T Nation

Why Practice Martial Arts?

In a society where there is no warrior class and acts of aggression are punishable socially and legally, why practice something that trains people to react violently? Most people in society will not have a violent life, and excluding service men and women (Military, Law Enforcement, Private Security), we do not have to fight for our lives on a daily basis. So why invest the hundreds to thousands of dollars, time, sweat, blood, and even broken bodies, into something that in the end is unusable on a daily basis?
Taking into considering that most of the philosophical thought behind martial arts and non violence developed during a time of peace in Japan, when the Samurai were united under the rule of the Emperor or Shogun (sorry if I misspelled), and sought to find ways of justifying their continued existence as a warrior / noble class.

I understand many of the arguments about Martial art being a tool for personal growth, fitness, and to some extent spiritual satisfaction, but do these reasons justify training like a warrior? Especially when there are others ways of achieving the same end that is less expensive? If the above reasons were the case to continue the practice of martial arts, we should just pursue the budo and not judo or jitsu forms of the arts.

I ask this question, as a fellow martial artist, and as a person that trains like a warrior would.

Whether it is legal to fight to defend yourself or not has no bearing on the possible need to do so.

As far as the money goes, you can apply that to anything that we do.

It’s called an intrest or a hobby. That’s such a stupid question to be asking. Why to people smoke? Why do people drop out of high school? Kill people? Do drugs? Destroy twin towers? Goto war? Out of everything wrong with this planet, you chose martial arts to pick on? I don’t think you’re a martial artist or a warrior. One wouldn’t have to ask himself that question if he were.

lol good point Griffin C.
Its true it is called a hobby or interest. Some people just love it, everything about it. Just like Ronnie Coleman loves bodybuilding. Just like Louie Simmmons loves powerlifting. If you love the martial arts your going to stick with it and do what you must to excel at it (if you’re serious).

For some its simply satisfaction, and makes them feel good. There are a number of things that anything you like can do for you. And hey you never know it can always help you if something ever happens like you getting mugged or in a fight…these things do happen even if its not on a regular basis.

dl-

Most people that I know who have taken martial arts weren’t trained to “react violently”, rather trained to show discipline and restraint and PROPERLY react when physicality is needed.
We tend to show more self control rather than snap reactions and we are a ton less brutal although much more effective when violence is involved.

First off most martial arts are sports, like boxing, you have offical competition and governing bodies so people practice them for the same reason anyone plays a sport. second we still live in a world where there is alot of violence. I have personaly been assaulted more than once with a weapon, and despite what my first grade teacher told me using my words won’t help. people carry guns for self protection and home protection.

I like knowing that if some junky comes up behind me and puts a gun in my back I have the ability to disarm him and get out of the situation unharmed. Or if some drunk jackass in a club wants to break my face I can put him down without having to break his face, because all those guys who lift weights to get tough if they get in a fight someone gets badly hurt.

My ancestors were the warrior class. When I completely devote myself to americanism then I would have rid myself of my cultural soul. So as my culture permits, I train as a warrior and protect my culture and my life.

Good question though. I am sure all rapists, molesters, and corrupt individuals were trained martial artists at one time. Even backyard wrestlers must have been martial artists at one time. Don’t get me started with the Jedi Youth.

[quote]Koroshinobi wrote:

I like knowing that if some junky comes up behind me and puts a gun in my back I have the ability to disarm him and get out of the situation unharmed. [/quote]

As long as you ‘know’ that, you’re putting yourself at incredible risk. If someone has a gun, you do what they say. Yes you have a chance of getting out of it, but there’s a much higher risk of becoming a paraplegic or being killed. It’s not worth it.

To the original question, has everyone seen fight club? Throughout the film he keeps on talking about ‘lost males’ who have no position in society or purpose. I think that’s why we do martial arts. Because we WANT to fight, it’s what we’re designed to do, and even though society, your mother, your wife, and your teachers all try to tell you it’s wrong, you can’t change your genetic mold. That great hormone, testosterone, needs to be fed with blood and sweat sometimes.

