Getting Smart in the Martial Art

Newsletter 850

Knowledge in the Martial Arts

Fantastic day to you!

Do you remember when you were in the fifth grade?
You were smarter than the fourth graders,
you could,
let’s be honest,
kick their little butts.
But those sixth graders…
man, they were big and mean!

you realize that I have honestly depicted the martial arts.
This is the way the belt structure works,
just like grades in school.

Those purple belts,
they’ll never toughen up.
Little dweebs.
But those brown belts,
They are mean!

But they aren’t bigger.
The sixth graders are bigger,
but the brown belts…they’re about the same size.

If you take a black belt and a green belt,
and you give them a bunch of tests,
push ups, sit ups,
that sort of thing,
there usually isn’t a great difference.

So what is the difference between belts?

The simple answer is:
the upper belts have better kicks and punches and stuff.

But there is a more important answer that most people miss out on.


The upper belt has more knowledge.

But what is knowledge?

There’s car mechanic knowledge,
and farmer knowledge,
and mathematical knowledge.
All sorts of fields of knowledge,
but martial arts knowledge is different.

What I am talking about is the experiential knowledge.

For upper, upper belts,
it is simply referred to as ‘polishing.’
A guy doesn’t learn something new,
he ‘polishes’ his technique.

In other words,
he does something with more and more attention to detail,
and in that minutiae,
in that painstaking examination of motion,
is more knowledge.

the differences of knowledge,
on that level,
seem inconsequential.
let me tell you,
the differences,
the smaller they are,
are ginormous.

How do you know when somebody is going to do something
before they do it?

Today’s modern black belts
often can’t do this.
Yet this ability,
to tell what somebody was going to do
before they did it,
was considered normal
for a good black belt
a few decades ago.

But today’s modern black belts
are usually interested in running a school,
or somehow translating their activity into money.

Today’s black belts don’t actually work out much.

They teach,
and there is knowledge there,
but it is not the same thing
as creating silence around a technique
until you can see the technique
before it comes.

This is the knowledge of which I speak.

You do a technique
looking at it harder and harder
until you see some difference,
some odd thing
you never saw before,
and then you have a bit more knowledge.

Don’t get me wrong,
I’m not telling you teaching is wrong,
just that there is a field of knowledge
which teaching doesn’t plumb into,
and which isolating yourself into endless repetitions of a technique does.

Teaching provides a database of knowledge,
but you still have to build a high mountain on that database.

so what does it feel like?
What does this higher knowledge look like?

I’m 68,
I teach a couple of hours a day,
but I work out intensely.
Sometimes not as much as I want,
but I still try to work out EVERY DAY!
To look at an inch,
and slice it into finer lengths.
To look at a kick
and find some awareness of body in it
of which I was not aware.

Let’s say I am doing a replacement kick.
stand in a front stance facing a bag or wall.

replace your front foot with your rear foot
and strike the wall with your front foot.

Both feet move at the same time,
fear to front at the same as front to wall.
The rear foot plants on the floor at the same time
as the front foot impacts upon the wall.

And you reverse the motion to the beginning and original posture.

you do this,
and you do this,
you begin to appreciate
how the angles of the feet,
the muscles of the leg,
and all the minutiae
must come together in an instant.
if you keep doing this and doing this,
maybe for years,
one day you will be watching your feet from above,
just watching,
sort of marveling,
and thinking,
‘Huh, that’s good, that’s working.’

No joy or pride,
just deeper appreciation,
a satisfaction for the days work
that nobody,
unless they do the martial arts for decades
will ever understand.

But here’s what I didn’t mention.
You watch your feet,
without taking your eyes off your target.


Here’s where it gets tricky,
but pay attention to what I’m about to say.

The eyes are a bio-mechanical device
through which you look.
They eyes don’t look.
They are the ‘binoculars,’
the ‘glasses,’
the ‘microscope’
and you have to ask this one important question…
who is looking through the microscope?


Who is doing the technique?

Who is operating your body?

If you are watching it from above,
without eyes,
then who are you?
What are you?

This is the knowledge of which I speak,
this is the higher levels of the martial arts,
lost in calisthenics and tournament training,
never seen by people obsessed with bullying groups of students.

So I kick,
outside my body,
outside my eyes,
I watch the kick,
and in the watching comes a power unlike anything an earthling has ever imagined.

It makes me want to do martial arts every single waking moment
of every single day
for the length of my life.

when you finally get that removed viewpoint,
I call it a ‘Neutronic Viewpoint,’
all sorts of things can happen.
Things that have nothing to do with the body.

You can fill a room with energy,
you can put it in a student to help him understand,
you can shoot it at an opponent to overwhelm him.

And yet this energy,
can be sliced into infinity,
made to create a whole new and different body of knowledge.

As getting a black belt opens the door to new experiences and knowledge,
so does this achieving of a new viewpoint.

how do you get this knowledge and ability?

you study,
and you DON’T STOP!

you teach.
And you gather bits of knowledge,
whole arts if you wish
and you put them together as a whole.

what kind of a car would we have,
if the makers of tires believed that steering wheels weren’t important
because they weren’t tires?

You can’t toss out any part of the art
for any other part of the art,
you have to make everything come together in one picture.

So you study,
and you put the arts together through matrixing,
and you search for that unique outer viewpoint.

as in…
‘he who seeks will find.’
You have to be that religious about it.


Here’s a little birthday gift to you.
I don’t care if it’s not your birthday,
you were born sometime,
and if I missed your birthday,
then I’m making up for it,
here’s the gift.

I don’t think the PayPal buttons work on it,
but maybe the links do,
have no idea.
If a button or link doesn’t work,
nothing I can do about it.
But if you find something that works,
on this old website,
good for you.
I’ll honor it.

take a look at the last graphic in the mag.
It is an image of how the arts develop,
and it actually shows how people can be distracted and fall off,
even with the best of intentions.

So enjoy,
and remember what I said about…
‘work out, teach, and never hold yourself back.’

Have a great work out!

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any questions about anything,
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