Archive for philosophy

Kennedy on “What is Martial Art” : RTD 018

Posted in Discussion Question, Martial Arts, Philosophy, Roundtable Discussion with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2013 by Combative Corner

TJ Kennedy 001

Bruce Lee said in his infamous television interview with Pierre Burton, that martial art is the expression of self. That, in my opinion, is what “art” is. When applied in a combative context, what component of the “self” is one expressing, exactly?

It is my opinion, that martial art can be defined as the following:

The articulation of one’s combative intent through the medium of human movement.

To have an objective in mind, and to achieve this objective using the only instrument one has – his or her body (and weapons, if present, as an extension of the body).

Each individual will articulate his or her movements differently, and will indeed choose different tools to perform different tasks. This is where individuality comes into play. Where the expression of self is seen. The differences in articulation are the result of differences in physiology, culture, personal ethics, etc.

The more one practices using their body to articulate combative intent, the more prolific and efficient they will become in their art. There will be a singularity – a cohesion of techniques and increased fluidity of movement.

That is the denotative meaning. However, there is a significant connotative interpretation of martial art that I’d like to discuss.

That is, the more one engages their mind to act in tandem with their body, the more centered and aware they can become. This union of mind and body can lead to expanded consciousness.

There is an ineffable quality to martial art. A difference in intent. A fighter will fight for status, for resources, etc. A true martial artist…..or warrior…..will fight to protect that which he or she values. Their motives may be love, justice, compassion, etc.

A “fighter” is a role, whereas “martial artist” is a way of life;

a state of being.

These are my thoughts on what “martial art” is. 

I welcome any comments.

T.J. Kennedy

Founder of the Hybrid Fighting Method


The Principle of Gradualness

Posted in Martial Arts, Philosophy, Taijiquan, Teaching Topic, Training with tags , , , , , , on January 2, 2013 by Combative Corner

chen zhaopi

To fully understand Taijiquan it is necessary to understand its underlying philosophy. This is less of a problem for Chinese students as many of the ideas are omnipresent throughout  their everyday culture. Western students, on the other hand, need to explore aspects of Chinese thought that have permeated its culture for several thousand years. Failure to grasp its philosophy results in one training a superficial system that is lacking in real foundation. 18th generation exponent Chen Zhaopi believed that this does not just apply to Taijiquan, but that every action a person takes in everyday life should be in accord with a higher philosophy.

At Taijiquan’s core is the Taiji or Yin-Yang theory – the search for harmony and balance. In Daoist alchemy heaven, earth and humans are collectively known as the “Three Powers”. Humans thrive to the extent to which they conform to the forces that mould and nurture them. It was said that:

“Heaven is clear and calm; earth is stable and tranquil. Humans who reject these virtues perish, while those who adapt them thrive.”

Following its Daoist roots, Taijiquan asks practitioners to seek “ziran” or “the natural state”. To do this we must accept the principle of gradualness – the long journey towards mastery can only be achieved gradually. Looking at the normal development of a person from infancy to maturity – each day they may seem the same as the day before, but if all their basic needs are met a fully functioning adult eventually emerges.

Taijiquan places great importance on fulfilling basic requirements which must be trained daily over a long period of time. We all know the rules – suspend the head, store the chest, relax shoulders, sink elbows etc etc… This is the core of Taijiquan skill and no amount of new forms and novel applications can replace it. The following advice from Chen Xin’s “Illustrated Explanation of Chen Family Taijiquan”, reflects this inexhorable approach to developing real skill:

“The Taijiquan practitioner must apply ceaseless efforts to make his mind aware of each tiny transformation taking place in the postures…one must establish full mental control over every movement: from the way one’s hand commences a posture, to the area through which it passes, and up to its final resting place.”

This can only be achieved gradually!

David Gaffney

from his blog: Talking Chen Taijiquan qith David Gaffney

*pictured: Chen Zhaopi.  “Lean With Back”

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Sifu Lee on East vs West

Posted in Day's Lesson, Philosophy with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2012 by Sifu Freddie Lee

In the West, people love striving towards goals. The West is very extroverted. An entrepreneur can become rich simply by setting up goals for others to achieve. In the West people love to feel that inner pride for what they do. The organizer for the Chicago Marathon may not even be able to run the marathon himself, but he set up the event with the goal, he provides the medals & the money rewards. Now thousands want to join to try to reach the goal he has established. The organizer of a certain ring fight may not know how to fight himself, but he has arranged an event & established goals to achieve. Now thousands want to achieve this goal & even more are paying to watch. People will pay another person money so that, that other person will create a goal for him to achieve. That is what tournaments are all about.

Now in the East, we set our own goals to achieve, we do not look towards another to set a goal for us. When you come from the East to the West, you can then become the leader that sets the goals for those in the West to achieve. There is a lot of yang energy in the west, all they really need is to be guided in the proper direction. People simply have a strong wish to be recognized for doing things that they are good at. The West is not the way of the Tao, but the emphasis on Tao reminds the man with the Western mind to not forget, when you do not forget, it is much easier to come closer to a balance. It is interesting when you come from the east & you start to understand the Western mind. It is a mind with constant activity, constant movement. It does not want to sit still. Rather than forcing it to stay still, many times it is best to simply guide it towards a healthier direction & set it free.

Sifu Freddie Lee

[via FMK’s Facebook]

O’Sensei and The Principle of The Circle

Posted in Aikido, Teaching Topic with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2012 by Combative Corner

Aikido technique is structured on circular movement, for harmony is brought about and all conflict resolved through the spirit of the circle. The response of the body, mind and spirit to the principle of the circle is vital to the creation of technique.



A circle…

encloses space, and it is from the perfect freedom of this emptiness that ki is born. From the center of this birthplace, the creative processes of life are joined with the infinite, immeasurable universe by the spirit. The spirit is the Creator, the eternal parent giving birth to all things.


The Budo of Aikido springs from the mastery of the spirit of the circle. The essence if this Budo is to embrace the complementary action of cause and effect and to draw into yourself all things as if they were held within the palm of your hand. You have a spirit, therefore you must realize that each person has a spirit. When the life processes are connected with the spirit and the fundamental principle of the circle is given birth in Aiki, all things are led to completion through the circle. All things are freely created by the circle. The secret of the circle is to create technique by piercing the very center of Space.

Morihei Ueshiba – Founder of Aikido

Robert Lara Sensei

Four Winds Aikido

Martial Artists and ‘The Ego’ : Sifu Lee

Posted in Day's Lesson, Internal Development, Philosophy, Teaching Topic with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 27, 2012 by Sifu Freddie Lee

A Martial Artist does not forever enhance this ego, he enhances it, & then he destroys it. He raises himself up, & then he lowers himself back down. He understands both.

He understands the ego way & he understands the way with no ego.

He knows how to be hard but he also knows how to be soft. He is gentle & sweet but he can be fierce when it is called upon for him to be fierce.  He does not enjoy seeing others suffer but he understands that at certain times others will need to suffer in order to grow.

Freddie Lee

[via FMK’s Facebook Profile]


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