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Philosophy and fighting
Kutaki Postmaster
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I am starting this thread to talk a bit more about something talked about in "Shinto and the Bujinkan", namely that philosophy does not come up during an attack, only after training. To clarify what my thinking is on the subject, I think that there are a couple of stages of 'an attack'. Sometimes there is the attack that you never see coming. I think that there is more of a philosophy which happens before this kind of attack comes then first meets the eye. Thinking about where you go in the city or wherever, and how you carry yourself, and who you go with, and what you carry (or if you carry anything at all) is informed by our personal philosophies about what is appropriate, and what we are capable of. When the hit from behind comes though, I do think that philosophizing becomes pretty difficult. But assuming you are not killed or knocked unconscious right away, or in a clinch with no distance from the attacker, I think that philosophy comes into play with whether or not I pull any weapon I might have, or if I choose to even fight at all, or whether I choose to run. Do I yell and ask for help, do I try to talk to the person, or do I just wade right in and try to finish what the other person started. Once again I think that these questions go through our minds in attacks, whether we notice them or not. I do agree that as well philosophy is something which comes after training and/or an attack, but I know that for myself it is something which happens before and during training and/or an attack as well. After all the fact that I have trained indicates that I have a certain philosophy about conflict resolution. But that is just me. I would be interested to hear what others have to say about the subject. So how about it guys and gals?

Posted on: 2007/5/4 6:55
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Re: Philosophy and fighting
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Hmmm... Well, considering the lengthy debate recently on just WHAT IS philosophy, I'd say this can be difficult to answer.

I think you are relating one's philosophy to one's own ideology, or how they define their experiences and understanding of everything (including themselves) - and that influences the unique tendencies and flavors of said individual's behavior.

Yes, in this regard, philosophy can be mixed with spirituality and the two will cross into each other when discussed.

I think one's own personal philosophy/ideology will be a determining factor in how one detects, perceives and reacts to danger (applying it to a martial arts situation). This 'danger' can be physical, mental, emotional and spiritual (oh, there we go!). Even 'danger' itself may not actually be 'dangerous' in its very nature, but we may perceive it as such.

The study of budo, at least from what I've learned studying Bujinkan budo, has a philosophy to it. But, I see this as being more related to the original Greek meaning of the word as "love of wisdom" - not the wisdom itself, but the love of it. This, to me, defines training in the Bujinkan today. We focus on the feeling of Soke's budo, because we can't really define Soke's budo. So, we all have a love ("philo") of budo and that's what fires us on to keep training, never totally concluding anything or knowing exactly what that budo is - we just know what it 'feels' like when we experience it.

Every time we experience it, we are pushed a little further in our evolution. So, experiencing it is more important than the knowledge of it - in my opinion. Experiencing love is far more life changing and powerful than the knowledge of love. So, 'philo' (love) in both budo and wisdom is in the pursuit for the experience of it.

This, to me, is a philosophy of budo, or love of the wisdom of budo. Again, that's my own personal thoughts and, just as 'philosophy' is today, open to countless variations of interpretation.

Posted on: 2007/5/4 7:39
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I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, or in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. ~ Thomas Jefferson
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Re: Philosophy and fighting
Kutaki Postmaster
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Quote:

Darren wrote:
Hmmm... Well, considering the lengthy debate recently on just WHAT IS philosophy, I'd say this can be difficult to answer.



Quote:


I think you are relating one's philosophy to one's own ideology, or how they define their experiences and understanding of everything (including themselves) - and that influences the unique tendencies and flavors of said individual's behavior.


Yup he is... which is cool just not objective. But, creating a personal philosophy is closely related to virtue ethics and things along those lines. [/quote]

Quote:

Yes, in this regard, philosophy can be mixed with spirituality and the two will cross into each other when discussed.

I think one's own personal philosophy/ideology will be a determining factor in how one detects, perceives and reacts to danger (applying it to a martial arts situation). This 'danger' can be physical, mental, emotional and spiritual (oh, there we go!). Even 'danger' itself may not actually be 'dangerous' in its very nature, but we may perceive it as such.


I disagree here I don`t think that ones personal philosophy or ideology has anything to do with the way one detects danger. Perceptions along these lines are purely physical/"spiritual" (in quotes becasue I am a realist if the soul exists it is a physical thing). Ok, for example we don`t detect that our girlfriends upset by using philosophy, no we just feel it and see certain physical cues that she is upset...( or they tell us :) Perception of danger is a mere mechanism that allows for us to survive. We can train it, through say a method involving some philosophical reasoning but, it isn`t the determining factor.

Quote:
The study of budo, at least from what I've learned studying Bujinkan budo, has a philosophy to it. But, I see this as being more related to the original Greek meaning of the word as "love of wisdom" - not the wisdom itself, but the love of it. This, to me, defines training in the Bujinkan today. We focus on the feeling of Soke's budo, because we can't really define Soke's budo. So, we all have a love ("philo") of budo and that's what fires us on to keep training, never totally concluding anything or knowing exactly what that budo is - we just know what it 'feels' like when we experience it.


