Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Goal of Mastery

Mushin University™ Self-Knowledge the Ultimate Knowledge


“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” Bruce Lee 

As I see it, mastery is a paradox. As an aspiring artist, we are encouraged and instructed to follow the examples of the masters that came before us. This is true if you are a wood worker, artist, musician, brick layer, or stonemason. Yet, we also have to evolve past the rather mundane techniques of our chosen discipline to reach a level where other masters are willing to accept us into the martial art guild. Normally, that consists of the circle and association that you belong to. It is a bit more rare to be accepted by those outside of your association unless your repetition proceeds you. However, you know you are on the right path when people that are known internationally recognize your mastery right away. This is rightly so in my point of view. 

Although, I believe mastery is evident in effectiveness even if it it limited to a very specific area, range, or style. It is not every school of thought that wants to practice and train in weapons, striking, kicking, grappling, and mediation arts. Some schools like to preserve the history of a certain time period while other schools place the ability to adapt the art to modern times and situations. Even among these schools there can be further separations along this line when considering if weaponry should be included in the curriculum.

While Mushashi said, "The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them." He also said,“from one thing, know ten thousand things.” It seems to me that in the west we have often mislabeled or mismanaged the term master and the concept of mastery. Although many will say the same about stanch traditionalist; using that term for someone that adheres to a particular manner and time frame interpretation of a given art. 

Many schools will train with any ancient weapon. Other schools might only allow classical hand-to-hand weapons that were used by the founders of the style or system. Yet many schools abstain from any and all projectile weapons ancient or otherwise. However, others look at a more pragmatic approach and train with only adaptive weapons of opportunity. Many people train with combinations, including guns and ancient ways together. I sometimes fall into each grouping. But I also can find value in arts with mixed histories of dubious origins and overlapping teaching. That is as long as there is a practical application behind them that can be reproduced effectively. It is not that these styles are purposely fraudulent often the members are just passing along what they were told. 

There are some masters that intentionally hide their secrets to keep those that would misuse them at a disadvantage. While I feel this is dishonest to paying students, but I understand  the need for instructors to pay their bills. Still if you don't trust someone don't teach them or at least teach them in steps so that you can see their true colors. But in another way this is sort of what they are doing, in/yo aka yin and yang.

"The transition from student to teacher forced me to realize that what I had once viewed as a secret and protective withholding of information by a teacher was really an attempt on his part to increase and maintain constant improvement in students by forcing them to develop an adequate basis for further development. Students want to know everything and they want to know it now. The question is, just how much can they really know without the proper background development?" Jesse Glover



PS: On a side note I am preparing a new website and book launch. I will do an update on all my books at this time. Book 8 of the series will have a special surprise, this book (from my Dream Walker series), will incorporate a character based on an internationally known man of mystery, realtor and JKD aficionado Derek Chin! As usual even my fictional books will have real life lessons and martial art encounters based on a melange of events from encounters of my fiends, associates, students and myself. Although you have to remember this series is a sci-fi/fantasy so don't expect to be able to figure out the actual chain of events, as timelines, people and places are all fictional.
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