Martial Arts

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Martial Arts

Postby DonnieRage » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:09 pm

I've been into martial arts practically my whole life. I've learned to use nunchaku, I (currently) practice boxing, jeet kune do, muay thai, and I do spar. I just recently started practicing buddhism (going on two weeks) and I've run into a bit of an obstacle. Non-violence. I'm not a violent person. Sure I've been in fights in my past, but I've never started one and I've never been into the idea of hurting someone. Of course I haven't practiced non-violence my whole life, so I have imagined and felt the urge to inflict harm but I've never acted on it and the changes I'm making now are to help stop thoughts like that from even arising. I've never viewed my practice in the arts as a weapon and in fact since I've started practicing them I've learned that the martial arts are truly intended to avert conflict (of course there are practitioners and teachers who feel differently but I disagree with unnecessary sentiments of violence). It's ALWAYS been about self discipline and genuine skill, it's not about winning or losing for me, but connecting with my opponent, be them friend or "foe" so to speak (in competition), so I feel like I could rationalize my practice myself (but I could probably rationalize anything to myself haha). So here I am, seeking outside opinion. Any thoughts? Could I still practice the arts and non-violence?
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Re: Martial Arts

Postby Ben » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:46 pm

DonnieRage wrote:Could I still practice the arts and non-violence?


What many practitioners find is that there motivation to do martial arts change and becomes more firmly rooted in personal discipline, physical fitness, and concentration. It may be that as you continue on the Buddhist path you might be more attracted to those martial arts that align more closely with your changing attitude.
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Re: Martial Arts

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:06 pm

As Ben mentions martial arts can be used for physical fitness, concentration. It can be a form of meditation.

Aikido is a very good martial art. It is not violent and uses the energy and force of the attacker against them, using their momentum and basically aims at incapacitating (not killing) your opponent.
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Re: Martial Arts

Postby Anagarika » Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:58 am

I had this same question myself as I currently judge mixed martial arts competitions, and train a little bit. As Donnie mentions, so much of what is learned is the confidence and the non-ego attachment of being able to walk away from conflict,and I always found this aspect of martial arts attractive, especially when I was younger and more serious about the training. One of the great moments in MMA is after 3 or 5 rounds of punishment, two men bow or wai to each other, embrace, and show respect to each other and the other's corner. This may not be Right Livelihood on my part, but I do not feel in my gut that this is violative of the Eightfold Path. I also recall that in Gautama's time, he would have received training in some martial arts due to his status in Indian society. I don't know of a Sutta where he references his training as a youth, nor do I know of a Sutta where he forbids this training. Maybe someone knows of a sutta on point?
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Re: Martial Arts

Postby Ben » Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:46 am

David N. Snyder wrote:As Ben mentions martial arts can be used for physical fitness, concentration. It can be a form of meditation.

Aikido is a very good martial art. It is not violent and uses the energy and force of the attacker against them, using their momentum and basically aims at incapacitating (not killing) your opponent.


Indeed, David. I was actually a student of Aikido before I took refuge for the first time.
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief
UNHCR Syria Emergency Relief AppealTyphoon Haiyan Relief AppealKiva: (person to person micro-finance)

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: Martial Arts

Postby PsychedelicSunSet » Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:42 pm

I recently had an interest in how Buddhism and Martial Arts mixed, and found a thread on the Mahayana version of this site with a lot of insight in it. Might perhaps be worth reading.

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.ph ... c6e1651781


:namaste:
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Re: Martial Arts

Postby fabianfred » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:41 pm

My present teacher uses Tai-Chi to teach mindfulness (vipassana). I used to do karate and particularly enjoyed kata. One is supposed to practice mindfulness at all times so being mindful during the slow purposeful movements of kata or tai-chi or yoga is ideal practice. Even one giving or receiving a massage can practice too.

The real martial artist trains himself, not for any goal like a black-belt, and intends to do so for their whole life, and then to be used only for defence. A true martial artist would avoid any confrontation...

remember in the series 'Kung Fu' ....... ''avoid rather than block, block rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill, for all life is precious and none can be replaced....''
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Re: Martial Arts

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:01 am

Ben wrote:Indeed, David. I was actually a student of Aikido before I took refuge for the first time.


Excellent. I had done quite a bit of karate and tae-kwon-do before encountering Aikido. I was amazed at the non-violent nature of it, especially compared to the other martial arts. I first got to practice it when I was in law enforcement many years ago. The academy instructor was a Zen Buddhist and was into the ahimsa and religious aspects of it. In some of his instruction, he even talked about how as you progress further into Aikido you eventually transcend your delusional self and get to a stage of no-self. I imagine most of the other students who were not Buddhist, didn't really understand him. He was great.

fabianfred wrote:remember in the series 'Kung Fu' ....... ''avoid rather than block, block rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill, for all life is precious and none can be replaced....''


:thumbsup: Or how about some lines from the original Karate Kid movies:

Rule #1: Karate is only for self-defense
Rule #2: Don't forget rule number 1.

Student to teacher: "Master, can you break large logs in half with one of your karate chops?"
Master: "I don't know, I have never been attacked by a log."
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