?Is MA only for fighting

In a long thread in Cyberkwoon, readers were asked if they practice "the spiritual side" of Martial Arts. There were many replies, and the prevailing approach seems to be that while practicing MA may have spiritual results, these are mere side-effects to the main goal of Martial arts, which is to learn to fight.


I whish to propose a slightly different approach.


If MA is only for fighting, why do Japanese MArtists hold Iaido and Kyudo in such high regard? The same question could be asked regarding Kendo, as nobody would walk around with a shinai, and for Kenjutsu, as nobody would walk around with a sword.


Why did Kano remove dangerous techniques from Jujutsu when he formalized Judo?

Why did Imi Lichtenfeld, founder of Krav Maga, do no such thing?

Because Imi Lichtenfeld was devising a method of SELF-DEFENSE, while Kano was establishing a form of EDUCATION.

(Judo has changed allot since Kano's time, mainly due to its introduction as an Olympic sport which turned it from a martial ART into a martial SPORT; but Kano meant for it to be a form of physical education, not merely a competitive sport. He described his MA as "a way to train character", not as a way of learning to fight.)


Yes, MA began as fighting systems.

No, not all MA TODAY are designed primarily to make you a better fighter.


The most basic experience in learning any MA is to try, and fail, and try again. Other basic experiences include pain, fear, fatigue, anger, shame, pride, and more. These are things that affect your decision and actions it combat, and in life. These are things any MA MUST ADDRESS.


Is the process of learning to deal with failure "spiritual", or psychological?

Can there be a MA that does not deal with these aspects?


MA also has to do with dealing with other people: how to treat you teacher, your training-partners, new-comers, people of other schools… 

Are these aspects "spiritual", or moral/ethical?

Can there be a MA that does not deal with these aspects?


Does the distinction really matter?


MA is a tool.

It can be used for different things.

I believe anyone studying MA and touching the above aspects of his life, has an opportunity to learn about himself, and to become a better person.

Anyone who teaches MA and can touch the above aspects of his student's life has the opportunity to show that student a way to become a better person.

Having an opportunity to help someone become a better person is a rare gift. It should not be treated lightly.


It should never be ignored.


You or your student may whish to learn to defend themselves or to win medals, to fight the enemy or to learn to be ONE with God, it makes no difference. When you enter a class, whether it is to teach or to study, you have an opportunity to do good.


You can use this opportunity, or you can miss it.

That is up to you.


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