religion, culture etc is all affected by change either positive of negative as with the case in the martial arts where historically the martial arts were developed for war like situations and its use was to stop the adversary at all costs.

In recent years the western world had chopped out the barbaric parts of the training along with its mystical philosophies and made it into a lucrative money making business culture that could be accessed by all.

This created confusion and unrest amongst the martial arts community as competitions, square gos(bare knuckle fighting), mixed martial arts reverted to the war like practises of yester-year without the death match mentality(not for the want of trying), it is here in this current time that we have martial arts clubs that train purely for competitions, smashing bags, then more competitions with no balance of the philosophy or ethos behind what they are actually doing. 

Apparently they train like warriors to be warriors, warriors lived in a different time and had purpose and meaning to their whole existence, they followed a code of respect and honour and then some. Fighting was always a last resort, but the modern day fighting machine hits first and asks questions later, hence the aforementioned street fight. This is what gives the rest of the martial arts community a bad reputation.

I want to continue my journey of martial arts enrichment and by no means look on my words as the law in this instance, as I am aware we all may have a very valid contribution to this interesting  topic of discussion.

Keep searching for purity and purity will find you.

Martial arts and youth 

For me there’s no doubt that the martial arts culture also suffers with huge juvenile issues especially from the backlash of an unstable family structure where scant moral values are instilled, drug and gang-related peer pressure is rife, negative media influence is staggering, drug use is rampant, and positive role models are scarce. In fact, it is commonly known that youth violence is our most important issue. Juveniles are victimized more than any other age group. In addition, the culture surrounding them is saturated with violence

Is promoting the martial arts—a disciplined form of violence—really the answer?

There are many views on this subject such as teaching hardened street members how to fight with their bare hands and feet would only make issues worse.

Not so, some might say, as achieving black belt status has a positive effect on self-esteem and self-confidence.

After a certain point in training, it becomes apparent that

a) Anything is possible


b) There’s nothing to prove to anybody but one’s self.

On the other side of the coin you have those who have experienced the martial arts for many years, won many trophies, ran their own clubs and taught the martial arts for years who still believe it’s the wrong approach and have completely renounced it, speaking openly against the martial arts as they came to realise the destructive effects their martial arts were having on their students or their martial arts didn’t fit in with their religious beliefs I.e. some Christianity sects failing to recognise Zen Buddhist meditation techniques designed to draw its participants into the Buddhist experience of “enlightenment.

Indeed after a period of martial arts abstinence it has been reported that individuals feel even more confident, more powerful, have more assurance and less fears than they ever did before, stating that the people they know in martial arts ‘do not know peace’.

The major factors in today’s culture that make training children in killing techniques especially dangerous.

These include;

  • The powerful shaping influence of violence in the media and video games which apparently makes it acceptable in society to become vicious and psychotic(or is it just the individual seeking an excuse to dish out violence)
  • Disintegrating family structure(there are many examples where Broken homes don’t mean broken children)
  • Peer pressure(This is an excuse to devolve responsibility onto others)
  • The explosion of drug use and the occult(Star wars, Matrix etc only have the occult if you want it to have the occult, same could be said for anything we do).

Taking into account the aforementioned over whelming destructive factors that make up the worlds violence ie media, drug abuse, broken homes, occult following, video games, I have always kept from such thoughts as renouncing martial arts and until such time as there is no violence or trained thuggery in this world, the Yin and Yang balance is what I will constantly strive for as I practise the hard no-nonsense practical self defence with the soft elegant meditative martial arts which have evolved over approximately three thousand years in numerous cultures and are based on Eastern meditation techniques intimately interwoven with the systems of each culture: Buddhism and Zen Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Hinduism, animism, and so on, one of the aims is to release a power popularly known as the Chi or Ki force(Extraordinary feats i.e. young woman lifts car to save baby etc) Such a force, although real, when trained and channelled these techniques are the “spiritual” core of the discipline and must be embraced to master the art. Why? Because all of the major disciplines of the martial arts are designed to bring the body into harmony with your personal universal energy forces in order to achieve self perpetuated enlightenment, basically you must achieve balance of Yin & Yang.

I am quite pleased that there are open minded thinkers still around who care for the future of the martial arts culture. I am more confident to continue on the path of teaching martial arts with a definite more pronounced link to the eastern philosophies and meditative practises. I am not religious so I am quite clear on using these elements for outlining and teaching self improvement and development within society, helping those in need, educating on conflict management issues and resolution.

My message, as taken from the the spiderman film is ‘With great power comes great responsibility’, I don’t see this as following the occult but a definite mission statement to myself and my students.

A possible solution for the worlds violent crisis?

1 Comment


    1. Secret Dove « Fong Tien's Blog

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