Friday, January 20, 2012

Kenpo Karate and the Arts of War

Martial arts were created as a way to defend one's self. Kenpo itself was created by Shaolin monks after a visit from an Indian wanderer. He taught them the art which was not called kenpo at the time so that they could defend their temple from marauders. The Yoshidas brought "kenpo" to Japan after they created their own temple. And kenpo karate was born as it intermingled with the culture and other martial art forms in the area.

All martial arts have similar tales; there is not one that is better than the rest. Miyamoto encouraged his students of strategy to seek all arts of war and learn from them. They all have flaws; they all have strengths. They each teach a way to discipline the body and mind and give students a closer link to the third element of all human beings: the soul.

So when a teacher says that his way is the best, remember that it is not the way, it is the student. The student is the one who takes the art and makes it what it is.

Bruce Lee took his art and turned it into Jeet Kune Do by adding various art forms. He recognized what his style lacked and created his own style to make up for the flaws... however even his style is not flawless. That would imply a state of perfection which is impossible for human beings (insert Chuck Norris joke here).

I write this post because I read an article written by a teacher who thought his style was best. He chastised another style for the way that its students practiced. In his pride he challeged any martial artist to fight him in the ring so he could show them how a real martial artist spars.

It is foolish for him to do this. Though his confidence may not be misplaced and he may be the best of his time, to chastise an art based solely on one day's experience is pure foolishness.

Each art has it's place. As one way focuses on techniques more than others, still another art makes up for it by focusing on what the first lacks. Learn all that you can about all ways and create your own style; in this Bruce Lee is a true artist to develop his art: a true contribution to the arts of war.

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