Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

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Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Individual » Tue Nov 23, 2010 4:05 am



Shaolin are so awesome.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Individual » Tue Nov 23, 2010 7:56 pm

Traditional Okinawan karate masters are awesome too:

The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Alex123 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:16 pm

They are still mortal and will die like all of us.

I wonder if that stuff that they do will affect their health later on in life... For what? A bullet to the head and the person is dead. What did they spend their life on?




If there is anyone who like to inflict pain on themselves, how about this?

Work extra hours and send me your money. :)
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby BlackBird » Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:25 pm

While I'm not certain martial arts are in line with the Buddha's teachings, I don't think they're a fruitless exercise Alex. I've met a few black belts and they're more often than not - Very nice, humble and disciplined people. I have thought that taking up a martial art might actually have some benefit on the cushion, or perhaps time on the cushion would have some benefit on the martial art, but there does seem to be a degree of cross over.
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Alex123 » Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:30 pm

BlackBird wrote:While I'm not certain martial arts are in line with the Buddha's teachings, I don't think they're a fruitless exercise Alex. I've met a few black belts and they're more often than not - Very nice, humble and disciplined people. I have thought that taking up a martial art might actually have some benefit on the cushion, or perhaps time on the cushion would have some benefit on the martial art, but there does seem to be a degree of cross over.


Violence is not stopped by violence, and ultimately martial arts (I used to take them) are martial. I am afraid that mutilating your attacker would add too much negative kamma to oneself, and the better option would be to deflate the situation peacefully.

I've read that whenever a person carries a gun, the psychology changes, and that person is more likely to be aggressive.

The problem with Martial arts is similar. One is more likely to use force in a heated situation rather than try to escape or deflate it. The use of force could be on auto-pilot as well (as a conditioned reflex). Nothing to say about sizing up the person on the street and thinking about the best way to maim him if he attacked me. While they are smiling at you, they may be considering how they would fight you if things came that way.

Ultimately from Buddhist POV, as I understand it, good kamma is the highest worldly protection. And PariNibbana is permanent protection.


With metta,

Alex
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby BlackBird » Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:51 pm

A good friend of mine is a black belt in Karate, in his dojo they were taught to use their skills only as a last resort, with dialogue and fleeing the first two priorities. The very same guy took a beating once - He's a big guy too. In my opinion the guy who beat him up wouldn't have lasted more than 30 seconds had my friend used his karate, but he didn't feel his life was in danger so he did not fight back.

So feel free to generalize about the potential psychology of Martial artist A, but that is not necessarily applicable to everyone.
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Paññāsikhara » Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:06 am

I agree, Blackbird, one requires quite some time of experience as a martial artist before understanding the psychological state involved.
Moreover, there are many different styles, and many different teachers. Some do teach a kind of aggressive approach, but others are very different and strictly emphasize the protection of others.
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Ben » Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:25 am

Hi Blackbird

Its been my exprience as well when I was a practitioner of Aikido many years ago. The whole ethos was of peace and harmony.

The following comment by Alex:
I've read that whenever a person carries a gun, the psychology changes, and that person is more likely to be aggressive.

Is plain wrong.
kind regards

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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Paññāsikhara » Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:40 am

I sometimes think that beginners of martial arts may become more aggressive, IF they are the type who is learning for ego purposes, to be the tough guy / gal, etc. Usually these people don't last long, fortunately. Once one is an experienced practitioner, with correct training, however, one can become acutely aware of the damage that one is able to inflict in a few seconds or less, and thus be extremely wary of misuse. A good practitioner will be able to exert enough technique to quell the situation, but no further. Beginners cannot, and tend to use all their power, which can be catastrophic. Moreover, long term practitioners are used to the situation, and thus seldom arise emotions of either fear or anger; again, beginners do not, and easily get angered. It's quite complex. Once a practitioner is a real master, then they'll have different mental states to this, too. Their mind-body connection is incredibly strong and powerful, and this leads to deep states of concentration even whilst active.
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Paññāsikhara » Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:41 am

Alex123 wrote:Ultimately from Buddhist POV, as I understand it, good kamma is the highest worldly protection. And PariNibbana is permanent protection.


