Who are the Martial Gods and Why are They So Angry?

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The Martial Arts Gods are Pissed!

1967, November.
My very first class.
The instructor said:

you bow when you enter the building
to show respect for all within the building,
and the art taught within the building.

you bow to any instructors you meet
to show respect for their hard work

you bow when you step onto the mat
to show respect for everybody
who has ever studied the martial arts.

‘WAIT!’ I protested.
“Everybody?”
“yes.”
“Who is everybody?”

“The people who taught your instructors,
the people who taught the people who taught your instructors,
the people who taught the people who…and so on.”

“So I’m bowing to everybody who ever studied the martial arts?”

“Yup.”

Silence.

The instructor:
“Do you know how much blood it took
to figure the martial arts out?
Do you know how much sweat it took
to put the techniques into teachable routines?”

“Oh,” I said,
dimly understanding what I was getting into.

The instructor continued.
“When you bow to me it is not because
I wear funny pajamas and have a black belt,
it is because I represent a sacred trust,
handed down through hard work and dedication.
Got it?”

I did.

You know,
in the past I have gotten away from that explanation,
and I shouldn’t have.
I tell people that bowing is saying ‘hello,’ and ‘goodby.’
And it is,
but who you are saying hello and goodby to is pretty important.

When you walk into a church you know it is a church,
there is just a feel to it,
a spirit,
and you can feel that here is a place where people pray,
and the walls and floors and everything
have soaked up that energy.
A martial arts studio is the same.
There is a feel to the mats and mirrors and bags,
a feel different from a gym,
or a school for boxing,
it is a deeply spiritual feeling,
put there by endless ritual,
by respect,
a sense of ‘art’ that is exuded by spirit,
and deeply perceived by people who are in love with that spirit.

The martial arts spirit,
the sweat and blood and spirit
exuded by the trillions of men who ever stepped on to a mat,
who defend self and families with honor,
who believe in a better world.

Bow to it.

Have a great work out!
Al

A WIN!
I see the progressive curve in matrix martial arts, the logic, the feeling, the system (order) and the change from hard to soft, from physical to spiritual, from external to internal and how the both come together. In essence the notion of styles and belts vanishes, as does the delusional importance placed on the external, materialistic side of the martial arts…rank, fame, winning/losing, belt number and color, titles…vanity and ego. For something to be true, its opposite must also be true,… where the external is superficial and limited, the internal, the essential qualities, are deep, bound and limitless, hence the truth, coming from the source, not the human mind. Can’t take the belt with us, but the essence, the wisdom, the teachings, remain, perpetually. At least this is what I have found. On my matrixing journey from basic basics to matrix Karate, to Pangai Noon, to monkey boxing, to blinding steel, to Pakua to Tai Chi.
Now all I care about is to master the material and be the best teacher i can be. So others find their way home as well…
Thank you for all you have given me over the last 3 years.
It is a debt I can never repay in full, but it definitely brought me to the point where I am now and beyond. I humbly bow to you in sincere gratitude and respect, sensei Al.  I always considered you a Grandmaster, my teacher and a good man who cares.
Will S

“If there is a God, he is within.
You don’t ask God to give you things,
you depend on God for your inner theme.”
– Bruce Lee

One Response to Who are the Martial Gods and Why are They So Angry?

  1. I can see more into the Japanese culture itself thanks to this article it has expanded my view since I live here now.

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