Monday, October 01, 2012

Martial Arts or Peaceful Arts?

Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.

~ His Holiness XIV Dalai Lama

The above quote should resonate with all true martial artists.  We devote ourselves to a study of conflict; a study of war; a study of the human body, human psychology and human weakness.  However, to maintain balance we must also dedicate ourselves to a study of compassion; an appreciation of the impermanence of life; a disicpline of self-mastery; an attitude of humility.

It is really only through understanding the chaos and brutality of man that we can fully appreciate man's ability to show mercy.  It is through recognizing man's frailty and weakness that we can understand man's strength and resolve.  It is by overcoming our fear that we are able to harness our courage.  It can be said then that by knowing the worst of us, we can become the best of us.

Violence can serve no long-term purpose as a means of resolving conflict.  Any true martial artist knows that it is his/her confidence, honed sharp through constant training, that allows acceptance of others and the unknown without fear.  Knowing our "enemy's mind", we become more in tune with our own.  Once we can fully appreciate an opposing point of view as part of the larger Balance, we are then free to accept our differences without lowering to the base ego and weakness of violence.  We know that destroying another can only mean destroying ourselves.
We are all connected.

We are not always given the choice to avoid violence.  However, we should use every means at our disposal - dialog, education, knowledge and humane ways, to defuse potentially violent situations whenever we can.

I know the world is not perfect, and neither are we.  Nature itself is not perfect, but in it's imperfection lies the ultimate beauty and truth - We need not be perfect, merely tending toward perfection.

His Holiness XIV Dalai Lama is an insipirational figure, and I highly recommend his books.   


Geraldine said...

It was very inspiring to read you today.
I agree that life/man are chaos and the challenge is to find balance between them. It made me go back to the basics of my studies in TCM, where everything is thought to be in constant conflict or flow between Yin and Yang. The challenge or "Path" is to find the balance between them. There is always the "dance" of those two forces or energies, and it seems that in Martial arts it would be the same; it could be thought of a way of finding peace through the conflict, finding the harmony between oneself and the "enemy"...
One thing that caught my attention was when you said that "knowing our 'enemy's mind', we become more in tune with our own". I always thought of the importance of knowing ourselves to be able to understand others, but not so much the other way. I guess that the best picture we get of our minds/hearts is what we reflect in others.
Thank you for 'moving my heart' today,

ジョン・ハニマン said...

Thanks Geraldine --- very much looking forward to having you in class. "Knowing ourselves" is half of the solution, and something I assume every good martial arts puts time into. "Knowing your enemy" means understanding the opposing point of view - often meaning that your "enemy" ceases to be an enemy at all. Aikido is a good foundation for understanding the "connection" we all have with each other and how important it is to recognize this.