So.. What is it? Let us explore the topic in more detail so our readers [thanks guys :D ] might get a deeper understanding of what we are discussing here.
Martial Art is not something that can be defined with any absolute certainty, but here we will attempt such an impossible feat. Martial Art. It is an art form that is never stagnant, always moving and as long as one lives one is always a participant within it. A musician, for example, plays a piece from beginning to end. A painter applies pigment to canvas to create a painting to a conclusion. A writer thoughtfully scribes a story from beginning, to middle, from middle, to end. Martial Art, in contrast, is in constant practice. Even if one is not training traditionally or even "training" at all, one is constantly in the act of producing their Martial Masterpiece simply by their propagation of life. Every act we engage ourselves in is a stroke of the brush, a crescendo, a poem. Understand, this is not said to downplay artists of other mediums, but to point out that musicians, painters, writers, artists of all kinds, and all people in general are intrinsically practitioners of Martial Art. In a sentence, Martial Art is Life.
Now, something interesting happens when we open the topic to the three aspects. We speak of the Mental, Spiritual, and Physical (Mind, Spirit and Body respectively). Let us discuss each individually.
The Physical aspect of Martial Arts demands much respect as it is the realm in which bodies interact and the realm in which bodily injury occurs. We look now at fighters. Fighters are people without fear of physical harm or even those who harbor a love of it. Fighters are dedicated to the mastery of the physical domain and set out to build their bodies to compete. They train to take punishment and to unleash it upon their opponents. It is the most visible and easily altered realm. Also, realize now that the physical realm is controlled through the mental and spiritual aspects of the user as each of these three aspects are interconnected and act on one another through symbiotic relationships. (A topic that deserves much further discussion, but is best reserved for a composition where it is the center of focus).
The Mental aspect is the side of analyzing a movement or a technique. It is the quiet pondering and conscious deliberation over the physical movements. The samurai, for example, before they would practice would go through a fight sequence or exercise, sitting quietly, executing it purely mentally first before even picking up the sword. This is as important as physical practice as it allows the user to critically and creatively experiment with the technique or exercise prior to its execution, the fudging of which may end up being physically harmful if not performed well. Don't be fooled though, physical practice and mental analysis can occur simultaneously and in fact should be exercised both in tandem and independently. This sort of 'cross-training' is critical to becoming well-rounded.
The Spiritual aspect is the understanding of purpose. Mindless training without understanding will no doubt produce a physical result, but in the end is properly brutish and nonsensicle as it is not conducive to wholesome constructive development, but instead actuates ignorant stasis. This understanding is not easily attained however. The user will naturally have some sense of purpose to begin with and his understanding will deepen ever deeper through continued physical practice, mental analysis and meditation, unending.
Martial Arts is the dedication to these three aspects and most importantly the wisdom to balance them harmoniously.
Inspired by Calasanz
Written by Alan Wedell