November 17, 2009 2 Comments
Condition One: Protection of Self and Others. In either case, a Martial Artist has to be both tactical and strategic. It’s not enough to know how to counter a groin kick with a joint lock. Martial Artists have to understand the ramifications of their actions and plan ahead accordingly. I have seen several occasions where a Martial Artist could have easily beaten someone that was immediately threatening them, but did not, due to the strategic implications. This could mean that for legal, social, or really any reason, it was more important and appropriate to keep the situation non-violent. Some examples might be that beating up a person would fuel more violence in the future that could not be contained, or that beating up a person could mean that they could not provide for their family afterwards because of the injuries. At other times, a Martial Artist can decide to beat the other person up. This can be for many reasons as well. Some examples might be that the other person left no avenue for a safe retreat, or the other person could be the sort that, if not dealt with in a harsh manner immediately, because a growing threat over time.
When it comes to others, Martial Artists are naturally protective, if not overly so. The proper function of Martial Arts, and thus Martial Artists, is the protection of others by warding off violence against them. The same ideas rise here as far why a Martial Artist would or would not fight in the protection of others. In the perspective of the Martial Artist, defeat of an enemy is literally a given, a foregone conclusion, and the decision is not so much “Should I fight?” but more “Should I let this person go home or die?” Protection of others can be a bit more intricate. This is because the person being protected is the consideration, not the person trying to hurt them. Here, the Martial Artist says “The most important thing is that my friend/spouse/child not be hurt.” So a Martial Artist can sometimes intervene, and by presence alone, ward off the intentions of someone thinking to do harm. Other times, the Martial Artist acts faster than breathing, to eliminate anything that threatens someone in his company. This is because the Martial Artist values life, and more so, humanity. Anyone that would try to hurt someone else has lost their humanity, lost their way. When the Martial Artist has to act in way that injures or kills someone like this, it is not the same, since they are acting in preservation of humanity and life, not in the destruction of it.
Condition Two: When Martial Artist fight each other. First of all, I’m not talking about sport or competition. When Martial Artist fight each other, it is usually over a philosophical disparity on the matter of style. For example, two Martial Artists can study two different Martial Arts. One or both of them feel so strongly that the other is doing something so remiss, that they fight over it. This is the strongest and most obvious example of style as a motivator for fighting. Another example could be that two Martial Artists practice the same style, but have different instructors. This is a bit more complex, because what they are fighting over now is not so much the style or method of their particular art, but the style or methods used by their particular instructor. A last example is that two Martial Artist that have the same instructor fight each other. This is usually very personal and based on nothing more than a hurt ego. When fellow students are at odds with each other, it is generally because they both seek favor in the instructors eyes, and they see the other person as a threat to that. Some instructors allow this, to a degree, as it sometimes builds stronger bonds between the two rivals. Usually it is not tolerated at all, and left up to the individuals to deal with. Note that the issue of style here is the manner the student feels that the teacher should be treated.
Of course, there are challenges. To be sure, whenever there is a challenge, someone will get hurt. Even in this day, and most people would politely, or at least publicly, disagree, challenges are still accepted. There are several types of challenges:
- When a student challenges a fellow student of the same school. Both students have the same teacher. One may be senior to the other in rank or experience.
- When a student challenges a student of the same style from a different school.
- When a student challenges the teacher of his own school.
- When the teacher challenges one of his students.
- When a student challenges someone from a completely different style, teacher or student.
- When a teacher challenges someone from a completely different style, usually another teacher.
The reasons for these challenges vary. They are sometimes purely academic, a desire to know how one would fare. They are sometimes issued out of malice toward the other. Other times, challenges are issued because the other party has committed a perceive act of malice, and the challenge is designed to hand out “justice.”