Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Luke » Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:51 pm

Digger wrote: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).

Whoops! I guess I meant the techniques in Jiu-Jitsu which were later used in Judo.

I think one negative aspect of the way most westerners do martial arts is that they are basically reinforcing and enlarging their egos: They want to dress up in exotic, Asian outfits and use cool, flashy techniques to have power over other people or to impress them. It can often be just a lot of vanity and shallowness.

I think it's also important to realize that the authentic martial arts were at one time martial arts, that is techniques which were used on the battlefield or in life-and-death street duels. Chinese soldiers in the 5th century didn't use polearms and swords because they wanted to fight in some fancy, schmancy, exoticly Asian way: they used them because they were the most deadly weapons which were available to them at that time. If M-16s had existed back then, I'm sure they would have used those instead.

I often think that modern soldiers understand more about the mindset of ancient Asian soldiers than historians or modern "martial arts enthusiasts" do. I don't think there's much difference between the mindset of a Chinese soldier stepping onto the battefield while carrying a deadly weapon and the mindset of a modern western soldier stepping onto the battlefield while carrying a deadly weapon. Effective methods of killing are effective methods of killing, whether they look exotic or not. Fear of death is fear of death.

A lot of myths and legends and romanticizations have been mixed up with martial arts since ancient times, though. How can somebody possibly understand "the way of the warrior" who has never fought in a real battle? Going to the dojo three times a week and reading Black Belt magazine won't do it. In my opinion, if somebody wants to be a warrior, he should just become a soldier (which of course, is generally a very bad thing from a Buddhist point of view, and people should question why they find the idea of being warriors so romantic in the first place).

However, I think one example of martial arts being both effective and ethical is when jiu-jitsu is used by police officers to subdue criminals using the minimum necessary force. That's a Buddhist use of martial arts.
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Guy » Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:04 am

Luke wrote:However, I think one example of martial arts being both effective and ethical is when jiu-jitsu is used by police officers to subdue criminals using the minimum necessary force. That's a Buddhist use of martial arts.


Agreed.

Also, the body conditioning methods used in martial arts are useful outside of martial arts even in our modern times. If the body has been well conditioned then it becomes less susceptible to being damaged from any impact (e.g. car accidents). People who practice Aikido or Jiu Jitsu will learn proper techniques for falling which will also minimize damage.

Some martial arts teach about the anatomy and how to manipulate the body's energies which has potential to be used for wholesome aims.

Martial arts are not just about killing people (though I admit that the effective ones can be used in this capacity) they are (to me) about keeping the practitioner out of harm and ideally not harming others either. In this sense (as well as being good for health), I think martial arts can be used in a complimentary and supportive way to Buddhist practice.
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Luke » Sun Nov 28, 2010 2:08 pm

Guy wrote:Martial arts are not just about killing people (though I admit that the effective ones can be used in this capacity) they are (to me) about keeping the practitioner out of harm and ideally not harming others either. In this sense (as well as being good for health), I think martial arts can be used in a complimentary and supportive way to Buddhist practice.

If we're talking about how martial arts are usually practiced in modern times, then yes, I agree with you.

Earlier I was talking about the original purpose of martial arts. There are many martial arts in the world and perhaps some of them were indeed originally created for self-defense. However, the samurai were soldiers, so anything they practiced they did so they could kill the enemies of their master as quickly and efficiently as possible. The samurai sword's original purpose was to kill another human being.

I don't think most modern martial arts are any more spiritual activities than being an Elvis impersonator. I mean, dedicated Elvis impersonators may dress up in special outfits three times a week and develop their concentration by focusing on their Elvis-like dancing and mannerisms (which are probably about as useful in combat as many modern martial arts). Perhaps an Elvis impersonator moves his chi around while dancing.

I think it's a mistake to think that just because something has an Asian appearance that it's more spiritual. A samurai sword is no more spiritual than a medieval knight's sword--more beautiful and better-made yes, but more spiritual no. Implements of war are implements of war. It's a mistake to equate beauty with spirituality.
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Guy » Sun Nov 28, 2010 10:38 pm

Luke wrote:I don't think most modern martial arts are any more spiritual activities than being an Elvis impersonator. I mean, dedicated Elvis impersonators may dress up in special outfits three times a week and develop their concentration by focusing on their Elvis-like dancing and mannerisms (which are probably about as useful in combat as many modern martial arts). Perhaps an Elvis impersonator moves his chi around while dancing.


:rofl:
I think there are more effective ways of practicing and developing Chi Kung than elvis impersonation, but I see your point.

Luke wrote:I think it's a mistake to think that just because something has an Asian appearance that it's more spiritual. A samurai sword is no more spiritual than a medieval knight's sword--more beautiful and better-made yes, but more spiritual no. Implements of war are implements of war. It's a mistake to equate beauty with spirituality.


Agreed. But it is my experience that the benefits of chi kung and nei kung which come through certain "martial arts" (or perhaps a better term is "self defence, health and wellbeing systems") are a beautiful thing and certainly have the potential to be used to support spiritual practice. As it says in the title of this forum: "a fit body makes for a fit mind" (and at higher levels of internal martial arts training the mind becomes more peaceful and discerning anyway). This is why practices such as yoga and chi kung are practiced by some monastics.

