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Monday, September 17, 2007

An Honest Manifesto

Why “An Honest Philosophy”?

“My son does Tai Chi”, Carole said. “And I can understand his enjoyment of it, and it seems like there’s a real philosophy to it. But what you’re doing, it seems like it’s just fighting. There’s no real philosophy, is there?”

“There is,” I said. “It’s not really codified the way the philosophies of some other arts are, but it’s there. It’s a very honest and authentic philosophy.”

When I said it, the phrase stuck in my head, and I decided to stick with it.

Martial arts, combat sports, self-defense—whatever term you want to use for the various ways in which people practice close-quarters physical combat (hey, there’s another one) are, when done properly, very, very, honest activities. It’s very difficult to delude yourself about how tough you are after someone crumples you with a punch, or to think that you’re the strongest guy in the world after being pinned by someone half your weight. These arts, done properly, force you confront reality as it is, not as you want it to be.

Unfortunately, these arts are also filled with frauds, cheats, and liars who prey off of the fantasies and delusions of the general public. They claim supernatural powers, make up stories to enhance their mystique, and manipulate their students in a manner consistent with the best cults in the world. I know, because I’ve seen it and even experienced it. And it sickens me.

What is the purpose of this blog? It’s for me to honestly, openly, talk about all things martial arts related in my life. Sometimes it will be a training diary. Sometimes it will be a rant. Sometimes it will be pieces of information. But whatever it is, I will make it honest. That’s the most important thing.


Joseph said...

With regard to charlatans, I saw two dojos in Natick Center that probably fit the bill. One was 'Hawaiian Shaolin Kenpo Karate', and the other, whose name I can remember, touted '8 systems, taught as one'. One of the 8 martial arts listed was "Samurai".

Jake said...

Oh, Jesus. The "8 systems taught as one" guys, aka Chung Moo Do/Chung Moo Kwan are a certifiable cult. I'll see if I can pull up some articles on them.

I have this weird recollection that there was some well-known Kenpo guy from Hawaii, but the name does seem like a bit of a stretch.

Joseph said...

Well, yeah, especially since you shouldn't see "shaolin" and "karate" in the same phrase. :-)