Simulated combat is the closest you can get to real combat. And it is good for the confidence benefits it provides, as it is a rought world out there and if push comes to shove it’s good to know you can hold your own.

Although I know have moved away from ‘real’ martial arts to more sporty styles like TKD. It’s just more my thing.

For those who make fun of this guy for asking a valid question, enjoy being stuck in a world where you don’t learn anything by asking.

I ask the same thing to my friends all the time “Why are we doing ______?” The answers we end up passing back and forth to each other help us see a different view of why we do what we do.

As far as the answer to that, there is violence out there, albiet few and far between in America (we are lucky in that regard). All over the rest of the world, this is not the case. Just look at the guys who invented Brazilian Ju-Jitsu. They did it to stop being picked on by neighboring gangs.

Also note that it is not illegal nor immoral to use self-defense AS A LAST RESORT to end a violent conflict. That, and truly trained martial artists will know where that event horizon to violence lies compared with someone who is not martially trained.

Most men do it because we, as men, are naturally disposed to compete against other men, especially in combat situations. Helps us score more chicks in the primal sense, and all that jazz.

Finally, to quote Tim Larkin: Violence is rarely the answer, but when it is the answer, it is the ONLY answer.

I like being able to use violence, and use it effectively, when it is the answer.

-Eric

[quote]cymblmn wrote:
So why invest the hundreds to thousands of dollars, time, sweat, blood, and even broken bodies, into something that in the end is unusable on a daily basis?
[/quote]

why play any sport if it won’t be used on a daily basis? =\

My main reasons:

  1. Improve the odds of defending myself

  2. Gain some sense of satisfaction from learning something and improving it through personal effort alone

Because to understand when violence is necessary, we must understand violence itself and its application.

Being “Trained to react Violently” is more of a mental thing than a physical thing. In general i’d say people who are prone to reacting violently aren’t martialy trained. THey are phycologicaly conditioned to believe that violence is the only solution to any and all situations. People who train and follow any form of Budo are more likely to walk away from a confrontation. Also, when a trained individual is pushed to the point where they have to respond violently the responce will be swift, sure, and while devistating will probably be less damaging than a lead pipe to the back of the head.

Also, I train to protect myself and my family. NO ONE messes with my family.

La’
Redsol1

I kickbox because I like to get hit. And I like to hit other people. Since I don’t groundfight or wrestle, I really can’t say its for self defense, nor can I say its a link to my past “warrior”. I’m a chemist. My dad was a chemist. His dad was a farmer.
I do it because its fun, and I get to fight someone without risk of serious injury to myself or my sparring partner, or getting arrested.

I forgot to add earlier that there is a great sense of control over oneSELF that most martial artists enjoy. Not just the self control discipline, but more control of your body (i.e. balance, coordination, etc) that comes from training in the arts.

Sure it’s nice to be able to control anyone who endangers you, but it’s awesome knowing that you have the precise control of your own body as well.

This isn’t just in the martial arts field, as it is shared with other hobbies of training (gymnasts come to mind).

Because others don’t play by the rules of society and you can’t control their actions only your own.

If you want to live in peace you must always be prepared for war…otherwise your enemies will overcome you simply because they can.

Good responses everyone! I ask the originator of this thread:

Why NOT practice Martial Arts?

[quote]cymblmn wrote:
Taking into considering that most of the philosophical thought behind martial arts and non violence developed during a time of peace in Japan, when the Samurai were united under the rule of the Emperor or Shogun (sorry if I misspelled), and sought to find ways of justifying their continued existence as a warrior / noble class.
[/quote]

And just to clear up some stuff, the above isn’t entirely true. The zen taoist precepts of “empty self” we find in the various Japanese budo occurs during the Kamakura period (1192-1333), coinciding with the rise of the Shogun form of government, and these times were anything but peaceful. This was a time of constant fighting, and the warriors found the ability to fend off the fear of death to be most useful.

