One can hardly engage in any physical endeavor without hearing the term "balance." Depending on the context, this could mean anything from the way your bodyweight is distributed to making sure you're addressing all of your needs on a physical, mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual level. As martial artists, we tend to focus so heavily on the physical aspects of training that we neglect everything else. But as my last article addressed the spiritual refinement in Budo (click here to read), I want to get even deeper.
Historically, many of the most prominent martial artists were also healers. They were doctors, bone setters, massage therapists and energy workers. The truth is that these endeavors are not separate from martial arts. Rather they are an extension of them, so much so that to practice martial arts without delving into the healing arts is to never reach mastery. Unfortunately, the Chinese internal martial arts (Taijiquan, Xingyiquan and Baguazhang) seem to be the only arts that prominently feature the healing arts as a staple of their training, to the point that most people ignorantly believe that the classification of an internal martial arts signifies that it is meant solely for healing and not for combative purposes. This couldn't be farther from the truth. In this article, I want to highlight both what it truly means to be an internal martial art, what the healing arts are, and the necessity for studying them as part of your journey of Budo.
Author: Bret Gordon
Recent events in my personal life have caused me to re-evaluate everything, which has lead me on a rather interesting journey with deep implications. In the past, I've written about how Budo is the study of life and death. Essentially, by training in the arts of war you understand both the fragility of life and your own ability to take it. Therefore, having such an appreciation for the sanctity of life should (in theory) lead you down a path of seeking a peaceful resolution to the majority of life's problems. But even this just scratches the surface to understanding Budo.
When you understand the character Do 道 (Tao in Chinese, as in Taoism), it does translate as "The Way," but the way to what? In this context, we're speaking about the path to enlightenment. When you couple it with Bu 武 (which refers to the military, war and combat) you come up with a rather interesting translation. What most people simply translate as "the martial way" is in reality the path to enlightenment through combat. Looking at enlightenment as having attained a higher level of spiritual knowledge or insight, where does the study of combat play a role in this?
About Our Blog
The articles posted here have been shared from the US Association of Martial Arts website, run by our headmaster Bret Gordon, for their relevance to Aiki Jujutsu. For more of his writings, please click here.