Martial Arts are so popular today, everywhere you see advertisements for cage training, ufc sponsored gyms, and jiu-jitsu studios sprouting up like weeds. Martial arts to me though are so much more than the matches you see on television, or read about in magazines. To me a martial art is a way of life, not something that you do for a while, and then get rid of after you win that trophy. When done properly I believe that martial arts can change your life...forever.
So, I guess that one needs a working definition for martial arts. I take it literally, as a higher level of military training. Martial Arts. The art of combat, of fighting, not in the sense of a refereed match, but of a violent and explosively honed skill set.
For a long time I didn't want to talk about martial arts, I didn't talk to other people about it, and rarely would I dare to expose my soul enough to try to connect to another martial artist, so it is an understatement to say that I was skeptical about a blog, but I think that with the sudden commercial appeal of martial arts to the general public, and with experience teaching now and growing more used to discussing this cherished thing, now I am able to, and it is important for someone who does traditional martial arts to address this growing popularity, and speak up for the quiet and ancient spirit of traditional martial arts.
I have been doing traditional forms of Chinese martial arts for a little over thirteen years now; southern forms of Hungar, to Choy Li Fut, White Lotus, White Eyebrow, and of course Yang Tai Chi, traditional long form and Cheng Man Ching’s short form...pretty much all the greats I could learn from, and the beautiful strength and meditative programs the provide the ability to do the "what’s" that the forms teach you.
It has shaped who I am in an endless amount of ways. There are many forms of martial arts, and depending on what you are going for there is going to be different arts that appeal to different people. I would argue that almost all practitioners, true martial artists, would agree with me that there is a certain spirit to traditional forms of martial arts, whatever style you do.
I believe that due to the style that I practice certain elements of that spirit are heightened and enhanced, due to the type of stress and focus I put on my body, but regardless the spirit is there.
It is amazing. It can make you cry hysterically, laugh maniacally, and mix the two together into a type of emotional release and elevation I have never experienced or seen anywhere else.
Fighting and training for me also just makes me happier. To be sore, get some bruises and push someone around can do a world of good for your sanity; make you smile, and keep you centered in a thousand different ways. It makes me high. In the best way possible.
Martial arts provided me with a truly religious experience. I don't know how else to describe it. You look at the world different...literally. Like you have been blind your whole life and all of a sudden you can see, like Plato's Allegory of the Cave...boom there is a world out there and you can really see it for the first time.
But it doesn't come all of a sudden, well actually it does come all of a sudden, but you have to earn it. You can't get there with a few weeks practice. Years go into the cultivation of being in this way...but dear god is it worth it. I mean what it does to your mind is amazing, if I were to spell it all out now you all would think I was insane. Ha. And what it does for your body, and of course, your ability to act in a combat situation...incredible.
The isometric programs alone will harden your body, give you mental roller coasters, and change your life. Combine that with a plethora of other forms, body hardening and things like push hands, and that guy in the kung fu movie that no one can touch isn't so much fantasy anymore.
But I look at this in a different light than I think your average, I guess I can say, martial arts consumer. Every day I look forward to that work out and what it does, the doors that it opens up, and those moments of madness induced my endorphins raging through my system.
And I don't train to fight in the ring with a ref, but to fight, period. The throat, ear, eyes, break, smash and rip. And it feels amazing.
I think that one should pursue the art of whatever appeals to them, but martial arts in this manner for me elevates one to a level where you float through life, and you feel like a warrior...and a happy Buddha. I think this is how we are meant to live...as elevated warriors.