Senshin: The Enlightened Mind

Martial Arts Blog

normrobitza On September - 26 - 2013

Samurai_by_AkeironMost of you have heard the term Martial Arts but do you really know what it means?

A Martial Art, by definition, is a codified systems and traditions of combat practices, which are practiced for a variety of reasons: self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, entertainment, as well as mental, physical, and spiritual development.

Essentially, to be a Martial Art, there has to be an emphasis on the artistic. In the far east, everything is an art. The tea ceremony or Japanese gardening comes to mind. These are art forms with levels of expertise. There has to be a Martial component to be a Martial Art. So to be a Martial Art, it has to be a form of combat. So this means that all Martial Artists are Warriors? Not exactly.

In today’s popular styles, we are seeing the disappearance of everything but sparring and stylized kata. The reason for this is tournaments and other competitions. If you are studying a “Martial Art” solely for competition then you are not a warrior but a “player”. Most of these “players” focus only on what will work in competition and discard everything else. This is why I believe that the term, “Mixed Martial Arts” is misleading. Don’t get me wrong, the popularity of MMA is drawing people to studying an art form. However, many of these people will lose interest after them realize that many dojos are more dedicated to the art form and not competitions.

The majority of martial artists are “weekend warriors” for the lack of a better term. They train a couple nights a week and consider their training as a hobby.

Now lets switch gears and talk about the Martial Way. Those that live the Martial Way are a different sort of people. They do not train one or two days a week or focus on tournaments and competitions. These men and women live a lifestyle. Karate Do is a style that focuses on the Way. The Japanese term, “Do” literally means “the way or the path”. These practitioners are not worried about medals or recognition. They are focused on reaching a state of mind. The name of my blog, Senshin is what they long for. Senshin means enlightenment. Those that practice the Martial Way are longing for perfection of themselves. They train several times a week at a formal dojo but also practice on their own time. They read about their style and others. They teach and discuss their art with others.

funakoshiportraitAn example of someone that followed the Martial Way is the Father of Modern Karate, Gichin Funakoshi. He practiced karate not for recognition or medals. He refused to allow his students to compete in tournaments. Master Funakoshi considered tournaments to be a way to show off. He did not approved of this and it took a very long time for Master Nakayama to convince him to allow a tournament to take place. I have mentioned this in one of my previous topics.

Funakoshi was born to the Samurai class. He exemplified what it meant to be a warrior. No he did not fight in any epic wars or even used his karate in a fight. Funakoshi devoted himself to his art form much like the samurai of old devoted themselves to their pursuits. So if you take this into consideration. Those that follow the Martial Way are the kin to the Samurai of years gone by. They are focused on perfecting themselves and becoming the best warrior that they can be. Remember the “Martial” element?

Now think about your training. Which are you?

Categories: Teaching/Training

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