This is not geared at you Darren directly: But, consider the following: I have a belief that the stuff in that glass on the table is H20, and I have a desire to drink H20. But the stuff in the glass in reality is not H20 but some sort of Kerosine. This is how most people view wisdom or knowledge they have a desire for it but have a bunch of false beliefs about what it is...

But, I do like your main point the love of Budo is really important.  Also the love of a woman it is important to really experience it.

Quote:
Every time we experience it, we are pushed a little further in our evolution. So, experiencing it is more important than the knowledge of it - in my opinion. Experiencing love is far more life changing and powerful than the knowledge of love. So, 'philo' (love) in both budo and wisdom is in the pursuit for the experience of it.




Quote:
This, to me, is a philosophy of budo, or love of the wisdom of budo. Again, that's my own personal thoughts and, just as 'philosophy' is today, open to countless variations of interpretation.


Analytical tradition of philosophy is dead against countless interpretations, hence the problem with other threads, it is about being clear. Poetry and art is up for countless interpretations, analytic philosophy is not. We don`t want to interpret knowledge we want to know it. An interpretation is not knowledge but a belief...

Cool post though vary cool! But, I think people want philosophy to do to much. It is important to be human and understand what it is to be human first, before moving on beyond being human.
By the way analytic philosophy is boring to read for most, I read Nietzsche for fun and other continental philosophy for fun (this stuff is open to interpretation.)

Cool, The love of Budo could make for a cool T-shirt :)

Rob

Posted on: 2007/5/4 18:03
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Re: Philosophy and fighting
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Quote:

Darren wrote:
The study of budo, at least from what I've learned studying Bujinkan budo, has a philosophy to it. But, I see this as being more related to the original Greek meaning of the word as "love of wisdom" - not the wisdom itself, but the love of it. This, to me, defines training in the Bujinkan today. We focus on the feeling of Soke's budo, because we can't really define Soke's budo. So, we all have a love ("philo") of budo and that's what fires us on to keep training, never totally concluding anything or knowing exactly what that budo is - we just know what it 'feels' like when we experience it.


...

...

[/thread]

I usually feel like replying with "[/thread]" after your responses Darren because you so often hit the nail on the head.

Posted on: 2007/5/4 19:01
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Re: Philosophy and fighting
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Thanks, guys! Rob, I totally see your point and you are right, too. That's why this is such a hard thing to talk about, because there are so many interpretations and understandings. It really is a personal thing.

I struggled with my own post because in my head I kept finding the "yeah, but..." comments popping up every time I made a definitive statement. Ugh!

I guess what I meant by our philosophy affecting our sense of danger is really more aligned with the idea that our own philosophical 'conclusions' about ourselves and the world around us can be the filter or defining guide as to what 'danger' is. For example, my child could be studying a certain topic in school I might find 'dangerous' to his own development of what I believe to be right or wrong. I would, based on conclusions of my own philosophy, would see that as 'danger' and would seek to protect him from it. I could be totally wrong about said topic, but I believe I'm right because of how I interpret things through my own wisdom. That's one example of how my own personal philosophy could affect my sense of danger - by first defining for me what 'danger' is (whether actual or not).

This is different than sensing danger as from a violent altercation, but depending on my philophical concusions about myself and life, I may see that danger as a welcomed opportunity to satisfy some grander need. But, I think I'm getting away from philosophy as a 'love of wisdom' and making it more a thing, or an ideology.

Wisdom is what we all tend to strive for, as something tangible to grasp, right? If experience is the greatest teacher of wisdom, than each experience molds my understanding (wisdom), which in turn filters what experiences I choose to have down the road. Most people, I think, choose to pursue those things which support (not challenge) what they have concluded - so even philosophy (as an active 'love of wisdom') can be bias. I think the question then becomes whether 'love' (philo) is an action ("to love") or a condition/experience ("feel love"). You are pursuing wisdom or enjoying wisdom. Hmmm... Too heady for me this early in the morning...

Ugh, I'm struggling explaining my thoughts on this, but I hope you understand what I'm getting at.

I hope I'm not drinking kerosine on this, either....

I guess as it relates to budo, I just know "it" when I experience "it" - but the trick is to be open enough to be able to experience "it" and not my own imagination of what I expect "it" to be. That I know beyond a doubt.