:anjali:
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Dan74 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 3:48 am

I think that we do have a natural aggressive impulse (important for protection in case of conflict). Martial art if taught properly can actually bring this impulse more under control and develop respect and equanimity around it. My son (7) does karate. I have only seen him get less aggressive since he started. He was always amazingly careful and compassionate with insects and animals, but now this quality has also extended to his younger siblings :smile:
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Individual » Wed Nov 24, 2010 5:10 am

Alex123 wrote:
BlackBird wrote:While I'm not certain martial arts are in line with the Buddha's teachings, I don't think they're a fruitless exercise Alex. I've met a few black belts and they're more often than not - Very nice, humble and disciplined people. I have thought that taking up a martial art might actually have some benefit on the cushion, or perhaps time on the cushion would have some benefit on the martial art, but there does seem to be a degree of cross over.


Violence is not stopped by violence, and ultimately martial arts (I used to take them) are martial.

You ever heard of Aikido?

Also, in karate class last semester, we took an oath which includes things like not using drugs and avoiding violent conflicts whenever possible. :)
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Alex123 » Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:00 am

Individual wrote:You ever heard of Aikido?


Yes. It seems to be less bad than what I practiced....

I used to take certain style where the instructions were to brutalize the opponent as fast as possible. We didn't even practice much blocking, just beating the crap out of the opponent before he can even attack... So maybe my views are jaded by that. But even karate which I used to take for far longer time than that combat style , is ultimately a martial art, "martial" art.


Some of the drawbacks are that I have fighting fantasies, these really intrude in my meditations. But then if not these, than other thoughts would come...
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:16 am

Alex123 wrote:
Individual wrote:You ever heard of Aikido?


Yes. It seems to be less bad than what I practiced....

I used to take certain style where the instructions were to brutalize the opponent as fast as possible. We didn't even practice much blocking, just beating the crap out of the opponent before he can even attack... So maybe my views are jaded by that. But even karate which I used to take for far longer time than that combat style , is ultimately a martial art, "martial" art.


Some of the drawbacks are that I have fighting fantasies, these really intrude in my meditations. But then if not these, than other thoughts would come...


Yeah, perhaps your views have been "jaded" by that particular style. There is a huge range of attitudes across styles and teachers.
And remember that the term "martial art" is an English cover all. Although a generic name, I am not sure that all styles (in Asia) refer to themselves as 武術, the original term from which English "martial arts" comes.
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Guy » Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:33 pm

If a situation can be resolved peacefully then that is the best first choice.

But if it really came down to a life and death situation, in all honesty, I would value my own life more so than the attackers and would try my best to stay alive. If martial arts helps me achieve this, then that is fine by me. I know that this is a worldly attitude, but I am not an Arahant. Martial arts has its uses, especially for putthujanas like me.

Also, someone trained in martial arts, if faced with a life/death situation, may be able to prevent the attacker from killing them while also avoiding seriously harming the attacker in the process. If this is achieved, and the attacker was intent on killing the martial artist, then surely the application of martial arts in that case is good kamma, especially if the mind of the martial artist is calm while defending themselves.

Anyway, whatever I say or whatever anyone else says about life/death situations is mostly hot air, especially from those of us who have never had to face such situations. The truth is we don't know how we will react until we are in that situation.

May we all avoid those situations entirely.
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Luke » Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:35 pm

BlackBird wrote:While I'm not certain martial arts are in line with the Buddha's teachings, I don't think they're a fruitless exercise Alex. I've met a few black belts and they're more often than not - Very nice, humble and disciplined people. I have thought that taking up a martial art might actually have some benefit on the cushion, or perhaps time on the cushion would have some benefit on the martial art, but there does seem to be a degree of cross over.


I agree that many martial arts practioners are very nice people--hell, I used to be one. Lol. But I think there needs to be a distinction made between the martial arts which are actually effective in combat situations and those that are not.

Ineffective martial arts
I think this is the largest category. Most martial arts have been watered down over the years, were never effective in combat to begin with, or were just plain fabricated to sell to eager consumers during the "dojo boom" of the late 70s and early 80s.

Martial arts can be an introduction to Asian culture and philosophy and to focusing one's mind. In this sense, even ineffective martial arts have some value. They can be like "Preparation for Shamatha 101" from a spiritual standpoint. There is often an emphasis on ethics and an introduction to martial arts folklore.

Perhaps the students at these dojos will enjoy the feelings of peace they get while practicing their katas in the early evening with others. There may or may not be sparring. If so, it will most likely involve no contact or light contact.

