To say that manners are a lost art in our society today would be an understatement. Rudeness runs rampant but do we still need manners?
Most martial arts still practice some form of manners but the reasons for it may surprise you. Manners were a form of self-defense.
In feudal Japan there was no law except might makes right. A samurai could, if offended (real or just perceived), pull out his sword and cut down the unfortunate person with impunity. Out of this reality grew a codified system of manners in order to not offend and prevent danger.
In the European cultures a handshake is considered a polite way of greeting someone. I’m sure you’ve all seen some time period movie where the two warriors meet and greet each other by clasping forearms (a predecessor to the handshake). This offering of an arm without a weapon was meant to put the person at ease and to communicate your peaceful intentions.
In today’s society you can’t just haul off and smack someone who...
When practicing kata or techniques very often students rush “to do” the technique without understanding why the kata or technique exists. Kata in our system are reenactments of battles or are they are drills created to pass on principles of survival. They provide answers to situations that teach lessons to us. They are not things that can be done independently of the situation or the attacker.
To understand these answers you have to understand the danger involved. There is a cause and effect relationship between the attack and defense that was used to survive a battle. This relationship holds the principles of our art.
One of the ways to do this is to lose the simulated fight in order to learn how to win the fight. When you practice a kata try letting the attacker win at first. See what the attack looks like and what the results would be if they succeeded. Obviously you need to do this at a safe speed and have a cooperative training partner so no one gets hurt.
Mr. Hayes often reminds us at training seminars that we should have a personal training question we are trying to answer. I have found many people have a difficult time with this idea. They ask things like, “Can you show me this kamae?” or “I want to learn about this historical ryu.” or “How do I throw a jab?”. While these are legitimate questions they are very general. Your questions should reflect your training.
To come up with a question that will take your training to a new level you need to do some homework and answer some questions.
Answer these questions for yourself then you can format a question for your teacher, the online community, or if you’re lucky enough Mr. or Mrs. Hayes.
If your results are negative and you’re having problems the format would be:
“I have been working on ______________....