Posted on: 2007/5/5 1:44
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I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, or in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. ~ Thomas Jefferson
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Re: Philosophy and fighting
Kutaki Postmaster
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First off, I absolutely agree with everyone that philosophy and such is very hard to define, just like Bujinkan Budo taijutsu, and Soke's Budo. The other thing about philosophy, like science, they can really only be talked about constructively when the participants agree on some common concepts. This is much like the training itself, at least the majority of the training I have done to this point. These agreed upon concepts are things like who is the teacher, who are the students, what is the technique or feeling being worked on or worked out, etc. etc. I see these as etiquette (Codes of conduct) and without these concepts I think training would devolve into chaos. This is what I think of as applied philosophy

(The love, study, or pursuit of wisdom or of knowledge of things and their causes, whether theoretical or practical...miriams-well.org/Glossary/)


Darren I agree with what you said about our philosophy affecting our sense of danger ( Philosophy of feeling/perception?). The example you gave about your child and schooling is a great example. Certainly this applies directly to training, as certain things are taught to certain people based on the teachers philosophy on who can use it constructivley, or in the case of fighting, who might need to learn it, once again two different philosophies which affect our view on life and our actions. I'm thinking of "The Seven Samurai" by Akira Kurosawa, and how the villagers had to learn about using staffs and spears and barricades, even if they were not ready to. I think this is also why so many kung fu movies use supernatural moves like flying and superfast strikes, as these are stand ins for techniques which might have bad consequences for viewers who might not use them appropriately. There is danger in that which other people might not agree with. In "Hagakure", it seems that personal and clan values (or ethics) were closely realated to the code (or philosophy?) of Bushido. Bushido as practiced then is probably not understandable to me now, as I did not grow up being taught that philosophy, but I do know I was raised to "use my words and not my fists", and consequently it has been a struggle to train sometimes as I slip back into trying to use my words instead of training. I think that this is certainly a danger of trying to focus too much on theoretical philosophy. But is there such a thing as applied philosophy? I think of Soke's "Shut up and train!" as applied philosophy as long as I follow the idea up with action. I think this is what "the love of (feeling of?) budo" is, not the "knowledge of budo". I also think that the philosophy of training is different from the philosophy of fighting. Training seems to be the acquiring of knowledge, and fighting ( or teaching for that matter) the use of that knowledge. Now I don't know so much about that last sentence, as we still use the knowledge of bodies and minds and how they function to achieve a desired result, such as the other person falling down. I am starting to hate philosophy ...

Posted on: 2007/5/5 5:06
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Re: Philosophy and fighting
Kutaki Postmaster
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Quote:
I am starting to hate philosophy ...

It hates back!
Yeah, I think people are making philosophy to big of a thing, you can describe everything you want to say with out it, you can judge these statements with a philosophical framework, i.e. epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. But, in the end philosophy doesn`t live your life for you, you have to live it with all your true and false beliefs.

The term philosophy is over used without many people actually understanding how it is applied today, this makes philosophy a vague thing for most people. Kind of like it, sounds profound it must be philosophy. Some people even equate philosophy with some sort of psychology, which can get really problematic. Some years has passed since the term was first created, and with most terms the meanings and practices change as well. For information on modern philosophy or basic concepts use the Standford Website it is a free and well put together website.

Quote:

Ugh, I'm struggling explaining my thoughts on this, but I hope you understand what I'm getting at.

I hope I'm not drinking kerosine on this, either....



Welcome to hell! Trying to do well thought out philosophy is difficult, it`s like a battle field. My philosophy professor told me once write a paper as if you were building a tank, have enough fire power to do enough damage and enough armour to survive the assualts.

Quote:
I guess as it relates to budo, I just know "it" when I experience "it" - but the trick is to be open enough to be able to experience "it" and not my own imagination of what I expect "it" to be. That I know beyond a doubt.


Doubt is a funny subject, "How will you know you are having the right experience of "it" when you are having it."
Just joking, it`s good to have a little doubt this helps us to grow.

But, yeah I get what you are trying to say. Cool post.

And, now for some vagueness - To love Budo is to know it!

Rob

Posted on: 2007/5/5 14:38
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Re: Philosophy and fighting
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Heretoday,

Please try saying what you want to say without the philosophical stuff first. I think you want to talk merely about the stages of a conflict but, I am having a hard time narrowing down what exactly you are looking for.

Rob

Posted on: 2007/5/5 15:14
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Re: Philosophy and fighting
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Philosphy of fighting put way better than I can do it:

Antonio playing the apprentice Zorro is holding a sword, and the real Zorro asks "do you know how to use that thing," and Antonio says "yes, the point goes into the other man."

There is your philosphy of fighting. If you can't put the sharp pointy stick into the other man then you don't get to hang around the water cooler and wax poetic about fighting, because you would be crow food somewhere.

~ fin ~

Posted on: 2007/5/6 14:16
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Re: Philosophy and fighting
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Yo Rob dude. What you said. You can talk about stages of conflict, sociology, psychology, and very likely philosophy all in one go. Such a synthesis is hard, though, and a tough one to approach on a forum that is about a martial art.

Anyway, forget the talk! We miss you on the mat. See you there next week?

Posted on: 2007/5/6 17:59
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