Effective martial arts
Some ancient martial arts are still effective: judo, jiu-jitsu, esrkima, silat, etc. And some newly created martial arts are effective: Krav maga, MMA, the US Marine Corps martial arts training, etc. Some of these could care less about Asian culture, peace of mind, or ethics. It's all about simple, destructive techniques done properly, fast, with the intention to totally dominate one's opponent, and with the will to survive at any cost.
************************

I remember devouring the stories in Inside Kung-Fu magazine about wise, ethical, old kung fu masters who effortlessly defeated groups of unethical thugs when attacked, but I think these things rarely happen. There is a reason why you never see Tai Chi or Aikido practioners win in mixed martial arts competitions. Even most guys who practice what look like pretty fierce techniques in the dojo would still probably lose to a soldier who doesn't know any martial arts, but who is extremely aggressive and strong and is used to fighting in life-and-death situations.

So in summary, I think that most martial arts are worthless for self-defense, but are useful for the beginning stages of spiritual development. Other martial arts are great for self-defense, but may not develop such postivie spiritual qualities. Perhaps, some may do both, but I'm not sure. Most western dojos teach ineffective techniques while selling the mystique of Asian inner peace along with a lot of other martial arts paraphenalia (dragon T-shirts, foam nunchucks, etc.).

In my opinion, if someone wants to learn to fight, then he/she should learn judo (people have been inflicting serious bodily harm on each other since the time of the samurai with judo because of judo's very effective use of leverage). If someone wants to develop himself/herself spiritually, then he/she should practice Buddhism. The martial arts done in your average plaza dojo tend to only develop meager amounts of either and may result in developing a false sense of confidence which will very likely be quickly shattered in a real fight.
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Alex123 » Sat Nov 27, 2010 3:16 am

Very good post Luke.
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Annapurna » Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:16 am

Ben wrote:Hi Blackbird

Its been my exprience as well when I was a practitioner of Aikido many years ago. The whole ethos was of peace and harmony.

The following comment by Alex:
I've read that whenever a person carries a gun, the psychology changes, and that person is more likely to be aggressive.

Is plain wrong.
kind regards

Ben


That 's interesting.

Why do you think that?

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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Luke » Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:04 pm

Annapurna wrote:
Ben wrote:Hi Blackbird

Its been my exprience as well when I was a practitioner of Aikido many years ago. The whole ethos was of peace and harmony.

The following comment by Alex:
I've read that whenever a person carries a gun, the psychology changes, and that person is more likely to be aggressive.

Is plain wrong.
kind regards

Ben


That 's interesting.

Why do you think that?

I can only talk about my own experience.

When I have fired guns at targets in the past to see what it felt like, I was more concerned about the safety of the people around me, not less!

Some people don't mind if people stand right next to them while they shoot at targets, but I don't like it. I want people well behind me. Holding a gun in my hand doesn't make me yearn to shoot people. On the contrary, it makes me very careful not to point it at anyone and not to point it in a direction where anyone might go.

If I were holding a gun in my hand right now, I would think, "This is terrible! I'm holding a gun!" And if no ethical person rightfully owned it, I would unload it, disassemble it, and destroy it. It's much better to use the weapon of meditation to destroy negative emotions at their roots. :buddha2:
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Digger » Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:17 pm

I’d like to add to Luke’s excellent post (only problem I saw was that Judo is relatively modern from 1882, maybe he meant Jiu-Jistu as being ancient).

I have many years experience in martial arts. I started in the early 1970’s when Bruce Lee movies were first coming out and the Kung Fu TV show started. I continued through the time of the UFC, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA (mixed martial arts).

I saw it all – high ranking black belts doing unscrupulous things, high ranking karate point tournament fighters getting destroyed by average boxers and street fighters, people claiming that they can knock someone out with their super ninja magic touch or claiming they can knock someone off their feet from across the room (I guess they shoot a ball of Chi out of their forehead at them), etc.

On the other side (reality), I saw smaller Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters beating much larger and stronger street fighters, boxers, kickboxers, kung fu and karate experts, etc. Many years ago (long before even knowing what Buddhism was) I got in an actual fight and a year of training in a mostly useless karate style did actually help me somewhat.

There is a strange phenomenon that occurs in martial arts and other followings – people in general will follow ridiculous nonsense and put a leader on a pedestal and worship him, even when there is plain evidence in front of them showing that something is wrong. This is true for martial arts and many other things in life.

There is benefit from many martial arts styles – builds confidence, good exercise, way to meet good people and may be a gate to introduce people to the path. If you get good enough you can fend off an attacker without hurting him. There are styles that are realistic and useful.

I don't think that being trained in any martial art will make you more likely to hurt someone if you are a peaceful person. If you are a person who wants to fight others but you don't because you are afraid you will lose, training might give you enough "bad" confidence to do it. And I've seen "less developed" people intentionally hurting others during practice and tournaments.

Good to talk about all this with others here.
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