It has been said many times and by more authoritative sources that the true effectiveness of martial arts derives from a precise inner balance between body and mind .
Many classical martial arts involve exercises of mind control, meditation, discovery of inner energies, passage from one state of consciousness to the other, and finally specific exercises to somehow find stability in a condition where the eruptions of emotions and the milling of the thinking mind is absent, an area where one lives in the moment of performance without thinking about results and outcomes.
This is also valid in combat sports, in which the best athletes are also followed today by mind trainers and special coaches who help them, through visualizations, breathing and mental exercises, to optimize their work and overcome their limits, raising the bar of their own standards.
But is it possible to learn to swim without entering the water?
Sometimes in fact a sort of imbalance occurs between the care of the two poles, body and mind, and some martial arts, some masters and some schools, focus too much on the work on the mind, on the temperament, on the state of consciousness, creating, not a few times, an incorrect evaluation of oneself, and in some cases the illusion, a trick of the mind in fact, of being a better martial artist than one actually is .
The illusion leads to disillusionment, often painful and demoralizing.
The importance of Praxis
Every theory, every visualization and inner work needs to be tested, it needs a praxis that tells us if it is worthwhile to continue or not with this typology of exercises, if they actually produce an effect in reality.
And it is in this sense that the sports competition in martial arts must be taken. We do not compete with others but with ourselves, to correct the shot in our training.
Combat with rules is the closest thing to a real fight, to war, where survival is at stake, where emotions and thoughts take over, which is why it is the best test-bed for our martial arts.
It is too easy not to test, or test in an environment that does not cause stress, our techniques .
A warrior in a garden or a gardener in a war?
In Japan it is common to say that it is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war . Take the case of one of the most famous masters Morihei Ueshiba, founder of aikido, a classic martial art with a strong philosophical and spiritual aspect that does not involve fighting and competition.
Before creating this martial art in the 20s of the last century, the master Ueshiba served in the Japanese army and, according to his biography, as a member of the Shinto sect Oomoto, he had to complain of murders to protect the life of his spiritual guide.
This process, perhaps extreme, however, leads us to understand that to really apply sweet martial arts and deprive a hypothetical adversary of the ability to lead us without harming him in turn, we must also master the other side of martial power, we must potentially be able to harm to choose not to harm with mastery .
Ueshiba knew, due to years of praxis, his potential lethality, he knew, pragmatically, that his state of consciousness was able to withstand realistic contexts without being shaken. Martial arts are based on an ancient Chinese assumption: what it is able to cure, it is also able to kill and vice versa .
Yin and Yang
Nowadays we know, thanks to a revival of martial arts tournaments and an international interest in them, that martial arts that do not require competition but merely train with a partner who supports us, do not have great results .
According to the classical schools, those founded in times of war and therefore truly effective in a martial sense, the youth of a martial artist must foresee competition and regulated combat ; a martial artist must really know his energy, his character under stress, work on his atavistic fears and on the excesses of violence.
He must have vented his own yang side, without repressing it, and then, once tamed, be ready, with full potential, to express the developed power, through the yin side of the martial arts, the inner power made of energy work.
To conclude, we can say that martial arts that focus only on combat and those that do not, both lack one aspect to create true martial artists.
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