So, to this extent, I would say that some "martial arts" do have a spiritual side. As a general rule, usually these are the ones which place emphasis on generating power from the dan tien rather than those which primarily rely on creating tension in the large muscle groups. Tense muscles tend to be linked with a tense mind which is not useful for developing samatha or vipassana.
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby lojong1 » Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:07 pm

This is the way to real peace. Training yesterday left me with a black eye, bleeding toe, right arm covered in beautifully colored bruises, mushy knuckles and shins, big lump just above the temple, cauliflower ear, and no cash left to indulge in other vices. I'm in no condition to fight anyone--all I can do now is sit.
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby morgan » Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:58 am

Luke wrote:
I often think that modern soldiers understand more about the mindset of ancient Asian soldiers than historians or modern "martial arts enthusiasts" do. I don't think there's much difference between the mindset of a Chinese soldier stepping onto the battefield while carrying a deadly weapon and the mindset of a modern western soldier stepping onto the battlefield while carrying a deadly weapon. Effective methods of killing are effective methods of killing, whether they look exotic or not. Fear of death is fear of death.



In your own opinion? what is the most deadliest weapon so far?
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Guy » Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:24 pm

morgan wrote:In your own opinion? what is the most deadliest weapon so far?


From a Buddhist perspective the answer would be "delusion".
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby andre9999 » Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:32 pm

Guy wrote:
morgan wrote:In your own opinion? what is the most deadliest weapon so far?


From a Buddhist perspective the answer would be "delusion".


That probably wouldn't be very effective over a rifle in the short term.
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Individual » Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:44 pm

But it is only delusion that would cause a person to use the rifle anyway.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby vanquisher91 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:30 pm

In my opinion, martial arts (under a respectful master) are not in conflict with lay Buddhist practice. Lets face it, peaceful words and avoidance don't work all the time and sometimes it comes to a physical altercation, some people are just out for blood and to cause problems no matter what the other person says or does. I know from my years in Tae Kwon Do, we are always taught never to fight, but to defend when all else fails. Our skills were taught and practiced in the spirit of defense of ourselves and others who are defenseless. If it comes to physical altercations, the goal is to defend and disarm your attacker, and never to maim or permanently injure. Though it takes practice, we learn to cause the least amount of harm as possible, but it is sometimes necessary to harm in order to defend. I say that is the khamma of the aggressor if he/she gets hurt. If your intent is to defend it is not unskillful practice, if the intent is to harm it is unskillful and should be abandoned. Just think, how much compassion is needed to put yourself in harms way to defend the defenseless?

Not to mention the myriad health benefits that come from practicing martial arts. Ask any good teacher and they will tell you that although physical in part, it takes mental clarity and insight to perfect and master the movements. I would say it definitely counts as a form of meditation.
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Alex123 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:58 am

vanquisher91 wrote:In my opinion, martial arts (under a respectful master) are not in conflict with lay Buddhist practice. Lets face it, peaceful words and avoidance don't work all the time and sometimes it comes to a physical altercation, some people are just out for blood and to cause problems no matter what the other person says or does. I know from my years in Tae Kwon Do, we are always taught never to fight, but to defend when all else fails. Our skills were taught and practiced in the spirit of defense of ourselves and others who are defenseless. If it comes to physical altercations, the goal is to defend and disarm your attacker, and never to maim or permanently injure. Though it takes practice, we learn to cause the least amount of harm as possible, but it is sometimes necessary to harm in order to defend. I say that is the khamma of the aggressor if he/she gets hurt. If your intent is to defend it is not unskillful practice, if the intent is to harm it is unskillful and should be abandoned. Just think, how much compassion is needed to put yourself in harms way to defend the defenseless?

Not to mention the myriad health benefits that come from practicing martial arts. Ask any good teacher and they will tell you that although physical in part, it takes mental clarity and insight to perfect and master the movements. I would say it definitely counts as a form of meditation.


If we talk about exercise, then it may be fine. But if we talk about self-defense...


Unfortunately in the real world and real fight, most "martial" arts will fail. Even ring sports, even "no rules" MMA are not that good. They have too many rules and regulations to avoid injuring and killing the opponent in the ring.


Under no rules (just the street) you have to use techniques to maim, traumatize and kill the opponent as soon as possible and use any and all objects available to help you, otherwise they will probably be used on you. But this goes against Buddhists rules. Its anything goes, and it sucks. This is samsara.

Real life isn't safe and uncluttered dojo, with many rules to prohibit hurting, maiming and killing the other guy...

Most often fights go to the ground. What if he is twice your weight and none of the standard punches or kicks work?

When you are on the ground, how will you kick? If he grabs your leg to break it, what will you do? When you do techniques suited for the ring (where techniques for serious injury and maiming are prohibited) you'll most likely simply piss him off. Then it may be life or death struggle...


If you aren't taught how to maim or kill an opponent ASAP, then you can forget about fighting multiple opponents (which often happens).
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby ground » Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:07 am

It is just fostering "I" and "mine" based on the body.

Who would want to spend precious time for what is deteriorating inevitably?

Kind regards
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby Guy » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:07 pm

TMingyur wrote:It is just fostering "I" and "mine" based on the body.

Who would want to spend precious time for what is deteriorating inevitably?

Kind regards


While what you say is technically true, it is still smart, in my opinion, to look after this bag of flesh and bones while we (I am, I can't speak for anyone else) are putthujjanas. If you're an Arahant, sure, then if doesn't matter.
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Beating yourself up for strength (iron body)

Postby ground » Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:29 pm

Guy wrote:
TMingyur wrote:It is just fostering "I" and "mine" based on the body.

Who would want to spend precious time for what is deteriorating inevitably?

Kind regards


While what you say is technically true, it is still smart, in my opinion, to look after this bag of flesh and bones while we (I am, I can't speak for anyone else) are putthujjanas.


Going for a walk is enough. Can be combined with walking meditation.

Kind regards
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