FMA Circle of Negros Island, Philippines FMA Circle of Negros Island, Philippines

Friday, December 02, 2005

Martial Arts: Living the Art and the Craft.

A friend of FMA Circle of Negros Island is shown here rapelling. Are martial artists healthy enough to lift their own weight? Do martial artists enrich themselves with experience by engaging in other worthwhile activities in order to have a balanced personality? Are Martial Arts teachers and masters spiritually, physically and mentally healthy?

Are martial artists healthy enough to carry their own weight?
The Way of Martial Arts is a chaotic path. Born out of conflict, it seeks peace. Its original purpose is the destruction of the enemy - no matter what the enemy be - by all means possible. For it is only in the defeat of all enemies that peace of mind can be achieved. Through time Martial Arts has evolved into what it is now known to be - self-defence - the Martial Way. As a way, it focuses on the total development of man's character. It is also being taught as a sport. Hence, there is the emergence of Martial Sports which puts emphasis on the competitive nature of the art.

To better understand its essence, one must look into the practice of Martial Arts. It is not all technique, nor is it all about guts and glory. Since it involves the total development of the character and personality of the one who practices it, Martial Arts must be lived. In this light, we may as martial artists, look at ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves whether we have lived up to the highest standard of the Art and Craft that we love. Asking ourselves this question is important. Even more than important - it is urgent.

Let us look at the matter in the light of Martial Arts Education. Do teachers of Martial Arts pursue higher education in school. Much more important, are teachers of Martial Arts well-educated in their home? Do teachers of Martial Arts live the discipline they teach? Do they teach the right values to their students - values like patriotism, honesty, perseverance, hard work, etc. ?

Let us look at the matter in the light of health. Many martial arts "masters" teach fighting techniques that are supposed to be the best and most effective. They claim superiority over other styles and masters. But then are they physically and mentally fit and good role models? It is not a matter what Martial Arts one teaches - may it be long stick, short stick, knife, sword/bolo, or empty handed striking and grappling. The point is health. A Martial Arts teacher who has the habit of drinking and smoking is not a good teacher. He is passing on his way of life to his students. A way of life that is a far cry from the true essence of Martials Arts. Take these examples: A martial artist who is drunk cannot defend himself against an armed opponent who may be equally trained and has the intention of hurting or killing him; a martial artist who is a habitual smoker, when overwhelmed, cannot run a long distance away from his pursuing enemies; A poorly educated teacher may talk offensively against other martial artists and get himself and his students in trouble.

Now, why is the matter urgent? It is because in the long run poor Martial Arts Education will kill the students of todays Martial Arts. It is not enough to propagate Martial Arts. It is more important to live what we teach. Whether it be traditional Martial Arts or not, the point is proper education and right values must be lived by the Martial Artist to be a better person.

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