My personal "Interpretive" Lens!
"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour
"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon
"What is true today may be reevaluated as false not long after. Judgements are frequently based upon a set of "temporary" circumstances surrounding them. Conflicting ideologies can exist simultaneously. Antagonistic dualities are complementary aspects of a unified whole: are seen as mutually dependent mirror images of each other." - Nahum Stiskin
Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.
Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.
A person's heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while the blood circulating is similar to the Sun and Moon yet the manner of drinking and spitting is either soft or hard while a person's unbalance is the same as a weight and the body should be able to change direction at any time as the time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself and both the eyes must see all sides as the ears must listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction.
A person’s heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while circulatory system is similar to the cycles of the moon and sun yet the breathing methods are either hard or soft while one’s posture should allow one to advance, retreat, engage, and disengage as the body should be able to act in accordance with time and change so that one must enter a state of emptiness (mushin/zanshin) allowing the eyes must see all sides and the ears should listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction. - My rendition per translation from Andy Sloane Sensei.
Four Virtues of a Martial Artist
This is also a matter of "survival" where the hierarchy ends with the clan/tribe/group. As far as an entire society it takes a group oriented set of virtues that allows for harmonious cohesion which is a more difficult endeavor often leading to "war." Again, survival is imperative for the group/clan/tribe therefor the importance of the four virtues is critical.
In today's wold we have gravitated toward a more singular, me, model where the need to adhere to the four virtues is perceived as unnecessary and that in my opinion is a mistake leading to the downfall of a society, clan, tribe or group.
These four virtues are familiar with martial artists, at least those who look at MA as a traditional/classical form of Asian practice, as part of the virtues of the samurai. Where the rubber meets the road is the ability to practice them vs. just knowing of them.
It is a characteristic of all martial systems yet often overlooked for the often self-gratifying aspects especially regarding the more sportive aspects of today's practices. It is the more esoteric aspects glossed over for the more easily practiced physical. I believe this to be the reasoning behind awarding students the ken-po goku-i silk certificates in those early years of western involvement, i.e around the 1950's and 60's. The koan of the martial arts is how I describe the goku-i.
Benevolence [仁]: the characters/ideograms mean "benevolence (esp. as a virtue of Confucianism); consideration; compassion; humanity; charity. It is in the dojo clan that through proper guidance and mentoring one can foster an atmosphere of compassion and consideration for one another, i.e. the Sensei-deshi, Senpai-kohai models. Humanity and charity are the products that foster a camaraderie between practitioners that complete this circle.
Righteousness [正義]: the characters/ideograms mean "justice; right; righteousness; correct meaning along with the first character meaning, "correct; justice; righteous," and the second character meaning, "righteousness; justice; morality; honor; loyalty; meaning."
With out honor you have brutality. With out meaning you have an empty shell. With out loyalty you have chaos. With out morality you have cruelty. With out justice you have criminality. The true dojo, the true classical form of training and practice, and the true traditional meaning of the way cannot reach its greatest heights or enlightenment with out this virtue.
Propriety [妥当性]: the characters/ideograms mean "propriety; verification; validity with the first character meaning, "gentle; peace; depravity," the second character meaning, "hit; right; appropriate; himself," and the third character meaning, "sex; gender; nature," or étiquette [礼儀]: the characters/ideograms mean "manners; courtesy; etiquette," and the first character meaning, "salute; bow; ceremony; thanks; remuneration," and the second character meaning, "ceremony; rule; affair; case; a matter."
It is through courtesy, the manners we extol to others of the clan that foster the virtues. The rhythm and customs of ritual are the means of creating a connection that fosters the virtues of martial arts. The symbolism brings about understanding and teaching of intuitions that transcend the spoken word and fosters a non-verbal communication of respect and honor toward others.
Wisdom [知恵]: the characters/ideograms mean "wisdom; wit; sagacity; sense; intelligence," the first character meaning, "know; wisdom," and the second character meaning, "favor; blessing; grace; kindness."
The dojo leads to the understanding and discriminations between relations. Relations of man or humans is the most volatile and chaotic one often leading to conflicts. The education and understanding from the learning reaches beyond any relational reality gap bridging a path to one another. It is the ability to create a attitude and belief that is founded on showing keen discernment, sound judgement and farsightedness that allows is to reach out to one another and build the group/clan/tribe in to "one wholehearted" cohesive holistic "one."