Martial Arts aka Karate, Tai Kwoon Do, Kung Fu, Boxing, Fencing, Tai Chi, Judo, Jiu Jitsu just to mention a few. Martial Arts is heavily mired in mystic bullshit. Many people feel that all Martial Arts are bullshit in the same vein as religion. However many Martial Arts have removed themselves from the supernatural practices and focus on their "art" as a method attaining health and learning physical self defense. 


So the big question is... Do we continue using the term "Martial Arts" due to it's heavy association with nonsense; or do we need to utilize or create a new term for those that practice self defense oriented fitness. Our assumption is that fitness is not a bullshit practice. Thought to the contrary would be best left for another discussion.


Almost everyone has taken a martial art class or know someone who has. What's your perspective?

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I find that there are plenty of styles out there which do not really buy into the mysticism completely.  In particular, the martial styles you learn in military outfits are not so mired in the ideas of energy flows and so on.  Though I would also say that the same even applies to certain teachers in classical styles.

When I was studying aikido, I got to have a few weeks of personal training from O-Sensei's grandson, Ueshiba Moriteru.  Even though O-Sensei was very big on the value of kiai in training on the basis of it being some sort of expression of power...  even though Moriteru-shihan teaches that way, he said himself that he feels it's little more than a convenient way to train people into a mindset for proper breathing and ensuring they exhale at the point when they apply effort.  My regular shihan (who was also my kenjutsu shihan) was the sort of person who would occasionally, whenever she had an inability to explain something scientifically, would use the woo-woo mysticism, but when she did know the physics or kinematics of it, that was the explanation she preferred to use.

One of the reasons I've always been fond of Bruce Lee's books (some of which were collected and published posthumously) is that he doesn't just stop at saying "this is how you do it"...  He says "this is how you do it, and here's why it works" or "here's why the basic principles of it are actually valuable in practice."


In an odd sort of way, I also started studying martial arts for geeky reasons.  I was always most interested in the principles and the why more so than the execution.




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