December 2, 2010

Unicorns and Violence

Posted in martial arts, mythology at 3:20 am by Jerry

I’ve been feeling uneasy when the subject of my martial art training (Baguazhang) comes up. It’s the word “martial” that bugs me.

I’m not an experienced fighter. And as I explained to Becky some time ago, if I were to show another person how to do what I do, I wouldn’t call it “self-defense”. The way I practice Bagua is not to make me a fighter, I just use Bagua for exercise. I like this kind of exercise because I want to increase my standing balance by developing whole-body strength.* So, my physical training might increase my advantage if there’s ever a chance I find myself in a violent situation. But that doesn’t mean I have the training of a warrior.

I started reading Sgt. Rory Miller’s “Meditation On Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence”. I have a feeling this book will help me understand even more than ever how big of a gap there is between my martial art journey and actual combat.

Just as travelers’ tales passing from person to person and place to place and century to century managed to morph the reality of the rhinoceros into the fable of the unicorn, the insular tradition and history of each dojo has morphed a primal understanding of violence into the modern ritual of martial arts.

– Sgt. Rory Miller

This quote came from Miller’s introduction. The rest of the book should be an interesting read.

* The best way I can briefly explain “whole-body strength” is to say that every part of the body supports all parts of the body.


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