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Aren't all martial arts the same? Part 2

In part 1 of this blog I discussed my opinions towards the differences between ‘sport’ and traditional martial arts, with regards to personal defence and self protection. In summary, it is fair to say that I consider that over emphasis on sport useful techniques is limiting. Unless there is a curriculum that embraces the fact that personal defence has no rules, includes all techniques, ranges and targets, then there will be big holes which could lead to a misguided sense of self confidence.

An additional issue here is that which concerns the philosophical methodology from which the technical capabilities are grown. Sporting events and activities exist for competitive purposes. The philosophical root from which these grow is more concerned with competitive success than it is with the development of the individual.

Even if there is a more holistic, person centred approach taken by the coach, there is still very little emphasis given within that sporting arena to the emotional, psychological and spiritual development of the player. This is part is one fundamental and unavoidable difference between sports (including combat sports and martial arts).

Given the focus here on effective styles, it is also worth considering the philosophical root of many more modern ‘street’ and ’military’ fighting styles. Fighting systems, such as Krav Maga and Kapap, have a huge amount to offer a student looking to develop effective personal defence skills, however again the methodology used bypasses any need to develop a student in a more emotional and spiritual arena. The issue here is that the physical techniques acquired are not appropriately measured by increased emotional awareness. The robotic rehearsal of a fighting system, without focus on a parallel emotional and spiritual development, is essentially to engage in a group cardio-kickboxing class with teeth. Whilst it is correct that the student will gain physical developments, the over emphasis on the physical limits the holistic development of the student. Although the MARTIAL part of any martial art is fundamental to its existence, the opportunity for individual growth and expression is equally key.

Martial Arts need to offer more than a focus on winning that trophy or improving effective fighting skills. A true martial art is just that, an opportunity for artistic self expression which allows an individual opportunity for greater self realisation and personal growth. More than focusing on the extrinsic rewards through sporting success or

robotic acquisition of a set of physical skills, a true martial art allows the individual student to express who they are through the physical application of their own technique. It provides the environment for the individual to introspectively journey through themselves and discover what their personal internal obstacles for growth may be. Further the martial arts provide an opportunity for specific and unitary focus. They are the environment where the adoption of a mindset which facilitates creative thought and growth can be realised. All martial arts should be united in this. The common purpose for all martial arts should be the psychological, emotional and spiritual growth of students

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