"The Author, it must be remembered, writes from his own standpoint!"
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

"Providing a first step on a path to self-reflection." - C. E. James

"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.

Kenpo Gokui

The lines of the ken-po goku-i are set from an atomistic aspect simply because it is the manner in which the brain learns. Its nature is completely holistic and like the I Ching must be in a form that promotes learning and understanding so a person can see, hear and grasp the nature of a holistic system. The gokui is a method to teach us how to be holistic. Its terseness is the best that can be done to convey its holistic meaning.

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.

Master Zeng said, "Am I preaching what I have not practiced myself?"

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The Mental; The Physical; The Spiritual

Let me skip the mental and the physical. These are great subjects all unto themselves involving many things but when it comes to spiritual we tend to “fall into the comfortable groove” of our culture and belief systems. What our ancestors, martial ancestors that is, believed in regard to the spiritual is the question here and the answers are not as clear or definitive as one might expect.

First, there is not much in the historical sources, especially in English as translated more often than not by non-Asians scholars, that actually define this spiritual aspect to martial arts. Often it comes down to interconnecting that non-physical aspect to those spiritual studies, if you will, of non-religious cultural studies and belief systems like Zen, Zen Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and so on. All not truly of a religious nature as we westerners would associate religious toward, i.e., a supreme being and so on.

We westerners tend to slide into our own cultural quasi-religious connections as can be seen readily when the following tend to lean heavily toward references as to “faith” in training, movements, beliefs and so on. Personally, this is not exactly what I would take as the “spiritual” results of training and practice of martial arts. 

the Spirit required for training
believe in your movements
lack of believing in the movement, a lack of faith
the instructor has to do is work to instill their faith in the movement
they have not developed the Spirit, or Faith in their technique.
a question of Faith in his method

The Spiritual of Martial Disciplines: First, lets take a look a the fundamental principles that underline all martial disciplines. The closest term I find to spiritual is Mukei [無形] meaning abstract; immaterial; moral; intangible; spiritual with the first character meaning, “nothingness; none; ain’t; nothing; nil; not,” and the second meaning, “shape; form; style.” Often the characters/ideograms are associated with other characters to describe things like “intangible cultural assets” and so on. Yet, this does not do justice to what this author associates with spiritual aspects of martial disciplines.

 When I begin to contemplate the spirituality of martial discipline I tend to start with the two principles of theory and philosophy. They are, “Universality, Control, Efficiency, Lengthen Our Line, Percentage Principle, Std of Infinite Measure, Power Paradox, Ratio, Simplicity, Natural Action, Michelangelo Principle, Reciprocity, Opponents as Illusions, Reflexive Action, Training Truth, Imperception and Deception AND Mind, mushin, kime, non-intention, yin-yang, oneness, zanshin and being, non-action, character, the empty cup.”

The western concepts tend to lean heavily toward the declared “spirit of bushido.” This means a concept of a spiritual shield that allows the samurai to fight to the end. This spiritual soul of Japan was then considered the spirit that bound firmly and with unity the entire nation especially with war in mind. It was about the acceptance of death, its acceptance as a part of the samurai belief toward a morally driven hierarchal observation toward their leaders in the application of warrior spirit in death through application of martial prowess in war. 

In reality, in martial spiritual theory and philosophy as possibly passed down from martial ancestors it is the acquisition and development of qualties such as character of the practitioner in thought and attitudes of a non-physical nature involving the seat of emotions and character, the soul if you will (without assuming the soul as the intrinsic seat of humans under a religious belief in supreme beings, etc. as taught in European and Western religious cultures.) It is that essence, ethos and motivating force that drove the samurai, the warriors of Japan with similarities to the Okinawans as well as the ethos of influences from other Asian sources like the Chinese. 

Look at it also as a temperment or disposition of mind and outlook toward life especially as it pertains to conflict and violence. It is that activating or essential principle that influences a person especially in the study, practice and most important application of martial arts. It is that dominating attitude that contributes to a spirit toward moral accepted behavior. It is the development of personal beliefs leading toward the inclination, impulse, or tendency of the kind that is culturally morally accepted by the whole that is society. 

It is and can be the mental state or mind set of character expressed in action and word derived from a firm and assertive nature that presents an attitude of reflection, change and actions in every day life with special emphasis toward conflict and violence, the just, correct and moral application of martial arts in conflict and violence. 

It is best described in a very basic way through the general intent and meaning as presented by such ancient classics as the I Ching, the Tao Te Ching, the Analects and in martial arts ken-po goku-i, the spirit of the law of the fist. 

As you can see even in this attempt to describe a very personal belief of spirituality in martial arts the actual end results can only be determined through the studies of the individual martial artists. It helps us discover the spiritual of martial arts through the physical and mental efforts of study, practice and training that are the hallmarks of all martial disciplines. 

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