Just FYI.

[quote]cymblmn wrote:
In a society where there is no warrior class and acts of aggression are punishable socially and legally, why practice something that trains people to react violently? Most people in society will not have a violent life, and excluding service men and women (Military, Law Enforcement, Private Security), we do not have to fight for our lives on a daily basis. So why invest the hundreds to thousands of dollars, time, sweat, blood, and even broken bodies, into something that in the end is unusable on a daily basis?
Taking into considering that most of the philosophical thought behind martial arts and non violence developed during a time of peace in Japan, when the Samurai were united under the rule of the Emperor or Shogun (sorry if I misspelled), and sought to find ways of justifying their continued existence as a warrior / noble class.

I understand many of the arguments about Martial art being a tool for personal growth, fitness, and to some extent spiritual satisfaction, but do these reasons justify training like a warrior? Especially when there are others ways of achieving the same end that is less expensive? If the above reasons were the case to continue the practice of martial arts, we should just pursue the budo and not judo or jitsu forms of the arts.

I ask this question, as a fellow martial artist, and as a person that trains like a warrior would.
[/quote]
There are reasons on many levels to continue to study the martial arts/ways.It may be useful to look at the two words themselves. Martial means having to do with war or physical conflict. Art ca be defined as taking any natural tendency(fighting,making sounds,drawing pictures,etc) and adding disciplined study and analysis to it,kind of like from raw material to finished product,with a LOT of constant work. The benifits of martial art study and practice start with the obvious physical ones,good conditioning ,coordination,and self protection/family protection. the next stage might be that in order to further progress, at some point the mind needs to push thebody beyond it’s comfortable limits,gaining mental disciple and control over our physical attributes. For some of us further down the road,sometimes we have to dip into reserves beyond just the physical and mental,finding our inner spirit reflected in our pushing beyond what would be reasonable for just the physical and mental. these are peak experences that can be quite illuminating as we face not just an opponent but ourselves.The warrior arts are both a physical and cultural legacy that should be preserved.It is a violent world out there,by the time I was out of high school,I had ben beaten to unconciousnes 3 times,tied to a tree and set on fire once,and been in too many conflicts to count. To date,none of my 4 kids(oldest 14 today!) have been in any conflicts like that,and I am glad of it, but I think that not having to deal with that posibility has made them not realize that life should be an act of will,not passively played out. Lots of rambling thoughts,sorry to go so long,and Redsol,I’m with you on family!

because being addicted to violence is worse than crack…and mma is a (now) legal way of getting my fix.

[quote]cymblmn wrote:
[…]

I understand many of the arguments about Martial art being a tool for personal growth, fitness, and to some extent spiritual satisfaction, but do these reasons justify training like a warrior? Especially when there are others ways of achieving the same end that is less expensive? If the above reasons were the case to continue the practice of martial arts, we should just pursue the budo and not judo or jitsu forms of the arts.

I ask this question, as a fellow martial artist, and as a person that trains like a warrior would.
[/quote]

Because of evolution, you have several brains inside your skull: brain stem, cerebellum, diencephalon, cortex. One of these, the last, the cortex, has a place in it that has learned the trick of language, and it is capable of formulating the question you are asking.

To practice a martial art requires coordinated use of all the different brains. Just because these other brains cannot talk doesn’t mean they don’t have great influence over our behavior, and a stake in our decisions.

In my own case, my unconscious mind (or “id” as Freud termed it) seems to have a big stake in martial arts. The part of me that can talk (“ego”) would be perfectly happy to try to talk me out of going to practice, but the ego has also learned that the id will punish it unrelentingly for this.

The short version: conflict is fun. It unites the brains. Besides, while jummping rope may be perfectly good for me, I find I won’t do it unless I know it’s going to help my game. Competition provides motivation to actually do anything, much better motivation than abstract thoughts like fitness or even longevity.